This Novel is comprised of four distinct stories. Each by a different author. I bought this book because one of the authors is Sarah Cawkwell and I am a fan. OK, I’ll admit it. I’m a huge fan. Valkia the Bloody is a great Warhammer novel. As usual Sarah Cawkwell delivers a superb story. For me it was more like playing the Space Hulk board game (the first time round because I’m old). That nervous feeling as you wonder where the next attack is coming from and whether the attrition rate will be too high. It set the scene beautifully.
The second story by Darius Hinks has a completely different feel and yet there are bare threads that run through the story to tie it to the first part. By the end of this story I was a little bewildered about how it could be tied in to the previous story. It was only as I read on that I realized how subtle and clever it was. It is during this story that I started to think that something very nasty was happening just beyond the words on the page. By the end of this section the story is well and truly setup for some major action.
The second half of this book opens with a bang. The story by Ben Counter is superb, just superb. The quickening of the pace combined with the brashness of the Imperial Fists Space Marines worked really well. It started to become clear that there was definitely something bigger than the individual stories going on at this point. Captain Lysander kicks major butt. That alone makes this story worth reading, but again there is more to it than that. What makes Lysander such a force of nature even by Space Marine standards? That isn’t directly answered here but there are clues.
The final story is by John French. This is the make or break story. Not only did it need to be a fitting end to the story, but it had to tie the strands of fate together. Not an easy job. Thankfully it works perfectly. I’ve always been a fan of Space Marine Librarians and this is a story that delivers a great depiction of one.
Overall this is a well crafted novel that fuses different styles of writing in to a cohesive and thoroughly enjoyable story. I think I may be re-arranging my reading list so that I can read another Black Library book next.