Quick Review: SEPULTURUM by Nick Kyme (Black Library)

KymeN-SepulturumSomething strange is happening to all the people…

Morgravia Sanctus is being hunted. Hiding in the low-hive of Blackgheist, she pieces together the fragments of her broken memory, trying to regain her past even as a hideous plague sweeps the hive, turning men into monsters…

Morgravia Sanctus is being hunted; why or by whom she doesn’t know. Something terrible has happened to her, a profound trauma that has left behind ‘red dreams’ and a physical agony that can strike at any moment. Her life in danger and her memory fragmented, she arrives in the low-hive of Blackgheist to escape her pursuers and search for ‘the Broker’ – a trafficker in memories and psychic mind manipulation. Soon after, a plague sweeps the city, turning its citizens into blood-hungry monsters. Order collapses, death and slaughter are rampant. Caught up in the carnage, Morgravia must flee once more. But as the ravening spreads, is there any hope of stopping this contagion?

Nick Kyme’s Sepulturum is a great, classic hive city story, with added zombies! Atmospheric, quickly paced, it ticks all the boxes of a great WH40k novel. Bringing the zombie genre firmly into that of the WH40k setting, I rather enjoyed this.

In this latest addition to the Warhammer Horror imprint, Nick Kyme takes us deep into Blackgheist, one of the Imperium’s industrial hive cities. There are two threads to the story, one following Inquisitor Morgravia Sanctus, and another following bullet-maker Cristo. This is the first novel published by the Warhammer Horror imprint that I’ve read, and it’s a good one.

Morgravia’s memory is fractured, mostly missing. After a near-deadly operation in the hive, she heads out in search of answers, on the trail of an empath who might be able to unlock her memories. However, a strange plague sweeps through the city, turning its citizens into mindless, violent zombie-like creatures. The plague is indiscriminate, turning formerly upstanding citizens and gangers into beasts. Trapped in a tavern, Morgravia teams up with a handful of other survivors (many, of course, with their own agendas) and heads back to the gate that would take them safely up-hive.

Cristo, meanwhile, is also making his way through the hive. He’s saved his daughter, and is struggling with not only the growing zombie plague, but also guilt over events in his past. He is a fundamentally good person, it seems, and he will do anything to save his daughter’s life. He’s an interesting character: a rare Good Person in a violent, suffocating world.

I don’t want to delve too much into the plot, as it’s not an especially long novel, and want to avoid spoilers. The two threads circle each other, as the two protagonists make their ways through the hive. Kyme does a great job of including classic zombie horror elements: apparently-abandoned police precinct building; a diary of a survivor; disparate group who band together in order to survive, and more — it all adds up to a creepy familiarity and nod to the genre’s roots. Slowly, Morgravia pieces together what is happening and what happened to her, and it is far more sinister than she originally thought… Oh, and there are some crazy religious fanatics raging about the place, too. (Of course — not hive city story is complete without deranged fanatics.)

If you’re looking for a solid WH40k adventure in a deep, creepy hive, then I think Sepulturum will very much suit your needs. Kyme’s writing is on top form, and he ably applies the lesson that less-is-more in his descriptions. I enjoyed this, and I hope Kyme writes more for the imprint.

Recommended.

*

Nick Kyme’s Sepulturum is out now, published by Black Library in the UK and North America.

Also on CR: Interview with Nick Kyme (2011); Reviews of Promethean Sun, Vulkan Lives, Deathfire, and Auric Gods

Follow the Author: Goodreads, Twitter
Review copy received via NetGalley

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