Dan Abnett, FORGOTTEN
As they travel between warzones, veterans of the Tanith First and Only gather to tell tales and remember victories past. When it comes to Scout Sergeant Mkoll, his story, reluctantly told, is of a mist-shrouded battlefield in the night and a dangerous presence that lurked in the darkness, preying on the soldiers of the regiment. But just what horror could haunt the Ghosts?
A marvellous return for Gaunt’s Ghosts. Abnett’s (sub-)genre redefining series remains one of my favourites: he managed to update and improve on the established WH40k canon expertly. This short tale reunites us with a handful of fans’ favourite Ghosts, and simultaneously reminds us of how badass Mkoll really is. Forgotten is a perfect example of Abnett’s skill. I can’t wait to read Warmaster, the next novel in the series. It feels like so very long since last we spent any time with Ibram Gaunt and his regiment — Forgotten has completely reignited my interest in and anticipation for the series.
Mike Lee, NONE MORE LOYAL
Crimson Fists Sergeant Galleas and his squad are assigned to aid an inquisitor who hunts a notorious renegade Space Marine. Setting out to entrap the traitor, the Crimson Fists soon find themselves surrounded and in danger – and their enemy may know them as well as they know themselves, as an ancient and deadly secret is revealed.
This was a pretty good short story. The plot is balanced quite well, between action and… not-action (I wouldn’t go so far as to say “peace”). It’s an interesting premise, with a couple of twists that I didn’t see coming (although, looking back on it, one thing is a bit telegraphed — unless it’s just something I missed, being less familiar now with WH40k than I am with the Horus Heresy series). The ending wasn’t bad, but it could have been better, I think. There were a few moments when the pace and momentum dipped precipitously, which ended up robbing the story of some of its impact, so I think this could have been tighter. Nevertheless, a decent read with plenty of the elements that go into a very good WH40k story (or military sci-fi story in general).
Gav Thorpe, THE VALUE OF FEAR
The Raven Guard under Corax continue to gather all leaderless loyalists to their banner, determined to take the fight to Horus and his heretics. In the industrial nightmare of the underhive, the XIXth Legion receive a lesson in terror tactics from the most unlikely of allies – the Night Lords…
This was a very cool short story — uncluttered, focused, and original. I enjoyed the different approach to the story, the mix of Legions involved, not to mention the duelling approaches to war that appear diametrically opposed but could work in concert rather well. Very cool indeed, I wish there was more readily-available Heresy fiction from Thorpe (he’s written a couple of the limited edition novellas, which have yet to make the transition to eBook). Definitely recommended. I’m just sad it was not longer.
Chris Wraight, BROTHERHOOD OF THE MOON
In the aftermath of the rebellion within his Legion, Jaghatai Khan ordered the trials of his wayward sons to determine whether or not they would atone. The proud Terran legionary Torghun Khan now stands before his accusers, and must account for the events that could have led him into outright heresy…
Picking up the story begun in Wraight’s Scars and Brotherhood of the Storm…, this is a pretty good extension. It doesn’t offer a huge amount of extra detail, nor greater understanding (it’s a little too vague and teaser-esque, really), but it is well-written and engaging throughout. If you’ve read and enjoyed Wraight’s aforementioned Horus Heresy stories, then I think you’ll enjoy this, too.
These short stories are currently available only through Black Library’s website: Forgotten, None More Loyal, The Value of Fear, Brotherhood of the Moon,