Tuesday, March 29, 2011
Nick Khyme's Fall of Damnos
The much anticipated, by me, release of the Fall of Damnos by Nick Khyme came this past saturday, and unlike some of the previous Black Library releases lately, I was eager to read this book. Sadly, real life being what it is, I couldn't devour this book in one sitting like I would have wanted, but I have read it all now. This novel is excellent, for one, Khyme is a writer on the same level as Abnett, McNiell and Dembski-Bowden in terms of skill and the weaving of his story.
For those familiar with the Space Marines codex, you may know the outcome of Damnos, it is one of the stories listed within that codex. If not, here is the synopsis: The mining world of Damnos, has found some odd alien technology. Turns out to be a Necron tomb world. The Necrons awake, death ensues. The Ultramarines, recieving their distress call, arrive and attempt to save the planet.
This novel is a great read for two reasons. The first is Khyme's ability to weave a great narrative. Picking up on threads from the Assault on Black Reach novella (available through Games Workshop only, sadly it is some what mediocre despite being written by Khyme)the Fall of Damnos is centered on the viewpoints of three Ultramarines sergeants who each view Sicarius in different ways, ways which are echoed throughout the Ultramarines chapter. There is Sergeant Praxor, who longs to be a Lion of Macragge and believes Sicarius should succeed Calgar. Sergeant Scipio, who has lost his spiritual mentor Chaplain Orad and has turned grim because of it, he takes a pragmatic; what will be, will be approach. Finally, Sergeant Iulus, who is tasked with defending the lone human settlement on Damnos. His beliefis that Agemman is Captain of the First, Sicarius Captain of the Second, and the chain of command, and thus succession is clear. How these viewpoints shift and develop through the course of the war makes for compelling reading.
The second reason to read this novel are the evolving views of who and what the Necrons are as a race. Ideas first offered in Apocalypse: Reload are developed so that we see how the Necrons interact and act at the highest levels of control, where those nodes have remnants of personality beyond pure hate. Ideas from the Medusa V campaign are also brought in, such that Necron Lords have their own names, and personalities as well.
In conclusion, I would strongly urge 40k fans to read this novel. Ultramarine fans will love it, as it brings up questions that have long surrounded Sicarius and Agemman. Necron fans will enjoy it as it fleshes out their race and may offer insight as to what the next codex may bring.