Fall of Damnos by Nick Kyme - Advanced Review [Lord of the Night]* - Wargaming Forum and Wargamer Forums
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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 03-19-11, 04:02 PM Thread Starter
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Default Fall of Damnos by Nick Kyme - Advanced Review [Lord of the Night]*

Lord of the Night reviews the fifth installment of the popular Space Marines Battles series, Fall of Damnos by Nick Kyme.

'Though the Ultramarines are the stars its hard not to gape at the Necrons, who have come so far in just a single novel. Damnos will fall, but who will fall with it?'

(Note: This is an advanced review of Fall of Damnos. It is scheduled for release in April 2011.)

Nick Kyme truly is great with the Space Marines, to him Space Marines are what the Inquisition is to Dan Abnett. But what he has done with the Necrons is nothing short of amazing, at first I didn't even recognize them but now that I have finished the novel I think back to Dawn of War and all the other times the Necrons rose from their tombs, and I feel boredom as I compare them to the Necrons of Damnos. And in regards to the Ultramarines, I agree with Bane of Kings's assertion that with only two books Kyme is challenging Graham for control of Guilliman's own.

When miners on the world of Damnos unearth an artifact they unwittingly begin the destruction of their world. Freed from the Long Sleep the Necrontyr rise again to purge their world of the insects that dare invade their kingdom and defile their lands. The Ultramarines 2nd Company led by Cato Sicarius, the Master of the Watch and High Suzerain, eager for glory and to be the first Ultramarine to battle the undying Necrons. But Damnos may already be doomed, the Ultramarines must face the possibility that there is no victory waiting for them at the edge of the abyss.

For me the highest point of this novel is the Necrons, I enjoy innovation and bright new ideas quite a lot and the Necrons featured this heavily. It used to be that only a Necron Lord could hope to even have a voice, but now the Necrons have their own caste system, culture, their fears and hopes and even ambitions. I can only think that GW is hiding a new Necron codex, or at least a prototype version of one, and Nick Kyme wrote from it when he designed these new incarnations of the eldest of all xenos.

The characters are separated into two sides. Imperial and Necron. The Imperial characters range from the Ultramarines and the natives of Damnos. Sergeants Scipio Vorolanus, Iulus Fennion and Praxor Manorian return from Black Reach and their growth through the novel is interesting. But the biggest growth must be Scipio shaken from an event in-between Black Reach and Damnos, which was very surprising for me. Human characters like Falka Kolpeck, Zeph Rancourt and Adanar Sonne show the darker side of the war, the displaced and the grieving, and the fatalism that comes from fighting a foe that may very well be immortal.

With all kinds of Necron royals leading the way from The Undying One at the head of the phalanx, the cunning cryptek Ankh the Herald of Dismay, the ambitious Tahek the Voidbringer and the ghoulish Sahtah the Enfleshed, the Necrons have gained a wide range of characters that are not only cool but actually sympathetic in some cases, Sahtah mainly. Eternity has not been kind to the Necrons, and their cruel existence is shown very well in the book.

The action portrayed is visceral and brutal, the Ultramarines strength is great but the Necrons are a foe like no other, death means nothing to them. When facing enemies that can repair from mortal wounds and who simply disappear upon defeat, even the absence of corpses can unnerve a man. But the Ultramarines fight on heroically, earning glory and honor with every kill. The Necrons own fighting style has been very well depicted, disintegrations and flayed corpses are everywhere as it should be.

The novel's pacing is well-written. Running multiple plots alongside each other with different characters in different parts of Damnos can't be easy but Kyme does it and weaves them together to affect one-another to create the first battle between Guilliman's chosen and one of the oldest of all alien races. Be it Scipio's story, Fennion's, Praxor's or even Cato Sicarius's each story melds together very well to create an overall tale that is definitely worth the time.

The book ends on a cliffhanger, halfway through the battle. The situation is grim but there is hope yet for the defenders of Damnos. I eagerly await the sequel to the novel that Ser Kyme will hopefully start writing very soon, the Damnos duology is shaping up to be a great tale, one that may reshape the image we hold of an entire xenos race.

I give Fall of Damnos a 9/10, on its own the novel is definitely a clear second amongst the Space Marines Battles series but it cannot match Ser Dembski-Bowden's epic Helsreach. But perhaps the sequel, once the whole story is together a new champion amongst the series shall rise.

Now I move onto the dark world of Warhammer Fantasy, into the land of chivalrous knights and hunchbacked peasants. Knights of Bretonnia is next, the tale of a knight and his quest for glory.

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Last edited by Lord of the Night; 06-04-13 at 08:53 AM.
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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 03-19-11, 04:29 PM
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Based solely on this review, I will be buying this novel. It will be interesting to see how the Ultramarines are portrayed in someone's eyes who isn't Graham McNeil or (God forbid) Matt Ward. It hurts me to say those two names in the same sentence without a qualifier between them.

Good review bro!

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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 03-19-11, 05:47 PM
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Nice review LotN . I am still reading Knights of Bretonnia as well, so we'll see who gets there first .
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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 03-19-11, 06:13 PM
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After only managing to read 50 pages of The Purging of Kadillus before throwing it in the corner, I'd pretty much given up on the series, but you may have changed my mind.
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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-07-11, 02:49 PM
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this is a very solid installment of the SM Battles series

I read Hunt for Voldorius before this and the higher quality of prose in this book was immediately apparent

Whereas Hunt for Voldorius was quite bland (though Andy Hoare did have some neat ideas) and a bit of a chore to slog through, this book has good character development and is written in a vivid engaging style.

The necrons are used quite well as the villains. While reading Fall of Damnos, I actually felt the Ultramarines were being outclassed. It's always good when the villains pose a serious challenge to the heroes. It was also nice to have necron lords with personalities.

I haven't read many Ultramarines books (actually, I've read none except for Fall of Damnos), but I really liked how Kyme portrays the internal politics of this poster-boy chapter.

I've always under the impression that 2nd Captain Sicarius was the honourable hero while 1st Captain Agemman was the petty, jealous rival.

Instead of giving us a perfect hero, Kyme wisely chooses to give Sicarius a number of flaws:
he is reckless with the lives of his men, but he also inspires them with his own personal daring
to join his inner circle, one has to be utterly obedient to his will
he is always looking for the enemy's weaknesses, but his eagerness for victory means that his tolerance for losses borders on the imprudent
he is a glory hound (he insists on dueling the necron lord when he had a venerable dreadnought and his honour guard ready to charge in)

Agemman, only mentioned by other characters in the book, might be less charismatic, but he is also much less reckless. Sicarius prefers high reward/high risk. Whereas Agemman is much more moderate. While a leader can't achieve greatness without taking risks, he should choose what risks to take wisely. The conflict between the 1st and 2nd captains is a conflict between leadership philosophies.
By the end of the book, I think it is effectively shown that Sicarius is prone to take rather wasteful risks and he and his men pay the cost.

It's also interesting to see how the sergeant who originally idolised Sicarius eventually grows to disapprove of Sicarius's recklessness and respect the 1st company's more restrained philosophy.

This book has really sparked my interest in the Ultramarines' future, and I hope Nick Kyme and BL choose to further explore the character of Agemman and the relationship between the 1st and 2nd companies.

Last edited by MontytheMighty; 04-07-11 at 02:52 PM.
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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-11-11, 09:56 PM
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Glad to hear it is a duology. As I approached the end of the book I began to worry how NK would wrap up all the story arcs. I was afraid it was going to be a "And then the Inquisition showed up and cyclone torpedoed the whole planet. The end."
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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 05-15-11, 01:15 PM
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personally the book is amazing and i can only hope that this the future for the necrons codex, indiviudally lords for each section of the army would be interesting.
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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 05-15-11, 01:33 PM
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Really Great review that covers all the import information. I enjoyed reading this book but it made me not like Cato Sicarius as much.


Link to my Artic UltraMarines Project:
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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 05-15-11, 08:55 PM
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I finished this last week, and yet again I was disappointed by this series. It could have been excellent, but surprisingly from Kyme, he blew it. For a writer who IMO is one of the finest handlers of SMs in the BL stable, he really messed up with the smurfs. This is a shame, because what he does with the Necrons is brilliant. He really managed to give them some character, with all the info and origins of the varying class of necrons.

Unfortunately he did the reverse with the marines. I really got sick of the melodramatic dialogue, and only stuck with the book to see how the necrons ended up. He also blew the ending. The battle was still raging, with Ankh still raising the greater host, with what appeared to be an even more powerful Lord just waking. Unless there's going to be a sequel, the ending sucked.
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