1.) Titles, ah titles. Fist thing to know about titles is that the author is not the only one with a hand in the titles. Authors can't actually call books whatever they want and there are other interested parties who push for one thing or another.
I've always wondered how much outside influence/pressure goes into the naming of some of these books. I had assumed you chose LoTD as the title due to the simple, yet significant, threefold meaning of it (which you mentioned). But to cite another example, when I was reading Peter Fehervari's excellent Fire Caste, I kept thinking that there was no way that that was the original intended title (further disservice was done to that book by it being marketed as a Tau novel, when in fact it was a cerebral Imperial Guard outing).
I truly laud The Black Library for seeking writers who are, well, writers, and not just auteurs of bolter porn. But in the end, they have miniatures to sell, and they want to steer the readers into the GW shoppes to buy them.
After all, the Legion of the Damned can't really turn up at the beginning of the story. That's not the way they work as a phenomenon.
I think the people that feel misled or shortchanged by the title/cover lose sight of the essence of the Legion. Yes, a Fire Hawks/Legion "then and now" book would be great, but how can you flesh out a story around them as they are now to satisfy a chronicle of the Certus Minor/Cholercaust event? Let's face it; the Legion looks damn cool, but they make for piss-poor protagonists...
Spoiler alert: that ain't Laurence Olivier under there.
And that's the thing; the Legion as they are are a bastard, masturbatory amalgamation of all things teenage boys find cool; cloaked in black, festooned with skulls and flames, skeletal parts showing through cracked armor, and, oh of course, unkillable, like playing Doom on god mode.
Thinking that you are going to get 400 pages of these death dealers dealing death simply because the title names them and they are on the cover is kind of puerile (and would make a boring book).
I think Sanders gets all the more credit for realizing that since the ghosts can't carry the story part of the book, he should make a sort of "living equivalent" of the Legion. And that's why the Excoriators work so well.
As I mentioned in my review of LoTD
, look at the contrasts between the Kersh and his spectral watcher:
Black armor (death)/White armor (life)
Armor forever damaged in death/Damage to armor preserved through life
The watcher's burning red eye that sees into the world of the living/Kersh's dead steel eye that sees into the world of the dead
One immortal/one just impossible to kill...
In the end, I can't tell someone what they should feel satisfies them or leaves them wanting more. From what I've seen, though, not too many who actually do read it can complain about the merits of the writing. And that's because it's a damn good book.
Plus, maybe being a lifelong Godzilla fan makes me more tolerant of things like this. For every Godzilla movie, his name is usually in the title, his image hogs the poster, and yet, you only get about 15 minutes of Big-G action after an hour and a half of Japanese people talking (none of them as cool as the Excoriators either). So yeah, I can deal with the Legion only being there for the last hurrah. It's all good.