I have just finished reading Deathfire and was actually amazed. The last few novels and short stories I have read have been average, but this one really impressed me.
It felt like things were actually progressing in the Heresy world and we were not just being presented with some meaningless throw away encounters between characters we neither cared about nor were memerable.
Deathfire expands on where things left off after The Unremembered Empire. I actually really enjoyed the novel, which was a surprise since I care little for the drakes.
In my opinion (which is all that matters) it's the best novel since TUE and Vengeful Spirit. It's nice to see the series moving forwards again.
Oh...and an open letter to ALL the BL writers. (I'm looking at you Nick Kyne since you mentioned in Deathfire that crew were instantly freezing in the vacuum of space)
YOU DO NOT INSTANTLY FREEZE WHEN EXPOSED TO THE VACUUM OF SPACE!
I thought it was common knowledge, or at least should be for people writing a great deal about space battles.
I hope this will help future writers...
The other things, you can't really do much about. After about 10 seconds or so, your skin and the tissue underneath will begin to swell as the water in your body starts to vaporise in the absence of atmospheric pressure. You won't balloon to the point of exploding, though, since human skin is strong enough to keep from bursting; and, if you're brought back to atmospheric pressure, your skin and tissue will return to normal.
It also won't affect your blood, since your circulatory system is able to keep your blood pressure regulated, unless you go into shock. The moisture on your tongue may begin to boil, though, as reported by Jim LeBlanc who was exposed to near vacuum in a test chamber in 1965. LeBlanc's suit sprung a leak, and he remained conscious for about 14 seconds; his last sensation was bubbling on his tongue (he was safely revived, as the researchers began repressurising the chamber almost immediately -- after about 15 seconds).
Because you will be exposed to unfiltered cosmic radiation, you can expect some nasty sunburn, and you'll probably also get a case of decompression sickness.You would not, however, freeze straight away, despite the extremely cold temperatures; heat does not leave the body quickly enough for you to freeze before you suffocate, due to the lack of both convection and conduction.
If you do die in space, your body will not decompose in the normal way, since there is no oxygen. If you were near a source of heat, your body would mummify; if you were not, it would freeze. If your body was sealed in a space suit, it would decompose, but only for as long as the oxygen lasted. Whichever the condition, though, your body would last for a very, very long time without air to facilitate weathering and degradation. Your corpse could drift in the vast expanse of space for millions of years.
Basically, if you've seen what happens when the guy gets decompressed in the film Event Horizon, you're not far off. I've been decompressed several times and I have never frozen. Of course, I have my transhuman biology to thank for that, but the same also goes for normal humans.
I do wonder if the writers are aware, but since the mistake has been made severals times in earlier books, they just keep consistency, even if it is consistently WRONG.