Helsreach - Aaron Dembski-Bowden
When the world of Armageddon is attacked by orks, the Black Templars Space Marine Chapter are amongst those sent to liberate it. Chaplain Grimaldus and a band of Black Templars are charged with the defence of Hive Helsreach from the xenos invaders in one of the many battlezones. But as the orks numbers grow and the Space Marines dwindle, Grimaldus faces a desperate last stand in an Imperial temple. Determined to sell their lives dearly, will the Black Templars hold on long enough to be reinforced, or will their sacrifice ultimately be in vain?
This is a re-read, so I have already known what happened and known how fantastic this story is. Being my first Space Marine Battle Novel, I didn't really know what to expect, but I didn't need to have read Rynn's World, the first novel in the series to understand this one, which was quite good.
Note that in this novel, "The Great Enemy," does not mean Chaos like normal, but it means the Orks, which makes sense as this is set in the 3rd war for Armaggedon, and begins with Grimaldus being promoted to Reclusiarch after the death of his mentor, Mordred, which I think is a great name, and the bit is avalible in one of the Black Library Preview catalogues. Probably the most recent one, which is free, if you want to pick it up.
The Third War for Armaggedon begins in space, and the Eternal Crusader, the ship which the Grand Master Helbrecht sets off to halt the xenos as much as possible, leaving the newly promoted Grimaldus in charge of the ground forces of Helsreach, which he wonders why Helbrecht has sent him to die, as he knows that he will.
The book also introduces a number of secondary charachters, from Andrej, who was possibly my favourite charachter in the book apart from the Reclusiarch himself, as his personality brings some humor to the often grimdark far future, to Zhara, the Princeps of the almighty Titan known as Stormherald. Also making a cameo are the Salamanders, which I'm especially pleased because they are my favourite chapter, as you have probably guessed by now.
Yes, Charachter Delevopment is seen in this novel, as Major Ryken and Adept Tyro distrust each other at the start, to becoming freinds at the end of the battle. This novel reveals that the Imperium often makes things more dramatic, as Grimaldus is seen as the only survivour by the records, but others (I will not say who), surrived as well.
Pros: The First strike by the Templars into the crashed Ork ship, giving the defenders first blood, and the apperance of the Salamanders.
Cons: Not much, although it wasn't as good as Soul Hunter, which I prefered a lot more.
Rating: 9 / 10 - Not as good as Soul Hunter or Salamander, but a great book nonetheless.
Expect more reviews soon, as I am going to try and pick up Fulgrim and A Thousand Sons, possibly something else if I have enough money. Hope you enjoyed.
~Bane of Kings