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The third installment of the Space Marines Battles series Hunt for Voldorius by Andy Hoare is my latest review and while its a good read I felt that it was somewhat lacking in some elements while doing very well in others.

The book opens with the Master of the Hunt Kor'sarro Khan and his Hunters dropping onto Cernis IV, for a decade they have hunted the vile Daemon Prince Kernax Voldorius of the Alpha Legion across the galaxy and finally they have managed to run him to ground, or so they think. After chasing down the Daemon and confronting him and his Alpha Legion pawns at a promethium refinery the battle is revealed to be a trap orchestrated by Voldorius's champion, the Alpha Legionnaire Nullus, who slays the Company Champion Brother Jhogai in a duel and flees, leaving the White Scars at the mercy of a mighty kraken released in the trap.

The White Scars are able to escape the trap however and believed to be dead by Nullus and soon after Voldorius, they re-double their efforts and track the Daemon to the planet Quintus V, where the corrupt planetary officials have welcomed Voldorius and his ilk in exchange for power. Meanwhile a lone woman, Malya L'nor is chosen by Voldorius to be his new equerry and despite her revulsion at such a task, her faith in the Emperor allows her to withstand the evils of the Daemon Prince and plot behind his back to aid the Space Marines against him.

The White Scars arrive on Quintus and are greeted by the Raven Guard 3rd Company, under Shadow-Captain Kayvaan Shrike who has been operating secretly on the planet for several weeks, and despite bad blood between their Chapters both captains agree to work with each other against the Alpha Legion. However Voldorius plots to re-create his greatest work, to reawaken the mythic Bloodtide, and once this legacy of the Dark Age of Technology is unleashed, the world of Quintus and all its people will bleed.

The battles in the book are well-written and both chapter's styles of combat are reflected, the Bike-mounted charges of the White Scars in tandem with the aerial assaults of the Raven Guard are both great to read and since its rare to see Space Marine bike squads it was a nice treat to see the White Scars doing what they do best instead of the author using them in situations that are unfamiliar to them.

One very interesting thing introduced is the White Scars battle-cant. Rather then broadcast what they are doing the White Scars use assortments of their own words in place of orders, while meaning the direct orders. 'The silvered moon enshrouds the hunted,' or 'We hunt as the dawn-bat soars over the mountain,' and 'As the moon swoops,' are examples of the intricate battle-cant that Andy Hoare has created for the White Scars. Knowledge of Chogoris and its steppes, it ways of life and its people are essential to the battle-cant and it can vary greatly from user to user. A very innoventive device for the White Scars and something to set them apart from other Space Marines but that should have been done in a different novel, that unfortunately does not exist.

The Bloodtide is also a very ingenious creation, rather then go down a more obvious route like a dangerous Daemon or Warp-crafted artefact, Andy Hoare has taken the creative high-ground and created a unique archeo-tech weapon from the Dark Age of Technology that stands apart from the technology of the 41st millennium and makes other devices look primitive. A nano-machine based weapon the Bloodtide is designed to infest people and upon vocal command can exsanguinate them. Use of this ancient device to bleed over a trillion innocents earned Voldorius his Daemonhood, and it is a shame that we wont see this mighty device again, but hopefully more Dark Age relics are not far off.

High Point: The high point was the final duel between Kor'sarro Khan and Kernax Voldorius. Although Voldorius quickly gains the advantage Kor'sarro is able to bring down a statue of the Emperor upon Voldorius, and saves Malya L'nor from being crushed by the falling rubble. As soon as Voldorius rises he is impaled by Shadow-Captain Shrike's Lightning Claws and forced into the remnants of the Emperor's statue, the Master of Mankind's blade pinning Voldorius in place, allowing Kor'sarro to behead the Daemon and end the decade long hunt.

Low Point: Shrike was quite good but I felt the White Scars were wanting. Truthfully I think releasing an actual White Scars novel, totally new, and delving into their chapter in that, would have been a better first move. It would have allowed the author to establish the White Scars and redefine their lore, backstory and beliefs. Then Hunt for Voldorius could have come and been a lot better because the author would have had more to work with.

I give Hunt for Voldorius a 7/10 for an good story, some interesting characters and ingenious additions to 40k lore and to the White Scars chapter as a whole. I look forward to Andy Hoare's next work Savage Scars. And as the ending notes that one day Nullus and Kernax Voldorius would return to haunt the nightmares of man, I hope we have not seen the last of them.

www.thefoundingfields.com
 

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Great review, I've never considered myself a White Scars fan but now i think i might just have to pick this up.
 

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V.G. review. Never seen this book in my many haunts at Barnes and Noble -- must look harder!
 

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Hmm, I finished this book last night and it really didn't do much for me- out of the 3 SM Battles novels released so far I consider this one the weakest,
I agree completely. I finished it a couple of weeks ago, and it left me so empty I couldn't even be arsed to post how bad I thought it was. I thought it read like a piece of fan-fic written by a spotty teen with a hard-on for marines.

The characters had no depth at all, I really didn't like Shrike, and Kor'sarro khan was just boring. I know they're warrior monks, but I get really bored reading "For the Emperor!" in every other line.

How it compares to the other two differs for me. I think Helsreach is one of the best marine novels out there, and Rynn's World is one of the worst. I put this one more towards the latter than former.
 

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I agree completely. I finished it a couple of weeks ago, and it left me so empty I couldn't even be arsed to post how bad I thought it was. I thought it read like a piece of fan-fic written by a spotty teen with a hard-on for marines.

The characters had no depth at all, I really didn't like Shrike, and Kor'sarro khan was just boring. I know they're warrior monks, but I get really bored reading "For the Emperor!" in every other line.

How it compares to the other two differs for me. I think Helsreach is one of the best marine novels out there, and Rynn's World is one of the worst. I put this one more towards the latter than former.
I enjoyed the Traitors more then the Loyalists. Kernax Voldorius was a delight to read, and I enjoyed Nullus quite a bit as well.

Shrike was quite good but I felt the White Scars were wanting. Truthfully I think releasing an actual White Scars novel, totally new, and delving into their chapter in that, would have been a better first move. It would have allowed the author to establish the White Scars and redefine their lore, backstory and beliefs. Then Hunt for Voldorius could have come and been a lot better because the author would have had more to work with.

Same with Rynn's World, one of the reasons that Helsreach was so good is that EVERY 40k fan knows who the Black Templars are, how they act, what they believe and then some. And because of that ADB didn't need to establish an entire Chapter in his book, he had to establish the characters which made for better development and allowed more time for the story. Rynn's World and Hunt for Voldorius, Crimson Fists and White Scars however are underused, you have to really read about them to learn and not every 40k fan is versed in them. Therefore these two books had to establish the Chapters as well, leaving less time for the characters and the story.
 

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Same with Rynn's World, one of the reasons that Helsreach was so good is that EVERY 40k fan knows who the Black Templars are, how they act, what they believe and then some. And because of that ADB didn't need to establish an entire Chapter in his book, he had to establish the characters which made for better development and allowed more time for the story. Rynn's World and Hunt for Voldorius, Crimson Fists and White Scars however are underused, you have to really read about them to learn and not every 40k fan is versed in them. Therefore these two books had to establish the Chapters as well, leaving less time for the characters and the story.
Not reeeeeeally sure I agree with that. A Chapter can be shown/developed/revealed/whatever purely through the characters, and their actions and beliefs. That's how I approached Helsreach - not thinking that "everyone knows the Black Templars so I can ignore the Chapter's theme" but knowing that the best way to show a Chapter's uniqueness is to show realistic characters living within that theme, and embodying it in their dialogue, actions and decisions.

Most of the reviews pin it as my most accessible novel for non-40K fans, so I think at least some of my intention made it through to the bookshelf, there.
 

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Not reeeeeeally sure I agree with that. A Chapter can be shown/developed/revealed/whatever purely through the characters, and their actions and beliefs. That's how I approached Helsreach - not thinking that "everyone knows the Black Templars so I can ignore the Chapter's theme" but knowing that the best way to show a Chapter's uniqueness is to show realistic characters living within that theme, and embodying it in their dialogue, actions and decisions.

Most of the reviews pin it as my most accessible novel for non-40K fans, so I think at least some of my intention made it through to the bookshelf, there.
You did and that made Grimaldus and his Templars interesting but in Rynn's World and Hunt for Voldorius the authors did not do that, rather they chose to either make their characters the epitome of Space Marines without anything to make them unique as in Rynn's World, or they chose to express the Chapter through innovation like the battle-cant but made the characters themselves blank as in Hunt for Voldorius.
 

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the battlecant is stolen from Eisenhorn, we all know Glossia...don't we??

The use of battle-code was something to be expected and I wouldn't be surprised if more chapters use it, in different ways. I wouldn't call it a "White Scar trait".

Almost finished the Hunt for Voldurius and enjoyed the book, but I rate it below Rynn's World and Helsreach.
What I did like about the story, is that the author has succeeded in portraying the tactics of the White Scars and the Raven Guard in a good way.
 

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This one felt more believable from the perspective of how the events came about than Rynn's World. The missiles malfunctioning and dropping on the fortress seemed contrived and hokey (even though it came from G-Dub fluff first.) There is just no way to make that seem not dumb. At least in Hunt I bought into the villains. It seemed like it accidentally was a story about how evil and three dimensional the antagonists were, while the protagonists were what the antagonists of a novel normally are: 2-D plot devices.

Although I will agree that Hellsreach is far and away the best of the Battles series (and one of the better 40k novels in general), I would agree that Hunt was probably a 6.5 (6 for the loyalists, 7 for the traitors.)
 

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just finished this today and to be honest it was a slog to get through. seems SMB has got progressively worse with this only picking up at the end and even then it was sort of half arsedly written in my opinion. next we get ultramarines vs. necrons dont we?! that just says it all for this series haha
 

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Actually no next we get Dark Angels vs Orks, then Ultramarines vs Necrons, and then Space Wolves vs Thousand Sons.. its a good lineup.
 

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not orks again. dont wanna sounds cynical but there is only so many times you can read about wave after wave of ork getting decimated and the marines coming out on top against crazy odds. if only it was a ork centred book but then i suppose it would have to be called orks shooty battles or something daft i suppose.

one saving grace is space wolves vs. thousand sons. it WILL be killer!
 

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not orks again. dont wanna sounds cynical but there is only so many times you can read about wave after wave of ork getting decimated and the marines coming out on top against crazy odds. if only it was a ork centred book but then i suppose it would have to be called orks shooty battles or something daft i suppose.

one saving grace is space wolves vs. thousand sons. it WILL be killer!
Ah but it's not just any Orks, it's Ghazghkull vs. the Dark Angels.
 

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Ah but it's not just any Orks, it's Ghazghkull vs. the Dark Angels.
Yeah and Warlord Ghazghkull Mag Uruk Thraka is the most epic Ork of all, plus the story also features Warboss Nazdreg Urd Urdgrub of the Bad Moons clan. So we have Dark Angels vs The two most epic Orks in existence.

"I’m Warlord Ghazghkull Mag Uruk Thraka an’ I speak wiv da word of da gods. We iz gonna stomp da ‘ooniverse flat an’ kill anyfing that fights back. We iz gonna do this coz’ we’re Orks an’ we was made ta fight an’ win!"

Sheer awesomeness.
 

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The primary reason I bought this book was because of the Alpha Legion's involvement.

Overall, I found the novel to be very boring and not up to par with other WH40k novels.

I found the author's portrayal of the Alpha Legion as being somewhat inaccurate and in my opinion he made them seem like any other Chaos worshipping Chapter and completely devoid of their innate characteristics.

The scene where Nullus is killed in particular which caused the remaining Alpha Legion members break off and run struck a cord with me since each member of the Alpha Legion are trained to act individually, with or without a leading figure.

Andy pretty much made the Alpha Legion sound like some random Chaos worshiping cult/chapter and completely disregarded their history and the traits that makes them unique from the rest of the flock.

The Alpha Legion and the Night Haunters are in my opinion the most resistant to the whisperings of Chaos despite their allegiance with them and Andy just didn't seem to incorporate that into his novel.

The portrayal of the White Scars was annoying, especially the constant references of their past as nomads of the steppes. I'm quite certain 90% of the time Space Marines have no recollection of their pre-Astartes life so I didn't like this aspect of the book as well.

I stopped maybe 20 pages short of the end, I just can't seem to finish it. Voldorius is just a random Chaos sorcerer
 

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I give the book 3/5

PROS:
the bloodtide was an interesting idea, I hope more archaeo-tech shows up in future BL novels
the White Scars battle-cant was pretty cool (reminded me of Atreides battle-language)
hey, it's a book starring two of my favourite chapters!

CONS:
Andy Hoare's writing style is quite bland at times, it lacks a certain vitality
he repeats certain words/phrases a lot and has a habit of telling rather than showing...don't tell me Shrike deployed his troops with "masterful tactical awareness", show me the details, use vivid imagery rather than general adjectives

I also think there are logical mistakes in a few places, for instance in one scene as several protagonists are making a stealthy approach, Andy describes how silent the Raven Guard marines' armour is, and then he has the Raven Guard sergeant turn on his "crackling" lightning claws while they're still being all stealthy
 

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The primary reason I bought this book was because of the Alpha Legion's involvement.

Overall, I found the novel to be very boring and not up to par with other WH40k novels.

I found the author's portrayal of the Alpha Legion as being somewhat inaccurate and in my opinion he made them seem like any other Chaos worshipping Chapter and completely devoid of their innate characteristics.

The scene where Nullus is killed in particular which caused the remaining Alpha Legion members break off and run struck a cord with me since each member of the Alpha Legion are trained to act individually, with or without a leading figure.

Andy pretty much made the Alpha Legion sound like some random Chaos worshiping cult/chapter and completely disregarded their history and the traits that makes them unique from the rest of the flock.

The Alpha Legion and the Night Haunters are in my opinion the most resistant to the whisperings of Chaos despite their allegiance with them and Andy just didn't seem to incorporate that into his novel.

The portrayal of the White Scars was annoying, especially the constant references of their past as nomads of the steppes. I'm quite certain 90% of the time Space Marines have no recollection of their pre-Astartes life so I didn't like this aspect of the book as well.
I agree with you on all points, but remember that the Space Wolf Omnibus shows that space marines can remember their pre marine life, such as in Ragnar's case were he constantly keeps recollecting things and makes it seem like the space marine knowledge is stacked on top of what he already knows.


I stopped maybe 20 pages short of the end, I just can't seem to finish it. Voldorius is just a random Chaos sorcerer
But overall the author did not do the Alpha legion justice at all and Hunt For Voldurius has been a very degrading fluff story. They should have showed it being Black legion or some other random chaos warband rather then Alpha Legion.
 
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