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Black Library & Warhammer Digital - Tyrant of the Hollow Worlds (eBook)

Tyrant of the Hollow Worlds

A Space Marine Battles novel
When Huron Blackheart leads his warband of Red Corsairs to attack the Hollow Worlds of Lastrati, the human defenders can do little to protect themselves against such powerful enemies. Will the arrival of the Space Wolves turn the tide?

What are the Hollow Worlds? Are they actually hollow? And what does the Tyrant of Badab want with them? Find out the answers to all these questions, and get a healthy dose of Space Wolves vs Chaos action in this epic novel.

Finished it. A quite interesting and well written story about the Red Corsairs and their rampages. Lots of noticeable and unique characters that stood out through the story. Though it was clearly set at an earlier time in the history of the Red Corsairs, before they had grown to be the menace they are in present time and providing some strong insights into their nature and Huron Blackheart himself. Theres also some noticeable leads to their future endeavors which have been depicted in past stories.

A thing that stood out with the space wolves.

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Finished it today myself, I found it enjoyable in some places but felt that the novel dragged quite a bit and suffered from a lack of story beyond the actual battle. I've always felt that the best entries in the Space Marines Battles series were the novels, Helsreach, Legion of the Damned, Death of Integrity, where the battle was a stage that allowed the real stories to be told rather than the battle being the actual point of the novel.

Sadly TotHWs falls into the latter category, there is no actual storyline here beyond the Battle for the Hollow Worlds, and what aspects could be stories feel more like footnotes that are being told as the battle plods along. Rotaka's growing discontent with Blackheart's leadership, Anto's game of cat and mouse with Inquisitor Pranix, the journies of Kretschmann and Sergeant Badyu, and Blackheart's own mysterious motives behind the invasion: all of these things felt like they could have been much more, but instead were relagated to side-plots while the battle was the main story, which in my opinion should be the other way around. To me Helsreach isn't the story of the Hive Helsreach battle rather it's the story of how a young BT Chaplain named Grimaldus became the Hero of Helsreach. Legion of the Damned isn't the story of Certus Minor but instead the story of Zachariah Kersh and how he becomes entangled with the Legion. And Death of Integrity isn't about a Space Hulk filled with Genestealers, it's about a Chapter that is damned but doesn't know it and one man finding out the truth. But Tyrant of the Hollow Worlds isn't a story about a loyal soldier becoming disillusioned or a warlord's gambit to escape the encroaching madness, it's a story about pirates invading a system of planets.

The best part of the novel was the inventiveness of the action though. Mark Clapham does have a talent for imaginative stuff with his novels, Iron Guard had quite a bit and Tyrant has even more. The Inner Docks, the Galleons, the Orrery, the Keyholder's Train, and Exultance were all great scenes that really captured my attention for the detail put into each one and that they felt so different from the normal fare of Space Marines killing things. This is what keeps me from calling the book bolter-porn, the action scenes don't feel recycled and stale, they feel exciting and fresh. But they were the highlight of the book for me and that is both a good and bad thing.

Casualties however were the low point of the book's action sequences, it seemed like hardly anyone died until the final scenes. One battle even has Huron note that he didn't lose a single Red Corsair while the Space Wolves lost a Land Raider, at least one Predator, two Vindicators and an unknown number of Whirlwinds. That for me was a jarring moment. Too many battle sequences didn't really show any Corsairs dying to the point where when Andvir actually killed one in Exultance I was surprised that he actually did it. The lack of explosive bolter shells and chainswords that seemed all too easy to block with a gauntlet or by grabbing them was also a minus, it made the battles feel less epic and forced too many Wolves vs Corsairs fights into fisticuff battles that the Wolves surprisingly seemed to lose more often than not despite that surely the Vlka Fenryka should be better melee fighters than the Corsairs.

The characters were a mixed bag, I quite enjoyed the Red Corsairs cast and Malinko is hands down my favourite character of the book, he had such an upbeat personality for a CSM and was delightful to read. Rotaka himself was an interesting character, a loyal warrior who followed Lugft Huron into hell not because he hated the Imperium or worshipped Chaos but simply because he was loyal, I do wish a bit more could have been done with his discontentment and disillusioning over the book though. Blackheart himself... well i'm not sure how I feel. I liked him but on the other hand I found him a bit one note, he only ever seemed to be demanding things from everyone around him, threatening failure with death and exhorting his men to attack the enemy. It was only in that last scene that we really saw anything deeper of the Tyrant, but perhaps that was the point of it, to show that Blackheart must hide what he is truly experiencing not just to maintain power but also to maintain his will and perception of himself. And Corpsemaster Garreon returned! I love that guy, he was cool in ADB's Blood Reaver, even cooler in Sarah Cawkwell's Gildar Rift, and he's pretty cool here too.

But on the other side of the coin the loyalists felt underdeveloped and stale. The Space Wolves suffered from mook syndrome, dying rather easily and in far greater numbers than it felt like they should. Only Andvir Godrichsson felt like an actually developed character, with Wolf Lord Haakan barely even appearing and the other Wolves feeling like just generic Space Wolves. The only other Wolf that interested me at all was Sindri and even his arrogance felt like an informed trait that we were only told about after the last few chapters rather than shown through his interactions with others.

A mixed bag of a novel with good parts and bad parts. Overall I think it comes out as a decent enough read but it's definitely not one of the better books available from BL, which is a shame because I really wanted to love this book both because it was a Chaos Marine novel and because I met Mark at Warhammer World and he was such a nice guy, I did really enjoy Iron Guard and I feel guilty that I can't say the same about Tyrant.

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