Friday, July 26, 2013

Distant Echoes Of Old Night

Distant Echoes Of Old Night by Rob Sanders. Originally published in the 2012/2013 Black Library Games Day Anthology Chapbook (Limited Run). Now available for direct download from The Black Library. Approx. 21 pages.

Distant Echoes Of Old Night is a Horus Heresy short by the very talented Rob Sanders, which centers around the XIV Legion, the Death Guard. In Echoes, Death Guard Brother-Chaplain Morgax Murnau is charged with guaranteeing that no survivors remain on the felled Imperial Fists ship Xanthus, which has been shot out of orbit and now lays sinking in the mire of the blighted planet of Algonquis. Well, to be exact, it is a portion of the ship, however, any amount of Imperial Fists in a fortified area makes for an extremely tough nut to crack.

Purge the ship of survivors. A seemingly impossible task. But Murnau has a trick up his sleeve. In fact, it is the dirtiest trick in all the Legiones Astartes. He is set to deploy a group of Destroyers to finish off the Fists. These Destroyers bring a horrifying array of weapons to bear, most of them high-radiation, or chemical in nature. And not just your run of the mill biochemical warfare, these are tools usually deemed too harsh for most Space Marines to use, and remember, the Spaces Marines are an elite fighting force bred to bring entire systems to compliance. The game is set: the universe's greatest defensive players versus the most nefarious plague marines around. Murnau's instructions: no survivors.

Although Echoes is technically a Horus Heresy story, it, like most recent entries, can be read independently. This is, indeed, more a Warhammer 30K work than a HH tale. Now, I am not up to date on all the Heresy books, so if there are any clever Easter eggs, story arc progression, or hints about certain events, please let me know in the comments section. So yes, if you are not up to date on your Heresy reading, you can still sit down and enjoy these 21 pages of Death Guard/Imperial Fist action.

And enjoy it I did. Sanders brings a flair for vivid imagery to the fore in Echoes. A good chunk of the earlier pages give us a stark picture of the plague that has been unleashed upon the former forest planet of Algonquis by the Death Guard. Where once lush green foliage and tall trees defined the landscapes, all is swamp and insects. "Syrupy waters" lap against Mark III armor, and the buzzing of filthy fauna pervades all. Later on, the descriptive prose gives us an "in-your-face" look at the effects of the Destroyers' devious toys.

It is a good thing that The Black Library finally put this short into general release. I've been wanting to read it since it was announced for the chapbook, and I am sure many others have been champing at the bit to get a crack at it. Like most shorts, 21 pages for $2.99 pages is pretty lean, but Sanders makes it worth it. Here's hoping he gets a crack at a full-length Heresy novel soon.

Here's what it is:
A nasty little tale of of dirty deeds done dirt cheap. Space Marine specialists ask the age-old question, if an unstoppable force meets an immovable object, who will win the day? Can anyone win?

Final Score:


Cover Score:

Here we have a swampy-green background with the stylized Pre-Heresy Death Guard pauldron sigil. The sigil has some nice staining on it. Not the worst short story cover, but hey, it's just a sigil. What can I say?

Cover Final Score:


Cover Score: Part Deux

In case you haven't seen it, here's the original chapbook cover, rendered by the amazing Clint Langley:

Now that's a cover!

Final Chapbook Cover Score:


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