Reviewed By Steve Dean
‘Accursed Eternity’ by Sarah Cawkwell starts off this collection of four novellas. The titular ship is a semi-legendary space hulk, floating around and general causing a nuisance wherever it goes. The Star Dragons space marines are sent onto the hulk when it is finally located. The story itself is well written, but there’s nothing really new here. A space hulk, a demon, whispers in the dark, that kind of thing, and the ending is an off the peg size R, the one where it’s the same as the beginning.
‘Sanctus’ by Darius Hinks is next. This tells the story of the Relictors space marines, sent down to the shrine world of Ilissus IV to find a legendary library. The planet is tainted by Chaos and subject to Exterminatus by the Inquisition (Space, not Spanish), so the marines have to get a move on. Things are, naturally, not what they expected, and soon everything is going awry. This one also is well written, but also has the same off the peg regular ending.
‘Endeavour of Will’ by Ben Counter, tells of the eponymous star fort and its twin The Bastion Inviolate. Shon’tu, Chaos warsmith, has decided to take out the two forts. The Imperial Fists marines stand in his way. This is also well written, but this time is actually a decent story, with some original set pieces and an unlikely saviour. It has a proper ending, some decent characters and good action. By far the best story in the book, and almost worth the asking prize.
‘Fateweaver’ by John French, has the White Consuls space marines summoned by an astropathic message warning of a Chaos attack on a space station. When they arrive they find nothing amiss, but the station is soon under attack from the creatures of the warp. The writing is good, and the action is well described, but I found it ultimately unfulfilling, mainly because it seems to lose its way at the end and just fizzle out.
Taken together, this book doesn’t really work. It’s a shame the one good story is weighted down by the unimaginative stodge of the others.