Thursday, 1 August 2013

'Scorched Earth' (Nick Kyme, Black Library) ), Some Quick Thoughts on an Extract.

When I was offered the chance to review an extract from 'Scorched Earth' I couldn't help but say yes; mostly because I'm a sucker for the 'Horus Heresy' series (this is the closest I've got to one of their limited edition novellas) but also because it's fast becoming a habit to read stuff off my phone. There was also the fact that I have never reviewed an extract of something before and was interested to see how it would pan out on the page. Before we get started on that though, lets have some blurb for 'Scorched Earth' so we can place the extract in a wider context...

Nearly a quarter of a million loyal Space Marines lost their lives on Isstvan V – the Dropsite Massacre lasted only a few hours, and yet the Iron Hands, Raven Guard and Salamanders were slaughtered by those they had once called kin. With the disappearance of their primarch weighing heavily upon their hearts, Ra’stan and Usabius of the XVIIIth Legion leave behind their fellow survivors and strike out into the Urgall Depression. Their mission: to find what, if anything, remains of mighty Vulkan...

‘I am a Space Marine of the XVIII Legion Salamanders, one of the Fire-born and true son of Vulkan, and for the first time in my life I know despair.’

The extract places us right in the middle of the ‘Dropsite Massacre’, on Istvaan, where Salamanders Ra’stan and Usabius are searching for the Primarch Vulkan whilst trying to stay alive. After reading more ‘impersonal’ recounts, in other books, this extract is a real breath of fresh air in that it deposits you right in the middle of this surpremely traumatic event. Ra’stan is fighting for his life but can’t quite believe it is happening. As a loyal marine, he never thought he would fight his own kind and Kyme’s portrayal of the aftermath, of the massacre, matches the turmoil happening in Ra’stan’s head. Everything is debris and nothing ever will be the same again.

The extract is very fast paced, not pulling a single punch, and Kyme’s prose makes it very easy to keep reading; engaging characters in a situation where you have to see how it is resolved. Having said that, the title of a forthcoming ‘Horus Heresy’ tale does give that away but I don’t think fans are going to mind too much about that.

Based on this extract, I think that if I had been given the whole book to review, I would have probably read the whole of ‘Scorched Earth’ in one sitting. I had a lot of fun reading and now I find myself in the position where I want to carry on. Maybe one day... :o)

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