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Dean5150
11-03-2014, 00:31
http://www.blacklibrary.com/Images/Product/AlternativeBL/xlarge/arjac.png
Am I alone in thinking that 35 English military pounds is a bit...um..steep for a well presented novella?

Soul Hunter
26-03-2014, 20:52
Actually read this today and it was surprisingly good;

The story is told as a Fenrisian Saga, around the hearth with the audience in attendance and the narrator getting the reader involved with the story by asking questions, talking directly to the audience and even breaking the narration to offer facts and truths.

It shows Arjac Rockfist as a young Space Wolf, earmarked for the Iron Priests almost as soon as he returned from his initiation trials, being asked to repair an ancient suit of Terminator armour that none in the chapter have dared attempt thus far. He succeeds and then is asked to repair the Axe of Morkai which shattered in a greenskin warlord's skull shortly before. While he does this, using a vial of Leman Russ's own blood to re-sanctify the once-tainted weapon, the entire Space Wolves chapter heads off to a crusade leaving only Arjac and a single Grey Hunter pack in the Aett. After a day one of them is murdered by something on the ramparts of the Fang, the others swear vengeance and hunt it which results in the Pack Leader being killed and his gene-seed stolen.

Arjac researches what he saw of the creature and finds that it is a genus of the Tyranid Lictor that has infiltrated the Fang and is taking gene-seed for an unknown purpose. Arjac proposes that the Lictor wants gene-seed and is prepared to either wait until the Chapter returns and pick them off in the tunnels of the Fang or force their hand by murdering Thralls until the Wolves have to chase it down where upon it can lead them into more ambushes. So Arjac decides to open up the Chapter gene-seed vaults and let the Lictor come to them. They do this and it fails, killing two more members of the Pack, though Arjac is able to send the Lictor fleeing before it can get at the gene-seed.

At this time Henghis Blackhand, the High Iron Priest, returns with a Great Company claiming that Warp storms separated the chapter fleet and that his company had to return. On hearing the story he is livid and banishes Arjac to the forges while he and the company hunt the Lictor. He also refuses Arjac's claims that it is a Lictor or that it may be an ancient creature that landed on Fenris long before the Tyranids ever showed their faces in the galaxy, he cites a few examples including one where 4,000 years before M41 the Space Wolves chapter faced a xenos scourge on the planet Ourouboros that now they can be sure were Tyranids, they just didn't know it at the time. Arjac goes to the Heart Forges and works on the Axe of Morkai, which he had fixed earlier but used against the Lictor and rebroke it against a wall with his prodigious strength, and has left a sliver of the axe in the Lictor meaning the axe cannot be repaired.

Soon after something begins to happen in the nearby ocean, and Arjac sees that his theory was correct. The Lictor did come from Fenris and the reason it looked so odd and serpentine is that it had adapted to live in the bottom of Fenris's oceans, along with the rest of it's swarm which is now emerging to attack the Fang. A horde of Kraken-spawn, as the Wolves call the Tyranid fleets the Kraken, emerges and in response the Great Company line the walls but seal the doors of the Fang, trapping hundreds of Thralls outside. Arjac pretends to go for a better weapon and instead barges out into the coastal forges to fight alongside the Thralls.

He battles against the Four Tyranid Generals in the swarm, a Zoanthrope, a Dactylis, a Malefactor and a Dominatrix with the Lictor on it's back in place of a Queen. He kills the Dactylis and the Zoanthrope, and then lures the Dominatrix and Lictor towards him by revealing the vial of Russ's blood, which attracts the Lictor towards him. Arjac is devoured by the Dominatrix, which shortly after keels over and dies. It turns out that Arjac had returned to the trophy room as well and took the wargear of a Venenum Assassin that had been sent after a Great Wolf once, and was caught and killed. The Dominatrix swallowed him and in his blood the poison kills the Dominatrix which is not prepared to deal with something like that due to the millennia it has spent in the ocean. The Lictor dies with it, taking it's knowledge of the power behind the Space Wolf gene-seed with it, and the swarm goes into disarray. All those who fought with Arjac are dead, but many more Thralls were saved by his actions.

Logan Grimnar's company arrives and mops up the remaining Tyranids with Grimnar himself killing the Malefactor. Upon hearing of Arjac's deeds he cuts his way into the Dominatrix's corpse and returns with a barely alive Arjac. The narrator tells the audience that because Arjac never boasted of his deeds, nobody remembered them and assumed he had died in the beast. But Grimnar remembered them and believed that Arjac had lived, and so he had. The narrator reminds the audience that perhaps the greatest warrior is the one who never needs to boast, and with that the saga ends.


Quite a good novella with great callbacks to the earlier incarnations of the antagonist xenos and a very interesting twist on Arjac's most famous moment. Also loved a reference to a famous Space Wolves moment;


In the Space Wolves trophy room they have one of Lion El'Jonson's teeth in the centre of a great ruby set in a war-scepter, taken from the fight where Leman Russ punched him and knocked it out. They consider it one of their finest trophies. Hehe.



SH

MajorWesJanson
28-03-2014, 03:32
Hmm. This sounds quite promising.

Kijamon
29-03-2014, 23:32
Good book but you can read it cover to cover in little over 2 hours. Definitely not worth the price tag.

shadowhawk2008
30-03-2014, 12:20
People will never agree on BL premium product pricing.

Bobske
30-03-2014, 15:06
Man, that story outline sounds like Ben Counter crap to me.

I'm a pretty mellow person but cannot stand the way BC writes.
I borrowed Malodrax from a clubmember last thursday but gave it back after 5 minutes.

Space Marines jumping into their armour?? WTF
and these Space Marines were close to Malodrax in a warp/realspace overlap, Why weren't they wearing their power armour permanently
etc.etc. etc.

Luckily tastes differ