Architect of Fate is a Space Marine Battles Anthology which collects together 4 novellas that make up the series featuring the infamous greater daemon of Tzeentch, Kairos Fateweaver. A master of manipulation who schemes and uses his prodigious power to play with the fates of thousands, even the unwitting accomplices, the Emperor's Space Marines.
From the doomed world of Ilissus, through the embattled corridors of the Endeavour of Will, to the borders of the Eye of Terror itself – friend and foe alike follow the great plan that he set in motion many thousands of years ago.
He has discovered the limits of his power; even he cannot divine beyond the event horizon at the end of the 41st Millennium.
The first novella in the collection is Sarah Cawkwell's Accursed Eternity, a claustrophobic tale set on a haunted and infamous ship that was lost to the warp for over 100 years. I loved this story it's my favourite of the four with sharp, confident prose that is so easy to read. The prose drags you deep into this story of a demonically possessed starship which must be exercised by squads of Space Marines from the Star Dragon and Blood Swords chapters, along with Inquisitor Shadrach Remigius of the Ordo Malleus.
Very unpredictable with suspense filled terror, heroism and betrayal, Accursed Eternity is a brilliant start to the Anthology from a very talented author whom I will look out for in the future.
Sanctus by Darius Hinks follows next, this time a small squad of Relictors Space Marines are sent to recover sacred artifacts from a planet's surface before they fall into enemy hands. Time is of the essence however as above the planets surface a fleet awaits to destroy the whole world with devastating weapons. I really liked the fast and unrelenting pace and the deliciously dark feeling that permeates the prose. This combines well with the lies, betrayals and secrets that make up this nice little story. Right at the very end of the novella is the quite brilliant "force dispositions" order and map for the eye of terror containment units along with a map of "Madrepore", the City of Stars.
Next up is Endevour of Will by the Black Library veteran Ben Counter as he describes an epic siege of a star-fort. A star Fort is essentially a very large and well armed space station, they often act as the home base for large space fleets. The feeling of a struggle against staggering odds is quite powerful here, there is also a great sense of build up to the big battle and when it arrives it is great, with descriptive narrative and a very distinctive style.
Finally we have Fateweaver by John French which draws deeply on the dark gothic style of the Warhammer 40k universe. Written as a mystery adventure story and a very well written one at that. The story essentially brings the previous 3 plots together and wraps everything up with a very effective and odd ending.
Architect of Fate is perfect for any Warhammer 40k fans, new or old there is something in it for anyone with 4 great novellas and an effective over-arching plot.
Written on 25th April 2012 by Ant.
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