Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Tie-in Tuesday: Treacheries of the Space Marines

It's Tie-in Tuesday once again, but today I'm invoking the 'I may talk about Black Library fiction on Tie-in Tuesday as well' clause.

You see Treacheries of the Space Marines, which won't be officially available until the end of September (or UK Games Day, whichever comes first) has already received an advance review over at The Founding Fields.

If you don't want to know anything about my story Liberator, look away now.

If you don't mind a few SPOILERS, then read on...

Liberator by Jonathan Green

Heresy is insidious, sometimes obvious and sometimes subtle. And nobody is immune to its siren song, least of all the Adeptus Astartes. Though brother does not turn on brother commonly, it is not unheard of for a loyal servant of the Emperor to abandon his oaths of fealty to Chapter and Imperium and to embrace the Ruinous Powers, indeed many Traitor Marines are born this way. This is the story of one of these traitors, one whose legacy endures even today, one who will forever be a black stain on his proud Chapter’s history. This is the tale of Constantinus the Liberator.

Jon Green has chosen to write up a Codex story here, and he made a good choice because Constantinus is a great story about how a loyal marine can fall to Chaos and become a monster, and Jon elaborates on that even further in the story, explaining the motives of Constantinus and his actions in conquering Nova Terra and becoming a Chaos Space Marine. Heresy starts with small steps and very few actually embrace evil for the sake of evil, Jon clearly understands that as the story tells of both Constantinus’s rise and fall. One enjoyable aspect was that the story started backwards, with Constantinus as a tyrant and then moved backwards, showing how he made each step towards heresy before moving to the end and showing the results of his actions.

The only actual character in the story is Constantinus himself, the others are all secondary or background. Jon does a good job of making Constantinus a clear tyrant and a brutal monster, and yet he is shown to have been a noble marine who inspired fierce loyalty in his men. His motives are understandable and can even be empathized with if you look at it from a soldier’s point of view, its these details that make Constantinus an interesting character rather than just a marine who one day decided he wanted more in life than just praising the Emperor, and these details really add to the story and make it a much better read.

Liberator does not utilize action scenes in any real number or detail, only one short battle against some xenos and the final few pages detailing the Imperial retaliation are the only actual battles that appear. Two scenes that could have been very attention-grabbing and powerful battles unfortunately cut away before violence has a chance to occur. Fortunately the story is good enough that it can hold its own without any real battle scenes in it.

The pacing of the story is surprising in that for a story that moves backwards it is still an easy read, Liberator should not confuse anyone who is quick enough to see that the story is telling itself in a reverse order. I do think that perhaps it could have been a few pages longer, mainly to add in those two battle scenes I mentioned earlier, but the story is fine as it stands.

Now my favourite quote has got to be this one,

“For I shall not rest until this world has been liberated from the traitor’s tyrannical rule. This I swear!”

Now the ending is of course not surprising as I knew how this would end because I have read the Chaos Space Marines 4th Edition Codex, but had I not read that I would have been wondering if Constantinus could win and it would have had me a bit more desirous to see the ending. But Jon does good work and he has chosen a cool format to end the story in, but to find out what you’ll have to read the story.

For a good story about an event that I was interested in since I read the CSM Codex I give Liberator a grand score of 7.2/10. This is my first real sample of Jon Green and I like what I have read, I look forward to reading more of him in the future and I hope he has some full-length novels in his plans.

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