When I saw that the Black Library was releasing a new series following the space marines chapter called the Salamanders, I was very excited. All of the talk about the series, and the incredible cover art, really got me amped. The new series, dubbed the Tome of Fire Trilogy, is written by Nick Kyme, known for his editing work on books such as Tales of Heresy and Heroes of the Space Marines, both co-edited by Lindsey Priestly, as well as being the author of Assault on Black Reach: The Novel, which I found a bit lacking (for details, please see my review).However, I was still pretty excited about the series, and was biting at the bit to get into the series more.
Then I discovered that the good people at the Black Library had put up Kyme’s short story from Heroes of the Space Marines, “Fires of War,” up for free online (“Fires of War,” in its entirety, can be found here). The story acts as a prequel to the Tome of Fire Trilogy, and was the perfect way to get a bit more into the story.
“Fires of War,” a novella length tale, follows the Salamander chapter as they head to a world being overrun by the Cult of Truth, a Chaos-oriented group that desires to destroy the planet. We are introduced to a number of characters I assume will be important in the trilogy, both good and bad, and a special artifact is stolen that will have deep repercussions.
Kyme seems to suffer from the same ailments that marred Assault on Black Reach: The Novel, mainly drawn out pieces that move far too slowly, followed by excellent scenes full of action and excitement, then being replaced by more very dryly-written plot-moving scenes. Kyme seems to stumble when he is building the story, but once he gets there, his action takes off and shows his true talents.
All in all, the story was entertaining, but not incredible, yet it is better than earlier Kyme, and shows he is improving. This improvement-trend seems likely to increase, and I know that, once he hits his stride, Kyme will have the Tome of Fire Trilogy flying off the pages. I look forward to seeing what he has in store for us.