NOTE: Fear the Alien was a free review copy provided to Luke Reviews by The Black Library.
After another lengthy absence from the world of Warhammer 40,000, I return again, this time with the upcoming anthology Fear the Alien. Prepare yourself for xenos/Empire conflict! The stories are as follows:
“Gardens of Tycho” by Dan Abnett: Abnett delivers a story of Magos Drusher, who teams with the local law to discover what is behind a string of brutal killings. But what seems like random slaughter may have a much darker rationale. This story is wonderful, flat out. The characters feel richly fleshed out, the mystery is genuinely engaging and suspenseful, and the plot is fun. If there are more Magos Drusher stories out there, I will be looking for them.
“Fear Itself” by Juliet E. McKenna: A group of soldiers hold a fort at a key placement protecting a bridge, fighting against wave after endless wave of tryanid, who take biological warfare to an extreme. McKenna’s tale is a blast, with strong action, great characters, and a grasp on conveying prolonged conflict that was truly well done. The ending felt a bit too deus ex machine for my tastes, but it was a small price to pay for an otherwise great story.
“Prometheus Requiem” by Nick Kyme: I have had trouble with other Kyme works (Assault on Black Reach: The Novel comes to mind), so I was leery with this one. And was I ever wrong. Kyme blew me away with this story of a group of Salamanders Space Marines exploring a dead ship with far more darkness inside it than they thought. Suspenseful, with strong characters and excellent action, this story is everything Warhammer 40,000 can be.
“Mistress Baeda’s Gift” by Braden Campbell: A tale of the dark elder, and what happens when they fall in love, this one didn’t work very well for me, falling flat and feeling over long.
“Iron Inferno” by C.L. Werner: Werner pleases, as usual, with this tale of orks and the mistake of trying to trick them using human standards. Werner address the ego-centric view that everything must think like us, while at the same time creating a tale without dialogue that thrills, is funny, and manages to do more for orks than any other book I have read on them.