Legion of the Damned Paperback – Mar 27 2012
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About the Author
Head of English at a local secondary school, Rob Sanders is a freelance writer whose first fiction was published in Inferno! magazine. He lives off the beaten track in the small city of Lincoln, England.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
What's going on here? Is this the future, the past, another planet in the present? No indication I see. Maybe I'm slow and missed something, but at this point I had no freaking idea what was going on. They kept talking about the scourge, but it took many pages for me to figure out that it was some sort of title of this fallen hero. I was so lost, that I almost quit reading the book about 100 pages in. It's not the book was particularly poorly written, it's that it involved a chapter which had nothing to do with the title of the novel. I couldn't figure out what was even going on until about 200 pages in when the main character gets sent to the planet talked about in the beginning. So I mean you already know how the novel is going to end after about five pages, if that bugs you then don't buy this book, but that style doesn't bother me as long as I know that's what's happening.
So anyway, you go through the whole rest of the story trying to figure out what is actually going to happen and why the hero is seeing visions. Then you get to the very end and quite unsatisfactory appearance from the Legion. I mean what the heck? If you're going to name this book The Excoriators Get Their Rears Handed To Them, well then great, but this feels like they just used the Legion as a cheap ploy to sell more books. As it is, it's more disappointing than how The Purging of Kadillus squandered a rare use of Necrons, though it's still arguably a better written book than that one.
If you're picking only a few Space Marines battles books I'd highly suggest Rynn's World or Battle of the Fang as far superior specimens.
But when you buy Legion of the Damned, to read about The Legion of the Damned, the lost Fire Hawks chapter, only get Excoriators instead, that's not good.
Instead this book is 95% Excoriator and 5% Legion of the Damned. The only time the Damned start to get any action is about 375 pages in and even then its only with brief moments within paragraphs of quick and unsatisfying kills and brief moments of chattering teeth. And then the book is over. The end.
It's not really fair to call this book Legion of the Damned and say it features the damned chapter if it's barely mentioned or involved. If this was featuring the Excoriators then this review will be a lot different. I know I'm not alone in the disappointment and it's really the author or BL's fault for still saying this is about the Legion of the Damned when we have no idea how they are organised, what is their story, or how they fight from this book. Instead it's all about the Excoriators, which would be fine, but I was expecting to read more Legion of the Damned than anything. A little more than half way in I kept thinking "when am I going to see the Legion of the Damned at work?"
It was very lacking to say the least. The Excoriators should have been introduced in its own book and in its place a more familiar chapter so it wouldn't take so long to introduce the astartes or perhaps not feature any other astartes but the legion of the damned. Instead just have the planetary defense force and possibly the adeptus arbits ready themselves to face the enemy of extreme numbers and terrible evil. With the imperial mortals bracing themselves and readying to die, instead, like ghost, the Legion of the Damned appear and we see how they are organised, how they actually fight, and what they do, what they think, etc.
I think that's how it should have gone. The book was clearly ment for Excoriator insight but not Legion of the Damned.
I'm a big fan of the Legion of the Damned. When Games Workshop came out with new Legion of the Damned miniatures about two years ago, I grabbed them up and created a 10 man squad, which is one of my favorites. When I saw a Space Marines Battles novel was being written I was very excited.
Previous GW fluff states is mysterious about the origins and background of the Legion of the Damned, but the primary theory is that the Legion is the remains of the Fire Hawks Legion which was lost to the warp for centuries. They returned to the Imperium mad and dying of warp sickness. They travel the Imperium under no guidance trying to fulfill their loyalties to the emperor and find a honorable death. I liked that background fluff. That background also works well with the WH40K rules for the Legion of the Damned.
In his book, The Chapters Due, Dan Abnett introduced a different background for the Legion of the Damned. They were simply ghosts who came back from the dead and killed the enemies of the Emperor. Since they were ghosts, they were indestructable. That always seemed like a weak ending to me "...we were about to lose but then a bunch of ghosts showed up and killed all the enemies. The End."
Rob Sanders book follows the Abnett background. Basically, the first 200 pages of the 400 page book is dedicated to the Excoriator Space Marines (who seem to like to whip themselves to gain a inner connection to their primarch) and the buildup of the characters. By page 200, they are finally on the planet Certus-Minor. By page 300 they are fighting the Chaos legions and are getting their butt kicked. By page 375, the Legion of the Damned shows up and basically kills everybody and then disappears. Just like that.
It's very clear that the LoD in this book are ghosts. However, the ghosts show up in a ship that have advanced weaponry and is larger than any ship previously seen. They use coffin shaped drop pods that actually turn out to be empty. And they have been appearing as ghosts to the main characters of the book for weeks prior to the final battle.
Being a huge Legion of the Damned fan, I was hoping to learn more about the Legion or at least have some more cool scenes with the Legion. Unfortunately, you really get neither in this book.