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TOP 100 REVIEWERon 9 October 2012
This book is a collection of nine short stories of Traitor Space Marines by nine different authors. As such, it is somewhat more difficult to rate than a single story, if only because a reviewer has nine opportunities of being influenced by her/his personal preferences and biases. Another implication is about statistics: the higher the number of stories included in a single volume, and the lower the chance that this volume will be either one star or five stars, simpler because the chances for ALL stories to either excellent or worthless decreases with the number of stories included.

In this collection, some stories are, of course, weaker than others, and some have flaws. I particularly liked Bitter End (featuring Huron Blackheart), We are One (and another of the Alpha Legion's terrible deceptions) and Torturer's Thirst (about the Death Company of the Flesh Tearers).

I also found that, surprisingly given that I considered his Night Lords trilogy to be simply superb, one of the weakest was Aaron Demski-Bowden's Throne of Lies. While the idea inspiring the story is a good one, the story itself seems to lack consistency, although I may have simply missed the point. Contrary to other reviewers, I very much liked "The Long War". It is indeed confusing but I believe this is quite deliberate and reflects the author's attempt to show how the old Horus Heresy Iron Warrior is himself confused and mixes up past and present.

I was less enthusiastic about "Vox Dominus" (where Word Bearers come across an element of the Death Guard), although I admit that I might be a bit biased and unfair here: I do not like the Word Bearers very much and was not impressed by Anthony Reynolds books on it. As for the three first stories in the book, I found them ok to good, although, just like anopther reviewer, I had a bit of a problem with Liberator where a handful of Sons of Guilliman turn traitor for reasons that I found somewhat unconvincing.

So, after hesitating quite a bit between a "solid" three stars or an "only just" four stars, I finally decided to go for the latter. To be perfectly honest, I could have just as well tossed a coin, as it could have been either.
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on 9 January 2013
absolutely amazing ! What a brilliant book from the black library and of course always cheaper from amazon
the stories are excellent the condition of the book was great and it was delivered right on time
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on 27 September 2012
This anthology covers a wide range of quality, with 2 excellent stories and 2 very good stories all the way down to 1 mind-numbingly bad story. It also continues Black Library's gouging tactics of having repeat stories and providing no warning to its customers. I will rate each story in turn but the aggregated score yields 3 stars.

`The Masters, Bidding' is by one of my favourite authors - Matthew Farrer. Farrer is at his best when developing Imperial cultures and institutions such as in the Calpurnia series. With this story of the meeting of 5 different Chaos Space Marine warbands he does not play to those strengths but the story nonetheless has an appealing simplicity in its format. Really this is like a stage play with just one set. A Horus Heresy veteran Iron Warrior summons representatives from the Eye of Terror to bargain with him and 4 such groups arrive. Each of the 5 groups tell a rousing tale to show they are worthy of being present and then explain what item of value they have to trade. This is a timeless concept and could have occurred amongst warriors at a campfire throughout history. It is a tale well told with some melancholy notes and, although sometimes a little caricature-like in the portrayal of some of the Chaos Space Marines, I rate it as just about achieving 5 stars.

`The Carrion Anthem' starts with a very memorable scene and quickly paints a good image of an Imperial planet's unique culture. It also brings to bear a great sense of impending doom too. This is a hard story to rate without spoilers so I will just limit myself to stating that the first half is much better than the second which does become rather formulaic. The treachery itself seemed more in keeping with Slaanesh than the power that does emerge but that is certainly an arguable (and minor) point. This is a repeat story but is nonetheless a good start by a new author. I rate this as 3 stars.

`Liberator' is a rather unconvincing story of an element of a loyalist Space Marine squad who turn traitor. The reasons themselves are rather forced and the characters quite weakly drawn. I also found some of the terminology felt borrowed inappropriately - Nova Terra is the setting but no reference is made to whether this is the planet at the centre of the major schism in the setting (Nova Terra Interregnum in M35), a quoted Inquisitor has the first name of Gideon which is the same as Ravenor's first name and one person's title is Iconoclast which is the same as a Chaos Destroyer ship class. These are individually minor points but they do create a composite view that the author is lifting names lazily. The story is not helped by being told in semi-reverse either. On the positive side it is good to see the Iron Knights Chapter appear and their names at least are consistent with their appearance in `Tower of Blood' (Best of Hammer & Bolter Volume 1). I rate this as 2 stars.

`The Long War' is by Andy Hoare. Anyone who has endured `The Hunt For Voldorious' will know Hoare is known for characterless characters (and in his Rogue Trader series he goes one better by having almost all of the primary bridge crew as servitors so there are scarcely any characters at all!), strangled prose and excessively repetitive phrasing. All three traits are out in force here. The only `character' is Ironclaw, a stereotype Iron Warrior in which not a single spark of individuality exists. Everyone else is a nameless Chaos Space Marine, nameless `other factions that had allied themselves to him' or a nameless daemon-engine (the class of engine is given but no hint of the bound daemon's identity) fighting nameless Imperials from nameless formations. Worse than this monochrome vision is the writing itself - normal narrative descriptions are randomly interspersed with archaic terms such as `lest his senses become dulled,' `Ever had it been thus,' `wounded unto death,' `nigh see it,' or the hilarious `ever were the foe too little of a challenge for one who had bestridden the battlefields of the galaxy' and then 4 pages later `they bestrode.' This phrasing is not the speech of a character where an author is trying to portray that person with greater authority or having great age, it is just the narrative voice glitching in and out. The repetition adds to the pain too - `blasphemy' or its derivations 4 times in 20 pages and `atonal' 3 times etc. The only part I liked was the coining of the new term `mechatendril.' In summary, a very poor work has `bestridden' the 40k setting and it should be scored lower than 1 star.

`Throne of Lies' carries on the good (but not quite great in my opinion) Night Lords series and is a repeat of an audiobook. The story is certainly consistent with the author's series and it all leads to an event of significance to the Legion as a whole. Despite this, the plot felt contrived as it is not clear why the Imperium had denied the Legion an item of value for 10,000 years to then seem to have left it behind by accident. Perhaps this will be resolved in the future but for now I rate this as 2 stars.

`Bitter End' is also a repeat but a great tale of Huron, a well detailed mission with good characters on both sides as well as a good setting plus a well crafted twist. It also feels like a lot has happened in what is a very short story. I think Cawkwell is a great new Black Library talent and I rate this as 5 stars.

`We are One' is yet another repeat. The story explores how hunter and hunted can begin to influence each other and to perhaps ultimately become almost indivisible. This is an Alpha Legion story so expect the unexpected. Well executed with good setting information on past encounters but probably over telegraphed so I rate this as 4 stars.

`Torturers' Thirst' is a tale of capture and torture featuring characters from the Flesh Tearers Chapter. As Blood Angels successors the story is about an internal fight to resist the Black Rage and an external fight to resist pain and treachery. An average work though in that I do not think it covers any original ground or creates any memorable characters but it is certainly within canon and reads well. I rate it as 3 stars.

`Vox Dominus' continues what I consider to be the excellent Word Bearers series. This story is important in so much as it explores one aspect of the time dilation effect of warp travel and pitches the Word Bearers into an unusual potential cooperation or confrontation with elements of the Death Guard. The story has good detail and the characters are as well drawn as ever, continuing their internecine struggles and individuals paths to power. I was only disappointed by the ending which felt was going too far into the fantasy end of the spectrum when detailing a Chaos setting. The scene is still consistent with canon it is just not the part of the setting I enjoy as much. I therefore rate this as 4 stars.
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on 15 December 2012
Great fill in book that you can switch off to when you don't feel like taking in anything to taxing
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on 27 February 2015
Great read
40k all the way!
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on 16 November 2014
Was just what my partner wanted
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on 4 October 2012
It's time for the Traitor marines to have their own anthology, although I am not a big fan, I enjoyed this. Normally BL anthologies showcase new writers and story arcs alongside established ones but in this case it is mainly the establishment.
9 stories, some of which were previously audiobooks only, averaging good, with two stories rating very good.
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Short stories with cracking combat, bloody swathes and of course more writing talent that you can shake a stick at. Ideal for short journeys or someone who just wants to dip in time and again makes this a book that has a whole lot of bolter fire for its buck. Add to this the chance to try different authors from the catalogue for a low price to see if you like their writing style and all in it's a solid book that will generate a lot of interest.

Finally throw into the mix a whole host of heroes for each of the relevant chapters and all in the reader will be aching to take to the battlefield to re-enact the combat within. Great stuff.
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on 9 July 2014
A present
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