Archaon: The Fall and the Rise
A 12k short story included in the ebook version of Archaon: Everchosen.
Continuing with my efforts to catch up with and collate relevant material that I've missed on internet - I've surgically extracted a nice review of my short story 'Bastions', featuring the Excoriators Space Marine chapter from Legion of the Damned. The indomitable Xhalax reviewed Bastions on the commentarial tour de force that is site Fifty Shades of Geek. Here's what she had to say:
A silent star-fort is an ominous sign… But when Chaplain Rhaddecai and his Excoriators board the Semper Vigilare to investigate, they find something far more disturbing as the dead rise, human and Space Marine alike. Beset by rotting horrors and trapped in the star-fort’s depths, the Space Marines must find a way to survive, or to die with honour.
"Bastions by Rob Sanders
Chaplain Raddecai and a half squad of Excoriators have travelled to the star-fort Semper Vigilare to censure its commander for a number of infractions he has committed. However, when the Space Marines board the star-fort, they find it disturbingly quiet and seemingly empty. Yet looks can be deceiving.
The story begins at the beginning (not as odd as it sounds, honest), introducing the reader to the main characters as they board the star-fort and the tone is set very early with the derelict hangar bay that only seems to add to the list of charges the Chaplain has brought to bear. There’s a sense of wrongness woven into the prose too, quite artfully as the both the reader and marines know that something is wrong, and given the nature of the charges, they can guess. However, the marines must complete their mission to its conclusion, regardless.
Bastions is a slow burner of a story, which makes it seem longer than some of the other shorts (and it may be, though I’ve not got the actual word count), but that only adds to the oppressive atmosphere. Something is going to happen, and both the characters and the readers are braced for it, but neither knows exactly when everything will be revealed.
My only slight niggle is that I’m never given a complete sense of who the Marines are. They’re a stoic breed, descendants of Dorn, so the exchanges between the characters are to the point in their directness. It’s not until the end, when the scope of the story is shown that you really get to see who these characters truly are, when they are tested in their loyalty.
However, Bastions is a full story told succinctly in the microcosm of flash fiction and well worth a read.
As well as being released individually (found HERE) the short sotry was also anthologies in Space Marines: Angels of Death. Being a reading and reviewing machine, Xhalax also managed to find time to review the other stories contained within. Her reviews of those stories can be found HERE, HERE and HERE. I have added Fifty Shades of Geek to my growing list of sites on the side bar that are part of the scene and worthy of attention. I encourage you to check it out.
'The Wastes. Its name was well-earned. A blasted, howling wilderness of twilight, blizzard and mind-numbing temperatures, Helmut Horrwitz considered the waste through which he hacked. The squandered humanity. The cost in blood.'
Archaon: The Fall and the Rise .