Distant Echoes of Old Night Review

This is from Index Nocturnus, whose review and podcast site can be found here.

"The reason the Death Guard never get a Heresy showing is they are basically boring dog-soldiers, who walk up to you very slowly and kill you, regardless of where you are or who you are.

But that is the charm of the Death Guard, and why they are my favourite Marine Chapter. They don’t flap about on jump packs like Night Lords or try to sing you to death like Emperor’s Children, they Just. Kill. You. By whatever means possible. Sanders has summed this up beautifully in this short story, which involves a Death Guard Chaplain and a squad of slightly unhinged Death Guard with cool toys trying to dig out fortified Imperial Fists from their crashed starship (designation unknown). Just like the gas on Isstvan, which is frowned upon by pretty much every other Marine Chapter, they use rad grenades and burning phosphor to kill the opposition. Flat. Stony. Dead. They don’t worry about whether blood is spilt for Khorne, or whether there are magic artefacts to harvest for Tzeentch, or if you are scared enough like Curze’s nancys; they use any and all means at their disposal, and it is this bludgeoning, humourless unstoppable force that makes them both credible and really fun to read about.

The hubris of the Death Guard is also demonstrated by Sanders, as they bomb the Fists with this blue clingy burning phosphex stuff (more of that on the tabletop please!) and then force themselves to go in after them and leave no one alive, as that was their original mission. The ship sinks and takes them all down with it, and the Chaplain has a last crisis of confidence about Mortarion being a big wuss, as he dies. Which is a shame, as it undermines the character’s sheer bloody-minded determination – over the brink of insanity – that the author had effectively built up prior. Of course the Death Guard are the bad guys and have to lose, but it may have been more effective and spine-chilling if they held to their beliefs right up to the end.

More Death Guard please, Mr Black Library, sir. There’s a full point of personal bias added into the final score – 4/5 "

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