I needed a break after Mao’s Great Famine. As it was my “nightly” read, and therefore consumed on the Kindle so as not to disturb anyone who I might be sleeping next to, I needed a light read that was in digital form. There are several Warhammer 40K books that I’d picked up in the Humble Book Bundle “Tales of the Space Marine Chapters” in May of 2022 that live on my Kindle. I’d started reading Deathwing as part of a plan to read a short story or essay every day. My daily reading volume now far surpasses that modest goal, but setting and following that challenge laid the foundation for the current capacity.

The stories in this collection are of uneven quality, though they do the job of illuminating the lore surrounding the elite 1 Company of the Dark Angels Space Marines Chapter. I quite enjoyed Graham McNeill’s tale, Unforgiven, that closes the anthology. It’s the most blood ‘n guts entry and encapsulates all that I’ve come to appreciate from Warhammer 40K: dark gothic alien heresy and brutal sacrifices made in the name of the God Emperor of Mankind. Cheesy, macho stuff, I know, but as far as pulpy, pleasurable reading goes it cleansed my palette after all the pages of unspeakable real-world horrors I’d read in researching Mao’s Great Leap Forward.


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