The sixth story in Black Library’s Summer of Reading campaign features another big-name character, this time Commissar Yarrick, in David Annandale’s The Wreckage. Previously only available in an event-only anthology, it’s a smart little story looking at what most will see as one of the core elements of being a commissar – the decision of whether or not to deliver the Emperor’s Judgement to an officer. In this case it’s an inspirational, much-loved Captain whose recklessness has led his men into a lethal trap and threatens to doom them all.
The Yarrick series is unusual in that it doesn’t offer much opportunity for Annandale to let loose his creepy, horror-influenced side, but instead sees him delivering engaging, enjoyable tales full of gritty realism and typical Imperial Guard bravery. The Wreckage is no exception, with a direct, honest tone of voice helping to ground a story that’s chock full of heroism, brutal danger and seemingly inescapable odds. There’s an enjoyable sense of will-he-won’t-he as Yarrick watches the Captain with mounting concern, with the action ramping up and the body count rising, and the whole thing ties together nicely as one memorable moment in the old man’s long career.