The third short story in Black Library’s Deathwatch serial and Ben Counter’s second contribution, The Flesh of the Angel follows brother Zameon Gydael of the Dark Angels as he infiltrates a brood nest of the xenos sslyth. Venturing alone through alien-infested territory in order to detonate a virus bomb at its heart, he approaches the conclusion of his mission only to find his loyalties torn between the objectives of his Deathwatch kill team and the hidden, ancient goals of his parent chapter as an unexpected enemy shows itself.
It’s an interesting concept, the way in which a Space Marine might act if his mission parameters in the Deathwatch come into conflict with his personal ideologies, and there’s no better chapter to demonstrate this with than the secretive Dark Angels. Counter does a good job of illustrating this with Gydael, from the slight sense of superiority in how he acts towards his Deathwatch brothers, to the cold way in which he turns away from the mission to pursue his own agenda. There’s quite an old-school Black Library feel, with a pretty dark tone throughout and some straight-up villains for Gydael to face, and while there’s nothing particularly new here it’s a solid and entertaining story.