QUICK REVIEW : Deadhenge – Justin D. Hill

The fifth Deathwatch short story in the current serial, Justin D. Hill’s Deadhenge follows Ennox Sorrlock, an Iron Hand grievously wounded by a dark eldar haemonculus and rebuilt as more machine than man. Joining a kill team led by Chaplain Cassius on a mission to an area of abandoned space known as Deadhenge to take out a dark eldar Archon, he learns that the same haemonculus will be in the Archon’s retinue. With the opportunity to take vengeance for his wounds and the deaths of his brothers, is there enough humanity in him left to relish the chance?

Based on the traditional squad-based Deathwatch story, Hill adds variety through the contrast of Sorrlock’s cold machine intellect against the remnants of his fierce humanity, and it’s interesting to see the consequences of the Iron Hands’ “the flesh is weak” mantra in action. Sorrlock is a stark, bleak character, but the narrative moves between his perspective and that of Chaplain Cassius so there’s a nice contrast between Cassius’ fire and Sorrlock’s ice. Both characters are well-drawn and interesting, and while the other members of the kill team don’t really get the chance to be much more than sketches, the two main protagonists are interesting enough to make the story work. It’s a pretty powerful story, with interesting and unusual action from an Iron Hand perspective, paced well with a nice balance of forward motion, reflection and flashbacks. Thoroughly enjoyable, and another good addition to the series.

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