City of Ruin

QUICK REVIEW : City of Ruin – Ian St. Martin

After a break for the 24 stories in Black Library’s 2015 Advent Calendar, the Deathwatch series continues with part seven, in the form of City of Ruin by Ian St. Martin. When Rodricus Grytt of the Imperial Fists leads his squad to their deaths fighting to clear an Imperial system of orks, he readily accepts a commission in the Deathwatch as his own form of penance. The reckless Marine soon finds himself butting heads with his new squadmates as they launch a mission to rescue a captured member of the Navis Nobilite from the clutches of the invading orks.

Much more of a typical Deathwatch story than, say, First to Hunt, there’s an endearing sense of familiarity to the setup here, but with enough character and imagination to avoid feeling derivative or overly cliched. Grytt shows a different side to the Fists, normally so disciplined and dour, with his fire and choler marking him for censure while at the same time propelling him forward. There’s more than enough inventive action for any Black Library fan here, from the grand sweep of the big picture to the gritty, dirty fighting Grytt finds himself in amongst the greenskin hordes, and it all ties together with pace, scale and a sense of just how dark the grim darkness can really be. Impressive stuff from an upcoming author.

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