Deathwatch: Swordwind

QUICK REVIEW – Deathwatch: Swordwind – Ian St. Martin

Day three of Black Library’s 2016 Summer of Reading sees Ian St. Martin tackle the Deathwatch again after City of Ruin with Deathwatch: Swordwind. Adoni of the Mortifactors returns to his Chapter’s fortress monastery at the conclusion of his secondment to the Deathwatch, oathbound to not speak of his experiences but bearing with him a chapter relic. As he rejoins his brothers he recalls the fateful mission where he fought alongside a hero of his Chapter against the eldar of Biel Tan, a battle which will have a profound impact on his Chapter.

As much a story of the Mortifactors as the Deathwatch, there’s a nice balance here between the usual Deathwatch stylings – Marines from different Chapters in action-packed battles against insurmountable odds – and a more reflective look at a lesser-known Space Marine Chapter. The action scenes are taut, streamlined and pacy, while the snippets of present-tense narrative are more measured, slowly building up a picture of where Adoni is heading before revealing what he finds there. Combined, they work nicely to create a compelling story that hints at a fascinating backstory and suggests there may be more to come.

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