Another story previously only available in an anthology (the limited edition Honour of the Space Marines), Nick Kyme’s The Burden of Angels follows on from the events of his Tome of Fire trilogy, focusing on Tu’Shan, Chapter Master of the Salamanders. Meeting with his opposite number in the Blood Angels to renew oaths of brotherhood, Tu’Shan seeks guidance from Chapter Master Dante, who he holds as a figure of virtue and nobility. When circumstances pit the two chapters against each other, he finds his perception of the virtuous Dante challenged, and his own humanity tested.
It’s a simple setup, essentially putting two Chapter Masters with very different personalities together, introducing a simple conflict and then sitting back to see what happens. The focus is on how Tu’Shan sees Dante before and after he learns of the Angels’ flaw, in context of how he sees himself. Kyme keeps things focused, using a first person narration that’s reflective and honest, with only a few key characters and just enough Nocturnean philosophy to maintain the thematic link with his Salamanders series. Crucially it doesn’t try to do more than hint at the bigger picture, so works well as a brief snapshot of an interesting concept.