The second story from the Honour of the Space Marines anthology to get a standalone e-short release, Graham McNeill’s Do Eagles Still Circle the Mountain? picks up the story of Uriel Ventris between the end of The Chapter’s Due and the as yet unreleased The Swords of Calth. Engaged against the orks on Sycorax, when circumstances change and the Ultramarines’ mission changes from assault to survival, Ventris and his warriors of the Fourth look for refuge away from the sucking mud flats. A Mechanicus facility offers shelter, but it also provides a troubling mystery for the captain to consider.
Very much a linking story, this sets out to remind the reader of Ventris and his brother Ultramarines (it’s been six years since The Chapter’s Due) and prepare the ground for the next novel in the series – it doesn’t offer a lot in the way of resolution, being more of a snapshot of events (presumably) before the opening of the next book. As a standalone story it does work, inasmuch as it has a clear start, middle and end filled with plenty of entertaining action scenes, but it feels as though it will be more relevant and satisfying once the next book is released.