QUICK REVIEW : Redblade – Robbie MacNiven

For the fourth short story in the ongoing Deathwatch serial we get the first tale from a new Black Library author, in the shape of Redblade by Robbie MacNiven. It sees young Space Wolf Drenn, or Redblade as he prefers to be known, recently attached to a Blood Claws pack and railing against the cautious leadership of his older pack leader. Reckless and arrogant, he butts heads with his superior even while defending a floating refinery platform from waves of orks, while members of the inscrutable Deathwatch look on.

It’s a great start from a new author, with a fresh, interesting idea that feels quite different from the usual Deathwatch style, focusing as it does on the actions of a Space Marine before he joins, unaware that he’s being judged for suitability. Crucially for a short story with limited space the characters feel really believable, Redblade in particular reflecting the characteristics of a young, headstrong Space Wolf without coming across as a one-dimensional space Viking. The pacing is good, the story unfolding nicely as events ramp up, with fresh, fun action scenes and effective dialogue. Generally it’s a thoroughly enjoyable story and a really good sign of things to come.


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