Sons of Titan – David Annandale

A compilation of four Grey Knights stories, David Annandale’s Sons of Titan tells a single story over four different tales, all featuring Justicar Styer. It combines together the previously-released novella Maledictus and the prose versions of two audio dramas (Incorruptible and True Name) along with a short story currently only available in this book (The Mourning Tower). Set in and around the Sanctus Reach system, and tying loosely in with other stories set therein, it sees Styer leading his men alongside Inquisitor Furia, following the strands of fate to try and put a stop to worryingly vague daemonic threats.

It’s an interesting idea to combine four interconnected stories, originally in different formats, as a way of telling a single overarching tale. The meat of the story is in Maledictus where we’re introduced to Styer, who’s increasingly doubting the accuracy of the Grey Knights’ prognostications regarding where and when a daemonic incursion will occur. This theme then rolls on through the rest of the stories, as Styer and Epistolary Gared are forced to consider that perhaps it’s their own actions which are causing the incursions. Each story carries on from the last, taking the Grey Knights through various battles against different foes, with their enemies always trying to play on their doubts to drive cracks into their mental fortitude.

Annandale thrives when he can create tension and play with unsettling his characters, which works nicely with these stories. Even with the four combined it’s not a long book overall and there isn’t all that much time to really dig into the background of the Grey Knights, so he focuses on what’s relevant to the overarching story, playing with the incorruptible (to borrow one of the titles) nature of the chapter. Styer isn’t necessarily that sympathetic a character, driven by duty to be cold and logical, but Inquisitor Furia (despite being half machine herself) contrasts nicely with him, while Maledictus also features some sparsely drawn but still very human Imperial Guard to add another layer.

Overall it works well, Maledictus doing the heaviest lifting in terms of narrative but the other stories nicely picking up the themes and adding depth to the story and the characters. True Name is a nice character study of Gared, adding a little to his character, while Incorruptible plays briefly with one of the core truths about the Grey Knights and The Mourning Tower is a more straightforward tale that nicely closes the whole arc off. Could it do with being longer? Yes, probably – it would have been nice to get a little more room for the characters to develop, and maybe a little extra context to the Grey Knights overall. Given the constraints however, it’s another enjoyable story from Annandale that does a good job of tackling something different to what we’ve seen before from this chapter.

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