QUICK REVIEW: Pride and Fall – Ian St. Martin

Day Six of 2017’s Black Library Summer of Reading campaign

Lucius the Eternal – the guy who, any time he’s killed and his killer takes satisfaction in the act, comes back to life in a rather gruesome fashion. How does that work if he’s not killed by a person, but rather a thing? That’s the question asked by Ian St. Martin in his short story Pride and Fall, an unusual and unexpectedly horrifying tale set relatively early on in Lucius’ eternal-ness. Without giving too much away, much to Lucius’ surprise he meets his temporary end not at the hands of a mighty warrior, but in an altogether more humble way.

The most powerful 40k stories are often those which focus on normal (if such a thing exists) humans to whom the appearance of a Space Marine – loyalist or otherwise – is a shocking, mind-numbing event. In that vein St. Martin weaves together the actions of Lucius and his unsuspecting killer, each in his own sphere at first but rapidly converging, depicting not just Lucius’ skill and increasingly broken psyche, but also the reality of life for the sort of character we simply don’t normally see. It’s that dichotomy which provides both the hook and the horror for this smart, thoughtful and deeply grim story.

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