QUICK REVIEW: Vox Dominus – Anthony Reynolds

Five years after its publication in Treacheries of the Space Marines, Anthony Reynolds’ short story Vox Dominus is now also available as a standalone e-short. Carrying on the story of Marduk from Reynolds’ Word Bearers trilogy (and very spoilerific if you haven’t read at least Dark Apostle) it sees the Word Bearers clashing with their cousins in the Death Guard over the unexpected arrival of the corpse of XVIIth Legion battleship. While a combined force of Word Bearers and Death Guard investigate the stricken Vox Dominus, Marduk sees the opportunity to further his own plans, complete with a little treachery.

The Word Bearers trilogy and its accompanying shorts are a fascinating example of a Black Library author rapidly developing his craft. Dark Apostle is good fun, but five years later Vox Dominus is in a different league, ramping up the character dynamics, the depth and complexity of the narrative, and the overall quality of writing. If you’ve been following Reynolds’ work this sits nicely in quality between the original trilogy and his fantastic Horus Heresy novella The Purge – it’s not quite the same standard as that, but it’s a sign of what’s to come. Definitely worth reading, even if it does leave the characters somewhat hanging at the end!

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