An appetiser before his upcoming novel The Lords of Silence, Chris Wraight’s short story Endurance takes place (mostly) on the besieged Imperial world of Lystra, where the shattered remnants of the defenders continue to battle on against the endless hordes of walking dead. The situation for the Imperials is bleak, even with a scattering of loyal Space Marines bolstering the defences, and that’s before the Death Guard arrive. Dragan, known as the Gallowsman, leads his warband on the hunt for slaughter, and Lystra is in his sights.
If the title seems like an obvious play on the Death Guard’s defining characteristic, it’s also a reference to the loyalists, as typified by brother Sarrien of the Imperial Talons. We see plenty of Death Guard stoicism, not to mention a twinge of unexpected pathos for Dragan, but it’s Sarrien’s suffering and determination that proves the drive behind the story. It’s not a happy story by any stretch, for Sarrien, the other Imperial defenders or even for Dragan really, but in Wraight’s capable hands it’s not so dark as to be too grim and depressing. Deceptively well plotted, it’s an intriguing story in its own right and bodes well for Wraight’s Death Guard series to come.