Abhinav's Reviews > Architect of Fate

Architect of Fate by Christian Dunn
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's review
Mar 29, 2012

it was amazing
bookshelves: black-library, science-fiction, thriller, horror
Read from April 09 to 11, 2012

Shadowhawk reviews the first ever Space Marine Battles anthology, a collection of four novellas by different authors focused on a key character of the Warhammer 40,000 setting, the Greater Daemon of Tzeentch known as Kairos Fateweaver.

“One of the best anthologies that Black Library has ever published, Architect of Fate has definitely set a great precedent for future works that are similarly themed. I certainly want more such anthologies!” ~The Founding Fields

The Space Marine Battles series is one of the best ideas to come from the Black Library editorial staff as it has produced some of the best novels from some of its best authors. Sarah Cawkwell’s The Gildar Rift, Chris Wraight’s The Battle of the Fang and Rob Sanders’ Legion of the Damned are some of my favourite novels, especially the latter which I believe has set the bar really high for a really dark, gritty and stubborn yet heroic portrayal of Space Marines.

After eight novels in a little over two years and a limited edition novella, an anthology was inevitable and quite welcome even. Novels are all fine and good but there is a certain inherent attractiveness for anthologies because they allow the reader to gain some good widespread exposure to a setting. The fact that the first SMB anthology is a collection of four linked novellas is pretty much what I would have expected: the clue is really in the name of the series, a theme that can be explored to satisfaction in novels and novellas, not short stories.

Or audio dramas as I’m told by a few reliable sources, so stay tuned for that in the coming months! Some great surprises are in store.

So, back to the anthology. Each novella in this collection is a story that focuses in one way or another on one of the most manipulative, deceptive, and dangerous characters in the Warhammer 40,000 setting: Chaos Lord Tzeentch’s foremost servant, the Lord of Change known as Kairos Fateweaver. As someone who has knowledge of the future that even his master is unaware of at times and yet is stuck irrevocably in his master’s schemes, Kairos Fateweaver is a strangely compelling and interesting character. As such, he makes for a great focus and connecting strand between the four novellas in the anthology. Let’s begin.

The first novella here is Accursed Eternity by Sarah Cawkwell, one of the newest writers on the block and one of my favourites. I’ve already reviewed the novella separately back in December, so I won’t rehash that 1800-word review. Suffice to say that this novella is how a lot of Warhammer 40,000 fiction should be like. It has that dark, sinister edge that completely fits the setting and it also has a strong horror element. She is also great at taking previously unused Space Marine chapters and really breathing life into them, as her work with the Silver Skulls previously has shown and which she continues here with the Star Dragons and the Blood Swords. I would really like her to to write more about either of them as she has balanced the mysteries and revelations about the chapters quite nicely and they both have a distinctive personality and chapter culture. The novella itself is pretty much fantastic in all regards. A sequel to this would be very, very welcome.

Having read the other novellas in the collection since then, Accursed Eternity works very well as part of a larger whole, particularly with John French’s contribution, Fateweaver. In that respect, and liking the horror aspects of the anthology, I’m now inclined to rate the novella higher than I did before, which it richly deserves.

You can find the full review over at The Founding Fields:


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04/09/2012 page 116
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