Dead Sky Black Sun: by Graham McNeill

With the third (and final) book of the Ultramarines Omnibus down, I feel myself wanting more.  Unlike the two previous books: Nightbringer, & Warriors of Ultramar, this book left the story with an obvious open-ended cliff-hanger (though I won’t ruin what it is for anyone who hasn’t yet read it).  It’s clear the intent is (or was) to write another book after, but I’ll be darned if I can find it.

Dead Sky, Black Sun picks up roughly where the previous book left off–although some time has passed and Ventris and his sidekick Pasanius have been ostracized from the chapter, off to fulfill a quest of insurmountable difficulty.   I would’ve prefered if the book showed some more continuity by comiting a chapter to the backstory: including the trial and sentencing, etc.  The lack of continuity seems to stretch throughout this saga, as each book seems to be almost completely different, with almost no similarity (outside of the two main characters) to tie them together.  In the first book, they fought Dark Eldar & Necrons.   In the second, they were plagued by psychotic insects, and now in the third, they find themselves banished to the Eye of Terror staving off the Iron Warriors.

While each book is a decent work on it’s own–they just don’t fit together well enough to be considered a trilogy to me.  Ironically, the cliff-hanger at the end of this book is the perfect kind of tie-in that I’d expect from a trilogy, but alas: there doesn’t appear to be a fourth book. 

What this book does provide is a decent story-line, filled with action, and some unexpected turns.  It kept me entertained with a blend of battle-scenes and humor, both of which were riddled througout the pages.  My favorite quote from the book was:

 “I dread to think what heinous crime an Ultramarine must commit to be banished to the Eye of Terror.  Did you turn left instead of right on the parade ground?  Forget to say your prayers in the morning?”

As an Ultramarine player, I chuckled at the insult to their dogmatic practices.  In my mind, the Ultramarines are the varsity squad of the Adeptus Astartes: folowing superstitious rituals each day before the big game.  If they extend a winning streak by wearing the same underwear every day, or not shaving, bygolly, they’re going to do it. 

This book isn’t going to win any nobel prizes, but it’s a good mindless read that kept me entertained, and why else would you read Warhammer novels?  So, if you’re a fan of the Ultramarines, Iron Warriors, or of the 40k genre in general (or if you’ve read the other two books in the series and liked them), I’d recommend you trying your hand at this saga.  Here’s to hoping it continues…

4 out of 5 random things.

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4 comments on “Dead Sky Black Sun: by Graham McNeill

  1. All in all Dead Sky Black Sun was good, but yeah, it got a bit mindless after a whilethere was a short story about the sentencing up on the black library website while back. i still have the file somewhere if you want it just give me an email address to send it to.The forth book is Courage and Honour (i think). atill need to get round to reading it myself

  2. ive read every book in this series. 4th and 5th are atleast as good as the others. 4th even has special 'guest stars' in the book:P4th: killing grounds5th: courage and honourmy favorite series of all is gaunts ghost though. if you havent read those books, you should atleast pick up the 1st omnibus.

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