Fall of Damnos by Nick Kyme – Advanced Review [Bane of Kings]
Bane of Kings reviews Fall of Damnos, a Space Marine Battles novel by the author of the Tome of Fire Trilogy, Nick Kyme.
“With just two books, Nick Kyme is already challenging Graham McNeill’s reputation as king of the Ultramarines.” ~The Founding Fields
Now then, let’s get started. Fall of Damnos is the latest Space Marine Battles Novel, and is a first for many things. Firstly, it includes the first Space Marine Battle for the Ultramarines; the second company no less, and is also a first Space Marine Battle novel with Necrons as the opposition. And, the final main first for this novel is that it’s written by Tome of Fire author Nick Kyme.
For those of you who have any doubts about Nick Kyme writing an Ultramarines novel rather than Graham McNeill, let me tell you that those doubts will be swept aside quickly. Also, for those of you who have read Assault on Black Reach, the beginner’s novel by Nick Kyme, you’ll be glad (or not glad, depending on your point of view), that he’s bringing back the Ultramarines Second, the finest of them all.
Although there are those of you that hate the Ultramarines, you simply must pick this book up, as this does, in my view, not only make Nick Kyme a contender for king of the Ultramarines, but also contest Aaron Dembski-Bowden’s currently held position as king of the Space Marine Battles series, with his novel Helsreach.
And, although you know who’s going to survive out of the main characters (If you own the Space Marine Codex, there’s a piece of fluff dedicated to this particular battle), Nick Kyme makes it so that you don’t know what’s going to happen to the others, and there are even some parts in this novel where you think that Captain Sicarus has fallen, or the Chief Librarian himself will die.
Despite the plot of this novel being relatively simple, like all Space Marine Battles books, and can even be summed up in one sentence, “Ultramarines trying to save Damnos from an unstoppable horde of Necrons,” you will still enjoy this book, as Nick Kyme does his best to work within the boundaries of established background yet still produce a fantastic piece of work.
Moving on from this, Nick Kyme has proved that even the Ultramarines aren’t immune to character tension, and has managed to create a build-up of rivalries in between the second company, as there are those who believe that Sicarus should be heir to the throne of chapter master, and not the rightful first captain, Severus Agemman, who doesn’t make an appearance in this novel but is mentioned several times.
Next, I’d like to talk about the Necrons, and are portrayed in this novel as something… different. Nick Kyme manages to give the Necron Lords at least, separate personalities, and even there is a chapter or two from the xenos’ point of view. How this will fare with those who know more about the metallic monsters than I do, I’m not sure, but one thing’s for sure; this is a novel not to be missed.
Now then, I’d like to talk about characterization next, and this novel is as much about humans as it is about the Ultramarines themselves, as Nick Kyme delves into the lives of several occupants on Damnos, and then rips them to shreds (in other words, changing their lives), as the Necrons are awakened in the first few chapters of the book.
As you read through this novel, you are greeted by a wide range of twists, designed to keep you hooked and to keep you reading. As mentioned earlier, those who have read the Space Marines Codex, or glanced on Lexicanum, will know what happens to the main characters (Sicarus and Tigurius), but for the few that don’t, this makes the novel even more interesting.
However, there’s one thing that I didn’t particularly like about this novel and this is that it feels rather unfinished. Despite its superbly written stuff, it doesn’t really come to an overall conclusion.
However, Nick Kyme has mentioned on one point on his blog that he might be writing a sequel to this, which is good news.
Now then, the main part of this novel as to be expected, is the action, and rather than being the same old tactics used by the Ultramarines, Nick Kyme manages to keep the battles new and unique, each making the reader think that this battle could be the last stand for the person involved, especially towards the end of the book. Also, the action is very well described.
And, on that bombshell, I leave you with:
More Space Marine Battles Novels: Rynn’s World by Steve Parker, Helsreach by Aaron Dembski-Bowden, Hunt for Voldorious by Andy Hoare, The Purging of Kadillus by Gav Thorpe, Fall of Damnos by Nick Kyme, Battle of the Fang by Chris Wraight, The Gildar Rift by Sarah Cawkwell, Legion of the Damned by Rob Sanders (April 2012), Architect of Fate by Various Authors (May 2012)