Beneath the Flesh by Andy Smillie – Guest Review [Dagmire]


Friend of the site, Dagmire, famous member of the popular Warhammer 40k podcast “The Overlords,” (episodes available from iTunes) reviews a short story from one of Black Library’s latest authors, Andy Smillie.

This short story is very well-written and conveys the blood lust suppressed by all of the Sons of Cretacia.” ~The Founding Fields

Beneath the Flesh is a Flesh Tearers short story and is available as a direct download from the Black library website for just a few pounds.

 As a Stromraven Gunship powers down towards the planet Arere we join a combat squad of Flesh Tearers Space Marines. The infiltration through the planet’s atmosphere is hectic and made more of a risk due to the speed and surprise required by the Flesh Tearers in order to achieve their mission. The combat squad also includes a techmarine  and a Sanguinary Priest, along with the Sergeant. The squad are required to reach a complex on the now dead planet of Arere and find out what happened to the last unit of Flesh Tearers who were stationed there. A few hours behind them a huge force of traitor Marines advance on substation 12BX.

Will the Flesh Tearers achieve their mission before the Arch-Enemy falls upon them?

Will they even be able to fight for the glory of the Emperor again as the Black Rage threatens to engulf even these strongest of warriors?

And just what secrets are hidden in the archives of the Substation’s data files?

Beneath the Flesh is the second book written by Andy, his first being Mountain-eater which was released in 2011 in the digital publication Hammer & Bolter.

This book gives us the chance to read more about one of the most vicious chapters in the Imperium, indeed the sons of Cretacia have been censured by the Inquisition several times, and in this book we can see why.

Although loyal to the Imperium the Flesh Tearers gene stock is tainted, perhaps beyond all salvation.

Andy has managed to write about the Flesh Tearers with just the right amount of viciousness expected from this Blood Angels successor chapter, balanced with the heroics expected of a Space Marine.

The beginning of the book starts with what can only be described as a controlled crash landing as Amaru, the squad’s Techmarine, puts them in the hands of the Stormraven’s machine-spirit. Andy describes the process of communing with the machine-spirit incredibly well throughout the story. The description of the battle of wills is extremely interesting and not something  I have read much of before.

As the squad take hold of the substation from traitors we get a feel for just how violent a force a few Flesh Tearers can actually be. Again Andy has describes these fight scenes with just the right amount of gore and aggression. The writing is as brutal as the fight he is relating.

The end of the story has a shock in store for the reader and one which I for one didn’t expect.

However, I do feel that the revelations could have been explained just a bit more. Whilst I don’t want things spelled out for me, I do wish Andy had expanded and explored the ending just a little more.

Perhaps this is a good thing as I certainly found myself wanting to know more and eager to read more about this chapter.

Overall, I really enjoyed this story. Andy writes grim darkness as well as ANY of the more established names within Black Library. His battle sequences are a joy to read and really get you caught up in all the vicious, gore-spattered, glory of the 41st millennium.

Over all I would highly recommend this book for any fan of Blood Angels, Flesh Tearers or indeed well written short stories. I enjoyed this book so much that I immediately picked up another Flesh Tearers short by Andy as soon as I had finished this one.

The next short is available as a download as well from the official Black library for less than one pound and came out as part of the celebrations of 15 years from the publishing house.

Immortalis is the second short about the Flesh Tearers written by Andy Smillie. This really is a short short, consisting of a just a few pages following the deaths and rebirths of a Flesh Tearer as he succumbs to not only the Black Rage but also mortal death, only to awaken in the womb of a dreadnaught.

Worth getting if you’re interested in the Flesh Tearers but given the length you won’t really gain much from it as a standalone story.

Shadowhawk is a regular contributor to TFF. A resident of Dubai, Shadowhawk reads, reads and reads. His opinions are always clear and concise. His articles always worth reading.


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