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Shadowhawk takes a look at one of the recently released micro-shorts from Black Library as part of their themed Advent Calendar. This is also the tenth review in his Advent Review series and you can check out the full list here.
“A cool little snapshot featuring one of my favourite 40k characters.” ~Shadowhawk, The Founding Fields
Ever since Spring 2012, Black Library has been putting out flash fiction stories with a theme behind them. Many of them have been quite fun while a few haven’t. Much as with last year’s winter holiday season, this year too they are doing an Advent Calendar where they are releasing one such short story every day (or a short-short audio drama) and the theme this time is Lords of the Space Marines. Each short story (or audio drama) essentially covers a well-known tabletop character and the stories span the length and breadth of the Warhammer 40,000 setting, and its Horus Heresy sub-setting. One of the recent such short stories released is Gav Thorpe’s Shadow Stalker which features Kayvaan Shrike, the Fourth Captain of the Raven Guard Chapter and one of its biggest modern heroes.
The story is set during Waaagh! Skullkrak, the war where Shrike really made his name, and it has the character go up against a squad of Ork Kommandos who have been sent to kill him. Being such a short story, there isn’t a whole lot of character development here, but what this story does do is offer a really cool snapshot of the larger battle. Gav tells the story from the perspective of the Ork who leads the Kommando squad and in typical Ork fashion, it is quite an interesting little story and also one with a fair bit of humour.
Shrike is one of my favourite Space Marine characters and its nice to see him being featured like this. His last outing, if I remember correctly, was in Andy Hoare’s The Hunt For Voldorius, which was largely a White Scars story and featured Shrike and his men in slightly more than a cameo. So its great to see the character return and I hope that Gav is able to springboard off this and write at least one novel about the character. I would definitely love that.
In the meantime, this story tides me over quite nicely. Its short, its sweet, its got humour and it has a fun ending typical of the Raven Guard, and particularly Shrike himself.