For my first blog review in a while I have decided to look at a new Black Library author, Sarah Cawkwell. Having just picked up the new ‘Victories of the Space Marines’ short story collection from Black Library, I flicked down the contents list of the nine Space Marine stories within its pages. The title ‘Primary Instinct’ caught my eye, as did the authors name, as I had never read a story by Sarah Cawkwell. Finding new authors and talent is always exciting so I decided to read her Silver Skulls story first.
It had an atmospheric start, with an Assault Squad of marines and a company prognosticator (Librarian) searching a jungle world for their deadly xenos enemies – The Eldar. However, nothing is as it seems on this world and soon they find themselves battling for survival from an unexpected foe.
This is a great introduction to the Silver Skulls, giving us some background to the Chapter and especially their psychic beliefs, which drive them onwards in the Emperors’ name. The short story had some great descriptions and a decent fight scene or two, and sets up the Silver Skulls for further stories without giving too much away. I liked the twists and turns in the plot and would like to see some of the main characters developed in future. The end had a subtlety to it that left you wanting more, while setting up yet more action to come. There’s another Short in Hammer & Bolter 5 which I'm off to buy to find out more!
Overall, a good introduction to a Chapter of Marines I didn’t know much about, and looking forward to see what the author has done with her Silver Skulls in her debut novel The Gildar Rift. Victories of the Space Marines is out this month in GW stores, check the Black Library website for more information.
You can also download 'Primary Instinct' in ebook format HERE
4 out of 5 skulls, coated in silver.