Scars! Episode II – an advanced review
Hot on the heels of yesterday’s review of Episode 1 of Scars by Chris Wraight, those good chaps at Black Library Towers have kindly sent through an advance copy of Episode 2. If you read my previous blog, you may have sensed how much I enjoyed the first instalment, so I tucked into this one with gusto.
Episode 2 (re)introduces another couple of main characters from Brotherhood of the Storm, with Wraight spending time to craft out their back stories to give more depth to the characters. We also revisit our main protagonists, particularly seeing clandestine activity of the ‘I can’t say’ variety from one of the characters which really emphasises the internal factions within the White Scars legion.
This story also brings together a couple of elements of the Horus Heresy that have been hinted at, or covered in more detail, in earlier works. The most obvious link is back to the twin Prospero novels (A Thousand Sons and Propero Burns). We have references back to the Council of Nikea (where the Emperor banned the use of psychic powers), and the relationship between certain legions and individuals who featured heavily in the Council.
One section of Episode 2 harkens back to brief passage within the novella, The Serpent Beneath (written by Rob Sanders, and contained in The Primarchs anthology). Clearly the seeds of this story were planted deliberately a long time ago, but it is developed seamlessly into this novel by Wraight. The Serpent Beneath was an Alpha Legion novella, and throughout this episode of Scars, the threat of the Alpha Legion is palpable to us as readers (despite remaining unknown to the main viewpoint characters).
The last nugget, is that a third legion (not the White Scars or Alpha Legion) makes an appearance, possibly unexpectedly to some although probably not to anyone familiar with Horus Heresy Collected Visions art book. This legion is fresh from action, and the depiction of their emotions at what they have been involved in is superbly executed.
Wraight’s prose remains excellent. The descriptions are vivid, the characters are fleshed out in great detail, and there are many brilliant gems of background information to enthral any Heresy fan. One description in particular, that of an Astartes space fleet mustering for deployment, is superb, a vivid, almost poetic description of the threat such a fleet contains. Episode 1, the opening chapter of Scars, held the promise of greatness, and Episode 2 only enhances this. I cannot wait for the next instalment!
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All the best,