I haven’t done one of these for a while but there was something about this book that compelled me to give my humble opinion regarding it. As I’ve said before, I’m no literary savant, just someone who thoroughly enjoys reading.
Instead of running through the premiss of Chapter’s Due and the story lines I’ll just get to the heart of the matter. I loved this book and here’s why. Graham manages to write characters that are believable, if not relatable, in a genetically enhanced super-human kind of way. First of all, this book should have been called Codex Space Marines as it has almost every Ultramarine character from the codex. There’s definitely some nerd glee in reading about these characters even though I’m admittedly not a huge Ultramarine fan and that’s the thing, I enjoyed reading about these characters. From the patronal Marneus Calgar to stoic Varro Tigurius and the rash yet heroic Cato Sicarius.
Which leads me into Graham’s approach regarding these personalities and the main character, Uriel Ventris. In my experience a common pitfall of a lot of authors is making the lead characters so good at what they do that outcomes are never in question and as a result the characters are more akin to a god than they are you and I. You just can’t relate to them. Graham, however, does well to avoid this and his characters make mistakes, they require the help of others, they are not a one-man show. What makes Uriel Ventris a great Captain isn’t that he can stand toe-to-toe with any foe and dispatch them with ease because that’s not the case. There are better sword fighters than Uriel and better marksmen. No, it’s not his prowess on the battlefield, it’s his ability to surround himself with those who are capable and lead them, the true mark of any great leader. This was the case really with all the characters in the book, they seemed real and genuine. What could easily have become a book where the egos and personalities of these larger-than-life characters fought for face time was instead a well blended composition of real people.
There’s my short review and what I took away from the book. There’s a lot that can be said about this book that Graham does well but ultimately it’s his ability to write great characters that really makes it shine.