The Account of a Lifetime

June 27, 2010

The Chapter’s Due

Filed under: Books & Media — xisor @ 5:40 pm

(Originally posted to Sanity Lost on April 29th)

‘Lo everyone. You mighta picked up that a week-on-Saturday I went to a G. McNeill signing in Glasgow, ’twas very fun and I learned a few tidbits for your devouring.

1- He’s ‘broadly’ thinking of doing a Mechanicus-based trilogy in the far future.
2- He’s also broadly thinking of doing a HH book set on Terra which is much more ‘political/intrigue/thriller’ than anything he’s done before.

For both of these, they’re very up in the air and not-at-all definite, but he was very happy to emphasise that he’s very enthusiastic about the ideas as they stand (which is to say they’re all over the place, but that’s how they usually start). He also mentioned that The Chapter’s Due has a lot of tidbits spread throughout it pointing to what the Ultramarines did during the ‘middle seven years’ of the Heresy (wherein we don’t here much from them).

Now, I’m not going to fully review TCD just yet as I’m not finished it, but I will say I’m enjoying it. It trips up on the usual McNeill ‘stumbling blocks’, for me, which include not-quite pinning the Astartes as I imagine/like them, being a little ham-fisted with descriptions and, in some cases, being a little unimaginative/less-than-ambitious with his scene-setting and background development. (By way of contrast: consider Nick Kyme’s writings.)

In any case, these are things I know I… ‘disagree’ with from that perspective, so I understand I’m somewhat biased with them. So, ignoring them for a moment, I’ll say I really am very much enjoying the damn book. Not amazing or superb, but very much more in the theme of Warriors of Ultramar than the rest of the series. I feel he’s so-far missed the mark with some of the other characters of the Ultramarines Chapter, but again, I’m prejudiced!

Nevertheless, it’s a fine romp. The punches aren’t really being pulled, there’s been some serious battles and, at least as far as 200 pages, there’s a great deal of back-and-forth wherein neither the heroes nor the villains seem totally secure in their supremacy. Unlike, say, Dead Sky, Black Sun where it’s quite obvious Uriel and Pasanius will live to sail into the sunset, this one’s being quite cagey and not too predictable. At all, actually, I think it’s been pleasingly unexpected without being ‘deus ex machina’ after the next. Similarly, it’s not repeated plot-twist or brutal-character-death either. It’s…tame, but also unrestrained. I’m not really entirely sure quite where it’s going and that’s a really nice aspect to it.

As one thing I will say, Pasanius (I think) had an excellent comment which, I think, was one of the sort of things Graham told me to be on the look-out for. (I’m paraphrasing…)

“It’s unlikely to really have been built by Guilliman. If everything claimed to have been built by him in Ultramar had been built by him, Guilliman would have had to spend the entire Heresy building instead of fighting!”

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