what might be my second favorite story of the book: Orphans of the Kraken follows the exploits of a ‘Salvation Squad’ of the Scythes of the Emperor. For those not in the know, the Scythes were nearly destroyed by Hive Fleet Kraken. The story covers the aftermath of that destruction, and what it means to the chapter. Very cool.
For the full review see Bell of Lost Souls
I liked what Williams set out to do here, a Marine Chapter dying on it’s feet has to decide whether to perpetuate it’s existence or go out in a blaze of glory... Given the ultimate decision it’s a shame then that the story dragged and the pace came nowhere near to matching to ambitions of its principal characters. I wonder if this would have worked better as a full length novel where there would have been more time to explore certain themes at a more appropriate length (instead of having to jam everything in to a few pages)...
For the full review see Graeme's Fantasy Book Review
I don’t want to give much away but all I can say is the idea of Salvation squads sounds awesome and fluff wise this is without doubt one of the best (either this or Relic) in the book and if you can’t buy the book I recommend either going to the library or borrowing it from a friend just for those two stories.
For the full review see Bolter and Chainsword
The writing style of Richard Williams is superb. I was pulled into the story quickly and its xenos memory still haunts me.
For the full review see Huntress Reviews
It doesn’t disappoint. The stories are incredibly varied, detailing a broad spectrum of different Chapters each with their different ideologies and associated problems. Personal highlights include ‘The Returned’ by James Swallow that goes some way toward exploring the Doom Eagles Chapter and their beliefs, and ‘Orphans of the Kraken’ by Richard Williams.
For the full review see Final Contingency
Their are little problems in some of the stories, most of them not too bad. The one that comes to mind is the fact that in "Orphans of the Kraken" they use a carnifex to remove the gene seed from dead marines. That definetly had me a little puzzled. Just imagining a Apothacary pulling out a pocket sized carnifex and having it dig out the gene seed.
For the full review see My Battalion
Note from Richard, I don't normally add comments here but I just wanted to clarify that this was a mistake, but not the mistake the reviewer thought I was making. While a carnifex is now a tyranid monster, it also used to be a tool used by Space Marine apothecaries on mortally wounded marines. When apothecaries were first introduced (back in the days they were called medics) it was the only one of their tools mentioned, and it implied that it was used both for the coup de grace and to remove progenoids, and so it was _this_ carnifex that my memory dredged up. The apothecaries have now been described in more detail and the proper tool I should have named is called the reductor.
What the fans say...
"Cool story, a rebuilding chapter who explores and cleans out dead hive ships."
SNarcotisTheEuphoric on Stony Point Refugees
"THIS STORY SUCKS!!!
It actually pissed me off. Richard Williams did an outstanding job with his Imperial Navy Book "Relentless" and other short stories that he has written, but actually did a worse job of mis-portraying Space Marines than Chris Roberson does. This guy has done a huge disservice to the Scythes of the Emperor. Let me sum this up, Space Marines do not get depressed!!! They do not allow subordinates to bad mouth them!!! A Space Marine stuck for 50 years in a live Hiveship would have been dissolved!!! Only Chaos Marines are driven by Ego to the extent in this story. I cannot think of a single good thing to say about this story."
Garrick Ruscher on Amazon.com
"Orphans of the Kraken is perhaps the best story of the collection. It places a handful of surviving Space Marines trying to rebuild their Chapter. Salvation Teams enter dying/ dead Tyranid hive ships in trying to find possible survivors from a Tyranid invasion. The action is interesting in describing how the hive ship exists. The combat decisions are the focus here. Is it better to retreat so that the few survivors can fight another day or to battle and die in trying to prevent the Tyranid spread?"
Sci-fi and history reader on Amazon.com
"This story is decent, but nothing compared to the suspenseful story we got in the early 40K anthology. Instead of the horror element, this one is more about the internal conflict of the sergeant as he tries to obey an order that is contrary to his nature."
G. Swift on Amazon.com
"A real winner late in the book, we have a team of Scythes of the Emperor scouts who are tasked with boarding derelict Tyranid space craft to verify no Space Marines still survive on them. How cool an idea for a story is that? ... My favorite story of the book, I'd love to see this short story drawn out into an entire novel. Very cool."
Veil Lord on Amazon.com