Title: Knights of Macragge
Author: Nick Kyme
Published by: Black Library
Publication date: 23 Jan 2020
Genre: Science Fiction/War
The primarch Roboute Guilliman of the Ultramarines has returned in the galaxy’s hour of need, and all muster to his Indomitus Crusade to hold back the darkness. Amongst these heroes is Cato Sicarius, Master of the Watch and vaunted captain of Second Company. Disaster befalls Sicarius and his brave warriors as their ship, the Emperor’s Will, is lost to the hellish warp, its entire crew believed slain. But Sicarius endures, though he and his men are fighting for their very survival against the denizens of the Great Rift – the daemons and renegades of Chaos. Cast adrift and war-weary, hope appears too distant to grasp until the storm breaks at last and a strange world beckons. As the captain and a band of his chosen warriors descend to the surface seeking aid, they find an isolated land seemingly from an ancient era, one plagued by a terrible enemy. Sicarius will not see this world suffer, and pledges his warriors to the world’s cause, determined to save it, whatever the cost… But what is the dark secret harboured here, and what will it mean for the Ultramarines if they uncover it?
I was given an advanced reader copy of this book by Black Library via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
An honest review so I’ve got to start with confessing that this was my first ‘Did Not Finish.’ I got to around 46% and couldn’t put myself through it any more as I struggled tooth and nail to get that far. There was something about Knights of Macragge that I just couldn’t connect with – to the point felt sorry for someone when I saw them buying a copy in the local Game Workshop store.
Knight of Macragge is the story of Cato Sicarius and his Company of Ultramarines, set primarily during the time when they are lost in warp space – at least the section that I read was – the premise of Knights of Macragge is really interesting; spending so long adrift in the warp and all the horrible complications that such a time brings; famine and power shortages are just the start of the problems for the Space Marines and human crew on board the Emperors Will.
Needless to say, I struggled like mad with this book. Not for lack of action or drama as there’s plenty of both; something I enjoyed was the interaction between the Primaris Space Marines and the Firstborn – but these moments weren’t enough to keep the book captivating – and the action scenes felt sloppy and I found them difficult to follow. I wasn’t sure if I was reading an action/war book or a horror novel and this ended up in a confused narrative. I think that this was in part to an issue I’ve mentioned many-a-time with Science Fiction novels and the desire for authors to use overly-complicated language where plain English will suffice.
Towards the conclusion of the first part of the book (Around the 45% mark) there was a battle between Captain Sicarius and a warp entity that was the strangest and most confusing piece of fiction I have ever read and it was at this point that I had to finally put the book down and say ‘no more.’ It a shame, because I have read other books by Nick Kyme and thoroughly enjoyed them.
I don’t like to dwell on books that I don’t finish and giving a review on a book that was only partially finished feels unfair – so I think I’ll just leave it at this and say Knights of Macragge wasn’t for me and despite having a really interesting plot with some really solid scenes it just felt a bit too confused. I’ve seen other reviews on NetGalley and Goodreads that rate it highly so I am just putting this one down to personal taste.