[Book Review] The Returned – James Swallow

Title: The Returned
Author: James Swallow
Published by: Black Library
Publication date: July 1st 2011
Genre: Sci-Fi
Pages: 45
Format: eBook
Source: Private Collection

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On the world of Gathis, atop the Ghostmountain, sits the Eyrie, fortress-monastery of the Doom Eagles. Here they memorialise their honoured dead, then forget them. But what to do when one of those dead comes back to life? Brother Tarikus returns from years of captivity and must contend with suspicion and mistrust as he strives to reclaim his place in the Chapter.

Read it because
Returning home to the Eyrie after years of captivity, Tarikus wants nothing more than to rejoin his Chapter. But suspicion and mistrust await him at every turn.


Rating: 4 out of 5.

Another quick read from Black Library. Again, picked this up whilst looking into different Successor Chapters that might spark some inspiration.

Brother Tarikus of the Doom Eagles Chapter has spent years in captivity. For a Chapter that heralds death and reveres their dead, it’s a bit of an issue when one of their Astartes Warriors turns up after such a long time after they’ve presumed to be amongst the fallen. This is exactly what Tarikus does, but rather then being greeted as a hero, he’s met with suspicion; especially when it comes to light he’s been kept in the halls of a certain, infamous Chaos Apothecary.

These are the sorts of stories about Space Marines that I adore – don’t get me wrong, I love a good shoot-em-up as much as the next Black Library reader, but character drama/conflict is where all the fun is at! Seeing Tarikus being put through his paces and the inner conflict of a Space Marine that feels like he should be welcomed home with open arms for his heroics; seeing that come crashing down… it made for a great read.

Seeing a new chapter being fleshed out is always entertaining; especially regarding little-known Successor Chapters, like the Doom Eagles. It shows that there’s always room in 40k for more.

More chapters, more stories, more creation. And there were a lot of interesting moments surrounding the Doom Eagles, Tarikus being show the remnant os his old life and the revelations that brought forth were great when it came to fleshing out his character.

Alongside him there were others, the Librarian tasked with extracting the truth behind the suspicions was a character that was well-written and unlikable! He added another layer to the novel that could have just been entirely about the drudge of rejoining a chapter.

My only complaint about the novel is that Tarikus left behind three very loyal Astartes Brothers and the way they were written came across as childish. They had very little depth to them beyond their loyalty to Tarikus; at the cost of all else. Compared to the rest of the dour, moody Chapter they felt like an odd fit. A little to cheerful for a Successor Chapter that is obsessed with the notion of death and all it’s aspects.


All in all, a good quick read. Had some interesting characters that highlighted the nature of their Chapter. Nice to read a story about Space Marines that isn’t entirely focused on combat doctrines.

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