As the title suggests it is a book following some of the exploits of one of the first founding chapters – the Salamanders. What I did not expect was the depth of plot or the well-defined Characters.
The story focusses on the 3rd Company who, in the first few pages, lose their Captain. The rest of the story builds on the internal politics of the Sergeants and a number of military actions including the boarding of an abandoned space ship and a number of skirmishes and battles with a range of adversaries.
The storyline is intelligent and the writing is well-paced with plenty of action dispersed with some excellent character interaction. Nick Kyme’s Characters are what make this book stand out with about a dozen named Characters all playing important parts and interacting with each other. Dak-ir and Tu-Shan’s rivalry as Brother Sergeants also provides both humour, tension and a solid thread of storytelling from start to finish.
Personally my favourite bits taken from the book are the descriptions of the Marines Malevolent (another group of Space Marines in the book) which has made me want to add a squad as allies to my Ultramarines. Salamanders however will not be in my allies list for the forseeable future.
This book is an easy read with a good storyline and made better by the Character interaction. I would recommend this as a first book to read from the Black Library as it’s pace will make you want to finish it and the descriptions will fill your head with epic images that you want to re-create with your miniatures. The background of the Salamanders has been greatly enriched by this book and I can only hope that the following books in the trilogy continue to build on this very enjoyable foundation.