Literature: Brothers of the Snake

Brothers Of The Snake is a Warhammer 40,000 novel by Dan Abnett, the adventures of Priad, a brother and then sergeant of the Iron Snakes Space Marine chapter.


Tropes included

  • After-Action Patch-Up: Priad explains something to Petrok while being patched up after a battle.
  • Angry Guard Dog: Priad has to calm one.
  • Attack Pattern Alpha
    "Damocles, form and cover, Hades spread!"
  • Because Destiny Says So: Why Petrok insists on bringing Damocles squad to battle, even when Priad insists they're not combat-ready.
  • Big Bad: The Dark Eldar, or more specifically, an unnamed Archon. While they have been raiding and plaguing the Reef Stars for decades, they eventually lured an entire WAAAGH! there to make life difficult for the Iron Snakes. That was a plan that was at least ''50 years'' in the works.
  • Blood from the Mouth: As always a sign of chaos
  • Booby Trap: While the Iron Snakes were trying to retake a city from them, some Dark Eldar mine a critical location before withdrawing. They were clever enough to place them in phosphur vent, so the entire city would have blown up, so the Iron Snakes had to physically carry the bombs out and hope that they don't go off.
  • Colourful Theme Naming: The chapter names ("Black Gold", "Blue Blood", "Crimson Wake", etc.), each of which were a different mission, or otherwise an adventure that Squad Damocles goes through.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Autolochus the Venerable Dreadnought, of all people.
  • Declaration of Protection: Priad gives one to the farmers. He's forced to rescind it once he realizes that they're the Chaos cultists he's been hunting.
  • Distressed Dude: Khiron is this for a moment, given that he's standing on a rock staring at giant sea wyrms trying to eat him, carrying just a spear.
  • Dreaming of Things to Come: Librarian Petrok, whose job partly is using his powers for prognostication.
  • Ermine Cape Effect: Antoni inverts this, putting away her official portrait for being too good.
  • Fearless Fool: Khiron observes that folly and courage are not always distinguishable.
  • Fire-Forged Friends: Antoni and Princeps, human clerk and Space Marine.
  • First Name Basis: Petrok insists on this with Priad, who doesn't always obey, given that one is the Chief Librarian of the chapter, and the other is a "mere" Brother-Sergeant.
  • Flashed Badge Hijack: The Inquisitor does this on their behalf.
  • Glamour Failure: Seeing the chaos beast with the naked eye among the cultists. Also, the one that infiltrated the Chapter.
  • Heroic Bystander: Antoni.
  • Heroic Dog: Princeps, the attack dog who follows Antoni and Priad on their errand, in the first story.
  • Human Sacrifice: Some cultists catch and try to sacrifice an Iron Snake.
  • In Harm's Way: Like all Space Marines.
  • Intro-Only Point of View: The first story is from the POV of the human on the world Priad visits.
  • Law of Inverse Fertility: Antoni never had children
  • Manly Tears:
    Salt-water ran from his eye corners. The Rite had begun. Removing his glove, Priad wiped the tears from his eye and marked the emblem of the Iron Snakes on the bulkhead. His men watched him do it.
    Sometimes the Rite was special. Sometimes, you didn't need the flask.
  • The Medic: Apothecaries Memmon and Khiron. Who also double as:
    • Combat Medic: Both space marines are easily the equal of their brothers in combat.
  • Mobile Maze: Under Chaos, a labyrinth can't be trusted
  • The Mole: A Chaos thing.
  • Morton's Fork: An ordeal will prove Khiron's innocence if it kills him; if he survives, he's guilty.
  • Nice to the Waiter: A princess who tries to order the Space Marines around also strikes her guard for disagreeing with her.
  • Our Mermaids Are Different: Aekon hallucinates, briefly of one, before realizing it's Khiron.
  • The Power of Friendship: Petrok urges Priad to consider this in his squad's wrong doing.
  • The Promise: Priad promises to protect some civilians.
  • Reality Ensues: Discussed then played straight. When hunting for cultists and possibly more, Memmon the apothecary removes his helmet to get a sniff of the air to get a sense of things. Priad notes that he would have berated anybody else for leaving his head unprotected, but Memmon's sense is good enough that he let's it go. For that very reason, he gets killed a few moments later.
  • Royal Brat: One princess at the coronation, who tries to shoot the Sergeant with a lasgun built into her ring when he refuses to kowtow to her. The marine's response can be summed up as "Did you really just do that?"
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: The regalia was meant to contain this; they managed to seal it up before it escaped.
  • The Squad: Squad Damocles, natch. Lead by Raphon when Priad joins up, who takes the torch-er, Lightning Claw fairly early in the narrative.
  • Staff of Authority: One of the coronation regalia
  • Take Up My Sword: When Sergeant Raphon is mortally wounded, he detaches his relic Lightning Claw and gives it to Priad. It's implied that this is how leadership has been passed down for much of Damocles Squad's existence, since the Lightning claw originally belonged to Sergeant Damocles.
  • Weather Dissonance: At first rain on a desert world is taken as a good omen, but it soon becomes clear that something is wrong.
  • We Do Not Know Each Other: An Inquisitor appears in two stories. In the second, he alerts Priad to his concealed identity.
  • With Due Respect: Priad, arguing with Petrok.
  • Would Not Shoot a Civilian: They try to protect the farmers.
  • Youth Is Wasted on the Dumb: The trench dive, where young initiates and Iron Snakes dive a very deep trench and leave an offering at the bottom. It used to be an unofficial tradition of the chapter, but is now officially forbidden due to too many deaths attempting the dive. Aekon makes the trench dive in order to prove himself, given he's the youngest member of Damocles. Priad is incensed when he later learns that everyone in Damocles has done the trench dive except him. He's also thrown for a loop when he learns that Chief Librarian Petrok has also made the dive.