"They shall be my finest warriors, these men who give of themselves to me. Like clay I shall mould them, and in the furnace of war forge them. They will be of iron will and steely muscle. In great armour shall I clad them and with the mightiest guns will they be armed. They will be untouched by plague or disease, no sickness will blight them. They will have tactics, strategies and machines so that no foe can best them in battle. They are my bulwark against the Terror. They are the Defenders of Humanity."
"They are my Space Marines and they shall know no fear."'' - God Emperor of Mankind
Space Marine Battles is a series of Warhammer40000 novels launched in 2010 and written by many well-known Black Library Authors such as Aaron Dembski-Bowden, Nick Kyme and Chris Wright. The series focuses on many major and notable battles as well as exploits of various famous (and infamous) Space Marine Chapters and their heroes, following their victories against the Daemonic Forces of Chaos, Heretics and Xenos in their service to the Imperium.(and an occasional book on the Chaos Space Marines counterparts too.)Extract from the Official Black Library Website on the entire series: The Space Marines of the Adeptus Astartes are fearless champions of humanity. Genetic modification and psycho-conditioning has made them superior to Men in all respects. These Superhuman, weapons of war are mankind's most elite fighting force, and as such, their battles are iconic tales of xenos purges and desperate last-stands. Their deeds have become legendary, and the Space Marine Battle series recounts their most notorious front-line stories of heroism in graphic detail.The series consists of:
Rynnís World (Jan. 2010) by Steve Parker (Crimson Fists Space Marine Chapter)
Helsreach (Apr. 2010) by Aaron Dembski-Bowden (Black Templars Space Marine Chapter)
Hunt for Voldorius (Sep. 2010) by Andy Hoare (White Scars Space Marine Chapter)
The Purging of Kadillus (Feb. 2011) by Gav Thorpe (Dark Angels Space Marine Chapter)
Fall of Damnos (Mar. 2011) by Nick Kyme (Ultramarines Space Marine Chapter)
Battle of the Fang (Jun. 2011) by Chris Wraight (Space Wolves Space Marine Chapter)
The Gildar Rift (Dec. 2011) by Sarah Cawkwell (Silver Skulls Space Marine Chapter)
Legion of the Damned (Apr. 2012) by Rob Sanders (Excoriators Space Marine Chapter)
Architect of Fate (May 2012) edited by Christian Dunn, a short story anthology of four individual Space Marine Chapters who operate around the Eye of Terror.
Wrath of Iron (Jul. 2012) by Chris Wraight (Iron Hands Space Marine Chapter)
The Siege of Castellax (Dec. 2012) by C.L. Werner (Iron Warriors Chaos Space Marine Chapter)
The Death of Antagonis (Jan. 2013) by David Annandale (Black Dragons Space Marine Chapter)
Death of Integrity (August 2013) by Guy Haley (Blood Drinkers and Novamarines Space Marine Chapters)
Malodrax (Nov. 2013) by Ben Counter (Imperial Fists Space Marine Chapter)
Upcoming titles are:
At the 2012 Black Library Weekender, C.Z. Dunn announced that the next episodes to be treated in the series would likely include the battle aboard the World Engine, and later, memorable vignettes from the Badab War.
Novellas and Short Stories:
Catechism of Hate (Jan. 2012) by Gav Thorpe (Ultramarines Space Marine Chapter)
Kraken (March. 2012) by Chris Wraight (Space Wolves Space Marine Chapter)
Flesh of Cretacia (Nov. 2012) by Andy Smillie (Flesh Tearers Space Marine Chapter)
Steel Blood (Jan. 2013) by C.L. Werner (Iron Warriors Chaos Space Marine Chapter)
Blood and Fire (July 2013) by Aaron Dembski-Bowden (Black Templars Space Marine Chapter)
Traitor's Gorge (August 2013) by Mike Lee (Crimson Fists Space Marine Chapter)
Spear of Macragge (September 2013) by Nick Kyme (Ultramarines Space Marine Chapter)
Stormseer (December 2013) by David Annandale (White Scars Space Marine Chapter)
Shadow Captain (January 2014) by David Annandale (Raven Guard Space Marine Chapter)
Forge Master (Feburary 2014) by David Annandale (Salamanders Space Marine Chapter)
Plague Harvest (April 2014) by Cavan Scott (Ultramarines Space Marine Chapter)
Engines of War (May 2014)by Steve Lyons (Ultramarines Space Marine Chapter)
Armour of Faith (July 2014)by Graeme Lyon (Ultramarine Space Marine Chapter)
Armageddon(July 2013)by Aaron Dembski-Bowden
Damnos (September 2013)by Nick Kyme
Overfiend (June 2014)by David Annandale
Bloodspire (May 2012) by C.Z. Dunn (Blood Angels Space Marine Chapter)
Deathwolf (June 2012) by Andy Smillie (Space Wolves Space Marine Chapter)
The Ascension of Balthasar (October 2012) by C.Z. Dunn (Dark Angels Space Marine Chapter)
The Stromark Massacre (November 2012) by C.Z. Dunn and Andy Smillie (Blood Angels Space Marine Chapter)
Blood in the Machine (July 2013) by Andy Smillie (Flesh Tearers Space Marine Chapter)
Veil of Darkness (September 2013) by Nick Kyme (Ultramarines Space Marine Chapter)
Master of the Hunt January 2014)by Josh Reynolds (White Scars Space Marine Chapter)
Mortarion's Heart (February 2014) by Laurie Goulding (Grey Knights Space Marine Chapter)
Action Novel Quiet Drama Scene: Despite the brutal action and depiction of war in the 41st Millennium, some of the best scenes are quiet moments where the Space Marines were discussing tactics and plans about how to wage war or giving some Exposition on the background of the planet or enemy they face. For example, during Helsreach where Grimaldus speaks to his Fighting Company's Apothecary, who is close to crossing the Despair Event Horizon due to the casualties that the Black Templars are sustaining (by this point in the book only a few are left and the defenders are near defeat).
Affably Evil: For fans who support the side of Chaos, the Chaos Space Marines are this.
A.I. Is a Crapshoot: Averted for most, but still depends on Adeptus Mechanicus's Tech priests and the Techmarines of the various Space Marine Chapters. (The Imperium banned Artificial Intelligence for a reason) The Chaos Space Marines battle robots and vehicles are most certainly running on this Trope. The one time we've seen this in action in Death of Integrity, the situation is well warranted, considering that the AI in question was driven insane with grief after his captain was killed by Imperium officials for "heresy".
Alien Sky: The titular planet of Malodrax is surrounded by an "orbital reef" so dense that one needs a map to get through alive. This somehow does nothing to disrupt the normal day/night cycle - multiple mentions are made of being able to see the twin suns unobstructed - so the "sky" is presumably a hellscape of the Warp.
Aliens Speaking Gothic: The Necrons in Fall of Damnos seem to enjoy taunting the human defenders in their own tongue.
The Orks also have no problem communicating with the Dark Angels in Purging of Kadillus', although they avert the trope in ''Siege of Castellax".
The Alleged Car: The Iron Warriors have this impression when they're forced to hijack an Ork plane. The only reason a throttle was installed was so the Ork pilot could weld the thrust lever into the highest gear (Orks are funny like that), and it doesn't have any landing gear.
The Antagonist Wins: The Orks are the undisputed winners of Siege of Castellax, while the Chaos Space Marines are scattered and their human slaves are slaughtered to a man.
Anyone Can Die: Even though most of the characters are Space Marines, many have been killed off no matter whether they are high-ranking Captains or just a standard battle brother. The various authors tend to kill off several well-developed characters at times, and considering this is the Warhammer40000 universe, that's very common on a daily basis.
Armor Is Useless: Averted for the many Power Armor types worn by the various Space Marines, which make them nigh-invincible unless you can get a lucky shot through the armour's weak points or have heavy weapons designed specifically to kill Space Marines.
Attack! Attack! Attack!: The more brutal Space Marine Chapters are this. They have no qualms whatsoever about applying overwhelming force to completely annihilate the enemies of the Imperium, even if it causes collateral damage to the surroundings.
Other Space Marine Captains, though, will withdraw their forces when they know they don't have the firepower to go toe-to-toe with the enemy, as it is better to live to fight another day than to fight a battle that they cannot win.
Attack! Attack... Retreat! Retreat!/Tactical Withdrawal: In Fall of Damnos Sicarius commits all his Ultramarines to an offensive feint in an attempt to draw out the Necron Lords. The Necrons don't fall for it, and the Ultramarines find themselves nearly surrounded in short order.
Captain Evvers and the mountainside guerrillas in Damnos. For over a year they survive in some of the harshest climates killing Necrons with nothing more than ice picks and improvised explosives. Conscript Falka deserves a mention as well, leading a hundred-man charge against a phalanx of Necrons and winning.
The Excoriators' Chapter serfs in Legion of the Damned. They take part in the siege, firing lasrifles and tending to autocannon turrets.
Every loyalist Guardsman in Wrath of Iron. Hell, even most of the "traitors" are pretty ballsy before they start getting replaced with Abnormals.
Yuxiang in Siege of Castellax. Little more than an escaped slave, he ends up starting a secret revolt and, to his own surprise, kills a Chaos Space Marine.
Sister Sethano in Death of Antagonis. Mere days after walking off a bolter wound to the gut, she fights off an ambush with two daemons and a fallen Inquisitor, and wins decisively.
Because I Said So: Subverted by Lord Plosk in Death of Integrity. While he has a signed permission slip from the High Lords of Terra to more or less do ANYTHING he wants, he realizes the Space Marines would be better motivated if he treats them like equals, and agrees to trade their assistance for custom-built spaceships.
Better to Die than Be Killed: Inverted most of the time. Space Marines would rather go down fighting, taking as many enemies as possible with them.
Played straight for non-Astartes. When (former) General Nethena from Wrath of Iron realizes the Space Marine are about to royally fuck him up for attempted mutiny, he takes his rebreather off in the middle of a chemical fogbank.
Blood Knight: The more brutal Space Marine Chapters are made up of these.
Purging of Kadillus has a prologue and epilogue from the point of view of the Orks.
Legion of the Damned is one giant How We Got Here, leading up to the events of the prologue with Captain Kersh laying with his back broken on a sea of heretic corpses.
Bullying The Dragon: Why yes, Ecclesiarch. I'm certain that asking that Space Marine Captain to kiss your boots will only end great for you and your private army which you aren't supposed to have. We all know what happens next.
Cannon Fodder: Averted. Space Marine Chapters do not spend their companies and squads needlessly, but some Chapters (like the Iron Hands) are not above sending Imperial Guard forces in mass numbers to the frontlines before they deploy their own troops.
The Chains of Commanding: Some of the Space Marine Captains have to make harsh decisions to save the Imperium. At first it weighs heavily on them, especially the newly promoted Captains and Sergeants, but throughout the battles ahead they grow to accept the mantle handed to them. Specifically, Kersh from Legion and Volos from Antagonis have the whole You Are in Command Now aspect woven pretty deeply into their character arcs.
Clarke's Third Law: The spaceship known as the Spirit of Eternity, from Death of Integrity, was built during the Golden Age of Technology, and it outclasses the Imperial fores so badly it almost becomes an Outside-Context Villain.
Comically Small Bribe: The xenos temples in Death of Antagonis have to be bribed with blood to get the enormous war machines working, but the amount of blood is pretty small compared to how massive some of the mechanisms are. The Black Dragons even lampshade this when a bell the size of a small planet considers itself fully charged with only about 50 slaves' worth of blood.
Death Equals Redemption and Redemption Equals Death: From Wrath of Iron, Valien the Death Cult Assassin grew up in the slums and is addicted to drinking blood. He knew damn well his sins were great and constantly worried that his career wouldn't help his life amount to anything. At least through his suicide bomb he was able to make his death count for something, by blowing up a Slaanesh Daemon Prince's sanctuary, wounding said Prince and atomizing his personal bodyguards.
Defiant to the End: When Captain Lysander is captured in Malodrax, he quickly accepts that he's lost and at his enemy's mercy, but keeps on struggling anyway because that's just what a Space Marine does. As long as he can recognize some way to inconvenience his captors, he'll try and do it.
Scout Omar in Legion of the Damned. He's buried alive in heretics, stabbed in the chest by a set of Lightning Claws, gets his legs eaten by a daemon, and still begs to be put on the front lines (he ends up playing spotter for another scout with a sniper rifle). He then takes on the role of the sniper when the his fellow scout is killed, and continues putting down daemons and heretics until he was eventually overwhelmed.
Over-captain Vallax in Siege of Castellax is teleported into a trap by Oriax, where he's mobbed by nearly a million Orks. He's captured and tortured to within an inch of his life, repeatedly, for seven days straight. He then fights his way out of the torture chamber and into his own home base, which is under siege at the time, and finally goes down fighting, all with half of his skull missing.
Did You Just Have Tea With Cthulhu: Captain Lysander spends a good chunk of Malodrax chatting with Daemon Prince Shalhadar and rehearsing for a play. This only applies during the flashbacks, however; in the present day Lysander and Shahadar are quick to try and kill each other.
The Legion Of The Damned in the titular book come out of nowhere, as far as the forces of Chaos were concerned. The results did not end well for them in the novel.
This line in Death of Antagonis:
"That pretty-faced traitor is no captain of mine."
Doomed by Canon: Several books are in-depth retellings of stories that had been established in older Space Marines codecies. For example, Sergeant Naaman wasn't getting out of Purging of Kadillus alive.
The Ultramarines eventually have to leave Damnos to the Necrons.
The Crimson Fists lost their Fortress Monastery to a faulty missile battery and damn near lost their homeworld planet to the orks.
Face-Heel Turn: Captain Toharan and Inquisitor Lettinger in ''Death of Antagonis.
Irony: Lettinger was convinced the Black Dragons would betray the Imperium, and believed Toharan was the Dragons' last chance at redemption.
Feel No Pain: Sister Sethano. She takes a bolter round to the gut, and not only kills the traitor who shot her but shrugs it off in a matter of days.
Genius Loci: Every major character in Malodrax is convinced that the titular planet is actively toying with them to satisfy a goal of some kind. Considering it's a daemon world, they are likely correct by some measure.
It Can Think: Death of Integrity will make damn sure that you don't think of Genestealers as just random packs of feral beasts. They can study, ambush, use adaptive tactics, find practical uses for their own corpses, identify and destroy your communication lines...
At least until you kill their Broodlord.
Jerk with a Heart of Gold: In Siege of Castellax, Over-captain Vallax is about as close to this trope as a Chaos Marine can get. He's an egotistical, glory-stealing jerkass, but he really does have a sense of honor and would hate to see his brothers die in anything short of a glorious battle. Later, when he fails his brothers by leading a team of Ork Kommandoes into the Bastion, he takes it upon himself to Hold the Line and Face Death with Dignity.
Keystone Army: The Necrons in Fall of Damnos become sluggish and stilted if they don't have a nearby Lord or Overlord to direct them. Sicarius spends the entire book trying to exploit this fact.
The Necron Overlord believes this to be true of the Ultramarines as well. See Roaring Rampage of Revenge to see how well that worked out.
Laser-Guided Karma: In Siege of Castellax, Skintaker Algol threatens to torture a rebelling slave slowly and painfully in the most drawn-out way possible. Then the ceiling collapses, trapping Algol under hundreds of tons of concrete. The slave isn't trapped, and stabs Algol through the neck repeatedly. Since Algol is a Space Marine, it takes him well over 15 minutes for him to die, and he's awake for every second of it.
Look on My Works, Ye Mighty, and Despair!: Whatever mighty civilization ruled the planet of Malodrax in the past, they've been reduced to nothing but a crumbling castle and some slaves for the Iron Warriors.
Moral Event Horizon: In-universe, Toharan ordering a military strike against the Imperial world of Aighe Mortis.
More Dakka: AND HOLY GOD-EMPEROR HOW!! Almost every novel in this series is bound to have scenes of Space Marines unloading their weaponry into Daemons, Heretics and Xenos alike.
My Greatest Failure: Scipio in Fall of Damnos keeps flashing back to an attack against Nurgle cultists, in which he failed to Mercy Kill his Chaplain in time, resulting in a demon popping out of Chaplain Orad's flesh and killing another squadmate. Thus he becomes a bit of a perfectionist (by Space Marine standards), and when more squadmates die to the Necrons he's having trouble accepting it truly isn't his fault this time.
In the novel Legion of the Damned, we have Umbragg of the Brazen Flesh.
Non-Indicative Name: In Death of Antagonis, the planet Antagonis is blown up barely a third of the way into the book. The Planet Aighe Mortis is home to a lot more drama. The real story is the rise and fall of Toharan and his defeat at the hands of Volos.
In Purging of Kadillus, Kadillus Harbor is purged off-screen by the PDF. The Space Marine characters we follow throughout the book are trying to purge a series of power plants instead.
Omniscient Morality License: The Iron Hands in Wrath of Iron view their Imperial Guard allies as ignorant martyrs with their "cold flawless logic", happy to send them to die to further the success of the campaign. Sure, it all works out since the Guard aren't aware of the Slaanesh cult, but are the Iron Hands willing to just share that little detail? Not a chance.
Our Zombies Are Different: Brought up in-universe in Death of Antagonis, when the Black Dragons, Sethano, and Lettinger discuss that the local plague zombies are faster than Nurgle's zombies, infect other subjects at an absurdly fast rate, and ignore space marines...
Technically Living Zombie: This is because they aren't fully dead, they're brainwashed by a Chaos mind-virus called the Doubtworm. The zombies are still, in their own minds, actually loyalist imperial citizens fully aware of their infected state, but with no ability to communicate that fact. All they can do is wildly flail at the Doubtworm's asymptomatic carriers, hoping to kill them before they can spread the Doubtworm to the next planet. This is also why they ignore space marines, who are immune to the Doubtworm in the first place.
Pyrrhic Victory: Death of Antagonis is just one long string of these for the Black Dragons.
"The Reason You Suck" Speech: The Big Bad of Wrath of Iron gives one to the Iron Hands, how they've become little more than machine fetishists and obsessed, paranoid automatons since Ferrus Mannus was killed. Ironfather Krastos was too busy calculating the Prince's weak spot to bother listening.
Roaring Rampage of Revenge: In Fall of Damnos, the Ultramarines — and Brother Agrippan in particular — are pissed when they think Sicarius is dead.
Sanity Slippage: Sahtah the Enflensed, a Necron Lord turned flayed one, in Fall of Damnos, finds himself growing less and less self-aware as his cravings for flesh grow stronger.
The Necron Overlord whom Sahtah answers to isn't doing much better, debating whether or not to join the Destroyer Court.
Secret Path: Squad Scipio spends most of Fall of Damnos looking for one, since the Necron artillery pieces high in the mountains have extremely strong yet extremely wide circles of defense.
Slobs Versus Snobs: Malodrax concerns the feud between the luscious, extravagant, hedonistic cult of Shalhadar and the grungy, militant, dour Iron Warriors.
Spanner in the Works: Techpriest Oriax is secretly sabotaging his Iron Warrior "brothers" throughout Siege of Castellax.
Towards the end, Oriax probably sees Captain Rhodaan as this, since Rhodaan doesn't submit to the Bolivian Army Ending and starts to undo some of the sabotage, and ultimately survives the novel.
Captain Lysander in Malodrax. The whims of fate unleashed him to test the strength of the Iron Warriors and the reign of Shalhadar. Both of the Chaos factions fail miserably.
Even before that, Lysander only escaped captivity because of a faulty scalpel breaking off where he could reach it.
The Starscream: Tahek the Voidbringer and Ankh the Necron Lorn in Fall of Damnos have more than a few shades of this, both towards their Overlord and towards each other.
Status Quo Is God: Death of Integrity centers around retrieving a special data core that contains the blueprints for every war machine and piece of technology that was used by the Emperor to conquer the galaxy. Actually succeeding in retrieving the data core would more or less spell death for any and all of mankind's enemies throughout the universe. Guess what the Space Marines don't end up capturing?
Consolation Prize: Lord Plosk still managed to capture a fraction of the blueprints from the data core of the Spirit of Eternity.
Super OCD: Chaplain Boreas in Purging of Kadillus stops in the middle of a pitched siege to glue part of a statue back together. In his mind he realizes there's probably better things to be doing at that moment, but he'd also be a bad Chaplain if he wasn't a stickler for details.