Follow TV Tropes


Literature / Halo: Shadow of Intent

Go To

Halo: Shadow of Intent is a book set in the Halo universe released in December 2015. Though published by 343 Industries, it was written by Joseph Staten, one of the original writers of Bungie-era Halo, as his swan song to the series.

It is a few months after the events of Halo 3. The Covenant has fragmented, with the Sangheili (Elites) still waging war against their former allies the Jiralhanae (Brutes) and San'Shyuum (Prophets). After completing a joint-mission with humanity, Rtas 'Vadum, the Sangheili Shipmaster (and former special operations commander) known as "the Half-Jaw", returns to Sangheili space to find their colonies being razed. Questioning the wounded but vengeful survivors, he discovers that these attacks are the work of a Prelate, the last of a hidden group of San'Shyuum Super Soldiers. At the helm of his flagship Shadow of Intent, Rtas and his crew seek out the Prelate to stop his next attack, but come to find the Prelate's target was not the colonies, but him...


Halo: Shadow of Intent contains examples of:

  • Action Girl: While still frowned upon by the more "traditional" males, female Sangheili warriors are not unheard of. At the remains of Rahnelo, Rtas meets Tul 'Juran, the daughter of the recently killed clan leader, who joins his crew to hunt the Prelate who ravaged her clan.
  • Arbitrary Skepticism: When the Blademaster expresses scorn over Tul joining the Shadow's crew, Rtas points out that the Blademaster has gotten used to the more crazy notion of an Unggoy leading Sangheili troops.
  • Batman Gambit: The Prelate's ship is vastly outclassed by the Shadow, so he hatches a cunning plan to even the odds step by step. First he attacks the colony of Rahnelo, devastating its peaceful settlements so that Rtas is enraged enough to fire everything he's got when they clash. Next he lures the Intent to Duraan, a planet whose sun's magnetic storm wreaks havoc on the Shadow's shields. Even with its main turrets depleted and its shields malfunctioning, the Shadow still has the upper hand, but the Prelate has enough of an opening for his ship to get close enough for him and his Brutes to board the carrier. Rtas manages to figure out Prelate's plan, but always a step too slow to stop him.
  • Advertisement:
  • Big Bad: Tem is after the Half-Jaw for personal reasons, but his orders to engage the Shadow of Intent come from another fellow San'Shyuum, Boru'a'Neem, the Minister of Preparation, who leads Tem to a secret Forerunner installation they hope to use against the Sangheili. It later turns out the Minister may have been responsible for the death of Tem's family, as he told the Prelate they were dead to keep Tem from rescuing them, even though Rtas recalls that the San'Shyuum in that sector were still alive by that point.
  • The Chains of Commanding: After years of battle, Rtas is beginning to grow exhausted of war. Even though the Sangheili are Proud Warrior Race Guys, the bloodshed and death of innocents he's seen for the past thirty years have him considering that retirement might not be so bad after all. However, the attacks on the colonies and continuing war with the Brutes mean he has to stay in top shape and vigilant, especially since the Sangheili's navy is dwarfed by the Covenant remnants.
    Rtas: It’s not the battles you’ve fought that make you tired. It’s realizing you still have more to fight.
  • Defiant to the End: Both the Prelate and the Minister are rather annoyed by the Sangheili prisoners they have at the book's start, who keep singing clan songs even though they've been tortured and maimed over and over.
  • Deliberate Values Dissonance:
    • Rtas finds it unusual that Tul and her brother know who their father was, as normally Sangheili are raised without knowing their fathers, but notes that they're from a small colony where the standards are different.
    • Traditional Sangheili society scorns female warriors, making exceptions only for self-defense or the kaidon's (clan leader's) close family. Because of this, females can never be kaidon as the line of succession goes through sons, meaning Tul's considerably young brother is legally her leader. However, Rtas has heard of a few cases where there were no sons of the kaidon left and the daughter refused to marry, meaning they technically ruled the clan but were under constant siege by the rival clans of greedy suitors. Towards the end, the Arbiter himself decides it's time to break down the old ways, opening the doors for more females to enlist.
  • Guttural Growler: Because Rtas is missing half his mandibles, he has to speak from deep in his throat, giving him a rather guttural voice.
  • Final Solution: The Minister of Preparation plans to get revenge on the Sangheili by using a prototype Halo on their worlds. Tem had been under the impression that its effects were confined to a single room, but it turns out to have enough range to scour a solar system if fed more power.
  • Heel–Face Turn / Redemption Equals Death: When Tem learns the Minister secretly kept him from rescuing his family, he attacks him but is mortally wounded in the process. However, he still uses his last moments to let Rtas and Tul escape while he destroys the prototype Halo.
  • It's All About Me: When Tem confronts the Minister for lying that it was too late to rescue his family, the Minister throws a fit and insists he too lost valuables during the attack on High Charity. But in his case it was his vault of Forerunner relics, insisting they mattered more than just Tem's family.
  • It's Personal:
    • Tul 'Juran hunts the Prelate for his murder of her father and other clanmates. Gradually though, she comes to accept this conflict is bigger than her, so as to not be blinded by Revenge Before Reason.
    • The Prelate blames Rtas for the death of his wife and newborn child. They were in High Charity when the Flood attacked, and Rtas' flagship fired on the civilian settlements when the infection grew too powerful to contain.
  • Last of His Kind:
    • Tem’Bhetek is the last known Prelate, a group of San'Shyuum that were augmented to physically match Elites and Spartans, and served as the Prophets' secret guard. The rest were thought to have been killed when High Charity was conquered by the Flood.
    • The Shadow of Intent is the last CAS-class assault carrier in the Arbiter's navy, and it's battle-scarred and straining at the seams. Additionally, most of its crew is either reassigned or dead, leaving it with unusually empty hangars, which creeps out Rtas. Because of its great firepower and rarity, the Arbiter has ordered it away from the main battles and instead to investigate outer skirmishes, so it won't be destroyed or captured.
    • It's thought that the San'Shyuum are near extinction, as many of them vanished in the post-war era, but the Silket's databases reveal there may still be thousands out there.
  • Meaningful Name: Tem's starship, the Kel 'Darsam Silket, is a stolen cruiser named after a legendary Sangheili warrior who was killed, according to the varying legends, by either a rival kaidon or his own uncle, betraying him to take Kel's clan for himself. Rtas tells Tem about the legend behind the ship's name, and warns him that like Kel 'Darsam he may be facing betrayal.
  • My Species Doth Protest Too Much:
    • Tem'Bhetek is a rarity among San'Shyuum in that he's very skilled in combat, isn't a decrepit wreck, and walks rather than using a gravity throne. This isn't random chance, though; Tem was augmented physically and genetically to become a supersoldier.
    • Stolt is the rare Unggoy that commands authority and respect over Elites. Even though most Grunts in the games tend to be hordes of ineffectual mooks, Stolt is fearless, tall enough to match a human's height, and once managed to wound a Spartan bad enough that it had to retreat.
    • Discussed at the end of the book. Rtas chooses to remain in the navy because he's seen from Tem that not all the San'Shyuum are ill-intentioned, but some can be turned to good. In future campaigns he hopes to tell the difference to save those who would join the Sangheili's side, rather than letting in less experienced shipmasters who would slaughter the good with the bad.
  • Revenge Before Reason: Gradually subverted. When Tem suspects that Rtas may not hold the entire blame for the death of his family, Tem first forces himself to ignore his doubts and keep hating the Half-Jaw. Gradually, though, he starts to suspect it more and more, and comes to aid Rtas at the end when the truth is revealed.
  • Sequel Hook: After capturing the Spear of Light, Rtas's troops analyze its databases and learn there may be thousands of San'Shyuum still out there.
  • Super Soldier: The Prelates are San'Shyuum who are genetically modified with Forerunner technology and given some of the best equipment the Covenant has to offer; a single one is not only capable of cutting through multiple Elites, but can potentially match even a Spartan in direct combat. That said, they can't maintain their physical exertion indefinitely; too much of their body-speeding drugs will cause them to wear out or even get a heart attack.
  • You Can't Fight Fate: The Prelate has a recurring dream of trying to save his wife and child in High Charity when the Flood attacked. He dies every time, whether from the Flood, from Elites gunning him down, to the Shadow of Intent blasting him from orbit.


How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: