Wrath of Iron, the latest Space Marine Battles Novel by author Chris Wraight is unlike any of the other Space Marine Battles books I have read before it. Usually, once I finish reading a Black Library book about Space Marines, I feel compelled to start a Warhammer 40k Army based on the chapter I just read about. This is not one of those cases. But that doesn’t mean this isn’t a good book. In fact, it’s just the opposite!
The Iron Hands are a particular difficult chapter to sympathize with. Their utter disregard for human life is unparalleled by any of the other loyalist Chapters. It may even rival some traitor marines! The expenditure, or even perceived waste of human life, by the commander of The Iron Hands is incredible, and it makes it hard to sympathize with the problems that the chapter has.
For those that don’t know, the Iron Hands seek to replace the “weakness” of their flesh by augmenting themselves with bionics. This is a flaw in the Iron Hands psyche, as the further they modify themselves, the more of what is left of their humanity, is surrendered. This is the crux of the conflict within the Iron Hands themselves. It is made even more tragic, by the fact that their Primarch Ferrus Manus, sought to rid himself and his sons of their compulsive addiction to bionics.
While Wrath of Iron deals with a conflict between the forces of Slaanesh on the planet Shardenus, this is really just the backdrop to the interactions of the Imperial Guard and forces of the Titan Legion under the command of The Iron Hands. To that end we see the story unfold from the perspective of many different people. From infiltrating loyalist forces, the commanders of The Imperial Guard, to the mysterious Mechanicus leaders of The Titan Battlegroup Praxes and the multiple personalities within The Iron Hands themselves, we are treated to many interpretations of the prosecution of the war on Shardenus. As with many books that take this sort of approach, I found some stories to be much more engaging than others, but when you step back and look at the whole picture that is painted by the end of the book, you can’t help but be moved by some of the stories.
This is not the “Feel good book of the year”, but it isn’t supposed to be. This is 40k Fiction in it’s purest form. And no one escapes by the end, no one escapes unscathed, or unchanged as the case may be.
If you are enjoying the Space Marine Battles Books as much as I am, you are definitely not going to want to miss this one!