Book Review: Into the Maelstrom - Warhammer 40k Anthology

Title - Into the Maelstrom (40K)
Author - Several
Year - 1999
Stand Alone or Series - Stand Alone (12 Short Stories) 
Pages - 288
Reading Time - 6 days (October 2010)
Rating - 8/10

In the nightmare future of Warhammer 40,000, mankind teeters on the brink of extinction. Into the Maelstrom is a storming collection of a dozen action-packed science fiction short stories set in this dark and brooding universe

One of my limitations was not trying to read more science fiction. I always think it's complicated it. Apart from some warhammer 40k novels I've never dwelt much. This one was a challenge to me. I always thought that 40k literature was a bit different from the fantasy and some books that I try beggining I thought them complicated. Most of this writers are one timers in the universe and most of them didn't even get to right a full lenght novel.

Salvation - Jonathan Green (18 pages)  In this story we follow the life of a Ultramarine that was left forgotten after a tyranid cleansing. The ultramarine have no memory whatsoever and it's taken by some villagers that think he is a star god. Meanwhile the village is attacked and the marine tries to help the villagers that took care of him. In the end he remembers what he is and what he must do but the enemy is too powerful even for a ancient space marine. In the end he dies fulfilling his vows to protect humanity. I really like these story. 8.5/10

Into the Maelstrom - Chris Pramas (14 pages) This tale gives the name of the anthology so I expected much.This tale we follow the lifes of a space marine of the Astral Claws (now turned renegade) as he tries to bring justice to his chapter. After allying with White Scars they plot to overthrone Huron Blackheart, the leader of the now named Red Corsairs aka Astral Claws and bring justice to the chapter. This tale is full of betrayals upon betrayals and things never work out as they hoped. The ending was pure mallevolance to the betrayer of the betrayer chapter. Excelent 8.5/10

Emperor's Grace - Alex  Hammond (22 pages) This is the first story not featuring Space Marines. This tale we follow two imperial guard armies as they battle in different ways the Eldar. We get also into the head of a Commissar and the meaning of life. What are you able to do to survive. Would you turn evil or renegade to save yourself? Do you go against orders when they send you to your death? To die in glory or to "run" and fight another day? What is the correct answer? Very nice 8/10

The Raven's Claw - Jonathan Curran (20 pages) In this tale we follow a penal legion. This tale is quite good. A condemend human joins a penal legion but he's got no memory of his crime and why he is there. In the beginning other convicts try to help him out but as he remember who he was and what he must do things change... after all he is an Callidus Assassin and is bound to kill the one who gave that world to chaos. After the completion of the mission the reinforcements would arrive. It was excelent the dialogue and the reason of why he did what he did (even the memory loss). I really enjoyed this story. 7.5/10

Children of the Emperor - Barrington J Bayley (26 pages) This story was another stone on this jewel of a book. This tale is totally different from the others. As some space battle is brewing a trooper and a commissar fall to the planet in different escape pods. One is taken by a strange beings that venerate the emperor and the other is taken another village of the space beings that venerate the blood god. As they understand more the commissar have a exterminatus in mind and the trooper who fell into the "good" village doesn't want that to happened because he finds out that they are human but adapted to that High-Gravity world that want to travel to the stars and join the Star-Emperor but he knows that humanity will never accept them and will hunt them down as mutants. In the end as the commisar dies the trooper makes a difficult choice that could lead to his dead. He decides to use the commisar log to make his own request to the Imperium and forget this planet forever. 10/10

The Black Pearl - Chris Pramas (20 pages) This tale is about Dark Angels against Fallen Angels that they want to hunt them down to their last. It's their main shame. As the Dark Angels try to find a ancient relic they discover it in a maiden world of the eldar. As they fight the Eldar they are warned against that relic. Unfortunally the relic is not what it's suppossed to be. Instead of their primach swords it's the sword of the first heretic within Dark Angels Civil War. 7/10

Acceptable Losses - Gav Thorpe (34 pages) This tale was I think the premises for a Dan Abnett novel Double Eagle. If Double Eagle they fought on a planet this one was in space. This story was excelent. The bombers think they are just cannon fodder but in the end they realize the burden of command. It was an excelent story. tt reminds me of Aces High by Iron Maiden... Excelent. 8.5/10

Tenebrae - Mark Brendan (16 pages) What are thoughts of a governor as he loses his planet to chaos. What is in his mind. Does god forsaken him? Must he turns to Chaos since it seems it is stronger? This story is a psychological quest of the governor of a dying country. I must say I was please with this tale. Usually there is two ways to our problems. The right way or the wrong way. Sometimes we can choose a third choise. Give up. 8.5/10

Ancient Lances - Alex Hammond (22 pages) In this tale we follow the Sons of Attila or Atillan Rough Riders as they go on conquest for the Emperor. After one hundred battles Al'Kahan have two choices: either return home or be a governor on a conquered planet. As they are re-supplying horses in their home planet he return to his tribe to find it completed changed. From their he goes into revolt against the new lords. The ending was good and it gave me something to think. Sometimes " there is no place like home" doesn't work. And sometimes home can be real a alien place. Our costumes and traditions sometimes are alien to us. Good story. 8/10

Hell in a Bottle - Simon Jowett (20 pages) I couldn't underst this story. I really tried but it felt so alieneted to me. It was quite strange story. An not-space marine of the Iron Heart in a strange training planet with some odd "Mimesis" machine and a daemonic horde. Really strange and uncomprehensible.  4/10

Unthinking Justice - Andras Millward (22 pages) In this tale we follow the Black Consuls chapter as they help a world against a heretic rebellion. With the help of Inquisitor they batlle time and again against them. But it seems that not all things are what it seem. Their error is ammend in time and the world is saved. The Inquisitor on this tale as turn into Chaos. So what I learn from this? Well... two things. Things are not always what they seem. Never follow a blind man in a struggle. Inform yourself before choosing sides and most important of all.

In the belly of the Beast - William King (37 pages) The first story that william King made of Space Wolves then he went on writing four novels with them. Space Wolves and their motives and feelings. I really was into them. All of them William King is undoubtly one of the best writers in the game. 9/10


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