Book Review 220 // Legion of the Damned by Rob Sanders

This took longer to get through than planned. Turns out I am easily distracted, haha. Let's dive into this Space Marine Battles book which I hope will be unique and give some insight into the Legion of the Damned.

Title: Legion of the Damned (Space Marine Battles 8)

Author: Rob Sanders

Blurb: Following the trajectory of a blood-red comet, the berserk World Eaters blaze a path of destruction across the galaxy in its wake. The small cemetery world of Certus Minor appeals to the Space Marines of the Excoriators Chapter for protection, but the force dispatched to deal with this grim threat is far too small, and their losses against the renegades are high. Just as all seems lost, salvation is borne out of legend itself as sinister spectral warriors descend upon this planet of the dead, and the enemies of the Imperium come face to face with those who have already travelled beyond the realm of the living...

Format: 416 pages, Paperback

You're not finding paperback: Kindle edition via Amazon


Okay, this is a review of two parts. Part one is a great story. A violent, bloody, nasty tale about an Imperial Fist successor Chapter called the Excoriators. These are a second founding chapter that can trace their heritage all the way to veterans of the Horus Heresy. They have seemingly fallen on hard times running foul of the Alpha Legion. With a Champions honour in question, we follow our lead as he seeks redemption.

This was a great start, loads of action, loads of Easter Egg lore pieces and Corpus Captain Kersh was a character I could get behind. He is a broken hero and a nice change of pace compared to the usual heroes we read about. The setting is grim, set on a funeral world, about to be hit by the Cholercaust Crusade: a chaotic fleet that is all about Khorne, with the heart of the army featuring World Eaters. The understrength 5th Company led by Kersh is all that stands in their path. Seems like a waste of resources as they are basically fighting for the dead, but that Dorn bloodline is refusing to leave.

The battle for the cemetery world is dark, grim and remarkable. You honestly felt that every blow would be the final straw that breaks their lines. The burying of the living with the dead is so dark and perfect for the setting. This was one of the grimmest dark stories I have read from Black Library.

With me so happy reading this, why am I splitting my review in two? If the book was called Scourge or Excoriators, I would be giving this high praise. Unfortunately, someone decided to call it Legion of the Damned, who, apart from an unexplained camo, appear only in the final chapter. It feels like they messed this one up. Imagine reading The Scourge instead, and in the final apocryphal chapter of the book, when all hope is gone, our surviving Marines are rescued by the Legion of the Damned! How cool of a twist ending would that be? Instead, I spent the whole book waiting for them to show up to be let down ultimately.

So, where do I finally fall with this book? As a stand-alone Space Marine story, I enjoyed it, and I would recommend it. As a Legion of the Damned fan, I am left hollow and disappointed. It feels like click-bait or I guess title-bait? They lured me in with Legion of the Damned and then did the old switch on me. Bad form BL!

I hope this will aid you in deciding if you should read it or not. Let me know your thoughts on this title in the comments below.

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