Review: Prey by George Mann

Posted by DarkChaplain at 5/03/2012
Prey is the latest Raven Guard short story by George Mann.
Only available as an ebook, the price of £0.79 / 1.00€ / $1.25 seems quite fair, considering this story is about 2500 words, two and a half as many as the BLis15! shorts. Prey also works as a teaser to George's upcoming limited edition novella - The Unkindness of Ravens.

"Raven Guard Chaplain Cordae hunts a deadly beast in the mountains of the Chapter’s homeworld, Kiavahr. But as the creature realises the danger, Cordae finds himself the prey..."

The story is actually quite simple, yet unusual. Expanding further on the Raven Guard's background, George Mann tells the story of Chaplain Cordae's ritual hunt for a Roc, a gigantic raven-like bird. Having pursued the animal for nineteen days, Cordae is close to the hunt's end, yet the bird surely has been aware of his pursuit. Timing and cunning would decide whether Cordae would bring the Roc's dead body home to become part of his armor, or if the pursuit would see him lying dead on the foot of the mountains he had been climbing for days.
To succeed, Chaplain Cordae of the Raven Guard has to risk his life attempting to capture his prey. But how can he be sure he didn't underestimate his quarry?

George Mann isn't new to the Raven Guard; Having written two previous audio dramas about them, namely Helion Rain and Labyrinth of Sorrows, over the last years, he has taken every opportunity to add a few new traits and layers to the Chapter, partly inspired by Forgeworld products, which prove to be a satisfying contribution to their background. He knows the Raven Guard and manages to make them both appear deep and accessible in their ways.
Prey is a prime example of his efforts to expand the lore of the Raven Guard; instead of showing Space Marines on the field of battle, Prey discovers the Chapter's culture, rituals and symbolism. One single, unarmored Space Marine testing his mind against the giant ravens of Kiavahr, the Chapter's homeworld - we certainly don't get things like these often enough. Even the warriors of the Adeptus Astartes do have a cultural background, as Prey expertly shows.

While the story is definitely unusual and admittedly short, it was quite a pleasant read. The ebook managed to paint a vivid picture of the ritual hunt and the Chaplain's determination to take down his quarry. Add to that all the little details to flesh out the Raven Guard-feel of the story and you get a good read you won't regret picking up. Especially fans of the Chapter will find a lot of inspirational details for upcoming hobby projects. Fans of Bolter-porn will be severely disappointed, however, so be aware that this story is not about war, but filling a niche. It certainly isn't for everyone.

I recommend picking the ebook up; The low price makes this an especially safe bet.
But beware! You might get tempted to buy the upcoming novella The Unkindness of Ravens. Well, at least I am...

Update: An Extract of The Unkindness of Ravens is up on today's Black Library blog entry. Check it out!

Prey on the Black Library Website

About the Author
DarkChaplain is a big nerd who spends too much time reading and thinking about books, organizing them on his ever-growing shelves, and yet increases his backlog by the month. DC is also an avid Gamer and owns more PC games than he'll ever be able to play. He is certainly spoiled for choice!
Follow Me on Twitter @TheDarkChaplain

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