Review: Ghosts Speak Not & Patience by James Swallow

Posted by DarkChaplain at 3/07/2016
A former Sister of Silence and a Legionary once of the Death Guard embark on a vital mission for the Sigillite... one that will lead the former XIV Legion warrior back into battle alongside his old captain, Nathaniel Garro...

When Nathaniel Garro carried word of the Warmaster’s treachery to Terra, he also brought with him seventy loyal sons of the XIV Legion. Distrusted by their kinsmen, they languished in seclusion on Luna... until now. Amendera Kendel, once a Sister of Silence but more recently in service to the Sigillite, gives Helig Gallor of the Death Guard a new purpose, and a new duty – one that will ultimately see him reunited with his former battle captain on the field of war.
Ghosts Speak Not & Patience compiles two stories dealing with Nathaniel Garro and Amendara Kendel, following on from various plotlines of the Horus Heresy.

The Story:
"A former Sister of Silence and a Legionary once of the Death Guard embark on a vital mission for the Sigillite... one that will lead the former XIV Legion warrior back into battle alongside his old captain, Nathaniel Garro...

When Nathaniel Garro carried word of the Warmaster’s treachery to Terra, he also brought with him seventy loyal sons of the XIV Legion. Distrusted by their kinsmen, they languished in seclusion on Luna... until now. Amendera Kendel, once a Sister of Silence but more recently in service to the Sigillite, gives Helig Gallor of the Death Guard a new purpose, and a new duty – one that will ultimately see him reunited with his former battle captain on the field of war."

The Review
Ghosts Speak Not is the first Horus Heresy story in a long time to feature Amendera Kendel, former Sister of Silence, now agent of Malcador the Sigillite. When last we saw her in Tales of Heresy, volume 10 of the series, many years ago, Kendel's world views and loyalties were put to the test. Now we finally get to see what came of her.

And it turns out that Kendel is even better realized now than she was back in The Flight of the Eisenstein or The Voice (from Tales of Heresy). Her character appeared stronger and more intriguing to me, and her task to uproot suspected treachery close to Terra was all the more exciting as a result.

Kendel recruits a duo of former Death Guard for her mission, finally showing us what came of the survivors of the Eisenstein's escape. Locked away and isolated deep on Luna, the warriors are growing restless and resentful. However, their loyalties remain true to the Emperor, and as such, Kendel finds the support she needs.
Both Gallor and Kyda, the Death Guard in question, fill needed roles in the story, and provide muscle where necessary. However, the show is not their own. They do just the right amount without turning the story into yet another space marine piece in the series.

But the real gem here is astropath Pau Yei, whose uneasiness around the null-maiden is felt all too vividly by the reader. I couldn't help but feel sympathy for her, but also a growing respect as events unfold.
There are other characters in Kendel's retinue, like two soldiers picked by the Sigillite, who I found to be enjoyable too.

What makes this story so exceptional to me is that it is almost an oldschool Inquisition piece. Hunting for traitors to the Imperium, going out on a limb following leads, suspecting foul play but needing firmer evidence... It is all here. The chase for the rogue elements is dynamic, well-considered and gives everyone a time to shine. It did help that the antagonists were believable in their treachery as well.
The eventual conclusion, however, made me excited like I wouldn't have expected. It adds a whole new layer of seriousness and authority to Malcador's agents. The Silent War is escalating further, it would seem.

Patience, meanwhile, felt a little tacked on (probably because it was). It made a point more than anything, and showed us Nathaniel Garro, Malcador's Agentia Primus, through the eyes of his brother Death Guard Gallor from the previous story. Unlike Ghosts, this story is written from a first person perspective, and illustrates just how apart Garro stands from his brethren at this point, both in status and in attitude, but still reaches out for them in brotherhood.
It was enjoyable, if short, and expands on Garro's mythos in a neat way.
Still, it pales in comparison with the excellent Ghosts Speak Not, so it disappointed my admittedly high expectations a little.

Overall, though, this is an excellent addition to the series. It is worth it for the action and for the character development, and brings the war a little closer to Holy Terra. I'd very much recommend it.

Ghosts Speak Not & Patience on Goodreads

About the Author

I'm known as DarkChaplain across the internet, and call myself a passionate gamer and book enthusiast. I have been blogging mostly about games for a couple of years, but finally found my way to reviewing a different medium: Books. Honestly, I prefer that job so far.
Follow Me on Twitter @TheDarkChaplain


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