The Word of the Silent King by L.J. Goulding is confusing. If you’ve read Dante, then there’s a bit at the start where he’s chatting with the Necrons and there’s some kind of alliance but it isn’t clear what, how or why. This short story answers some of those questions for better or worse. Set in the backdrop of the Shield of Baal as the Blood Angels fend back the Tyranid invasion, they also have the Necrons to deal with. Let dive into this short story, shall we?
The Word of the Silent King opens with Dante and the Blood Angels fighting off a horde of Necrons. There is some fun action and as a part of the wider Dante and Blood Angel narrative in the Baal sector, there’s a lot to like. We get to see Dante directing his troops and them interacting with another enemy of the Imperium. This is all short, punchy and straight to the point. After their initial skirmish, the Necrons begin to fall back. This leads to Dante and his comrades having an audience with the Silent King himself.
It turns out that the enemy of your enemy is sort of your friend. While the Necrons aren’t biological, and so aren’t of interest to the Tyranids, they do want to have planets alive and not part of the Hive Fleets biomass. This leads to an alliance between the Blood Angels and Necrons. From the Necron perspective of the story, this is interesting as they don’t have the personal stakes in Baal like Dante and co. This means that this alliance is tenuous and hints at a deeper past between the two sides. I hope this is something picked up in the future as it could shine a light on an interesting part of the Blood Angels past.
As a standalone story, The Word of the Silent King is beyond confusing. It’s one of the reasons I criticised its inclusion in Crusade and Other Stories. However, as a part of the large Baal storyline, it fills in a plot strand that was previously left hanging. The question of whether you should check this out isn’t if this is a good story, but whether it explains the Necron part of the Dante novel. And it does fill us in on these details but it could have simply been part of that book rather than its own side story if you take each part separately they don’t make sense.
The Word of the Silent King feels like the book equivalent to video game DLC. You don’t need to play/read it to enjoy the full game/book (Dante novel), but it adds some extra nuggets for those who are interested. It’s a decently told story that doesn’t spend too much time on a single perspective and moves at a fast pace throughout. However, I wouldn’t say you need to go out of your way to read it.
Thanks for reading. If you want the context around this story then check out our review of Dante and the Devastation of Baal. Alternatively, for more Blood Angels take a look at our review of Space Hulk: Tactics.
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