Mortarion’s Heart by L.J. Goulding is an audio drama that’s part of the Space Marine Battles series of Warhammer 40,000 stories. As you might expect it follows the Daemon Primarch Mortarion of the Death Guard, but what you might not have known is that it also involves the Grey Knights. In fact, this is more a Grey Knight’s story than a Death Guard one. I’m going spoiler-heavy on this one because it’s so short and the direction the story takes will determine whether you want to listen to it or not.
Set not long after Mortation’s departure from the eye of terror, Supreme Grand Master Geronitan of the Grey Knights battles the plague horde. It’s made clear that this is a large scale battle with lots of Grey Knight’s in attendance. However, the battle starts to turn away from the Imperium’s favour and Mortarion slays the Supreme Grand Master. What follows is a struggle within the Grey Knight’s as a successor is named. Unsurprisingly (if you know even a little bit about the Grey Knight’s), Kaldor Draigo is named head of the chapter. We then follow him as he goes to take his revenge on Mortarion. In the process, he bests the Primarch and etches his predecessor’s name onto lord of the Death Guard’s heart.
This is a silly story. The Grey Knight’s are a weird chapter of space marines and made all the stranger with Draigo at their head. The way the story ends without the death of Mortarion is confusing. Draigo’s power up at the end of the book doesn’t make sense (have names been a thing before this? Let me know if I’m wrong). The whole story left me a little baffled.
However, you can’t deny that as a series of action pieces it’s pretty cool. Mortarion feels disgusting and unstoppable. The Grey Knight’s are enigmatic, yet powerful. And the production values in the background sound is fitting for the story. Personally, I’m not a fan of these but I can see why other people might like them. The whole story has a sense of drama and spectacle that is enhanced by this being an audio drama rather than an audiobook.
However, is this a story that you should run off and listen to? Maybe if you love Grey Knights and want to know how Draigo became their leader. And possibly if you’re a Death Guard fan who wants to see their Primarch looking terrifying and then pathetic. It’s a tough call. If you can get it on sale (or part of a bundle), then go for it but outside that there are better Warhammer 40,000 short stories to listen to. And while I’m not well-read in Grey Knight’s there are definitely better Death Guard stories. I should also say that there is a non-audio drama version as well.