Title: The Infinite Tableau
Author: Anthony Reynolds
Published by: Black Library
Publication date: 1st Jan. 2018
Genre: Science Fiction
Source: Black Library
A trio of Deathwatch – Cassiel of the Blood Angels, Tanaka of the White Scars and Var’myr of the Mortifactors – lead a team of Inquisitorial troopers to an ice-bound moon in search of missing Adeptus Mechanicus explorators. Following their trail into ancient caverns, the Deathwatch find something far older and more sinister than they were expecting – warriors of the necrons, determined to destroy the intruders!
I picked up The Infinite Tableau from Black Library purely because it has a character from the Mortifactors Space Marine Chapter of which I am an avid fan. As they are one of the lesser known Chapters when something crops up involving them I am always more than happy to consume it. Naturally, I try not to let this bias influence my reviews, but I like to be honest about these things.
The Infinite Tableau is a short story and quick read about a small detachment of three Deathwatch members, Cassiel the Blood Angels sergeant, Tanaka of the White Scars and Var’myr of the Mortifactors. Which this is only a quick read that doesn’t detract from the sheer amount of personality each of the Space Marines have. They are wonderful representations of their respective Chapters that don’t rely entirely on cliches to make them remarkable. I found the inner struggles of Cassiel interesting enough to find him an engaging lead to the story and the banter between Tanaka and Var’myr highly entertaining. The early humour of the Space Marines was a refreshing off-set to the seriousness of their mission and when the inevitable shit came hitting the fan the fact that they all worked well together to get the job done only added to a wonderful sense of camaraderie; which I have felt sorely lacking in my more recent Warhammer related reads.
There were snippets of working with other factions, a handful of Inquisitorial Stormtroopers and a tech-servo-skull which I found added another level to the novella.
The plot of the story is relatively simple. A lost-contact scenario where the Deathwatch investigate a mysterious discovery that is the cause of the disappearance of members of the Mechanicum that were working nearby. The infinite Tableau is an action-packed story once it all get’s going and the plot progresses nicely and without any pretentious ambling and flows to a nice, but unexpected conclusion.
The main antagonist of the story was the Necron faction, they were represented in a very creepy fashion that has given me something of an interest in them as an army. I’ve never had any experience of them prior to this novel and reading about them in such a small capacity has given me something of a thirst to know more about them – the timing of which feels right considering the recently release Indomitus box-Set and accompanying books.
A nicely rounded short-story with some great characters. Well paced suspense and action with a satisfying and unconventional ending. Well worth the low-cost price.