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Red Tithe (Carcharodons Book 1) Kindle Edition
On the prison world of Zartak, darkness has fallen on arbitrators and inmates alike. The Night Lords have come, and with them the shadow of fear and pain. But they are not the only ones with an interest in Zartak. From the void, running on silent, another fleet emerges. Its warriors are grey-clad and white-faced, and their eyes are as black as the Outer Dark – the savage Carcharodon Astra. As these two packs of ancient, merciless predators stalk the shadows of the prison colony, both seeking a single young inmate with unnatural talents, the corridors run red, and both factions will have to fight tooth and claw to leave Zartak alive.
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About the Author
- ASIN : B01N75H90J
- Publisher : Black Library (December 26, 2016)
- Publication date : December 26, 2016
- Language : English
- File size : 1743 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Not Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 256 pages
- Lending : Not Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #99,465 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
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Top reviews from the United States
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If you want a shorter 40k book that has a unique chapter focus, this is it!
On the hellish prison planet of Zartak in the war-torn universe of Warhammer 40,000, an inmate by the name of Skell begins to exhibit psychic powers. Given how rare such powers are, he quickly attracts the attention of two terrible forces who want to recruit him into their armies. The first are the Night Lords, evil servants of Chaos who want to twist Skell into the service of demonic powers. The second are the Carcharodons, genetically-modified superhuman warriors and loyal servants of the Emperor of Mankind called Space Marines who want to induct Skell into their ranks so his psychic powers can be trained and channeled to humanity’s defense. But the defense of humanity requires a bloody hand and a hard heart, and the brutal Carcharodons are almost as savage as the demonic Night Lords! When the two forces collide on Zartak, there’s only one guaranteed outcome: A whole lot of guts, gore, and white-knuckle action!
I gave a similar description of Robbie’s “Dawn of War III” novel, and it applies here too. First, the bad: Much like the DoWIII novelization, there’s not much characterization to be found here. The Night Lord leaders are well-drawn enough to be distinct (which is important, since their internal conflict is a significant plot point), and the Carcharodon space marines are well portrayed as neither evil nor noble, but entirely emotionless in their determination to do what they need to do, regardless of the cost to the mere humans around them. Young Skell himself is a pretty unremarkable “frightened kid,” and there are a couple of other characters, like a female warden named Rannik, who don’t stand out much aside from being just distinguished enough we don’t forget their names.
Still, for a novel like this, characterization’s not the most important thing–that’s action, and Robbie delivers AGAIN! The Carcharodons fight their chaos-mad traitor brethren with a magnificent symphony of chainsaw swords, heavy artillery, and gunfire that’ll keep you on the edge of your seat for just about every single page. But I think it’s on those pages without big battles that Robbie really shines. While Dawn of War III was fun, there was nothing particularly compelling about the various participants (Blood Angels space marines, Eldar [Space Elves] and Space Orks), if you’d read a lot of 40k literature before. However, with the Carcharodons, Robbie has apparently made an extremely distinctive culture for them all his own.
A quick review: The Space Marines are divided up into 1000 armies of 1000 Marines each, called “Chapters.” Each Chapter is often vaguely based off of some Earth culture–the White Scars chapters are like Space Mongolians, the Space Wolves are like Space Vikings, and so on, and so forth. With the Carcharodons, Robbie has created what are essentially Space Hawaiians, and this is REALLY cool! While physically they’re very different (they all have black eyes and scaly, sharklike skin, because Carcharodons is a word for shark), in terms of culture and aesthetics, they implement a lot of Pacific Island imagery. Like, one guy has shark teeth as the blades of his chainsword, another guy uses an old-school type of Hawaiian spear, advanced with sci-fi tech of course, and there’s also a wonderful, wonderful scene with a whole coral cathedral built into the giant spaceship the Carcharodons used. It’s all pretty subtle and Robbie doesn’t overdo it, but it’s very cool and really lends itself to some memorable scenes. So yeah, I can heartily recommend this novel: Check it out!!!
P.S: Also, Robbie’s opening dedication…that oughta bring a tear to the eye of any fanfiction author who hopes to hit it big someday. :D
Not a bad book, but of the many 40K books I've read, it's near the middle/bottom.
Top reviews from other countries
The prison world becomes the target of a Night Lords war band (the “nasty monsters”) closely followed by a company of the Carcharodon Astra (the “nice monsters”). Both have the same purpose: to “tithe” the planet of its human resources, in other words to kidnap the convicts and transform them into fighting crew and servants and, for a handful of them, into future Space Marines, and to seize control of a teen aged young hiver with strong psychic abilities. While this a piratical raid for the Night Lords, it is a Red Tithe (hence the book’s title) that is part of the Carcharodon Astra’s right.
Both sets of Space Marines are understrength, scarred by previous engagements, cut off from regular supplies, and utterly savage, with the latter point well evidenced throughout the book. The Night Lords are their usual sadistic murderous and terrorist selves but are wracked by rivalries between their leaders and divisions between veterans of the Long War and more recent recruits. Two particularly interesting features already shown in other books featuring the Night Lords are the mutant Raptors and the Warp Talons. Both sets are half crazed monsters barely capable of controlling their bloodlust. They are ferocious, capable of tearing to pieces the armour of Space Marines with their claws and specialists of surprise attacks and ambushes, even more than their more “normal” brethren.
The Carcharodons – with the word being the scientific name for the great white shark which is the emblem of this Chapter – are something else. You will learn of their origins and self-exile in the “Outer Dark” beyond the limits of the Empire during the time of the Emperor which they continue to worship as the Void Father, although the reason for their exile and the name of their Primarch remains a mystery. They spend their life in the void as part of the Nomad Predation Fleet on what is an endless Crusade and patrol along. They also seem to have some gene inflexion called the Blindness which I will not explain any further to avoid spoilers but which may be the reason of their Exile some ten thousand years ago.
The characterisation is also rather good. The Night Lord sorcerer, nicknamed Flayed Father, which gives you an idea of his special hobby, is suitably horrible and opposed to his counterpart, the just as old Chief Librarian of the Carcharodons known as Pale Nomad. The two will, of course, mightily clash against each other in a rather epic duel. Also interesting are Cull, the young, ruthless and ambitious Night Lord and Sharr, the recently nominated Captain of the Third Company of the Carcharodons, the one that levies the tithes. Both have not forgotten their respective origins and this will play some role in the story, particularly for the Night Lord.
The book is full of savage clashes with lots of gore as the two sides fight in the mine and trade ambushes and counter-ambushes underground. Some scenes, such as the two showing the Warp Talons attacking out of the warp against a Carcharodon Terminator squad or appearing in a battle taking place in the refectory are particularly gripping. An interesting feature separating each chapter is the Inquisition reports as the Interrogator heading the rescue mission arrives at Zartak weeks after the battle and discovers the carnage. Five stars for an excellent read.
The story lacks structure, and flits from character to character without ever introducing any of them properly. It's a shame, because I've read some really good Space Marine books, and had high hopes for this one. For every "Brothers of the Snake," Black Library seems to churn out a couple of dozen pieces of dross like this. Cynical and lazy.
It is a fun and gripping tale, covering some of the human side of combat in a super human combat situation and effectively moving from side to side with the ebb and flow that an energetic plot deserves.
Despite being a veteran of 40k novels I did find myself struggling a little with all of the character names used and I couldn't wrap my head around the geography to provide me with my normal mental image of the ongoings.
As with most 40k novels, the novel would have benefitted from having more pages to add in some better details, specifically about the void combat and Inquisition involvement, but it is paced and balanced better than most Black Library titles.
A worthwhile purchase and read.
I would strongly recommend this as a great battle between the historically visceral Night Lords and the mysterious and predatory Cacharodons.
I hope that there are are more novels in the pipeline for the latter with something to explain their origins and exile.