The book “Sanctus Reach”, by Ben Counter, Josh Reynolds, Cavan Scott, and Guy Haley consists of several short stories, which are all part of one, large, spanning, plot. The entire book centers on an Ork invasion of the galaxy, and takes the points of view of both the defenders and the Orks themselves. The first two stories, “Penumbral Spike” and “Black Gulch”, were both written by Ben Counter, and focus on the efforts of an Ork invasion of the planet of Obstiria, and the valiant efforts of the planets defenders as they try and repel the savage occupiers. Next up are the stories “The Fall of Hive Jensen” by Josh Reynolds and “Death Mask” by Cavan Scott. The first story focuses of the ruler Hive Jensen and his efforts to fight off Orks as they make planet fall, while the second focuses on the spread of an insidious cult on the same planet. The next two stories, “Evil Sun Rising” and “Claw of Mork” by Guy Haley, concentrate on the lives of several prominent Orks as the attempt to invade the galaxy, fighting both other Orks, and the defenders of whatever planet they decide to take over. Finally, we have the stories “Blood on the Mountain” and “Iceclaw” by Ben Counter, which center on the exploits of several elite soldiers, known as Space Wolves, as they seek glory while attempting to defend the planet of Alaric Prime.
Although the eight stories are of roughly equal quality, I personally believe that the weakest of the eight stories is “Iceclaw”, as it shows the Space Wolves, which are typically portrayed as gruff and quiet, making eloquent speeches while in the midst of battle. Not only that, but the story felt rushed, especially towards the latter half of the book. The best story, in my point of view, is “The Fall of Hive Jensen”, as, in the story, the main character is forced to make a tough choice, which involves the lives of thousands of human beings. While reading the story, the reader is forced to consider what they would do in such an event, as well as think, what choice would be considered “wrong” in such an event?
I quite enjoyed reading “Sanctus Reach”, but, because of the story “Iceclaw”, I rate the book 4/5 stars in total. I recommend that you read it and see for yourself!