Published: 3 March 2020
Publisher: Black Library
Series: Stand Alone
Format Read: Kindle
Morgravia Sanctus is being hunted. She doesn’t know by whom or why, only that her life is in danger. She goes into hiding in the low-hive of Blackgeist, in the hope of losing her pursuers and piecing together the fragments of her broken memory. Something happened to her, a profound trauma that left behind the ‘red dreams’ and a physical agony that can strike at any moment. She searches for someone called the ‘Broker’, a trafficker in memories and psychic mind manipulation, but before she can make contact catastrophe befalls the city. A plague sweeps the districts, turning its citizens into blood hungry monsters. Order collapses, death and slaughter are rampant. Caught up in the carnage, Morgravia must flee again. As the ravening spreads, and more and more succumb, is there any hope of ever stopping this contagion?
I received Sepulturum through Net Galley, the fact that I got this as a free advanced reader copy did not influence my review in any way. I would like to thank them as well as Black Library for making this possible.
For those that can remember Sepulturum was on the list of books I still had crossing over from last year, I talked about it briefly in my Extra Baggage for 2021 post. I started it late in December and have not given it the time and attention I should have, considering the small page count it has, I should have been able to easily breeze through it, but other books came up… I am glad to report that even with me taking nearly a month to get through this novel it turned out pretty neat in my view. What is not to like about an Inquisitor struggling with amnesia, having to deal with an outbreak of a zombie plague in the back waters of a low hive, aptly named Low Sink?
The answer to that question is a very positive “everything”. I liked the setting, I liked the characters that were involved even that cover inspired some feeling of foreboding I loved how easily a zombie outbreak novel has been able to cross over into the 40K universe as well as keep me entertained while reading. This novel read really easy. I have to confess that when I started it I had the idea that there were going to vampires involved, but as the story moved along it dawned on me that it was something else. While I use the term zombie lightly in this review, the idea was there but was given the 40K twist. I can also happily report that this could be picked up by anyone that has nearly no knowledge of the 40K setting. There are no real references made to other events, no Space Marines involved what so ever, just the mention of The Emperor and the Mechanicum now and then. Where the Mechanicum is involved it did go into explaining that a detachment of the Dark Mechanicum was involved. Having read the Horus Heresy Mechanicum book recently I knew a little bit of that faction existing but nothing else. Turns out I feel like reading about more of their exploits in future books after this novel.
Sepulturum follows the two plots threads throughout the novel. The first being that of Morgravia the Inquisitor and her acolyte Hel, an assassin of the Imperium’s Death Cult. The other of Christo, a man with a dark past trying to find a way out of Low Sink while at the same time protecting his daughter Karina as they discover the events of the plague unfolding before their very eyes. Morgravia is struggling to place her memories in order and goes in search of an Empath, a person that can unlock blocked or manipulated minds, but amidst a meeting with the go to person who is only introduced as the Broker they are also beset by a host of “pallid”. Pallid is the only description that are given to this version of zombies, they are drained of color and are in a feeding frenzy and can not be stopped easily. What ensues is a fight from the bar where the meeting took place, to an Enforcer Barracks, that will lead the main character to discover the whereabouts of where the Pallid originates from. Amongst all this Morgravia is also beset by “red dreams”, visions of events that she cannot place and is desperate to uncover as her sanity seems to be on the verge of collapsing. This novel had some pretty neat characters written in. For such a short novel there was quite some character development going on. One of my favorites was that of Barak, the bar owner who gets caught up and joins Morgravia in a desperate plight to take care of his wife who has suffered a grievous wound to the leg. Barack turns from zero to hero with ease as it is revealed that he is actually a retired Enforser and knows how to handle himself. Christo’s fight and flight with his daughter are also stand out pieces that kept me reading and made it hard to put the book down. There are a lot of great things to be read about in this novel. I do not want to spoil it for others though so I am going to stop there.
Sepulturum got a 4 out of 5 from me on GR. I believe it to be a good enough entry for the Warhammer Horror setting. The fact that it contains a form of zombie is perfect for that alone, but it is not limited to that alone. Morgravia’s plight is also a desperate and hard pill to swallow, but being loyal to the Imperium means she knows exactly where her Duty lies. Even under her sarcastic tone she hides a pretty sinister revelation. I am very happy with how this book ended and the fact that I got to read it for free. Also happy that I have been able to take another book of off my Net Galley list, it feels great.
If there is one thing that this has made me even more exited about it is the fact that I will be reading more about the Death Cult in Horus Heresy #13 and thanks to the cover of that novel:
I had an idea as to what Hel looked like more or less. I am exited to start Nemesis today.
Have a great day everyone.