Review: The Carnac Campaign / Author: Joe Parrino, Graeme Lyon, Rob Sanders / Publisher: Black Library / Release Date: Out Now (eBook)
The Carnac Campaign is a collection of three short stories set in the Warhammer 40,000 universe. Each story focuses on a particular character or vehicle, all of which just happen to be new models for the Eldar range of wargaming toys. Eldar are essentially space elves; they have their own weird culture, ancient technology, traditions, etc. Like the rest of the 40K setting, they have a strong fantasy feel, with jet fighters replacing dragons, force swords replacing magic swords and so on.
NightSpear focuses on the elite ranger Illic Nightspear and a small band of similarly themed space Legolas types. It’s the sort of story where heroic snipers sneak around taking out evil snipers (in this case, soulless robot monsters). It’s well paced, rapid and fun, and its brevity adds to the impact of the story.
On the other hand, Sky Hunter feels like it would be improved by having more time to develop and grow. Graeme Lyon does a great job of adding depth to the idea of alien fighter aces running desperate assaults on the enemy, and there are some neat insights into what it means to an elite pilot in an ancient and alien culture. It gets a little bogged down in its own premise, though, and really needs some better-paced action to break up the character-building. Its biggest flaw is that it simply isn’t long enough for decent story development.
Spirit War is a nice showcase for the talents of Rob Sanders; Eldar stories tend to be ones of loss and staving off the inevitable collapse of their civilisation. Spirit War certainly has plenty of that, but it also has lots of robots stomping other robots. Sanders is great at spinning a cinematic tale, and if this was a movie, it would be a Hollywood blockbuster. Great stuff.
Overall, this is a nice collection, and it’s a lovely idea as a tie-in. It could just do with being longer and more comprehensive, and given the new treatment the Eldar recently got, it is surprising that there isn’t more.