12 Days of Best SFF Characters of 2013: Day #7
For this new seasonal list of the best SFF characters I’ve read this year, my seventh pick is Vulkan, Primarch of the Salamanders Legion of Space Marines, from Nick Kyme’s Horus Heresy novella Promethean Sun, which gave us the first in-depth look into the character after a truncated series of cameos elsewhere in the series. As a fan of the Salamanders, this was the kind of story that I’d wanted for a long time but was unable to get it on release since it was offered as an expensive limited-edition product and was out of my range. But a re-release was offered this year and was a quick pick-up for me.
Hit the break to see why I picked this character.
I’ve been a fan of the Salamanders for a good long while now, ever since my tabletop gaming days of 2007-2009. The Chapter had some great backstory and some really great characters as well, one of whom was represented on the tabletop at the time, in summer 2008 when a new edition of Codex: Space Marines was launched with the brand-new 5th edition of Warhammer 40,000. Vulkan He’Stan, a traveling hero of the chapter who is looking for clues as to the artifacts left behind by the Primarch himself. Suffice to say, I experimented a lot of with running a Salamanders army for the tabletop in those days, with mixed results.
My fascination with the Chapter reached a new level when I began experimenting with some fan-fiction stuff and created a successor Chapter. I had high hopes of working them into an actual short story submission to the Black Library but I never got around to doing that. However, I did read Salamander and Firedrake, the first two novels in Nick Kyme’s Tome of Fire trilogy and I was hooked on to the Salamanders for good. It was Firedrake more than any other piece of fiction on the Salamanders that really got me interested in Vulkan himself. Of course, the major star of the novel was Vulkan He’Stan. And later, Nocturne, the final novel in the trilogy (review), proved to be a huge step up and solidified my love for both Vulkan the Space Marine and Vulkan the Primarch.
Ever since, I wanted to see Primarch Vulkan represented in some suitable outing for the ongoing Horus Heresy series. Perhaps an entire novel with him in fact. My wishes were fulfilled when Black Library announced that Nick would be writing an exclusive novella about the Primarch of the Salamanders but I was disappointed when it was made known that the story would only be available as an exclusive hardback novella that would not be reprinted/re-released in a regular format for another 2 years after the exclusive release.
It was a long wait, these past two years but earlier this year it all came together. My friend Stefan, who runs the blog Civilian Reader, invited me to do a guest review of the novella for his blog and I was quite giddy with excitement. I finished the novella pretty damn quickly and I found that the story was almost as I’d imagined it would be. Promethean Sun proved to be the very kind of thing I was looking for and the character study of Vulkan in it was pretty damn neat.
The thing that attracted me to Vulkan was that while he was a warrior, he was one by necessity rather than choice. He preferred to build, to create, rather than tear down and destroy. The depths of the character that Nick plumbed made for some interesting material and Promethean Sun consequently is one of my favourite reads of the year and certainly one of the best offerings of the Horus Heresy series. The entire mystique of the character, and other things besides, were all done justice and to be honest I could not have asked for something better with Vulkan.
A few short months ago was released Vulkan Lives, Nick’s first full-length Horus Heresy novel and in that he continued the story of the Primarch after the Istvaan Dropsite Massacre which saw the legion butchered and reduced to an almost pathetic number. I intended to read the novel at release but since it was only available as an expensive eBook for me, I declined. The regular eBook will not be available for a few months yet, and I’ll read the book then.
Suffice to say that given all the positive chatter I’ve heard about the book, I’m really excited for it. It also helps that Neil Roberts delivered a kick-ass cover for it, which is always great!
Posted on December 31, 2013, in 12 Days of Best SFF Characters of 2013, Book Lists and tagged 12 Days of Best SFF Characters of 2013, Aliens, Black Library, Book Lists, Demi-gods, Horus Heresy, Nick Kyme, Primarchs, Promethean Sun, Salamanders, science fantasy, Science Fiction, Space Marine Chapters, Space Marine Legions, Space Opera, Vulkan, Vulkan Lives, Warhammer, Warhammer 40000, Warhammer 40k. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.