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Belisarius Cawl: The Great Work


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#151
b1soul

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I like the book and the characters...but Haley's dialogue reads a bit flat to me

He also uses the word pompous a lot. Maybe not in this book, but it has caught my ear. It's funny hearing SM saying "you are a pompous man" to other SM

#152
Ishagu

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... Really? The dialogue was anything but flat in my opinion, it was different from most 40k conversations.

As for the word pompous, I don't personally recall it but I'm guessing it was uttered by Felix? Ultramarines are generally well spoken lol
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#153
Ascanius

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The word "pompous" appears four times in the book.

 

One is the actuary declaring Cawl's innocent, one is the C'tan, one is Sedayne saying Cawl pompously declaims his own worth, one is Cawl pretending to be Sedayne ironically describing Cawl as pompous.


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#154
Ishagu

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Lol nice fact finding there!

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#155
Blindhamster

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It's a weird choice for the ctan to use. Otherwise the people saying it feel appropriate.

Primaris Blood Angels: Wins 4 Draws 0 Losses 2

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#156
Marshal Rohr

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This book didn’t have much of the overly obvious conversations and ‘as you know Roboute’ that are present in his Blood Angels, Dark Imperium trilogy, and Heresy stuff. It makes me think Guy actually considers Cawl his baby, because it comes off more naturally. The exposition here was actually humorous and enjoyable as Cawl explains scientific principles that are sometimes right and sometimes wrong with the same self-assured quality. I’d go so far as to say in Wolfsbane the Cawl parts were the most natural of the whole book. In the Great Work the formality between the space marines goes a long way in making them seem like they have sticks up their :cuss, which is appropriate to their characters. Not quite as smooth as the way ADB does it but the Great Work is hands down my favorite Haley book so far.

Edited by Marshal Rohr, 29 October 2019 - 10:50 AM.

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#157
Blindhamster

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Dante remains mine easily! But the great work was indeed good

Primaris Blood Angels: Wins 4 Draws 0 Losses 2

Blood Angels 3rd Company Wins 25 Draws 5 Losses 13

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#158
Indefragable

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And third option, some chapter may have chose that the Primaris elevation is only for those deemed worthy of it, and so made it a final trial for veteran battle brothers, via the Rubicon concept, marking a clear distinction in the chapter between regular battle brother and veterans.

 

Regarding the chapters capability to rebuild, depending of the stability of their gene-seed and the quality of the recruitment pool available to them, a chapter could rebuild very fast or very slow.

 

For example, regarding the Blood Angels, the gene-seed is strong enough so that there appears to be little rejection of the transformation process, plus the process is very fast for the Blood Angels with a year for a full transformation when it take severals for other Legion/chapters, but the instability of it also means that many neophytes will emerge from the process insane, and so will have to be elliminated.

 

Another example that i have some knowledge of, is the Raven Guard, whose gene-seed instability means that they have to be very carefull when using them to creates the space marine organs and choose their recruits wisely meaning that they have in the end a small recruitment pool. The trials are harder, so fewer recruits survive than in other chapters, plus it take longer for the chapter to recruit. To this you must add the many years long training, growth via the implementation step by step of the space marine organs, and the final stage that will be the elevation within the 10th company of scouts, which will also take years before the scouts are deemed to be elevated to the rank of battle brother.

 

Between the Blood Angels fastest process and the Raven Guard slowest process, i think that you can put inbetween all other Legions/chapters.^^

 

Slight aside:

 

@Frater Antodeniel I love so much of what you typically say, but to step in for a moment, I think you are a bit off on the Blood Angels geneseed according to what it says in FW Black Book 8: Malevolence:

 

Spoiler

 

That second part is part of where the previous cognoment of "Revenent Legion" comes from.

 

To tie this back in to the commentary, that would partly explain how the BA and any successors could bounce back from the brink relatively quickly on multiple occasions.


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Call me Indy. It's less syllables.

 

 

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#159
Frater Antodeniel

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I would also add a more wider regard on the transformation process and more precisely on the Gene-Seeds.

 

As far as we know, Space Marines do produce two Progenoid Glands, one in the neck and one in the chest (the first being smaller than the second, thought i'm not sure of this information.)

 

The Progenoid in the neck is harvested "quickly" after the transformation, 5 to 10 years after, normally after the years of training and before the initiate integration to the chapter as a fully operational space marine (a.k.a scout company integration). While the second, is normally extracted after the space marine death.

 

As far as i know, Games Workshop did not really explore much of the Gene-Seeds growth/cultivation process, yet it is hard to believe that Space Marines can only produce two Progenoid over a lifetime that can spawn hundreds of years. It also wouldn't be viable for the chapter loses replacement, notably given the failures in the implantation process.

 

So, with some "common" knowledge about genetic/phisiology and some creativity, a pattern could be made :

 

- The Progenoid that grow in the neck could growth "indifinetely", and could be harvested every 5-10 years, yet as a Space Marines grow older, like other organs, the growth process could become slower or produce less stable Gene-Seeds. (A fact that could be easily explain given the fact that Progenoid are evolutive organs, created as much to secure a stable genetic legacy as was to evolve in order to adapt to the many variables of the chapter/legion recruitment pool and the constraint/duress of war so that the chapter could evolve to create better/stronger warrior.)

 

- The Progenoid that grow in the chest, on the contrary, would growth continually, with a far more stable pattern of growth and would have for purpose not only to provide a finer genetic material for the chapter future, but also would have a more evolved function, which would be to provide the whole Astartes body with a production of Stem Cells for all the other organs. It would define this as a vital organ whose function would explain why this Progenoid gland could only be harvested after the Space Marine death.

 

I think that this theory is a plausible one, that would solve some question regarding this section of the Lore.

(Also, regarding the Blood Angels, it would also explain why Blood Angels and successors tend to live longer, for since their Progenoid gland is "stronger", it also mean that following the transformation process, this quality endure, with the Progenoid in the chest providing the Space Marine organs with Stem Cells of constant quality for a far longer period of time than that of other chapter. For example, after 4-5 hundred years an Ultramarine organs would suffer from "corrupted" Stem Cells due to their Progenoid gland in the chest starting to fail, while a Blood Angel would only experienced such thing after a millenia.)


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#160
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<snip>

 

All good stuff again.

 

Your reply makes me think that part of the power of Sanguinius' geneseed is the "renewal" aspect: it can raise up almost anything into an elevated state. If the IX Legion was turning feral scrawny humans into full fledged humans, then it would make sense why Blood Angels live* so long: the geneseed sees aging as just another biological condition to overcome.

 

*I prefer to think that all Astartes are functionally immortal, but they still age. Aka you could have non-Dreadnought Astartes from any chapter that live for 1500 years, but their capabilities would degrade (still exponentially slower than mortals') and there would be the visible signs of aging. What makes Dante impressive is not merely his lifespan, but the fact that he is relatively still fit and together has to do with the wonders of the geneseed. I mean, his knees creak when it's going to rain and the Novitiate's music is just too damn loud, but otherwise he's on top of his game.

 

@ Mods: please move this discussion to the following thread to keep things on topic here: http://www.bolterand...ours/?p=3873604


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Call me Indy. It's less syllables.

 

 

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#161
MegaVolt87

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Dantioch was aged at 1500 years after fighting Hrud and was very diminished physically. I think old + still strong bodied is just a BA thing. 


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#162
b1soul

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Yup, agreed. Seems BA live longer and stay functional longer

#163
mc warhammer

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doesn’t it hark back to the whole BA = vampire motif. long lived if not immortal
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#164
Brother Adelard

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I enjoyed this book so much! I've been so glad to have been working away from home more these past few weeks so I can listen in the car again.

I loved the reveals, Cawl's character was a genuine revelation and I think we learned a hell of a lot more about Felix as well as the rest of his Primaris brethren.

I also really enjoyed all of the little throwbacks to Pharos as well. They were really neatly done, as was the Gul Du Lac story.

The reveal about the Cawl Inferior was quite interesting too, it really makes you wonder if Cawl was telling the truth, or if there is another ghost literally within the machine there...
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#165
Charlo

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Finished this today and pretty much loved it all the way through. Helped that I only finished Pharos not long before too!

Also I do find it funny how people are labelling this "retcons" to Cawl. It's no retcon, it's expansion. The character is getting more development.

I've always liked him though.
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#166
Xisor

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Loved this.

It's a somewhat daft, somewhat deep concept-/lore-driven adventure book. I was very often put in mind of an alternate name for it: At the Mountain of Madness.

This could easily have been a Horror novel, if Guy had pivoted slightly to make the character of Cawl even slightly more overtly sinister, or had dwelt a little longer on the additional characters.

But, the temptation (and indeed the joy) is that Cawl is almost literal literary license do just throw caution to the wind and dive into properly bonkers bits of 40k.

The stuff that "serious" authors don't touch with a barge pole.

---

I can accept that it's not a character story, in the way that the Ravenor or Night Lords trilogies are - ones that involve grand plots, but only as a vehicle on which to perch and explore characters.

In contrast this is much more using the exceptional (and literally incredible, unbelievable conceit of the idea of Cawl), to tell a story you just wouldn't be able to touch otherwise.

If not for Cawl's exceptional concept, the whole thing would feel utterly, irredeemably ridiculous. (Thinking on that, I can sortof see people's responses to, say, "Atlas Infernal" in a not dissimilar light.)

I can only imagine what fun it would have been to write. Guy wove in so many wonderful touches, with just the right detail that any other considerations seem to be swept away for me.

I still think there's some redemption of the concept of Cawl to be done, but I'll be damned if I didn't enjoy this.

(Principally: I struggle to stomach the idea that Carl is a single being, in universe - it's one of the issues I have with "Space Marine Captain Protagonist and Sergeant Friend" stories - the very raison d'etre of being a Captain or a Sergeant is being tied up with managerial and concerns beyond the immediate adventuring - it invites an inescapable tension. They don't just pair up and go have an adventure - they can't. There's at least ten or a hundred Marines who're somewhat dependant on them doing their boring job to just tolerate them having a sabbatical for the duration of the book.)

I guess it's why Batman is plausible in a way that high-adventure stories featuring Comissioner Gordon aren't - there's a difference between being an amateur detective and a senior leader for an institution.

---

I was pleased, at least, that Cawl's ties were at least reinstated, and that the restricted nature of the book allows for me to be notionally satisfied: Cawl's got billions of slaves and lackeys in tow - his entire existence is predicated on their subservience to his... Foolishness? Wonder? Genius?

It's that dissatisfaction that hangs over me though. Whilst I loved this story, and the mad adventure of it, I think the more difficult but hugely tempting & dare I say deeper story would be seen if you invert the allure of Cawl - what must exist to allow his "maverick genius", what institutions and logistical endeavours trail in his calamitous wake righting all the details?

As Cawl himself said, though I must likely paraphrase: "that's the problem with such great beings - you leave the details to lesser beings".

I hope that's as true of Cawl as anyone.

(Though I do like the idea that he's a fragmentary monstrosity - I dislike that Guy's compellingly brought me to some degree of sympathy with such a thing!)

---

I did love a lot of the overlapping themes and concepts too. Time, linearity, continuity, discrete beings, trust, horror, faith, duty, ambition ... Lots of stuff getting a little room to breathe before being swept up in the all consuming foolishness of Cawl's genius.

Quite meta, I suppose.
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#167
Jareddm

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There was a short story in Inferno vol 2 that featured a magos who was working  under Cawl and was fed up with Cawl's crazy "save the galaxy plans" and trying to find all the galaxy's blackstone.

Spoiler



#168
Jareddm

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Double post


Edited by Jareddm, 19 November 2019 - 02:08 PM.


#169
Beren

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Going to nit-pick that regarding the Inferno story.

Spoiler


#170
Xisor

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Oooh. And also, good use of spoiler tags - I've not read through Inferno 2 yet - it's shot up my list now! Hopefully I'll remember to come back to this! :D

(Though it's competing with my entire BLW haul...!)

#171
Panzer

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I finally finished listening to it and it was really good imo. It made me appreciate Cawl in a similar way I appreciate 40k Guilliman after Dark Imperium. Both characters I've cared little for before (but didn't hate like others) and now I like them. I'd definitely recommend it to others.


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#172
hopkins

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Loved it

Also want to read all the Scythes stuff by Laurie now. Has any of that been collated?
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#173
DarkChaplain

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Almost all of it is in the Scythes of the Emperor omnibus



#174
Ascanius

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Unless a certain Dark Angel is still around (and not counting the Emperor or any Primarch who may still be living), Ahzek Ahriman should actually be the longest-lived Space Marine in the universe, as he was inducted on Terra as one of the original thousand sons of the Thousand Sons Legion. I mean, there may be other Terran-born Chaos Space Marines still around, but he's the only one I can think of who's definitely still alive.

 

Depending on the vagaries of the Eye of Terror, Ahriman is also a candidate to have the longest subjective experience of the galaxy, though Iskandar Khayon's comment in the Black Legion series about how some legionaries remember the Siege of Terra like it happened only months ago, while for some it's incalculable aeons in the past, make that a hazy prospect.

 

On average, though, it wouldn't surprise me if Ahriman is the closest we have to having actually "lived through" the more than ten thousand years of his calendar life.

Belisarius Cawl, the original man, is younger than Ahriman, but it seems certain that some of the minds he's absorbed such as Sedayne and the magos from Wolfsbane are older than any Space Marine. He has not, of course, retained the memories of those lives intact, but it's also true that he's been more or less active in the material universe for ten thousand years and so some of his memories would predate Ahriman and all the rest.



#175
mc warhammer

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Khârn was also Terran, no?

It always amused me that the GW Mail Order ‘Trolls’ as we (starting with me) had always styled ourselves insisted as being rebranded ‘Space Marines’. Why anyone would want to be associated with semi-lobotomized, hypnotically indoctrinated slave-soldiers in thrall to an uncaring (and possibly non-existent) god I couldn’t imagine. - Rick Priestley

 2019




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