'On the Anvil of War are the strong tempered and the weak made to perish, thus are men's souls tested as metal in the forge's fire.'
Nocturne is the final chapter in the Salamander trilogy and Nick saved the best for last. If you have been following along you remember the ending of the last book with Vulkan He'stan returning, Tsu Gan getting captured and Dak'ir's powers at question. This book answers the question of what happens next and goes even further. It is a true roller coaster ride. You have warp battles, planetary destruction, demonic possession, a trial and the Dark Mechanicus just to start things off.
This time out Kyme does a great job of pulling from all the other pieces of the series including the short stories and audio books. For example when they do the roll call for the dead before battle they mention one of the characters from Fireborn. We also see the return of the child Bak'en saves in the Salamander book as a new scout going through the trials. This is a nice touch and goes a long way to leaving as few loose ends as possible.
One thing he does a little differently this time is he fleshes out characters that may have been missed or a little flat in previous books so you see them change over the roughly 3 or 5 years that pass from the beginning of the series. Unlike the Ultramarine series no character comes out of any of the books unchanged. Even the Salamader's famous pragmatism is tested against the anvil. In some cases even breaking the character under the strain. This adds heavily to the body count but also shows how dire and bleak a world Nocturne is. It lives up to its death world status.
One return we see is the Marines Malevolent. Seeing how they crossed paths the first time it was unique to seen them again. Kyme really doesn't like loose ends. I wont spoil what happens with them but a little taste can't hurt.
' "What is the fate for the Marines Malevolent now?" he mused. "What fate for the dammed?" One of the wounded stirring caught Lorkar's attention. ... Lorkar leaned in close. "Tell me, brother. I will answer if I can." He heard the tension in a gun trigger being slowly squeezed and whet he realized what the wounded warrior was saying, knew his critical error.'
This is a section you will just have to read to get the full effect. Trust me you will like the outcome.
Over all the story holds up well and has enough twist and turns that had me not wanting to stop reading a few times. The big thing is everyone is expendable. None of the we need him later to push the story stuff. As I said the body count is high but with a purpose. Every death furthers the story or is used to end story line. It may be a little hard to follow if you missed the other 2 books because there is no back tracking about the characters. This is a solid ending to the series.
I give this one 5 drake heads out of 5! Read it and be tested at the Anvil.