- A standalone novella
- Focuses on the orks
- Published by Black Library in November 2022
- Grimdark SF
- 123 pages
Under siege by an army of Chaos worshippers, a group of lonely grots do what comes naturally – they start fighting among themselves. What these grots need is not a new boss, but a revolution . . .
Though not as directly Christmas-flavoured as Mike Brooks’ Da Gobbo’s Revenge, this sort-of sequel still has quite a festive feel to it. There’s an inherent silliness to the idea of Da Red Gobbo that brings to mind the Christmas specials of many a television show. A feeling that the usual rules have been relaxed, and that you can just have a bit of fun between more series offerings. Coming a year after the last Red Gobbo novella, maybe Da Gobbo’s Demise even marks the formation of a proper Christmas tradition. Only Black Library can say for sure.
Da Red Gobbo himself doesn’t make an appearance until the halfway mark, but the reputation they have casts a long shadow. The nature of this grot revolutionary icon puts me in mind of Makari from Nate Crowley’s Ghazghkull Thraka novel. Like Makari, Da Red Gobbo is not so much an individual as an idea that can take over any grot who believes strongly enough (and who happens to be wearing the right snazzy goggles). It’s something of a joke among Warhammer fans that orks can make something real by believing it to be true, but seeing that in play, albeit in a comic setting, is a reminder of how powerful faith can be in the grim dark future. Even amid all the blood and gore, people still need something to believe in. And as a certain, wise space station commander once said, ‘You cannot kill an idea.’
One thing I wasn’t expecting to find in this little novella was the other side of the battle. While the grots and their comedic antics are the focus of the story, we also spend time with a group of human traitors. I think this might be the first time I’ve read the perspective of a traitor guardsman, let alone a commissar. Chaos Space Marines are rather more common, but we don’t often see those mortals who choose to side with Chaos. The comedy in these sections is a little less broad than with the grots, so we actually get a surprising amount of depth to how these traitors think.
There are a couple of laugh out loud moments here (any time an incompetent team take a prisoner, I know I’m in for a good time) but overall this is a gently amusing novella that helps break up the unrelenting grimness and tragedy of a lot of books I’ve been reading lately. Especially in a franchise like Warhammer 40,000, a little bit of comedic relief every now and then goes a long way. I wouldn’t want every book to be like this, but it’s great at what it does, which is to provide breathing space between bigger tomes, and raise a smile or two in these cold months.
More books by Denny Flowers
Fire Made Flesh
More Black Library books about the Orks
Da Gobbo’s Revenge, by Mike Brooks
Brutal Kunnin, by Mike Brooks
Ghazghkull Thraka: Prophet of the Waaagh!, by Nate Crowley