A frequent problem with Black Library books focusing upon traitor astartes is that they tend to stick to the legions. Major series and titles with Chaos space marines as the focus characters tend to focus upon Iron Warriors, Night Lords, Word Bearers and the others. Blood Gorgons is a big exception to this as its warband was not only founded long after the Horus Heresy but as far from traditional traitor marines as you can imagine.
The novel shows the Blood Gorgons in a time of crisis. Along with the sudden loss of their chapter master and the warband being on the brink of civil war, one of their vital recruitment worlds has come under attack. A virulent plague has begun to sweep through the planet’s occupants, slaughtering them en mass and reanimating their corpses as savage murderers. Even as Bond-Brother Barsabbas’ unit is sent to investigate, they face their darkest hour finding new foes at every turn.
The novel’s biggest selling point is the Blood Gorgons themselves. With the sheer amount of time it spends fleshing out their traditions, attitudes, personalities and characteristics it needed to be well thought out. Thankfully this was delivered upon this in full giving a force which is quite unlike that found within many novels.
While they are clearly scavengers, pirates and traitors they have an oddly twisted version of rules and aspects which would usually be found within a loyalist chapter. While they don’t have an empire, they retain recruitment worlds which they protect. While they avoid having subjects and worshippers; they have artificers, smiths and servants who are loyal in the manner serfs are. While they are fractious, they have a sense of in-built loyalty to one another as a result of Chaos rituals. While they venerate a figure as their patron deity, they do not treat him as a god or blindly worship him.
The book goes through stage by stage in exploring what they are from the viewpoint of everyone. Right from those who lead them to the slaves who are vital to keeping the chapter equipped, then using them to explore what separates them from both the Imperium and those who reside in the Eye of Terror.
Even some of the factions who are introduced a considerable way, those threatening the recruitment world, in get some surprisingly detailed explorations as to whom they are. Something which they desperately needed at the time the book was produced.