"Severed" is part of the Novella Series 2 set and benefits from this newer archetype in the form of Nemesor Zahndrekh. Zahndrekh is a warlord with supreme tactical knowledge - a tactical knowledge teamed with a very eccentic personality which lives somewhere between now and his past victories. For the reader these past victors give a great insight into the Necrontyr, but for the other main character in the story, these victories are a form of torture. Have you ever had someone tell you the same story, maybe more than twice? Well imagine being the only other "living" being around that boring storyteller - enter Zahndrekh's long suffering Vargard, Obyron, his bodyguard and equally sentient offsider who has spent millions of years at the side of his very chatty and seemingly oblivious master.
If you're a Necron fan, this will fill in some gaps for you - the relationship of dynastic heads with each other, the relationship between a Stormlord and their vassals, the levels of sentience in the ranks of the Necrons and the feelings of Necrons about each other - such as the complicated view of Destroyers. We also see the Necrons at war, the power of the Nemesors (as not only characters but also as warriors) and how much politics goes on between the master and servant, but also volatile with the dynastic heads vying for power and the favour of the Stormlord.
The story itself is has a really great for the first half with lots of background and pieces of information for the Necron fan, while the second half then gets down into the minutia of war, with lines of supply and tactics taking centrefield.
"Severed" is a thoroughly worthy read with great characters and a look into a xenos race that often gets stereotyped as Terminator 2 rip-offs, when they are obviously so much more. Here's hoping this is the start of more adventures with these characters, because their development in "Severed" deserves so much more. Nate Crowley does an amazing job balancing humour, action and a courtly intrigue - so much so that this is a great place to start developing the Necrons further, especially Zahndrekh, who is not only hilarious but shows us a side to the Necrontyr we don't see often.
If not for some pacing issues towards the end it would have been full marks - so four Necrons out of 5