15 Feb 21

A brief history of Uriel Ventris, the Ultramarines captain who defied the Codex Astartes

BLCelebration2021 Jan20 Header23bpw

You may have noticed that this year’s Black Library Celebration has a distinctly Ultramarines theme to it. Today we’re looking at just what – or rather, who – the blue and gold are celebrating: Uriel Ventris, captain of the Ultramarines Fourth Company, and star of the novel The Swords of Calth.

Who is Uriel Ventris?

Every Space Marine captain is a veteran of hundreds of battles, well versed in every aspect of war and the dictates of the Codex Astartes, Uriel Ventris is no exception. He ascended to leadership of the Ultramarines Fourth Company following the death of his mentor Idaeus in the short story ‘Chains of Command’. 

Ventris’ first mission as captain – in the novel Nightbringer – saw him face drukhari raiders on the world of Pavonis, where a shard of the ancient evil known as the Nightbringer was unleashed upon the galaxy after aeons of imprisonment. The sequel, Warriors of Ultramar, pitted him against the tyranids as they devoured a planet. Defying the Codex Astartes and calling upon unorthodox tactics to prevail, Ventris faced censure on his return to Macragge and was exiled from the Chapter.

After a journey into the Eye of Terror, where he made exciting new enemies who would come back to haunt his life later, Ventris was redeemed and returned to command his company, where he once more proved himself to be an outstanding warrior and a superlative leader.

We last saw Ventris in action in a novel a full decade ago, when The Chapter’s Due cast him in a key role during a massive Chaos invasion of Ultramar. Of course, in those ten years, the 41st Millennium has changed, and the Space Marines with it. Now Uriel Ventris has taken the next step, braving death to join the ranks of the Primaris Space Marines.*

New mission, old enemies

Changed in body and mind, Ventris is back in action in The Swords of Calth. As the threat of the necrons grows across the galaxy, he and his battle-brothers are hunting something that Ventris first faced on Pavonis many years ago – the dread Nightbringer. Still haunted by the horrors that the xenos entity unleashed in his mind during their first encounter, Ventris is determined to defeat it and exorcise his metaphorical daemons. 

In the new novel, you’ll see how this quest unfolds – and get an insight into the changes that a Space Marine undergoes when they cross the Rubicon Primaris. Seeing how a beloved character like Uriel Ventris deals with his altered status is a fascinating way to explore the differences between the two breeds of Space Marine, and what they mean for the bonds of brotherhood that are vital to the Adeptus Astartes.

You can pre-order The Swords of Calth from this Saturday, the 20th of February, alongside a themed bookmark with a quote from the novel and a stunning model depicting Uriel Ventris in his new form.

Later this month, Warhammer stores that are presently open will also have a new collector’s coin featuring Ultramarines iconography. If your store is presently closed, fear not! When it re-opens, this coin will be available.

To whet your appetite for this new addition to your Space Marines collection, we have a video guide to painting Ventris to Parade Ready standard. Check it out while you wait for Saturday to arrive.

* You can witness this transformation in the short story ‘The Death of Uriel Ventris’, in the anthology Warriors and Warlords.