Continuing the series looking at the Horus Heresy in clusters of 3, we move on to books 10-12. My general feeling is that the series is still not quite kicking off properly, with expected story arcs still not appearing yet…that is until we get to book number 12!
#10 – Tales of Heresy
Tales of Heresy is the first of many short story anthologies in the series and brings together a disparate group of stories, mostly set in the Great Crusade…maybe it should have been called Tales of the Great Crusade?!
The stories in the book are:
- Blood Games by Dan Abnett – a Custodian testing the defences of Terra. I really enjoyed the descriptions of Terra and as ever, Dan Abnett’s writing is exemplary.
- Wolf at the Door by Mike Lee – a very interesting story looking at Space Wolves defending a planet from Dark Eldar and then having to take a tough decision at the end. A good insight in to the morals that govern the superhuman astartes.
- Scions of the Storm by Anthony Reynolds – a story that links in with the later book, The Last Heretic. This story explores the Word Bearers compliance of a world with a few surprising twists along the way.
- The Voice by James Swallow – a first proper look at the Sisters of Silence; if nothing else it is worth reading for that. However James Swallow has crafted a good short story exploring the Sisters personalities; all whilst dealing with a terrible threat aboard a Black Ship.
- Call of the Lion by Gav Thorpe – a Dark Angels story exploring the difference of opinion between those of the legion from Terra and those from Caliban. It wasn’t the most gripping story but it does go towards explaining conflicts within the legion.
- The Last Church by Graham McNeill – a tale exploring philosphy in the last church on Terra, with a conversation between the church’s custodian and a mysterious stranger. One of the most interesting stories ever from the Black Library.
- After Desh’ea by Matthew Farrer – Angron’s introduction to his legion; unsurprisingly it is bloody and angry! A good insight in to Angron’s background and how his mind works (after a fashion!).
Best story (overall) – The Last Church
Best story (fighting) – Wolf at the Door
Best story (non-fighting) – Blood Games
Primarch count – 1 (Lorgar) in Scions of the Storm, 1 (Angron) in After Desh’ea
#11 – Fallen Angels by Mike Lee
It might just be me but I really struggle with the Dark Angels. Their strange ways and mystery I feel is only ever partly and non entirely satisfactorily explained. I wonder if this hamstrung the various authors that have tried to take them on in the Horus Heresy series.
As with Descent of Angels, unfortunately this book is not the best in the series. It is perfectly well written but the story struggled to engage me, particularly within the wider arc of the Heresy.
The story follows two narratives, The Lion on campaign, and Luther back on Caliban. I found Luther’s story more engaging as it showed his fall and made it believable. As for the Lion’s part, I struggled with it, even the climactic battle at the end.
Read this if you are a Dark Angels fan or really want to read all of the Horus Heresy books, otherwise I would skip this one.
Best character – Zahariel (also my favourite in Descent of Angels)
Best fight – Zaheriel and co. vs corruption on Caliban
Bets non-fight part – Luther’s conversations with Zahariel
Primarch count – 2 – The Lion and Perturabo
#12 – A Thousand Sons by Graham McNeill
Finally the Heresy kicks off again! This book is the first one since the opening trilogy to begin the telling of one of the major story arcs. It covers numerous big events and includes some of the most important characters in the whole series.
The story predominately follows the story of the Thousand Sons through the eyes of Ahriman, as well through a group of rememberencers. For the first time in a while in the series, I felt that I really understood the motives of a legion and why they were exactly how they were…as well as why they fell.
In a a way the story is heartbreaking, particularly if you already know what is coming. In a way the Thousand Sons are one of the most loyal legions, yet their methods and hubris bring about their downfall.
Partiuclar highlights are an initial stand-off between Magnus and Russ, the Council of Nikea and the final battle for Propsero. Thankfully, by and large, the series really kicks on from here and begin to give fans exactly what they want.
Best character – Ahriman
Best fight – The fight for Prospero
Bets non-fight part – The Council of Nikea
Primarch count – 6 (!) – Magnus, Leman Russ, Lorgar, Mortarion, Sanguinius, Fulgrim