Quick Review: A Pair of Emperor’s Children Novels by Josh Reynolds (Black Library)

A pair of novels that look at the Emperor’s Children Legion at two very different times in their history

Josh Reynolds, who must be Black Library’s hardest working author, recently wrote two novels about the Emperor’s Children Legion: one is part of the Horus Heresy: Primarchs series, and the other set during the ‘current’ WH40k era. Together, they offer a nice look at how far the Legion fell.

ReynoldsJ-HHP-FulgrimFULGRIM: THE PALATINE PHOENIX

Seeking a new challenge and a mighty triumph, Fulgrim – prideful primarch of the Emperor’s Children – sets out to conquer a world with just seven warriors by his side…

Lord of Chemos and bearer of the Palatine Aquila, Fulgrim, primarch of the Emperor’s Children, is determined to take his rightful place in the Great Crusade, whatever the cost. A swordsman without equal, the Phoenician has long studied the art of war and grows impatient to put his skills, and those of his loyal followers, to a true test. Now, accompanied by only seven of his finest warriors, he seeks to bring a rebellious world into compliance, by any means necessary. But Fulgrim soon learns that no victory comes without cost, and the greater the triumph, the greater the price one must pay…

In Fulgrim, the eponymous Primarch attempts to prove himself to his father and brothers, after he feels his reputation and stature threatened by his more-accomplished brothers. It is a story of arrogance, certainly, but also one that shows us how skilled Fulgrim actually is — long before his descent into Chaos and ultimate apotheosis. An interesting novel. Continue reading

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Quick Review: SLAVES TO DARKNESS by John French (Black Library)

FrenchJ-HH51-SlavesToDarknessThe traitors gather for their final push towards Terra…

After a long and gruelling conflict, the traitors at last close upon Terra. But time is dwindling for an attack. Both Guilliman and the Lion are returning with all haste, and their armies could turn the tide. The hosts of the Warmaster must unite, for only then can they attack the Throneworld itself. While Mortarion is sent on ahead as the fleet’s vanguard, it falls to Lorgar and Perturabo to marshal Fulgrim and Angron, both now elevated to daemonhood and perhaps beyond even the will of the Warmaster to command. But Horus lies wounded and as the greatest battle the galaxy has ever know looms, it is up to Maloghurst to hold his fractious Legion together and to wrench Horus himself from the edge of oblivion.

The Traitor legions are preparing for their final push to Terra. At least, that is the plan. After the events of Wolfsbane, Horus is grappling with the wound he received from the Emperor’s Spear, wielded by his loyalist brother Leman Russ. The time has nevertheless come to assemble the Traitor legions and bring the campaign to a close. However, this is easier said than done: all is not well among the Traitors, and with Horus’s status unclear, stresses and fractures appear not only between the legions, but also amongst Horus’s closest aides and commanders… Continue reading

Quick Review: WOLFSBANE by Guy Haley (Black Library)

HaleyG-HH-WolfsbaneLeman Russ tries to put down Horus before the traitors march for Terra…

The time has come for Leman Russ, primarch of the Space Wolves, to fulfil his vow and attempt to stop Warmaster Horus before he breaks through to the Segmentum Solar. In the face of opposition from three of his brother primarchs, Russ withdraws the Space Wolves legion from Terra and makes all haste for Horus’s position. Reports from Malcador the Sigillite’s agents suxggest that Horus is utterly changed, and infused with a diabolical power so great that no man can stand against him. A warrior of Fenris would never willingly abandon his oaths, but with Horus beyond the touch of mortal blades, the Lord of Winter and War may have doomed himself for the sake of honour…

The Horus Heresy, Black Library’s decade-plus-running series chronicling the “history” of the Warhammer 40,000 universe, is finally entering the final stretch. It’s been a long, circuitous journey, but one that has been very rewarding so far. (Save for a slight wobble after the first five novels or so…) In Wolfsbane, Haley tells the story of Leman Russ’s attempt to put down Horus before he is able to marshal the Traitor forces and make a final push to Terra. An interesting novel, it offered a fair amount of insight into the primarchs, the relationship between Russ and Horus, and much more. I really enjoyed this one. Continue reading

Review: Catching up on Horus Heresy Audio-Dramas (Black Library)

HorusHeresy-BlackLibraryAudioDramaRoundUp

I recently realized that I’d accumulated a handful of shorter Black Library audio-dramas, and decided it was time to get caught up. One thing that unites them all is the incredible production values: the sound is crystal clear, each performance excellent, and complemented by plentiful sound effects. At times, the latter can feel a bit omnipresent and distracting (in the grim darkness of the 31st millennium, there is rarely, if ever, quiet), but for the main they remain in the background.

Featuring: LJ Goulding, Robbie MacNiven, Josh Reynolds, Ian St. Martin

Continue reading

Quick(ish) Review: RUINSTORM by David Annandale (Black Library)

AnnandaleD-HH-RuinstormThree Legions attempt the journey back to Terra…

Imperium Secundus lies revealed as a heretical folly. Terra has not fallen, though it remains inaccessible. Sanguinius, Guilliman and the Lion El’Johnson, the primarchs of the Triumvirate, must reach Terra at all costs. They seek to defend the Emperor, and to atone for their sins. But the Ruinstorm, a galaxy-wide maelstrom of chaos, hides the Throneworld from the primarchs. Now the fleets of three Legions depart Macragge, and the primarchs will stop at nothing to overcome the Ruinstorm. Yet an insidious enemy watches their every move, and plots against the weaknesses of the errant sons of the Emperor. Each has his own inner storm, and each marches towards his own ruin.

In this, the 46th novel in the Horus Heresy series, the three Legions stranded at Ultramar have sallied forth, attempting to break through the Ruinstorm and make their way back to Terra, to be by the Emperor’s side when Horus launches his final attack on the Imperial throne world. Annandale brings his A-game, and from the get-go we’re thrown right into the story. It’s Chaotic, interesting, and moves the story forward nicely. I really enjoyed this. Continue reading

Interview with JOSHUA REYNOLDS

ReynoldsJ-AuthorPicLet’s start with an introduction: Who is Joshua Reynolds?

I’m a freelance writer and semi-professional monster movie enthusiast. I’ve had around twenty odd novels published, and around two hundred or so short stories, over the past decade, since I began my career. Which is a lot, now that I think about it.

You’ve got a few novels coming out this year, so I thought I’d split this interview into sci-fi and fantasy.

Sounds good!

Black Library recently published Fulgrim, your latest contribution to the Horus Heresy series. In December, your second Fabius Bile novel, Clonelord is also due out. Both focus on the Emperor’s Children traitor legion. How did you approach the two novels, and were there any challenges to addressing the same Legion during different eras?

Not really. It was mostly a matter of building on the work of authors like Graham McNeill, Aaron Dembski-Bowden, James Swallow and Nick Kyme regarding the characters. I tend to approach all work in a shared universe – whatever universe it happens to be – the same way: I like to make sure that what I’m working on slots neatly into the meta-story set out by others, while still going in the direction I want it to go. Why write tie-in fiction, if you’re not going to tie-in to anything, after all? Continue reading

Review: THE CRIMSON KING by Graham McNeill (Black Library)

The Thousand Sons grapple with their new world and reality…

After the razing of Prospero, Magnus the Red spirited the Thousand Sons away to the aptly un-named Planet of the Sorcerers, deep within the Eye of Terror. Removed from the concerns of the galaxy at large and regarding the Warmaster’s unfolding Heresy with cold detachment, he has dedicated his hollow existence to the preservation of all the knowledge once held in the great libraries of Tizca, should mankind ever seek such enlightenment again. But his sons can see the change in their primarch – he is a broken soul, whose mind and memories are slipping away into the tumult of the warp. Only by returning to the scenes of his greatest triumphs and tragedies can they hope to restore him, and allow the Crimson King to be crowned anew by the Ruinous Powers.

A Thousand Sons, Graham McNeill’s first novel focusing on Magnus the Red’s legion, was the first in what I consider to be the Horus Heresy series’s revival, and the beginning of a hot streak that has continued (pretty much) ever since. In The Crimson King, McNeill continues the story of the Thousand Sons, and looks at how they are coming to terms with not only their new status as traitors, but also their new reality and freedom. It’s an excellent continuation of the series. Continue reading