Review: BLADES OF THE TRAITOR (Black Library)

Various-HH-BladesOfTheTraitorThe latest Horus Heresy anthology from Black Library

Across the war-torn galaxy, those sworn to Horus’s cause shake the Imperium to its very foundations. Before the traitors’ relentless onslaught, the wisdom of ages past is lost and forgotten, daemons hide amongst the common people and the warp’s corrupting influence can be seen in almost every facet of the Heresy. For those who would become champions of the new order, there can surely be no redemption – only an eternity of carnage and slaughter, and the laughter of thirsting gods…

This book collects five short stories set in the Horus Heresy age. Two of them I’ve already read and reviewed: the excellent Daemonology by Chris Wraight, and the very-short-but-also-very-good Black Oculus by John French. These three new stories are excellent. While not the longest anthology BL has done, this may be their best in terms of quality in a long while. Very highly recommended for fans of the series. The collection probably has more to offer fans who have read the novels that sowed the seeds for these stories, but they are also five examples of excellent, dark science fiction. Continue reading

Review: VENGEFUL SPIRIT by Graham McNeill (Black Library)

McNeill-HH-VengefulSpiritThe Traitor Horus returns…

Once the brightest star in the Imperium and always first among his primarch brothers, Horus has dragged the Space Marine Legions into the bloodiest conflict that the galaxy has ever seen. While their allies wage war on a thousand different fronts, the XVIth Legion descend upon the Knight world of Molech – home to the ruling House Devine, and a principal stronghold of the Imperial Army. The forces loyal to the Emperor stand ready to defy the Warmaster, but just what could have drawn Horus to attack such a well defended planet, and what might he be willing to sacrifice to fulfill his own dark destiny?

With its 29th instalment, the Horus Heresy series continues to entertain and impress. McNeill is probably the most skilled of the ‘old hands’ still working on the series, and with Vengeful Spirit he brings Horus himself back into the spotlight. It’s an epic, engaging novel, with just a couple of minor niggles, but also a few welcome surprises. Continue reading

Horus Heresy Short Reviews: CENSURE and WOLF OF ASH AND FIRE (Black Library)

Just wanted to flag up two Horus Heresy short stories I’ve read recently, as they were both very good, and well worth an enthusiast’s time.

Kyme-HH-CensureCENSURE by Nick Kyme

In the depths of Calth’s arcology network, the Underworld War has raged for years. Aeonid Thiel, previously an honoured sergeant of the Ultramarines, once again finds himself in trouble – pitted against the daemonic forces of the Word Bearers, he has no choice but to venture back to the ravaged surface and brave the deadly solar flares that have scoured all life from this world. With a lowly Imperial Army trooper as his only companion, it falls to him to drive the maniacal Dark Apostle Kurtha Sedd and his warband from the overrun XIIIth Legion stronghold.

This was originally released as an audio-drama. When it was released as an eBook, however, I picked it up right away. Kyme is really growing as an author – each new story of his that I read, I can see that he’s just getting better and better. This story is set (once again) on Calth, the planet at which the Heresy and the extent of the betrayal truly exploded out into the open. After the battle of Calth, there could be no denying that the galaxy had indeed been set on fire. Censure is set some years after the events of Mark of Calth and Know No Fear, and Aeonid Thiel has returned to the ravaged world to fight against the Word Bearers and support the remnant loyalists. It focuses on a specific mission and conflict, and is fast-paced, nuanced, and expertly paced. Quite excellent, and very highly recommended.

*

McNeill-HH-WolfOfAshAndFireTHE WOLF OF ASH AND FIRE by Graham McNeill

The Wolf of Ash and Fire is a Horus Heresy short story that takes place during the Great Crusade, before the outbreak of the Horus Heresy. The Wolf of Ash and Fire follows Horus Lupercal, fighting alongside the Emperor Himself, as the Luna Wolves fight for control of the Ork-held planetoid of Gorro. The Wolf of Ash and Fire was released as a free e-book with every copy of Macragge’s Honour.

This short story was released free through the Black Library website some time ago. It’s a quick, battle-filled tale of Horus’s strategic expertise, battlefield fury, and pre-Heresy devotion to the Emperor. It is also one of the few stories that features both the Emperor and Horus on the battlefield together – and it is epic. The battle scenes are great, swirling and furious. I’d really like McNeill (or any of the Heresy writers, actually) to revisit this campaign, or just write some more stories like this. As with Censure, this is highly recommended for all fans of the series. I can’t wait for McNeill’s next Heresy novel, Vengeful Spirit (out later this year).

Upcoming: “Vengeful Spirit” by Graham McNeill (Black Library)

McNeill-HH-VengefulSpiritI’ve already posted the full artwork for Graham McNeill’s next Horus Heresy novel, Vengeful Spirit. Now, however, I’ve managed to dig up a synopsis, which gives me another opportunity to feature it – I’m sure everyone who reads CR is fully aware of how much I enjoy the HH series of novels and short stories. So, without further ado…

On the planet of Molech, the Titan Legions go to war against the armies of Horus.

Once the favoured son of the Emperor of Mankind, the name of Horus has become a curse to the loyal defenders of the Imperium, and a rallying call to the traitor forces tearing across the galaxy. While their allies wage war on a thousand different fronts, the XVIth Legion descend upon the Knight World of Molech – home to House Devine and their feudal levies, and a principal seat of Imperial military power. Just what could have drawn Horus to attack such a strongly defended planet, and what might he be willing to sacrifice to fulfill his own dark destiny?

I’m still not 100% sure when this is going to be released – Amazon UK has September 2014 listed as publication, but Black Library often releases things a little earlier through their own store/website. So maybe a couple months earlier? Needless to say, whenever it’s available, I can’t wait to read it.

The Horus Heresy: Horus Rising, False Gods, Galaxy in Flames, Flight of the Eisenstein, Fulgrim, Descent of Angels, Legion, Battle for the Abyss, Mechanicum, Tales of Heresy, Fallen Angels, A Thousand Sons, Nemesis, The First Heretic, Prospero Burns, Age of Darkness, The Outcast Dead, Deliverance Lost, Know No Fear, The Primarchs, Fear to Tread, Shadows of Treachery, Angel Exterminatus, Betrayer, Mark of Calth, Promethean Sun, Scorched Earth, Vulkan Lives, Scars (episodes I-III, IV-IX, X-X11), The Unremembered Empire