Archive for horus

NEMESIS By James Swallow – Reviewed

Posted in Reviews, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 31, 2018 by stanleyriiks

A band of assassins is put together, the very best of the best, and sent to kill the arch-traitor Horus. The leader of the rebellion against the almighty emperor…

The first half of the book is taken up with the collection of the varied and talented assassins, giving us an insight into their personalities and how they work. Unfortunately there are a few too many of them and there is little characterisation, apart from their physical bearings, to separate them easily.

The second half of the book quickly ramps up the pace and sees our anti-heroes on a world struggling with the Horus Heresy (the split of the human empire), the governors siding with the rebellious Primarch Horus and the people of the world imperials to the core, fighting their corner despite heavy losses. The assassins decide to help out the imperial guerrillas.

Meanwhile a savage killer is making its way across the universe, heading for its own ultimate goal…
What happens when a band of assassins intent on killing the enemy of the Imperium clash with the universe’s most expert murderer…

And we have the Nemesis of the title.

It takes a little while to get into the book, but the second half more than makes up for it. Brilliantly gory and intelligent – although not necessarily an important part of the Heresy story – it is interesting to see how things progress from the Imperial perspective outside of the Space Marines.

The later parts of the book reminded me slightly of Dan Simmons’ Hyperion Cantos.

A new view of the Heresy, and some interesting new characters and viewpoints of this pivotal moment in Imperial history. A great jumping on point for this epic series.


LEGION By Dan Abnett – Reviewed

Posted in Reviews, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 30, 2013 by stanleyriiks

The action writer who started off the Horus Heresy series returns to familiar ground in this, another novel of the expansion of the Heresy “Universe”. While the first three novels is the series set up the Heresy, this and the previous novel in the series (Descent of Angels) set up/explore other parts of the unsuspecting human empire in which the terror of the Heresy will take place.

In this novel, for the first time we are focussed on the Imperial Army rather than the Space Marine Astartes. Soneka and Bronzi are het (kinds of sergeants) in the Imperial war effort on Nurth, a lost planet, one previously colonised by Terra, but lost over time. The army has invaded and fights against the resistance to get the world of Nurth to comply. Matters are complicated by a spy called Konig Heniker, but is he a double agent? And what are the mysterious Alpha Legion keeping secret, apart from their presence? And who are this strange Cabal that is pulling the strings in private?

This is an intriguing novel, more double-crossing, spies and secrets, than action and violence. Of course, there is some action and violence, but a bit more rather than the politics and intrigue might have been nice.

I understand why Gamesworkshop and The Black Library are expanding this incredibly successful series into an entire universe of books, but I would like them to focus more on the pivotal characters within the Heresy Horus: the Emperor and the Primarchs.

This is another instalment that feels a little like padding.

There’s plenty of story still to take place from the main characters in the Heresy, the central protagonists, so why are we getting a story like this? Are these characters going to be playing a part in the conspiracy at a later stage? If they are then fine, but can’t it be as part of a shorter series, like a trilogy of books, like the first three books in the Heresy series.

I can’t help but think the story is being expanded to fill the wallets of Gamesworkshop rather than to tell the story that needs to be told, the story of the actual Heresy.

Am I being impatient? I am over-reacting?

Possibly. This is good stuff from Abnett, who is always good value. It’s not his best work, Horus Rising or the Eisenhorn novels are excellent, with tons more action, adventure and excitement.

I hope that this novel of secrecy and intrigue is an integral part of the tale of the Heresy, otherwise I’m going to feel a little bit cheated.

DESCENT OF ANGELS By Mitchel Scanlon – Reviewed

Posted in Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 13, 2013 by stanleyriiks

This is not your normal Horus Heresy novel. It doesn’t read like a Horus Heresy novel at all, and by the end I was wondering how this fitted into the massive tale of betrayal and treachery. Having read all the other books in the series so far this came as a bit of a shock. I realise that since the original trilogy many of the books have told related but connected only marginally tales of the Heresy.

This book tells the tale of Caliban, a feudal-like world, and former Terra colony that has been out of touch with Earth for hundreds of years.

This feudal land is a dangerous place of deadly flora and fauna, and the knights of the orders that run the world have had enough and set out to rid the world of the beasts. Lion El’Jonson, a strange and mighty warrior, mysteriously found deep in the jungles of Caliban, takes charge of the largest order and sets his sights on removing the danger of the beasts.

Then the Imperial fleet arrives, after almost two hundred pages and the world of Caliban is gradually reconverted to the Empire, whether they like it or not.

This is a tale of friendship and brotherhood, and is a riveting. It shows a different side of the Empire we are familiar with. For the most part this doesn’t feel like an 40K universe book at all. The feudal world of Caliban is remarkably well portrayed, and two young trainee-knights are our protagonists, and we follow them as they struggled with becoming knights, and becoming men. It’s a quite fascinating tale, a fantasy that actually slides perfectly into the 40K universe. Brilliantly inventive for the series, but does it actually fit into the Horus Heresy sequence? And the next book in the series, Legion by Dan Abnett, doesn’t follow on the story of the Dark Angels either… It’s a perfectly good book, exciting, adventurous, cleverly plotted and inventive, and as a stand-alone novel is works well within the 40K universe and offers something different. My problems rests entirely on it’s fit into the Horus Heresy. Otherwise its one of the best 40K novels.

FILGRIM By Graham McNeill – Reviewed

Posted in Reviews, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 23, 2011 by stanleyriiks

The next instalment of the Horus Heresy shows us the other side of the massive conspiracy, which will see the Imperium at war, brutal treachery and betrayal, and the birth of chaos.

Up until now we have seen bare glimpses of chaos, but only hints at the power and control it will eventually have. We have seen brother fighting brother, massive and brutal betrayal. Now, with Fulgrim, we get to see more of the other side. The chaos side of what will be an epic battle. Fulgrim picks up a weapon from an alien planet after a massive battle to subdue it, a sword imbued with evil. But the changes are subtle and gradual, and we also get to see Saul Tarvitz and the lead up to the massive slaughter on Isstvan III. But this is the gradual unfolding of chaos as it slowly and cleverly ecks its way into the cracks, finding a home for itself in the egos of those weak or easily manipulated. It isn’t until the final hundred pages that we see the true power of chaos to corrupt in a massive orgy of violence, and then we have another massive battle as the forces of the Emperor realise they have been betrayed.

Despite a slow start the end of this book is huge, brutal and devastating. It’s utterly shocking, just like the first book in the series, the hurt and pain as brother fights brother is palpable.

McNeill’s second book in the series provides another great instalment. The Black Library is doing very well with this series. Such a massive story to tell, a grand job is being done of telling it. Brutal, murderous, worth buying for the final one hundred pages alone.

GALAXY IN FLAMES By Ben Counter – Reviewed

Posted in Reviews, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 20, 2010 by stanleyriiks

The final instalment in the first trilogy of the epic tale of the Horus Heresy, sees the unleashing of the betrayal that has been building over the two previous books, in a furious battle.

On the planet of Isstvan III the space marines are sent to bring a planet back under the control of the Imperium, but they discover, too late, that they are being sent into a trap that will leave all of them dead.

Horus, the Warmaster, and his brother primarchs and other followers, act brutally to destroy any hope of rebellion against their plotting to take over the Empire and to kill the Emperor.

Loken, Tavitz, and our other heroes land on Isstvan III prepared for battle, but the traitors unload viruses and fire to blanket the planet and destroy everyone.

A brutal brother against brother battle erupts for their very survival, and the survival of the empire.

Counter managed to give this epic account a personal focus, whilst still imbuing it with an action-packed energy we’ve come to love from the previous tales. The Horus Heresy is the jewel in the crown of the Black Library, and they are pouring the talent into it. The story is massive and epic, and one book can barely give you a sense of what is going on, but this is a cracking instalment, all action and packed with death.

Counter produces a novel of integrity, that takes it beyond the simple action battles of other 40K sagas. Massively entertaining, tension-filled and desperately sad. Watching the empire fall apart is a truly torturing experience.

Can’t wait to find out what happens next.

FALSE GODS By Graham McNeill – Reviewed

Posted in Reviews, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 28, 2009 by stanleyriiks

The second instalment of the epic Horus Heresy legend sees the beginnings of rebellion. A betrayal by the commanding officer on Davin brings Horus and the Mournival (his elite champions and advisors) to the moon of Davin on a quest for revenge and justice. But they all get more than they bargained for, the moon of Davin, the betrayer, it is all a part of an intricate plot. A plot to kill Horus.

When Horus is injured and on his death-bed, desperate measures must be taken to save the most important soldier in the Universe. Unfortunately they are left with only one choice: to take Horus to Davin’s surface and leave him in the Snake Temple to be administered to by its priests. Despite the entire idea being completely against the Emperor’s teachings, the desperation of those left to make the decision means that any measures will be taken to save Horus’ life.

Up to this point we have the traditional war-torn savagery of the Warhammer 40K universe. But as Horus is on his death-bed, we have a kind of A Christmas Carol scene where Horus is visited by a ghost to be shown the future of the universe to try to convert him over to the dark side. As this is the turning point of the entire Warhammer universe it just feels weak, insubstantial and not entirely convincing. After this halfway point not much happens, the intrigues continue to build, but most of the plot of this novel has already been told. The thing is, it’s still gripping. The petty intrigues, and lies and schemes keep your attention. This is not the blockbuster of the first book, but a good solid second instalment (similar to The Empire Strikes Back), which can’t help but fail in its turnabout of the Warmaster, but other than that continues to entertain.

Can’t wait for the third instalment.

HORUS RISING By Dan Abnett – Reviewed

Posted in Life..., Reviews, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 17, 2009 by stanleyriiks


Ahh, the infamous history of the Warhammer 40K universe. The oft hinted at time of the uprising against the Emperor, and humanity’s, greatest enemy. Finally, we have the history of the Horus Heresy. The first chapter, told by one of the Black Library’s best loved writers, Dan Abnett.

I recently rediscovered the Warhammer universes, after a fifteen-year absence. Both times I found my way to Gamesworkshop via different methods, and found my interested satiated in different ways. The first time I entered one of their shops I marvelled at the artwork and the intricately painted models. I’ve never been interested in the tabletop gaming, but the figures impressed me, and later frustrated me as I tried to create my own versions of the miniature masterpieces. The second time, only about three years ago, I came across Dawn of War, the epic real-time-strategy PC game, and its various sequels and expansion packs. The game brought all the beauty and brutality of the 40K universe to life, and drew me further in, which is when I discovered the tomes of the Black Library and the written history of the 40K universe. I’ve read a few of the books, mostly the omnibuses, Eisenhorn, Space Wolf Omnibus, and the Malus Darkblade books. Most of which are written by Abnett.

Horus Rising tells the story of Captain Garviel Loken, of the Luna Wolves. His battles across worlds, and the introduction of chaos to the innocent world of the 31st millennium. This world is much different to that of the 40K universe, without the corrupting influence of chaos, the human Imperium is a much safer place, as the Space Marines march unhaltingly across the universe destroying all who stand in their way in the name of the Emperor. The battles are with fellow humans and giant spiders, and green-skins, not crazy chaos-space marines.

The world of the 31st millennium is a much more relaxed place, the people in it far more human and venerable and real, without the dominating influence and fear produced by chaos.

The story of the Horus Heresy is huge, and this first book is just the prologue, hinting at so much more to come. It would be unfair to point out that the heresy has barely begun, despite these three hundred pages, because this really will be an epic tale, encompassing many different sections of the universe.

Horus Rising is a book that sets the standard high, it does well to set a different tone from the 40K universe, whilst maintaining a similar integrity. Abnett is on form, producing a rip-roaring war novel that begins what is likely to be the largest series the Black Library will ever produce.

And this is just the beginning…