The Horus Heresy series, published by the Black Library (Games Workshop’s burgeoning publishing arm) has gone from strength to strength since the release of the first book, Horus Rising by Dan Abnett, back in 2006. For those who don’t know, the HH series is set in the 31st Millenium, when the Imperium of Mankind, led by immense superbeing the Emperor, is in the process of reclaiming the universe with the Great Crusade. His legions of Space Marines (bioengineered superhuman warriors) carry the Emperor’s word to reunite the lost civilisations of man across the universe, they themselves led by each legion’s Primarch – a genetic warrior created by the Emperor.
Horus Lupercal, Primarch of the Luna Wolves Legion, is the best and brightest of these elite warrior-generals. As the Great Crusade nears its end, the Emperor ordains Horus as Warmaster, bequeathing to him the responsibility of leading the Imperium’s armies, whilst the Emperor returns to Earth, or Terra, to complete his secret project.
The opening trilogy of novels (Horus Rising by Dan Abnett, False Gods by Graham McNeill and Galaxy In Flames by Ben Counter) deal with Horus’ rise to Warmaster, and his descent into treachery, or heresy, if you will. These three titles have just been re-released as deluxe, limited edition hardbacks, with added black and white illustrations (four in each book) plus an afterword by the authors, and are luxury collector’s items (it’s book five, Fulgrim, that I’m waiting keenly for; still my favourite in the series). All are available now for £20, exclusive to www.blacklibrary.com, and your local Games Workshop store.
Recently out is the 23rd novel in the Horus Heresy series, Angel Exterminatus by Graham McNeill, the first novel to be released in the first instance as a hardback (not counting the exclusive novellas, Promethean Sun, Aurelian and Brotherhood of the Storm). McNeill is responsible for some of the best in the series (the aforementioned Fulgrim, along with the equally superb and New York Times best-selling A Thousand Sons). This is his sixth heresy novel and he is again drawn to the Traitor Legions, this time the Iron Warriors (who he has written about before in his Ultramarines series), led by the primarch Perturabo, and again the Emperor’s Children, along with their sire, Fulgrim. McNeill has brought a fresh perspective to the traitors and has, particuarly in the instance of the Emperor’s Children and the Thousand Sons, brought these renegades to sympathetic life.
Betrayal is a complex concept to deal with and McNeill handled the hedonistic collapse of the Emperor’s Children with expert craftsmanship, likewise too with the more heartbreaking tale of the Thousand Sons. What causes a battle brother to forsake his vows and turn traitor? The answer, in McNeill’s hands, is never simple, and it is within the rich complexity of betrayal that his work in the series has shone.
Angel Exterminatus features a pre-heresy story of the Iron Warriors Legion and the Emperor’s Children Legion working together at the height of the Great Crusade to invade a Dark Eldar stronghold, and promises classic Space Marine action, along with portents of doom for both Legions…
Angel Exterminatus is out now in deluxe hardback at £20, published by the Black Library, and is available to buy from your local Games Workshop or from www.blacklibrary.com. And like the re-released opening trilogy, the book features four illustrations by Karl Richardson and an afterword by the author.
Angel Exterminatus will be given the full geekzine treatment very soon….
Andy ‘Phoenician’ Jamieson, Editor-in-Chief