Monday, 29 April 2013

The Horus Heresy thus far Review: By Allen Ward & Andrew Babcock

ALlen: A series of recent policy changes by the Black Library have meant it will be a number of months before I read Angel Exterminatus Betrayer or Mark of Calth (the Mass Market Paperback is not out til August and I’m not wrecking the uniformity of my bookshelf for ANYONE). This therefore seemed like an opportune moment to take stock and summarise the series thus far and maybe look at the future. Myself and the esteemed Mr. Babcock will discuss this and more in a transatlantic Hour Heresy overview....

Mr. B: After 7 years, 24 novels, some collected works, and many more stories and audio dramas, the Horus Heresy series is alive and strong. Each story has a unique perspective as they’re written in a pseudo-historical sense where the reader knows that Horus and his fall into the grips of Chaos creates the world of the game Warhammer 40,000, so each novel must present itself in the light of a “Warhammer 30,000” universe. My favourite part of the series, and much of its appeal no doubt, is the glimpse of the Space Marine Primarchs shared through the multifarious viewpoints of lesser Space Marines, Imperial soldiers, and the “Remembrancers” or civilian crew following the many arms of the Great Crusade so that they may spread the news and glory of this achievement back to humanity.

ALlen: I agree that the Horus Heresy series has done much to expand our knowledge of this period of the 40K universe. The Remembrancers are one of my favourite new additions, the idea that humans are assigned by the Emperor to catalogue and record the Great Crusade. This allows for a human element to the series that may have otherwise been missing as these books are very power armoured centric (understandably) Space Marines can actually become very boring if not supported with other characters, although the Astartes characterisation in the Heresy series is better than in most books. The Primarchs are also a large part of the series and it is fair to say we are now blessed with more information on the Primarchs than ever, sometimes with multiple authors giving different perspectives on each Primarch. Again there has been some great characterisation of the Primarchs and their various triumphs (and falls) been documented here like never before. There have been some great books, some good books, and some books that frankly probably should have not been printed, we're going to cover them all here. 

So here we go! I've read every single novel that the Heresy has to offer and Babbers has read all but the very latest few so allow us to present you: the Horus Heresy Thus Far.

Opening Salvoes:

Mr.B: The entire Horus Heresy series opened with a bang in 2006 with a trilogy of books: Horus Rising, False Gods, and Galaxy in Flames. These mainly follow Garviel Loken, a Luna Wolves captain raised into the hallowed ranks of the Mournival, which is an advisory council for the newly crowned Warmaster of the Crusade, Horus Lupercal. These three books are required reading, it’s that simple. The authors for these three novels (Dan Abnett, Graham McNeilll, and Ben Counter) really scripted the events and characters evenly, so there is little differentiation in behaviour or voice between novels. This opening trilogy is a real testament to the spirit and energy behind the team of creative geniuses the Black Library holds in its pens (pun intended). The so-called High Lords of Terra seem to hold regular meetings together in order to brainstorm and plan the series very well. It’s almost as if they were planning a long term galactic siege of an ancient planet…

ALlen: I loved the 'Loken Trilogy.' I almost consider these first three books as one entry despite being written by different authors. You can tell that they were written with a lot of mutual collaboration. Horus Rising, although perhaps an unexpected and understated opener-offering was well written and Abnett was a good choice to begin the series. Action takes a backseat for the most part as characters are established and the central foundations of the Crusade are laid down. This largely unexplored period of 40k history being fleshed out chapter by chapter. It’s really weird reading a series where the concept of Chaos is completely unknown. The idea of an Astartes turning on a battle brother is palpably written as anathema to them, and Daemons (even if they are not known as such) are something they can barely deal with . It’s somewhat refreshing having this liberation from the normal 40K tropes, which goes a long way to setting these books apart from all other Black Library series.

False Gods steps things up as Horus is gravely injured leading the Mournival into making a decision on which the fate of the entire galaxy will depend. This was actually the first time I was a little disappointed with events in the series. I could live with the idea that Horus wasn't the first to encounter the Chaos Gods and ultimately it is Horus's own decision to turn his coat, but the circumstances of his corruption somewhat diminishes the character somewhat. I can see that they were trying to portray the good in the Warmaster to add another dimension to his character, but I still couldn't see why he couldn't just want power and take it. That said, I felt much the same about the Star Wars prequels and Darth Vader’s turning to the Dark Side and I never got over that either (yeah I just compared the Warmaster to Hayden Christensen, sacrilege I know, but deal with it). That said I really liked some of the themes being presented as the Emperor’s intention to create a grand enlightened Imperium free of theistic beliefs and cults unravels despite his best efforts. Elsewhere, Horus' conflict as the title of Warmaster weighs heavily on him is well explored and this goes some way to mitigating the circumstances of his betrayal.

Galaxy in Flames is the first real epic of the series as the proverbial shit hits the fan when brother turns on brother and the legions that have turned traitor expunge the loyalist portions amongst them. Some truly devastating consequences unfurl as the first great act of betrayal at Istvaan is brought to life in horrific and vivid detail. Allegiances and bonds are shattered and the sense of escalation is profound and brutal. By far the most action packed of the Loken Trilogy, it is a non-stop ride of treachery, travesty, and slaughter on a planetary scale.  There are some really memorable scenes and the chaos (if you'll excuse the use of the word)  is very well portrayed as Horus finally makes his play. It’s such a satisfying end to the opening trilogy and the kind of thing that would work really well as the end to a first film if fans’ dreams were ever to be realised and the book series make it onto the big screen.

The stage gets set here in a near perfect fashion. The first line of the series is something along the likes of, “I was there the day Horus slew the Emperor,” deliciously foreshadowing the entire Heresy itself with a tale of a false emperor. The invention of the Remembrancers is a great addition as a viewpoint and something the post-human Astartes are learning to adjust to their involvement as the series opens. We really get to see some of the chief revolutionaries in these tales: a great deal of Horus, Fulgrim, Angron, Mortarion, Abaddon, Eidolon, Fabius Bile, Lucius, and the wish-there-was-a-better-word-than-evil Erebus.

It’s also unique to think of the way things are established for this WH 30K universe. The Astartes legions are huge, huge, HUGE. The Ultramarines number in the hundreds of thousands. Primarchs, commanders, and space marines are inexperienced or completely oblivious to the forces of chaos or the existence of daemons. Imperial society is built upon science and progress. Religion, especially divine aspects of the Emperor are frowned upon or openly spurned as superstitious babble. Then there’s the horror of betrayal after betrayal that feel real and world-ending to the characters involved. It’s like these guys didn’t realize that Horus was a bad guy…    oh.


Mr.B: After Galaxy in Flames, the gig is up. Heresy and revolution are in the works, but only a very small part of the Imperium is in the know, so we start to gather various viewpoints from around the galaxy. The Flight of the Eisenstein brings word back to Terra of Horus’ crime, Fulgrim explores the story of the Emperor’s Children as well as their perfectionist and depraved Primarch, Descent of Angels introduces the world of Caliban and the Dark Angels, Legion explores the mysteries of the Alpha Legion, Battle for the Abyss starts the conflict between the Word Bearers and the Ultramarines, and Mechanicum blasts the priests of Mars into full conflict as schisms build and divide the worlds of men.

Descent of Angels and Battle for the Abyss were nearly unmemorable for me. I can see them on my shelf and I know I slogged through them, but I cannot tell you who those stories revolve around. I have a glimpse in my mind of a Dark Angel working his way up through the ranks and some space marines fighting on a huge ship called the Abyss. These were the first duds of the series.

Fulgrim and Legion on the other hand are FANTASTIC. Both novels cement themselves as deeply as possible within their Astartes chapter; you get the full treatment of life within the Emperor’s Children and the closest glimpse of who exactly the Alpha Legion are. It’s actually hard to discuss these two novels without blowing the huge events and colossal secrets revealed within their pages. Want a marathon of epic? Read Fulgrim. Want a mystery wrapped in an enigma? Read Legion. I cannot go on any further.

ALlen: Totally agree with DOA (an oddly fitting acronym, no?) and BFTA. Both snorefests. Descent of Angels pretty much ensured Mitchell Scanlon never wrote for the Horus Heresy again. It was a horrifically dull experience that tried to tell of the early days of Caliban, but merely ensured it to be one of the poorest books in the series. I remember Battle for the Abyss having some average bolterporn and decent boarding sequences, but still nothing to recommend it over other entries. Perhaps the fact that it technically precedes the far superior Know No Fear gives you a reason to check it out, but I consider it eminently skippable. I almost consider Flight of the Eisenstien to be a part of the Loken Trilogy as it deals so directly with the aftermath of the Istvaan Massacre (the first one). There are some great elements to it; a real fight or flight aspect permeates the book and the sequence as the Eisentein is attacked in the warp is outstanding as the Nurgle Daemons finally make an appearance. It’s also the start of a whole sub plot within the Heresy which is still being heavily explored to this day, most recently with anthology Mark of Calth so it’s definitely one to read.

Things do escalate somewhat in Fulgrim, a delightful portrayal of the Emperor Childrens Primarch’s descent into madness, effectively told from a refreshingly human perspective by Graham McNeill thanks to Fulgrim’s chief remembrancer. It’s a bit twisted and dark, but since when was that a bad thing?! It also deals with the first instance of Primarchicide (yeah its a word now). Fulgrim is a great book full stop that really explores the relationship and strong bonds between two brothers and the different paths they take that tear a schism between them. It’s maybe the first true GREAT book of the series. So much happens within its pages and Babbers is absolutely right to call it an epic. The back section dealing with the drop pod assault would make the book worth reading alone. Dan Abnett’s follow up, Legion, was even better (DOA came in between, but I pretend it doesn’t exist) as it’s the first time we really see the Astartes being covert as the Alpha Legion’s nature is fully laid bare. Some fascinating concepts are presented and explored and it becomes clear that the Alpha Legion specialises in deception and espionage as their status quo. The books double whammy of revelations at the climax takes nothing away from what comes before, but also overshadows it entirely. Jaws dropped.

Mechanicum was another first in the Heresy series as Graham McNeill dove into events on Mars exploring the origins of the Dark Mechanicum. As with Fulgrim, he keeps a human perspective in this largely Astartes-free outing. Some might describe it as filler, but I found it fascinating to have this facet of the Imperium explored as Horus corrupts Mars to gain access to the war-machines and supplies he will need in his march to Terra. More of an oddity than anything else, Mechanicum still sits in the upper side of the scale of Heresy books, quality wise, and I'd quite like to see it explored further at some point outside of short stories.

I’m also adding Tales of Heresy into this section, the first of the collected short story books. Amongst the short stories, only a few stood out although all of them were at least readable. Abnett's Blood Games was a cool story, Wolf at the Door was shocking and brutal, and After Desh’ea was fantastic giving us a first look at both Angron and Kharn. It starkly portrayed the World Eaters’ Primarch’s savage fury and asked what would become of the World Eater marines when they met their Primarch for the first time.

Phase 2
Mr B: We’re currently entrenched in the middle of what I’d call Phase 2 of the Horus Heresy. Bad things are happening all around, some know, some don’t, and everyone’s going to be a part sooner or later. This is different from Phase 3 because then all the lines will be drawn and the major conflict will be on the horizon. No one’s near the Siege of Terra now, so we’re in Phase 2.

To open, let’s discuss the duology novels: A Thousand Sons and Prospero Burns.
Of course now we really get down to the nitty-gritty, the whole reason why these two legions hate each other, what created two forever-rivals from this moment onwards: the destruction of Prospero. Graham McNeill does a fantastic job with the Thousand Sons, especially the seemingly good and caring Ahzek Ahriman. Magnus is awesome, of course, but the sorcerous details of the Thousand Sons felt on-key and correct, I loved it. The whole first chapter of Prospero Burns with Abnett’s display of life on Fenris is absolutely gripping. It’s an immensely visceral read.

The end of A Thousand Sons felt very constrained and got me thinking. I wonder if the pre-determined outcomes are hindering authors in the series. Prior to the fight with Leman Russ, Magnus is penitent, so downtrodden by the realization of his actions that his final act seems sudden and arbitrary. Graham McNeill does such a good job at building Magnus’ character that the pre-determined outcome, the fact that we knew there would be a duel between Russ and Magnus and then some sort of sorcerous escape to the Eye of Terror, felt too Deus Ex Machina to me and required a lighter touch in my opinion. For example, Mr. McNeill gets free reign to fill in some of the details as he explores the triumph at Ullanor, the Council of Nikaea, and Magnus’ intrusion at the Golden Throne and each of those scenes are striking parts of this book. If the author were allowed to let their story flow the way it could have, then there might have been a grander confrontation at the end and a more satisfactory outcome. There’s been a change in the Black Library release schedule, I wonder if they’re moving novels around and changing things to allow for this sort of freedom?

ALlen: I really liked A Thousand Sons. I thought McNeill did a great job of fleshing out Magnus's legion, I loved the different sects he established, and his description of the way psychic powers worked. I felt he brought a lot more to the series overall than many of his peers (but then, of course, he has written the most books). Again, using remembrancers heavily, i felt McNeil really brought home the anguish Magnus feels as the attempt to warn the Emperor brings everything to ruin. I've ALWAYS felt that Magnus's fall was the most tragic of ALL the Primarchs and I thought Graham nailed it. There’s some great telling of the Council at Nikaea as well, the Emperor’s arrival portrayed in particularly flamboyant style.

Prospero Burns, however, although well written, really did come across as false advertising to me.  They would have been better off sticking with the subtitle: The Wolves Unleashed. Abnett does just as good a job of fleshing out the Legion he is saddled with, but his telling of the destruction of the home of the Thousand Sons is rushed and limited to about 40 pages. It’s very traditional Abnett with lots of build up and a frantic ending, but Prospero really took a backseat in my eyes and even the famous Abnett 'twist' left me cold. Abnett was going through some serious personal issues at the time (Prospero Burns was heavily delayed), so he gets a free pass from me on this one. What is there is very, very good and the denizens of Fenris are explored as never before as Abnett really hammers home the 'Norse in Space' aspects whilst still making them his own. It’s just a shame that the actual sacking of Prospero is dealt with in such an offhand and secondary manner.

Mr. B: Yes, Prospero Burns goes off in a scattering of directions. I re-read the book recently and I think it suffers from both Mr. Abnett’s delay (mid-life diagnosis of epilepsy ruined his 2010) and the fact that it’s not the book that the reader expects it to be. From the title, you expect this this novel to be a full-scale, scorched-earth telling of the Wolves ripping Prospero apart. What the novel actually is about is the secret war between the Space Wolves Rune Priests and the Thousand Sons Sorcerers – and yet the story isn’t about that at all. It’s a tale of identity – who is Kasper Hawser? Who are the Space Wolves in relation to the other chapters? Who are the Thousand Sons and what would they do to gain the most important part of warfare: information? The book goes on several meta-physical trips to explore all of that and leaves the expected slaughterfest behind. Again, the few chapters on Fenris are enough action for the whole book in my opinion. The book’s main letdown is that it doesn’t deliver the scene on its awesome cover art.

Nemesis is a romping good story. Have you ever wanted to see one of each of the temples of the Officio Assassinorum send an agent to kill a traitor? How about forming a kill-team of deadly assassins to take down Horus? It’s those kinds of scenarios and the real glut of action in Nemesis that keeps me coming back to Black Library novels and the Horus Heresy. It’s not a space marine book, but that makes it a great change of pace for the series as a whole.

ALlen: Nemesis was a decent distraction, I felt. A very cinematic distraction it must be said, it really was a dirty dozen (well quartet) style affair and, although some characters were given short shrift in the attention stakes, it rattled along nicely enough even if the whole thing did feel really superfluous. Punchy and with a decent climax, but it didn’t really stick in the memory for me.

Mr. B: The First Heretic by Aaron Dembski-Bowden deserves great praise for exploring some of the space and history of one of the murkier chapters of the Heresy through Lorgar and the Word Bearers. I think it comes to no one’s great surprise that Lorgar’s need to find a deity worthy of his worship drove him into the Chaos Gods, but the full depravity and sensation of skipping over the line while singing a jaunty tune that goes into this novel is a thrill. I really love when we get to see some of the more obscure chapters and their Primarchs, so the battle of Istvaan with Konrad Curze, Lorgar, and Corax was exhilarating.

ALlen: The First Heretic I REALLY enjoyed. Goes straight up into the top 5 of books for me with so many great sequences and I wish all books in the series met that standard. I think this was Dembski-Bowden’s first Heresy book and probably the most Custodes heavy entry in the series. This book really had it all: some great action scenes, characterful protagonists, included (as Babbers has said) a plethora of Primarchs, and a fantastic plot that meant once I picked this book up I devoured it. It also has some great building of characters and relationships that make the final scenes all that more stark and powerful.

Mr. B: I do wish I had picked up Deliverance Lost prior to this review. Gav Thorpe isn’t one of my favorite writers, but his Warhammer novels are great,so I’d like to see his take on the Raven Guard. They’re a favourite of mine from a fluff perspective and I cannot flog myself enough for not having picked it up yet.

Know No Fear, which is promised to be a part one of the Word Bearers’s campaign against the Ultramarines, got some great action and treatment by Dan Abnett. I had some serious concerns about the boys in blue in WH 30K, but SeƱor Abnett did his homework. The Ults are passably Grecian-Romano, stiff about the edges, and I didn’t hate Guilliman. I really loved the structure of this story, but I went on and on about that in my blog (yes, shameless plug).

ALlen: You should definitely check out Deliverance Lost, Mr. Babcock. Although it has one or two annoying niggles, it is one of the better books. Thorpe does a great job of portraying Corax’s desperate efforts to rebuild his legion after the devastation suffered at Istvaan. Some of the characterisation is off, something that has been commented on in many a review - his attempt to portray maybe the most important character of all, The Emperor, comes off a bit flat. Weirdness and oddness aside there are loads of action to go with an excellent telling of the misfortune to fall the Raven Guard, partly brought about from within as malign forces seek to ensure Corax’s failure.

Know No Fear is EXCELLENT. I definitely recommend this one. Destruction and action on an immense scale abound as the Word Bearers devastate Calth. This is one of my favourite Abnett Heresy entries (up there with Legion) and totally restored my faith after the disappointing Prospero Burns. Know No Fear also seems to be an important book in the grand scheme of things, a branching novel that will have many associated books to accompany it and even a planned graphic novel, no less. That’s not bad seeing as the Ultramarines were no more than a footnote in the original Horus Heresy lore. It’s an excellent book and grand in its scale. Well worth checking out.

Mr. B: As I type this up, I’m only about 150 pages into Fear to Tread, but I’m really enjoying the positioning and voice of the Blood Angels and Sanguinius. They’ve got the same grandeur as the Emperor’s Children in Fulgrim, but more practicality. James Swallow also wrote Nemesis, so I think he’ll do the Bloodies right.

I did an extensive review on Fear to Tread, but suffice to say it didn't really impress me. Swallow showed a lack of awareness for the era in which he was writing, worked in a hideous retcon, wrote two of the most ridiculous villains ever to be committed to paper, and also failed to manage “epic” without resorting to “bombastic.” That said, it’s not a total write off and does have one or two redeeming values, it is at least more memorable than DOA or BFTA.  A mediocre book overall, I thought the Blood Angels deserved better.

It was better than The Primarchs however, that was an abomination of a book and easily the most disappointed I have read thus far in the series. McNeill seems to totally lose the plot with his effort for Fulgrim,The Reflection Crack'd,’ although it started off promisingly enough. Ferrus Manus is portrayed as an unlikeable imbecile (spoiler alert!) making you quite glad he is dead. Rob Sanders failed to do justice to the Alpha Legion with ‘The Serpent Beneath,’ a largely forgettable tale made to look competent only due to the poor quality of what has preceded it. In fact, it is Thorpe’s 'The Lion' that comes off best out of this anthology, at least maintaining your attention for its duration. (Seriously, the Iron Hands story took me three attempts to get through)

This leaves just a few books that haven't been discussed. One of these is Outcast Dead, much maligned amongst the community for having the MOTHER of all continuity errors. The book itself is not too bad. A group of Astartes are locked up for being members of the traitor legions or delinquents in general, although their actual loyalty is undetermined. Needless to say, they escape (when have Astartes EVER been forcibly detained successfully?) in a well written sequence. However, the actual crux of the story is Kai Zulane, an astropath dealing with incredible levels of guilt and becomes privy to a secret that could alter the course of the whole Heresy. From here on out it becomes a bit of a chase story as the outcasts meet up with the astropath and attempt to get him off Terra. There are a few nice surprises and even a Thunderwarrior (Pre-Astartes superhuman) turns up at one point. The book never really becomes more than the sum of its parts however, even if it does break new ground by breaking away from established heresy lore and introducing many concepts of its own including the mysterious Cabal. A decent effort, but nothing amazing.

Also to be discussed are another two collected stories books, Age of Darkness and Shadows of Treachery. I really like most of the short stories that have come from the Horus Heresy, there have been some real strong entries. Age of Darkness contains a few of these and one is ‘Iron Within.’ Even within the traitor legions loyalist elements remain and this short story tells of a Warsmith fending off against his brothers as they attempt to destroy his small force. Elsewhere, there are a few character pieces. Chris Wraight, in what I figure must be one of his first stories, takes on Kharn the Betrayer and Abnett sheds more light on 'Little Horus.'

Shadows of Treachery deserves mention as it is the first book to feature what had previously only been available in audio format in print. Outside of these short stories are a couple of gripping novella length entries, one dealing with the Imperial Fist retribution fleet sent to take down Horus at Istvaan  and the other telling of the Night Lords functioning without the guidance of their Primarch under the command of 'The Prince of Crows.'

So to the Future: Well, already published are Betrayer and Angel Exterminatus, due in Paperback in June and August respectively. Black Library is being incredibly coy about its Heresy lineup, we know that the Ultramarines war against the Word Bearers on Calth is taking centre stage with another short story anthology, Mark of Calth. Also on the horizon is another version of the Visions of Heresy book, allegedly due to be updated with new material. A graphic novel focused around Ultramarines vs. Word Bearers is also due at some point. In fact, for what was originally only a subtext in the grand scheme of the Heresy, the Ultramarines have been a point of much focus here as a whole section of the Heresy series seems to be put aside just for them. There is even a book coming out called Unremembered Empire which is rumoured to tell of Guilliman’s plan to reconstruct the Imperium if the Emperor were presumed dead and Sanguinius heralded the new as the Master of Mankind, although it would remain to see if that will be as any more than a figurehead. It’s certainly an interesting concept and should allow the author (whoever that may be) free narrative reign unburdened by the yoke of established fiction. There are also a few audio books coming out including 'The Sigilite' by Chris Wraight.

Further afield, it is Amazon that yields answers. Although the “Coming Soon” section of the Black Library website is barren of information, a quick search reveals two titles: Vulkan Lives and Censure, both by Nick Kyme due for release around October. Censure is an audio book and Vulkan Lives is listed as a paperback. So the Salamanders will be heading to the Horus Heresy at last (barring a couple of short stories and the Ltd edition ‘Promethean Sun').

Ah yes, the Ltd Editions. I HATE these. Seriously. Making a premium version of something and making it more expensive? That’s fine. Making it the ONLY way you can obtain this material? Not so cool. Presumably this material will become eventually available in another format, but it’s been quite some time now and no sign thus far of seeing ‘Promethean Sun’ on a larger scale. Obviously what started as a desire to flesh out the Horus Heresy as it is THE single grandest event in the 40K background has become so much more over time. It is now a bonafide franchise for the Black Library and Games Workshop. The books are regularly New York Times Bestsellers and the series has reached a much larger audience than may have initially been thought possible.

Mr. B: With you 1000% on the Ltd Editions. I have no issue with limited print runs and deluxe versions, but that fact that some of these stories aren’t rumoured to come out in another collected short work is a bit off-putting. Some basic GW cash grab tactics, amiright? Vulkan Lives intrigues me, but only if the Salamanders actually have interaction with another chapter. They’re the little loners of the Astartes so far, the clique no one wanted to play with and that’s weird.

Other legions that I want to see get a novel: White Scars, Imperial Fists, Night Lords, Iron Hands, and the Death Guard again. The White Scars have a unique position as both a loyalist legion and having a key role in the Siege of Terra (which often gets overlooked in fending off the traitors) and I want to know what the Khan is up to on the other side of the Galaxy. Rogal Dorn has only had cameo appearances thus far and I’d like a look back at his legion and how they were founded and grew, maybe something about the battle to bring Necromunda into the Imperium and their rivalry with the Iron Warriors.

I think the Night Lords are getting some short story support I haven’t read yet, but something needs to be written on Konrad Curze and why none of the other Primarchs took a liking to him. Mr. Dembski-Bowden could probably explore that quite well. The Iron Hands get hosed by the series for some obvious reasons (see: Fulgrim), but they must have had some heroic actions. The best parts involving them so far are the many stories of Ferrus constructing weapons for his brothers on Terra. Just put together 20 (ahem, 18) stories of that, right? Then I’d also like to see a little more of the Death Guard, definitely some more Mortarion. He shows up in the Loken Trilogy and in A Thousand Sons as an opponent of the use of Librarians, but his motivations and decision to join the Heresy are up in smoke. It seemed to me that he joins Horus in Galaxy in Flames just because the Warmaster told him to – I want more.

But really, who doesn’t?

ALlen: So after 24 novels, a handful of audio books and a few (spit) Ltd Edition Novellas, where are we with the Horus Heresy? Out of 18 legions, the majority have been featured in some capacity or another.  Those that haven’t are absent only because they have not featured chronologically in the narrative or just never really featured a great deal in the Heresy at all. As we have seen with the Ultramarines, this can be changed easily enough. Both Istvaan massacres are out of the way and the slow march to Terra can finally begin (not that I would expect the series to end any time in the next dozen books or so). The Black Library has already demonstrated that they are not averse to looking outside of established lore in the name of additional material. Surely the very Siege of Terra itself will comprise a half dozen or so books, such is the scale of the engagement.

And who is to say the series will end with the Siege of Terra? I doubt very much that it was the case that the traitor legions vanished upon Horus's destruction. Even after the aftermath of the Heresy is documented, will they touch upon the creation of the Codex Astartes? The fates of many of the Primarchs will also be ripe for use as material for further books. Even after the Heresy ends I have no doubt that this series of books will continue. The timeline of 40k is a stagnant one, in 5 editions of the game (I’m not counting Rogue Trader) events have barely shifted, and although the latest books speak of Age of Ending little is changing in the grand scheme of things. This makes the Heresy Era an absolute goldmine and if the authors can establish further identity for this time I can see additional material on a nearly unlimited scale still to come.

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