Aurelian was a complete non surprise for me, a Ronseal book if there ever were one, doing exactly as expected. That’s not to say it is unexciting, ADB crams a great deal of content (and Primarchs for that matter) into the limited page count of this Novella, and as always it is a masterfully written and effortless read, being the literary equivalent of an old comfortable pair of shoes. You’ll have finished reading before you know it and the book can comfortably be consumed in one sitting.
The story itself deals, as might be expected from the title, with Aurelian Lorgar, Primarch of the Word Bearers. The narrative switches between multiple events and shifts chronologically too, However the author keeps things from becoming too confusing by keeping the focus squarely upon Lorgar at all times although there are several of his brothers present in the story. A refreshing change as up until now in the Heresy Lorgar has been much in the shadows, All emphasis regarding the Word Bearers on Erebus and his cohorts. Amongst the Primarchs, he is one of the least featured and it is about time he was more prominent. It is much to ADBs credit that he is able to portray the Lord of the Word Bearers so convincingly. Another of the more likeable Primarchs, Lorgars character fairly blazes from the pages and his is a rounded persona rather than some of the more two dimensional portrayals. Certainly had THIS story appeared in the Primarchs then that book would have been immeasurably improved.
Of course this in-depth treatment of Lorgar means there is little time for Bolter Porn, there are a couple of standout sequences where Aurelian gets to kick arse but this is by no means the most action-packed of the Heresy Series. Nor is it the most detailed, the story told here is ambitious and far reaching and the narrative flits about frequently. This can mean the book comes off as slightly superficial, not to any great detriment of the plot but some elements are skimmed over at surface level rather than explored. Revelations do abound but there is nothing particularly earth shattering about them, that said it is a book that deserves to be read and it is a shame that its LTd edition premium status has probably lead to a diminished audience as there are a number of plot points and events within that thread in and out of the greater Horus Heresy narrative.
So overall Aurelian is exactly what it is supposed to be, a light shed on to one of the more obscure Primarchs, one who has skulked in the shadows now cast unto the fore. As you might expect it is extremely well written by Mr Dembski – Bowden and has a compelling plot even if it is somewhat unremarkable on the whole. Of course this isn’t such a bad thing given the type of book it is and I would heartily recommend it lest you miss out for it really is very good.