Wednesday, 14 February 2018

Horus Rising [Horus Heresy #1] - Dan Abnett

Title - Horus Rising
Author - Dan Abnett
Blurb

After thousands of years of expansion and conquest, the Imperium of Man is at its height. His dream for humanity nearly accomplished, the Emperor hands over the reins of power to his Warmaster, Horus, and heads back to Terra. But is Horus strong enough to control his fellow commanders and continue the Emperor's grand design?

Review

If you’re likely to read the Horus Heresy series, chances are you already know how it’s going to end. Any Warhammer 40,000 player knows the basic story – Horus, favoured son of the Emperor of Mankind, and one of the 20 18 Primarchs leading the Legiones Astartes to war in the Great Crusade to reclaim the galaxy, succumbs to the Chaos Gods of the Warp and rebels. After a bitter war that turned Primarch against Primarch, brother against brother, the traitor Horus slew his brother Sanguinius during the Siege of Holy Terra, and the Emperor destroyed him utterly, but was mortally wounded and confined to the Golden Throne to power the Astronomicon for the next 10 millennia.

If what I just said is complete and utter gibberish, I completely understand – believe me – and I’ll give fair warning that the rest of this review is unlikely to be much clearer. Warhammer 40,000 literature suffers from a critical flaw, and Horus Rising, the first Horus Heresy book, is no different: it uses hundreds of terms unique to its own universe and rarely explains what they mean, making them pretty inaccessible to the casual reader who hasn’t already sunk ungodly sums of money into space-gothic figurines and paint. All this being said, if you like dark sci-fi and you don’t mind taking the book at face value, then go right ahead by all means.

Horus Rising is written from the perspective of a few characters, but it is chiefly the story of Captain Loken of the Luna Wolves 10th Company, fighting beside his father, commander and Warmaster of the Great Crusade, Horus Lupercal. Before the fall, that is. While pacifying a world long forgotten since Humanity first spread throughout the galaxy, Horus Rising subtly shows the reader the perception of Horus by Space Marines and Humans alike, introduces the concept of Chaos with a gut-wrenching possession of a Luna Wolves Captain by the Daemon Samus, and sets the scene for the beginning of the end.

I enjoyed this book greatly as a Warhammer 40,000 fan, but I think my earlier comments about already knowing the overarching plot of the series can give you a good idea of why I’d be hesitant to recommend it. Most people who would be interested already know how it’s going to end, and those who don’t probably won’t be interested. As a book of its type, I think author Dan Abnett did a wonderful job drawing the reader into the universe they already know, allowing you to see characters they’ve heard of many times and see them as they were, and not as old legends necessarily depicted them.

I wouldn’t say this is the best Warhammer 40,000 book out there, but it’s definitely not a bad one by any stretch of the imagination - it's very well written and I will be seeking out more Dan Abnett as a result, but I found the plot to be a little slow. Embarking on reading the Horus Heresy series, which at the time of writing numbers 42 books, is a massive undertaking, which could be offputting (but not to my dumb ass, because I am a glutton for punishment when it comes to my wallet and creaking bookshelves, apparently).

Product Details
Paperback, 416 pages
Publisher: Black Library
Language: English
Purchase: Amazon | Black Library

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