Horus Heresy

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It was pretty much this.
"They shall be my finest warriors, these men who give of themselves to me.
Like clay I shall mould them, and in the furnace of war forge them.
They will be of iron will and steely muscle.
In great armour shall I clad them and with the mightiest guns will they be armed.
They will be untouched by plague or disease, no sickness will blight them.
They will have tactics, strategies and machines so that no foe can best them in battle.
They are my bulwark against the Terror.
They are the Defenders of Humanity.
They are my Space Marines and they shall know no fear."
- The God-Emperor of Mankind, getting exactly what he wanted.

The Horus Heresy is one of the single biggest clusterfuck of events in Warhammer 40,000 fluff, alongside the Eldar's creation of a new Chaos God, and the rampage and fall of the star gods. Needless to say, this heresy rail-roaded the Emperor's plan and himself, and gave the Chaos Gods their most prominent armies to carry out their will in realspace.

In the Horus Heresy, the Emperor's favorite son, Horus Lupercal, formerly Warmaster of the Imperium, was corrupted by Chaos and rebelled against the Emperor, taking nine Space Marine Legions (Including his own), their respective Primarchs, and about half of the Imperial Army and Mechanicum with him. After waging war across the galaxy, Horus and his traitors eventually reached Holy Terra itself, hoping to murder the Emperor himself and cut the head off the proverbial snake and win the war.

Things went Not as Planned however, as he was eventually surrounded by loyalist forces at the height of the siege on Terra. As a final gambit, he dropped the shields of his flagship which allowed the Emperor to beam up and challenged him to a duel for the fate of humanity. Horus beat the Emperor within an inch of his life but was killed in turn after the Emperor put his foot down and obliterated Horus' soul from existence (as in it didn't go to the warp to be resurrected by daemons; it was literally erased from existence) when it finally became clear to him that Horus was beyond forgiveness. The Chaos gribbles he had been allied with disappeared and the now Chaos Marines that had followed him sulked back to the Eye of Terror, starting the Long War.

Because the Emperor was fucked up to the point where he had to be permanently attached to a life-support machine known as the "Golden Throne" just to survive, logic within the Imperium gradually decreased, eventually turning into the Grimdark empire it is today. And it was already pretty damn grimdark.

Warhammer 40,000 Fluff

The Horus Heresy screwed almost everyone's plans (except the Chaos Gods' of course) and changed the flavour of the Imperium's Grimdark from Stalinist Soviet "if you breathe a word about religion, we rape you with knives" to Catholic Inquisition "if you breathe a word about the wrong religion, we rape you or your whole planet with knives" unless you can find an Ecclesiarch to come and say: "nope, that's just another aspect of the Emperor". Don't count on this happening without hefty "donations".

The heresy lasted for several years (somewhere between seven and ten) and was fought all over the galaxy. The following are the most important battles and campaigns during the Heresy:

Following the Siege of Terra, Horus was permakilled, Big E was interred onto the Golden Throne, the surviving primarchs freaked out trying to figure out what do now that daddy was in a coma, the traitors fucked off into the Eye of Terror, and overall the galaxy slowly and collectively lost their minds now that their wise and all-powerful ruler was no longer around to tell them what to do.

The Board Game

First published in 1993 by Game Designer's Workshop, it was the Emprah versus his evil bastard of a son in the scorched earth of Terra. Units include titans and Chaos Spaw- oh shiARHGRBLLYRBGRDEWUODHGRYEB.

Ahem, as he was saying, The more recent edition (2010) is published by Fantasy Flight Games. Also a two-player war game, it includes over 100 sculpted minifigs, sculpted buildings, and even Horus and the Emprah themselves are units on the board. It also adds more territory, as the fight can be pushed back onto the traitor's flagship Vengeful Spirit. Combat is less dice-y and more card-y.

(Not to be confused with the lame Horus Heresy card game, whose only saving grace was the awesome card art that would appear in the Horus Heresy artbooks anyway.)

The Book Series

For the last decade, Black Library has been publishing novels that explore the events of the Horus Heresy, looking at the rivalries among the Primarchs and exploring just why everything went down the tubes. The novels are by a selection of different authors, which is a total pain if you like to organise your books alphabetically by author. The reception to the series has been somewhat... mixed; books generally considered to be good include the first trilogy, Betrayer, Scars, and the short story The Serpent Beneath.

Of course, like we mentioned, there's some that are... um... Well, let's just say that the worst are a matter of much debate.

Spoiler.gifThis article contains spoilers! You have been warned.

Books I - X

  • Horus Rising: A prologue story, introducing us to the series and Garviel Loken who will grow into a very significant character. An Emperor (not Him) is killed at the beginning and some bugs are killed on a planet called Murder for no reason other than they were there. The Interex show up and ask "whadya do that for?". Erebus steals the MURDER SWORD from them.
  • False Gods: Horus falls at Davin when wounded by the MURDER SWORD and gets a crash course in the chaos gods from Erebus & Magnus. After getting shown a few "truths" that WILL HAPPEN in the future (like the Emperor being worshipped as a god, Horus being reviled and forgotten) he decides to make war on the Imperium to prevent all this from happening.
  • Galaxy in Flames: Isstvan III happens and the traitors send the loyalists down to the planet without reinforcements and proceed to bomb them to fuck. Things don't go to plan when Angron decides to invade turning it into a Not as Planned drawn out conflict that the Warmaster can't really afford - Loken "dies"
  • Flight of the Eisenstein: the other side of Galaxy in Flames, Nathaniel Garro escapes and gets marooned in the warp fighting daemons, eventually gets saved (and mega-bitchslapped) by Rogal Dorn, who does not take the news from Isstvan very well. The first bit of the novel is so far 'the Death Guard's novel'. There is also the very first canonical appearance of Plague Marines, Euphrati Keeler being all mystical and shit, and Malcador recruiting Garro as the first Knight-Errant.
  • Fulgrim: one of the more forgettable stories in the series. Attempts to tell the story from Great Crusade all the way up to the Drop Site Massacre in one book. In short Fulgrim finds a sword, gets possessed, kills Ferrus Manus - the end. It is written by Graham McNiel though, and it has an awesome quote from Fulgrim "My Emperor's Children. What beautiful music they make." .
  • Descent of Angels: This is the Heresy book that isn't about the Heresy, instead focusing on Zahariel's time on Caliban. It portrays Lion El'Jonson having to deal with some social awkwardness (he can not read people at all, so he comes off as 'do what I say or die!') and having Luther to handle the small talk. Hints that the Great Crusade does more harm than good *BLAM* is uniting the lost colonies of mankind into a united future! Luther gets sent home with Zahariel to hustle up more Dark Angels.
  • Legion introduces the Cabal, the Perpetuals and Omegon. READ THIS BOOK. Or don't, as this is where those things that would eventually take over the Heresy series and according to many completely ruin it (Cabal, Perpetuals) are introduced. I still would recommend reading it since when the novel introduces these ideas they are very fresh and interesting. Don't blame Legion when the rest of the novels were who ruined it. Alpha legion is trying to bring some chaos cultist into compliance. Chaos cultists activate planetary self destruct blood sacrifice. Alpha legion meets with the Cabal, agrees to work with them, then kills off all non-legion bystanders & ships with "FOR E-MONEY"!
  • Battle for the Abyss: The book is so bad that other authors tried to retcon it out of existence. This book is so bad that you would have it was cobbled together from Wardian fluff stitched together by C. S. Goto. Reading this book may, in fact, cause brain cancer so you should avoid it if at all possible. Everyone dies, so it does not affect much (as in anything). The only thing you need to remember is Lorgar built a fuckhueg space ship and filled it with Dreadnoughts, and it failed miserably.
  • Mechanicum: Tech Priests turn renegade after Horus tells them they can do whatever they like with technology, so they release forbidden viral scrapcodes and screw everything up. Also turns out that Big E invented the Machine-God by sealing a C'Tan on Mars back during the Saint George era, giving everyone visions of technology. Also more subtle hints that the Emperor is a god himself by using divine golden light to heal machines and instant access super wikipedia. Contains a lot of Titan awesomeness and Knights badassery. And for extra Grimdark, a tech priestess discovers that the Dark Age era humans stored a backup copy of wikipedia in the warp and with a giant psyker powered terminal accesses said wikipedia and restores all the knowledge of mankind floods her forge with lava to deny the traitors access. A psyker tech savant meets up with the goaler of the Void Dragon and takes over his fuck long shift.
  • Tales of Heresy: short story collection, including The Last Church. Has a lot of twist endings.
    • Blood Games: An assassin tries to kill the emperor. The Adeptus Custodes go to kill a traitor on Terra. The assassin was a Custodes probing the palace defences. The traitor was a triple agent working for Dorn.
    • Wolf at the Door: The Space Wolves kill some dark eldar and are the defenders of everyone who does not defy the Emperor. When the liberated planet chooses freedom over Emperor, the wolves invade again.
    • Scions of the Storm: The Word Bearers destroy a human civilization that has crystal cities, crystal robots, and lots of lightning. They worshiped the Emperor, but Lorgar no longer does. This is also later a chapter of The First Heretic, but narrated from a slightly different point of view then.
    • The Voice: The squad of Sisters of Silence investigate a Black Ship that became derelict in the Warp. Turns out the youngest of the squad in the future used sorcery to beam back her consciousness through time onto some psykers on the Black Ship. She successfully warns the squad about Horus's Rebellion is executed by a hard-core Sister for breaking her vow of no funny stuff.
    • Call of the Lion: Half of the Dark Angels are dicks, the other half are not. Totally not foreshadowing.
    • The Last Church: A story about the Emperor destroying one of the churches on Terra during the reunification era in his effort to wipe out religion. The Emperor and the priest of the church have an enlightening conversation about the Emprah's trying to accomplish. The conversation ends up with the priest accusing the Emperor of being a hypocrite, with him decrying that he's no more different than the old warlords who waged crusades and holy wars in the past to push their own agendas on other people. Emperor reveals himself as the very god the priest was worshiping, and nearly convinces him to stand by his side while his soldiers destroy the church. Priest gets cold feet and walks back into the church while it collapses. An end-times alarm clock starts ringing in the ruins.
    • After Desh'ea: The War Hounds meet their primarch. Angron demeats the War Hounds. More specifically, the Emperor just beamed up Angron away from his last stand (rather than, you know, intervening with his Custodes or his fleet), leaving Angron pretty pissed. Kharn is a pretty great guy to be around, and pulls his femurs out of his lungs quickly enough to establish himself as Angron's best buddy after the War Hounds chain of command calmed Angron down as fleshy squeeze balls.

Books XI - XX

  • Fallen Angels: the sequel to Descent of Angels, is actually two stories rolled into one book that never converge. 1. The Lion fights a war to reclaim some Ordinatus devices and then hands them to Perturabo to gain his trust, not realising that his brother has already turned. 2. Zahariel and Luther clean out a daemon cult on Caliban... but not really.
  • Thousand Sons: Part 1 of the Battle for Prospero. Runs through the Great Crusade where Magnus discovers the webway, but his Father already knew about it. Then the Edict of Nikaea where Magnus gets all passionate about not restricting psychic powers, then to Horus's vision quest where Magnus fails to keep his brother on the right path, then does the WORST thing possible by forcing himself through the palace psychic spam filter, breaking the Golden Throne in the process. Space Wolves come knocking shortly after. Tragedy ensues and the thousand sons become a thousand sons all over again. Ahriman starts writing hit Rubric.
  • Nemesis: Malcador the Sigillite invents the Officio Assassinorum Execution Task Force and sends six assassins to kill Horus. They fail because Horus sent a look-a-like, but in the process slay a shapeshifting daemonic counter-assassin sent by Erebus. While it is a decent book and we learn a lot, it didn't contribute much to the overall plot. On the more vitriolic side, the writing is a bit underwhelming in places; highlights include calling a pariah a psyker, another pariah with a contrived possession, and Horus uttering one of the most cliche one liners out there.
  • The First Heretic: Lorgar's turn to get a back story and generally considered one of the better books in the series. While you make never sympathize with them, this book really lets you understand why The Word Bearers fell to chaos, rather then being the "CHAOTIC EVIL MONSTERS" they are portrayed in the rest of the series.. Feels less rushed than "Fulgrim". Goes from Monarchia to a bit of soul searching in the Eye of Terror and discovers Cadia. Leads up to Istvaan V and the immediate aftermath. Signifcant subplots revolve around the inception of Possessed Marines, and what happens to the Custodes babysitters watching over the Word Bearers, and how the protagonist Argel Tal gets into a tragic bromance with the Custodes leader.
    • Aurelian: A limited release short story until an ebook was published. The plot bounces around in-between a number of moments in Lorgar's history up to the prelude of the Shadow Crusade. One narrative involves how Lorgar's brothers still treat him like shit, especially when he's the only one who sees through Fulgrim's possession, and ends with Horus sending him to fuck up Ultima Segmentum and handing him Angron's (figurative, not literal) leash. The other narrative takes place in the 40 year gap in The First Heretic, where Lorgar makes a pilgrimage into the Eye of Terror with a Daemon Princess as his guide. They come to a dead Crone World where he puts a dying Avatar out of its misery and he's told that the Eldar panicked rather than embrace Chaos during the birth of Slaanesh, which is what caused them to nearly die out; the daemon prince(ss) tells Lorgar the same thing is happening with humanity during the Heresy, how Chaos really wants a symbiotic relationship with humanity rather than to conquer it. In the middle of this, Khorne decides he's had enough of this talky wordy shit and sends An'ggrath to make things more exciting, and Lorgar narrowly beats him. Then Kairos Fateweaver comes and "tells" him about Calth and his relationship with Guilliman and his upcoming war with him in the most confusing as fuck discussion ever. The truth of most of the things told to Lorgar are left ambiguous, because, well, Fateweaver; but also Chaos has a lot riding on the Heresy coming to fruition for reasons left not entirely explored.
  • Prospero Burns: Part 2 of the Battle for Prospero. A civilian archeologist named Kasper Hawser hangs out with a company of the Space Wolves, where we learn a lot about their culture and attitudes. Turns out that Chaos infiltrated everything, so the outcome of Nikaea was practically rigged. The civilian himself even turns out to have been an unwitting spy for Chaos, but the Wolves knew anyway and didn't give a shit (they thought he worked for Magnus).
  • Age of Darkness: A short story anthology.
    • Rules of Engagement: Roboute lets one of his commanders lead in a series of wars that didn't really occur, and we get the best line ever said in regards to the Codex Astartes: despite the fact it does cover a lot, it's not meant to be followed biblically which is a load of bull given that the Codex lets said commander win all the wars in the most efficient way possible while blindly following it and only failed in the last battle because he was in a war game against Girlyman. (See the quote on the page on the Big Book of Astartes). The Imperium Secundus shows up, making for another bizarre plot element that ruins the series without adding anything.
    • Liar's Due: You know those memes on how the Alpha Legion causes mass paranoia without actually involving any Astartes? Those aren't just memes. Alpha Legion serf arrives on a agri-world and turns it's allegiance to Horus by only hacking all their inter-planetary communications.
    • Forgotten Sons: A Salamander and a grumpy ol' Ultramarine are sent in opposition to one of Horus' iterators to convince an industrial-militant world which side to side with. They almost side with Horus before the Warmaster's agents wreck shit for the lulz. Oh, and to send the message that neutrality will be punished. The Iron Warriors were doing weird shit on that world for years beforehand, and was probably the more deciding factor than the lulz.
    • The Last Remembrancer: Horus sent the one last remembrancer he had stored up as a gift to Dorn. Instead of in a box (or eight or some shit like that), it was the Dan Abnett of his day telling Dorn that the grimdark galaxy was grimdark. Also that the Emperor's vision of a galaxy of peace, unity, prosperity, and fluffy bunnies built up without any more grimdark attached than was strictly needed, probably wasn't very likely before any shit hit any fan either way. Also, Iactone Qruze makes his first appearance since forever, but nobody gives a shit about Iactone Qruze. Dorn says it's all lies and enemy propoganda before executing said remembrancer and torching all his ramblings.
    • Rebirth: Mangus's absent fleet from the Burning of Prospero comes home and shits a brick. The last known surviving squad of Thousand Sons outside of the Planet of the Sorcerers gets beaten up and they slowly figure out it was the Space Wolves who shit on Magnus's parade world and is stalking them. One plot twist later, most of them are dead, the last one decides he's gonna rebuild everything, with a few scant hints that his flesh-change genetic flaw will shift into kleptomania.
    • The Face of Treachery: The tie-in and conclusion of the audiodrama featuring the Raven Guard after Istvaan and the prequel to Deliverance Lost. After getting fed up with Corax trolling Perturabo for a bit too long, Horus sends Angron in to finish the job, but Corax's cavalry arrives to troll Angron by getting the loyalists the fuck out of there. We also learn that Corax has a supersekrit psyker ability which lets him roll a natural 20 on stealth checks no matter how ridiculous it would be, and that the Alpha Legion once again can outtroll everybody when they fuck things up for the World Eaters (they let the World Bearer commander think he was in command then blew his brains out when he tried to actually command). Ends with an transitory bit into Deliverance Lost.
    • Little Horus: Little Horus Aximand is struggling with the PTSD he got when he killed Loken and Torgaddon with Abby. Abby and Little Horus have a discussion (we mean Horus Aximand, not when Primarch Horus was sodomizing Abaddon again) about restoring the Mournival. A couple war scenes later, Little Horus learns the hard way that the White Scars are pretty badass, but his PTSD starts acting up again and he gets his face shaved off before the White Scars are driven off. Little Horus realizes his PTSD he had since killing Loken and Torgaddon ultimately stems from that time he helped kill Loken and Torgaddon, and gives a diatribe about how things like "change", "mood swings", and "hallucinations" are suited to his melancholic nature, saying things like "it's perfectly natural", "I'm fine, everything's fine. Everything is perfectly, absolutely fine", and "Therapy is for the weak. I'm fine." After the Mongolian shave, he gets his face reattached and ends up looking even more like Big Horus in the deal.
    • The Iron Within: Some pretty bro-tier loyalist Iron Warriors build a fortress hanging from a cave over an ocean of petroleum in a hellhole of a world (giant cavern system & acidic atmosphere), and one of Perturabo's traitor Grand Companies come knocking to demand that they hand over the house keys. The loyalists give them a fuck-you in the form of a Dreadnought. A few melodramatic and horrific but generic war scenes later, and they get overrun (after a full year of seige thanks to the genius of Danitoch), drop the fortress from the ceiling onto a titan, and get the hell out of there by hijacking one of the Iron Warriors warships via teleportation. An Ultramarine big wig was there to bring the loyalists home, informing them that Guilliman was fortifying Terra and he needed good siege workers to stall the traitors then to fortify Terra. While loyalist Iron Warriors were pretty cool, the story itself was pretty forgettable; and it left some open questions like whether the continuity errors were the result of "faulty astropathic communications" (see Outcast Dead), or if the Ultramarines were trolling the Iron Warriors to join in with the Imperium Secundus. And also why the Iron Warriors were determined to take a hellhole at an immense expense of people and materiel, including Titans, while they could have just said "fuck that", and left alone a fortress with no space or warp conveyance, and arguably little strategic value in iteslf, in the middle of nowhere.
    • Savage Weapons: A good story written by ADB. Dark Angels are hunting down the Night Lords who are fucking with Forge Worlds, but the Night Lords are staying a step ahead of them, much to the Lion's frustration. After being advised by Horus to pass along a message, Kurze asks the Lion to meet up face-to-face on Tsagualsa. When they talk, while what they say to each other is offscreen, it's implied Kurze told Lion about the Fallen Angels and that Horus knew about their impending betrayal. Lion decides nobody is going to give him shit about being a rumored closet traitor, and the ensuing fight proves that Jonson is a badass among primarchs, until Kurze goes to his old fallback of strangling a fucker, and things get more even. Their respective honor guards go at it in the meantime, and showing Sevatar is a badass among Space Marines. Things end up in a draw, leaving things open for a new plotline within the Heresy, the Prince of Crows novella being the next.
  • The Outcast Dead: A mess of continuity errors, at least when compared with the rest of the series, the other authors later claimed all the errors were absolutely intentional and a result of the messed-up nature of Warp-based communication. Riggggghhhhtttt. More importantly: shortly after the start of the Heresy an astropath has routine nervous breakdown and is returned to Terra to get therapy. What really ends up happening is that he gets there in time for Magnus's astral body to reach Big E to warn him of Horus' betrayal, and the fuckhueg psychic shock of course dicks with the Astropath HQ compound something mighty. In the confusion and assloads of psychic phenomena that followed, the astropath gets implanted with a message for somebody regarding the war, but his PTSD keeps him from knowing what the hell it is or who it's for. The Custodes come in and tell him "Ve haff vays of making you talk." After a time, he gets busted out by some convict space marines from the Traitor Legions. Why they do this is explained by the Thousand Son sagely stating "Just because." They name themselves the eponymous Outcast Dead and try to get the hell off of Terra. Other subplots revolve around: a psyker congregant at a slum church near the Imperial palace; a samurai witch hunter (no, really); fucking Thunder Warriors. Best bits are an unarmed, unarmored World Eater ripping a Custodes' spine out through his chest the portrayal of the Emperor playing chess in dreams, revealing that the message is about his upcoming bitchslap from Horus.
  • Deliverance Lost: Corvus Corax, having just escaped from Istvaan V, decides to go ask daddy for a handout to get his Legion back on his feet, and gets the mother of all genetech to do it, though he has to do a bit of legwork to get it. Meanwhile, a bunch of faceless Alpha Legionnaires (okay, they do have faces, they just originally belonged to some Raven Guard) had infiltrated Corax's Legion at Istvaan, and are doing recon and intelligence gathering waiting for Omegon to give the go-ahead to fuck shit up. Corax, meanwhile sets up new geneseed methods that bring up new recruits to battle-ready marines in fucking hours, with the potential to conscript literally anybody willing to become a Space Marine. The Alphas decide this probably isn't in their interest, and sabotage the new geneseed by tainting it with daemon blood, turning second- and third-batch new Raven Guard into the twisted monsters we know that Corax ended up with. In one of the instances of retcon that was actually flavored with awesome and win, the mutant marines were still sapient, but were left to fight on in the Emperor's name. After staging a mass insurrection on Deliverance's parent world with the help of some old guilders Corax ousted and the Dark Mechanicum, Omegon gets more Alphas infiltrated into the Raven for the endgame: steal the genetech, kill some Ravenguard, get the fuck out before anybody knows what the fuck. A couple cockups along the way leads to the Raven Guard getting wise and isolating out the Alphas. The end of the novel was like a swingers party at the retirement home, everybody got screwed (even Horus), nobody got what they hoped for (except for the really deviant bastard), and all-around the reproductive material was a waste. Corax shut down his hothousing method, and starts fucking with the Traitors, even at reduced numbers. The book ends on a note with Alpharius Omegon deciding that while their plan for saving the galaxy was still good, they decide working with Xenos isn't for them.
  • Know No Fear: The Ultras are still ignorant about Istvaan and the civil war erupting around the galaxy, and are on muster at Calth with the Word Bearers on orders from Horus to go kill some Orks together as a conciliatory gesture. They were in for a surprise. The Word Bearers, while happy as hell to get revenge, are really trying to dick over the Ultramarines to keep them out of the Heresy, if not destroy them outright. What happens next is the Word Bearers arrange some "accidents" using sorcery and good ol' fashioned treachery to fake a monumental fuck up in the ship yards that leave the Ultramarine forces blind, deaf, and crippled. They use the confusion to say that the Ultras still fucking them over, and take the chance to open not only a can, but entire cases of whup ass on the Ultras. Erebus turns Calth's pole into a screaming hellscape to start up a warp storm, while Kor Phaeron oversees the systematic extermination of the Ultramarines and also successfully poisons Calth's sun. Guilliman gets jettisoned into space, but survives because Spiritual Liege. He then leads a counterattack on Kor Phaeron, and while Kor comes this close to getting a Primarch kill with Chaos mindbullets, but in a moment of self-aggrandizement, he holds back tries to corrupt Guilliman with his own dagger-sized MURDER SWORD. Guilliman calmly tells him "The Codex Astartes does will not support this action" (it was really "You made an error" followed by an explanation of that error, and "but while I'm alive, I can do this") and rips out Kor Paeron's main heart with an unpowered lightning claw. Kor Phaeron's minions run away with his carcass, allowing the Ultras to retake their space station, which in turn allows Mechanicus plot power, aided by a planet's worth of orbital defense batteries, to bring the ground war back into the Ultramarines' favor. The novel ends with Word Bearers getting the hell out of there, and the Ultramarines evacuating everyone they can off of Calth and telling everybody they can't to get underground, expositioning to the underground war. Special features of this novel include Guilliman not being a cock, Ollanius Pious being the special guest star with his very own subplot, and the Word Bearers having athame blades as special issue, one of which will come back later. You might notice this summary is pretty spoilerific, but if you didn't know the broad strokes already, you're in the wrong place.
  • The Primarchs: A novella anthology. As the name suggests, it contains stories featuring Primarchs.
    • The Reflection Crack'd: - Lucius and friends anally rape Fulgrim. Yeah. While questionable use of a pear of anguish is featured during a game of "Stab the Fulgrim," the real story is this: Lucius and his buddies are deep into the sickfuckery which will come to characterize their Legion, but begin to suspect that Fulgrim might have a daemon in him when he begins acting like not-Fulgrim and uses sorcery. They ambush him and try to exorcise it with pain, because torturing a Slaaneshi daemon will totally work (though they find out that a Primarch can grow back a foot, and just about any other wound). Among everything else: Fabulous Bill is still an arrogant dick; Lucius is still a maniacal and colossally narcissistic sick fuck; Kaesoron is still an angry badass; Vairosean is still a sycophantic cunt; and Eidolon was still a self-important, whiny douche, but Fulgrim throws a tantrum and cuts his head off, and there was much cheering from the readers, and that plus almost certain off-screen fapping among the Legionaries. Leads into Angel Exterminatus.
    • Feat of Iron - Ferrus Manus's Legion is trying to off some Eldar on a desert world, but can't find the major Eldar strategic asset because of Spess Elf warp bullshit. A Farseer thinks he can warn Ferrus about the Heresy, and traps him in the webway or some psychic realm for a spirit quest long enough to fight a giant purple snake (which is disturbingly appropriate imagery when you think about it); and Ferrus thinks it was the wyrm that he killed and gave him his metal hands, but the snake tells him that he must be mistaking it for somebody else. Ferrus kills it, and meets the Farseer who tries to tell Ferrus that he wasn't just being a dick. Ferrus, having too many experiences with Eldar being dicks, knocks some sense into the Farseer, who manages to run just fast enough to avoid getting killed. Ferrus comes back and helps his Legion fight off the Eldar kill the Webway beacon, or whatever the hell it was. In the background of all of this, the Iron Hands, having lost Ferrus, decide to get shit done rather than bitch about potentially dead father, and work to complete the mission despite being weighed down by Imperial Army who are dying of dehydration and heat stroke. The Eldar figure out a way to use storm clouds that make Iron Hands bionics kill their users, and Ferrus has a bitch of an itch around his neck that he can't get rid of. I wonder if that's important.
    • The Lion: - Dark Angels fight daemons and reinstitute Librarians. The Lion teamkills Nemiel for reminding him about Nikeaa, ruining all the buildup from the previous two Dark Fallen Angels Books because Gav Thorpe wanted to prove he's a big boy author who can kill his characters. Then they steal an intelligent super warp engine (insta shifts the Dark Angel fleet into the warp without need for a jump point while teleporting itself and the Lion onto his flagship; Lion is capable of talking politely infront of so much power) from Typhus then set course for Macragge to sort out Guilliman.
    • Serpent Beneath: - Alpharius Omegon plots against himself and destroys a facility built around what looks suspiciously like a Cadian Pylon (and said facility keeping the White Scars out of the war), due to an information leak, and they can't have that. Except than none of the main players are Alpharius or Omegon. And Alpharius and Omegon can't decide if they're secretly working against each other or not. Also: considered to be one of the better works of the series, not only due to quality, but because of the sheer mindfuckery of the plot, keeping entirely within the rationale of the Alpha Legion without any jumps in logic or canon.

Books XXI - XXX

  • Fear to Tread: Despite being Black Library's most financially successful book ever and hitting thirteen (!) on the New York Times bestseller list (without Oprah's recommendation, even), many fa/tg/uys find it a bit ridiculous. Why? Well, there's planets with giant frowny faces inhabited by garbage monsters, ships getting blown up by city-sized rocks launched from the aforementioned planets, a nearly-stereotypically-gay Slaaneshi daemon that doesn't actually serve much of a purpose in the story, and a villain named the Red Angel, despite the fact Angron already claimed that as a nickname (although he was first introduced in Horus Heresy: Collected Visions, so it's not James Swallow's fault). Oh, and Sanguinius acts like an idiot about Chaos the whole time, which fits the fluff, but come on, how many freaky supernatural signs do you need to see before you decide it's not just foul xenos?
    In all fairness, of course, Fear to Tread does have quite a few good moments, especially when it comes to Warp-related terror. It also has a priceless bromance between Horus and Sanguinius, not to mention Sanguinius and his Legion get characterized very well. Sanguiniuns and Co end up reaching Imperium Secundus.
  • Shadows of Treachery: Yet another anthology. Most of the stories are tie-togethers or "in betweens", and some are very short.
    • The Crimson Fist - A story about two parallel story lines. The first is set during the Battle of Phall, a space battle between the Iron Warriors whole fleet and what was left over from a third of the Imperial Fists's fleet after a warpstorm were ran them" ashore" and left them drifting and isolated in the backwater Phall system. Despite having the superior numbers, more and bigger guns, suicidal expenditure cohorts, and the power of a raging hatred boner, the Iron Warriors were losing to the Imperial Fists's maneuverability and Captain Polux's protagonist power. Eventually, the Fists get the order and window to withdraw to Terra, though turning tail would put their fleet at a huge disadvantage. Given the choice between blind obedience to his father or carrying on the battle they were winning, Polux chooses the former and takes his Fists back to Terra, but ends up in the Imperium Secundus instead. This was also the first of the two depictions of Perturabo, and clearly the worst of the two as he's shown as a cold-hearted Saturday morning cartoon villain with rage control issues. The second story line follows Sigismund as he follows Rogal around the Imperial Palace, while he was ordered to command the fleet on its way to Istvaan and got trapped at Phall, but delegated it to Polux's predecessor. The twist is that he met Euphrati Keeler had a spiritual experience when they spoke, and felt that he would be needed more at Terra instead of as a drifting corpse permanently lost in orbit around some backwater, and so handed off job of commanding the fleet. When he eventually opened up to Rogal, this got him in trouble. See, Rogal was still one of the stupid atheists at this point, so he disowned Sigismund because he thought "serving a higher purpose" was arrogant and got in the way of doing his job. This left Sigismund feeling really sad and pissed off, thus was his start of darkness daddy issues. Really pissed off and bad ass daddy issues.
    • The Dark King - A look into the head and story of Konrad Curze during the events leading up to the Dropsite Massacre. It shows how Curze, even if you buy that he was a murderous paladin of justice and order through fear rather than just a fearsome murderer, is getting pretty fucked up in the head and lives with the knowledge of his demise haunting him, which isn't that great for his sanity. It also involves him beating up Rogal Dorn, killing some Imp Fists and Emp's Children terminators with his more advanced suit and built-in vox jammers with his bare hands, then blowing up Nostramo.
    • The Lightning Tower - Basically, 20 pages of Rogal Dorn. The first 10 is him being sad about ruining the Imperial Palace as a grand piece of art by fortifying it into a coldly functional fortress. The next 10 is Rogal having an existential monologue then a conversation with Malcador, all about why he doesn't know why Horus declared war on the Emperor and brought half of the Legions with him, and is partly afraid to find out why in case it makes sense. Malcador ends up knowing at least a little about Chaos, and somehow got his hands on a tarot deck Curze used throughout his life, even to the close of The Dark King. (Don't ask how he got them. Really.) Also the (*Name Drop*) Lightning Tower is the important card that comes up, signifying a destruction of fortifications and/or a change of thinking through sacrifice.
    • The Kaban Project - Right before Istvaan, techpriest Pallas Ravachol is working on a top secret "Kaban" robot project on Mars realizes that the project has achieved sapience and is in fact a form of strong AI. Though he genuinely befriended the Kaban machine, Ravachol complains to boss Magos Chrom that working on an AI is both highly illegal and insanely dangerous. Chrom tells Ravachol not to be such a pussy since Horus himself gave the OK, and after some deliberation, has a death squad awaiting to escort the Ravachol off site the next morning. Ravachol, thinking there were few ways this could well, makes a break for it and flees for Magos Malevolus's forge, hoping to get somebody with some clout to reveal that his old boss and Horus were up to something. On the way, he spends time running away from a latex-clad sadist babe who persistently chases after him; since she's an AdMech equivalent of a Death Cultist assassin, this is a much better idea than it sounds. When he gets to the Malevolus's forge, the Malevolus distracts him with a legion of shiny Mk6 suits of Marine Power Armor long enough to drop the bomb to drop that they were for Horus. The latex-clad babe catches up to them both, and the techpriest flees again, only to be puzzled why the Malevolus and the assassin are letting him run. As he gets out the door, he meets the Kaban machine, and through the power of friendship, the Kaban decides to side with the good guys, and the day is saved. Except this is the dark, gritty universe of 30K where brother turns against brother. Chrom told the Kaban Machine that it and Ravachol couldn't be friends for realsies, because rules and stuff, and taking up with Horus was a great idea. The Kaban Machine, not understanding how humans work nor The Power of Friendship, didn't know any better than to agree and kills Ravachol right on the steps of Malevolus's forge. End story. An okay story, somewhat generic feeling prose. More of a who's who of the Dark Mechanicus during Mechanicum and telling where the hell that Kaban machine from the same book came from and how they seduced an AI into Chaos worship.
    • Raven's Flight - A bridge between Istvaan V and Deliverance Lost, also a companion story to the Raven's Flight audio drama. The story tells how Commander Marcus Valerius of the Imperial Army is stationed on Deliverance and keeps having recurring nightmares which is causing him worry about Corax. Commander Branne of the Raven Guard's garrison on Deliverance, is getting tired of how the Legion's pet human won't stop bitching about it, and decides to take Valerius out on a trip in the battle barge to Istvaan just to show him that everything is just fine. Meanwhile, Corax and a relative handful of surviving Raven Guard are fighting a guerilla war against the traitors, trying to stay one step ahead of the Iron Warriors and then the World Eaters, and in-between skirmishes, Corax spends a few thoughtful moments feeling bad about his Legion and the state of the Imperium now that things have gone to shit.
    • Death of a Silversmith - The title says it all. A silversmith attached to the 63rd Expeditionary Fleet is tasked with making four rings for the Mournival, after that he makes tokens (for the warrior-lodge, but he doesn't know that) and then he gets his windpipe crushed to make sure word doesn't get out about the tokens. The story is seen from the perspective of the silversmith who describes his life up until the point where he's lying on his own floor, slowly suffocating to death. Ultimately it is kind of irrelevant, but the lore nerds or people who have been paying attention might find it interesting. It is however only barely 20 pages long, so you might as well read it anyway.
    • Prince of Crows - A novella featuring the Thramas Crusade viewed from First Captain Sevatar of the Night Lords. With the Night Lords's forces all but shattered by the Dark Angels, Curze in a coma nearly dead, and the Dark Angels's fleet in pursuit, Sevatar has to knock some heads for the Night Lords to get their shit together and reorganize and rethink strategy. It's essentially about showing the fractures in the Night Lords Legion. As most stories written by Aaron Dembski-Bowden, it's pretty good.
  • Angel Exterminatus: Perturabo just finished fucking up (or being fucked by) some Fists, and Fulgrim finds him to polish off a plot hook from The Reflection Crack'd and recruit Pert for an expedition into the Eye of Terror because a renegade Eldar said he knows where to get the good shit (the eponymous Angel Exterminatus). Fulgrim wanted to make a show out of delivering exposition, and he had Pert use his skills to build a stadium and went storyteller mode; then the moment was killed when a Shattered Legion detachment composed of Iron Hands and a Raven Guard commando sniped Fulgrim (he got better). Of course, Pert took the moment to remind himself that this is why he can't have, won't ever have, nice things. Thinking that Fulgrim had the scent of a powerful artifact or a superweapon, and seeing that Fulgrim was becoming the Primarch equivalent of a crack addict member of the Jersey Shore and his legion wasn't looking much better, Pert decided to play it safe by tagging along and making sure Fulgrim wouldn't break anything. On the way, a different Eldar scholar came to the Shattered Legion, telling them that Fulgrim and Pert can't be allowed to get to the Angel Exterminatus, or Bad Things will happen. Well into the journey into the Eye, the Iron Hands's resident mad scientist accidentally gave away their location, and the Emp's Children and Iron Warriors decide to throw a boarding party. After a few pages of pulse pounding action, Pert says "fuck this", and leaves as the Iron Hands's same mad scientist overloads the engines and does a mother of a ramming maneuver which kills an Emp's Children ship. (Pert was getting sick of Fulgrim's shit at this point, so he decided not to let them know, leading to the loss of the ship and thousands of casualties for Fulgrim.) Then, they finally get there, they find a Crone World covered in ruins and occupied spirit stones being held in orbit around a black hole. Some wraithbone constructs pop up and Pert and Fulgrim have to fight to the heart of the planet to get at the Angel Exterminatus. On the way, Pert kills their renegade Eldar because he was a lyin' bitch. When they finally get there, Surprise! Daemon Primarch Fulgrim is supposed to be the Angel Exterminatus, and he betrays Pert (a bauble Fulgrim gave to Pert at the start of the book was a vitality-leeching thing), and they start the ritual which would sacrifice Pert to turn Fulgrim into a Daemon Prince. Then the Shattered Legion crashes ther ceremony, and assists the Iron Warriors since it's clear they weren't working with the Emp's Children anymore. Pert kills Fulgrim, but it didn't count since Fulgrim is free of his physical body and goes full Daemon Prince, breaks every spirit stone on the planet, and disappears with every last one of his sick fucks. The Eldar scholar helping the Shattered Legion throws a bitch fit, revealing that both scholars were Dark Eldar who had cut a deal with Fulgrim (help him become a daemon and they get assloads of spirit stones to fuck with), and he had made sure that the Shattered Legion was there to put a wedge in that deal because...reasons. The Shattered Legion gets the hell out, and the Iron Warriors try to GTFO as the planet starts to fall into the black hole. The book ends, with Pert, being a wise man, orders them to reverse course and fly right into that fucker. Subplots include a lot of buildup for McNeil's Iron Warriors stories, the Shattered Legion's feelings on trying to unfuck an irreversibly fucked situation, some tense buildup of two Imperial Fists as they try to survive Fabius's turning them into mutants (which actually had a poor payoff). Despite being overall good, it's a bit of a skub novel because the depiction of Perturabo is so different from expected, rather than being the bitter Rage machine from every other depiction, he's a quiet nerd who plays with toys as a hobby, but with muscles. And because the ghosts of eldar's Aspect Warriors and Wraith-Constructs inside a planet left inside the Eye of Terror is a canon-rape on par with C.S. Goto, the first death of Lucius at the hands of a Mary Sue despite previous claims that he was undefeated during the Heresy and his unexplained resurrection ("How? Fucking Chaos, that's how." Oh, sure, every CSM is immortal), and an Iron Hands legionnaire somehow being immune to sonic weapons by being deaf. And worst of all, a rotating Shadowsword turret.
  • Betrayer: Lorgar and Angron rampage over the Ultramarines 500 worlds. Lots of references to Angron's past and his Butcher's Nails are killing him slowly. Turns out one of the Ultramarine worlds was his own Homeworld, so he destroys it and Lorgar makes him into a daemon-prince. Also remember the Furious Abyss? Lorgar has two more. Also focuses on Khârn and Argel Tal being bros, until Erebus decides to intervene.
  • Angron: An anthology about Lorgar Horus Dorn Malcador the plumber for the Golden Throne Fuck, we can't remember. It often gets passed over in the official lists, since it's actually a cheat since it's a republish of older short stories: After De'shea, Butcher's Nails (print format), and Lord of the Red Sands (which was initially a standalone release, even later republished in The Imperial Truth).
  • Mark of Calth: Another set of short stories, though all focussed on the Ultramarines or the Word Bearers.
    • Shards of Erebus: - We find that Erebus broke the MURDER SWORD into eight daggers/athames and shared them with his bros. Also shows how he returned to Davin to learn how to teleport with the MURDER SWORD, then killing the priestess that helped him turn Horus. She somehow wins because she served chaos before dying which pisses Erebus off.
    • Calth That Was - The story focuses on an Ultramarine Captain and Co. and on a Word Bearers commander and his Dark Apostle. Keeps bringing up what Calth used to be like. Longer-than-the-rest-story short, Word Bearers try to Nurgle everyone, and the Ultramarines save the day in the nick of time. After all, THE GREATEST OF THE-*BLAM*
    • Dark Heart - A young Word Bearer is interrogated by Kor Phaeron after killing his mentor with dark powers (turned him insta inside out). A kind of nice story that shows the degredation enlightenment of the Legion.
    • The Traveller - A spacedock traffic controller survives the destruction of his star fort, and the fatal crash of his escape shuttle before ending up in a small underground arcology with other human survivors. Imperial cultists believe he is blessed, and when he starts hearing whispers and seeing unbelievers they start rounding everybody up for execution. Everybody gets slowly executed till he's the last one left. Learns he's been possessed and reveals to an ultramarine that he was was infected by the vox from the Campanile.
    • A Deeper Darkness - An ultramarine has a hardon for a certain Word Bearer trolling him. Hunts down said Word Bearer into a cave system with a team of soldiers and spess marines. Word Bearer trolls them by summoning a Gorgon. Ultramarine wins by tricking the Gorgon into looking at it's reflection.
    • The Underworld War - A story that has little to do with the actual Underworld War. It features a Gal Vorbak who sees the attack on Calth as a clusterfuck of fail. Has a plot-twist ending... turns out Daemons give visions of the future to potential Gal Vorbak, and said Gal Vorbak was given a vision of him not abandoning his fallen brothers on Calth. Daemon doesn't have time for that, and let's him die during his transformation.
    • Athame - A narrated story of the history of a knife, though not one from the MURDER SWORD. That's about it... totally... right. Wrong. The small sacrificial knife that Ollanius found was carved on Terra for a benign ritual, stolen by an evil Perpetual who was killed by the Emperor in medieval times, found in an archeological dig by Kasper Hawser, and went on other crazy murder-adventures, all while having rudimentary sentience.
    • Unmarked - Ollanius Pius and friends is traveling through time and space using the athame from the previous story. We learn a lot more about Oll's past, going into detail about his offhand mentions that he was one of the Argonauts and that he served in the First World War and the First Gulf War.
  • Vulkan Lives: What happened to Vulkan after the Dropsite Massacre? He got made Konrad Curze's torture bitch. Plenty of fun with dining implements and an awesome ending involving a hammer. Not one of the best HH Books though is a somewhat necessary read for continuing the plot arc. Remember the Shattered Legions crew from Angel Exterminatus? Now you get a new group that is far more bland and less distinct.
  • The Unremembered Empire: Matt Damon killed Martin Luther King. This happens in the book. Also, unlike the cover and synopsis would imply, it's not about Sanguinius and Guilliman working together to build a back-up Imperium around Ultramar, which leads to the question of why that's on the cover? No one knows what it is really about, especially the book's description of itself (which describes its sequels). Several things happen in the book as several unrelated subplots collide as several entities are drawn by the Pharos device to Macragge. There are implications that Guilliman's new backup Imperium is starving resources from Terra.
  • Scars: Technically the third book of the Prospero arc. The Khan returns to the Imperium after killing Orks left over from Ullanor and can't decide what side to join. Turns his back on Leman Russ during a fight with the Alpha Legion and goes looking for his best friend Magnus, also gets into a fight with Mortarion on the way, also half his legion turns traitor but turns out it's no big deal.
    • Brotherhood of the Storm: Prequel to Scars, shows the White Scars fighting Orks on Chondax.
  • Vengeful Spirit Horus goes looking for power to make him equal to the Emperor- the Chaos Gods give it to him by sending him to the Hyperbolic Time Chamber from Dragon Ball Z. We learn that the Emperor gained his powers after making a pact with the Chaos Gods where they gave him a fraction of their power, then somehow managed to double-cross them in what is quite possibly the most retarded retcon ever introduced in the entire book series (though the Chaos Gods have been claiming this throughout the series). Loken comes back. There's also the Knights of Lannister Molech, who fall to Slaanesh through copious amounts of Twincest. Also, if you have been ignoring the audio books, you will be a bit lost at the start of this one.
  • The Damnation of Pathos Python Pythos A Lovecraftian Horror story disguised as a Horus Heresy story. Has the most grimdark ending of the series thus far, up there with Dead Men Walking. Adds just about as much to the overall series as Furious Abyss did, but is actually pretty well written, unlike "Furious Abyss". It is actually the prequel to a book outside of the Horus Heresy series, Pandorax.

Books XXXI to XL

  • Legacies of Betrayal Another anthology, though this time it's a bit of cheat, and they just consolidated several pre-existing stories; some of the the novellas but also included print versions of audio books.
    • Brotherhood of the Storm - see above
    • Serpent - A really short and out-of-place story about a Davinite Priest.
    • Hunters Moon - originally an audiobook involving peasant fishermen rescuing a crashed space wolf who is running from the Alpha Legion after killing Alpharius, it obviously doesn't end well.
    • Veritas Ferrum - a prequel to Damnation of Pythos, about an Iron Hands starship escaping (against their better nature) from Isstvan with some survivors.
    • Strike and Fade - More survivors of Isstvan, though this is about Salamanders just killing time (and Night Lords) whilst they wait to be rescued.
    • Honour to the Dead - about Ultramarines and an innocent woman and child trying her hardest to follow them to safety.
    • Butcher's Nails - A good one to read, Angron & Lorgar go on the Shadow-Crusade and come to an understanding whilst fighting Eldar.
    • Warmaster - Horus considering how much of a badass he is while chatting with Ferrus Manus's skull.
    • Kryptos - Somewhere in the Galactic East (either Thramas Crusade or Imperium Secundus), Nykona Sharrowkyn and company go kidnap a warp code interpreter that will let them intercept garbled enemy communications.
    • Wolfs Claw - Bjorn the Fell-Handed needs a replacement arm, but the Iron Priests are too busy, but he happens to find a nice fancy relic one just lying around.
    • The Divine Word
    • Thief of Revelations - After Prospero, the Thousand Sons need something to stop all their rampant mutation, so Ahriman goes to ask why Magnus has locked himself away. He's got bigger things to worry about and is looking across time and space for key events for future Just as Planned manipulations.
    • Lucius the Eternal Warrior - After his first death (and unexplained resurrection) at the hands of Nykona Sharrowkyn, Lucius has somehow abandoned the Heresy and goes to the planet of Sorcerers to fight a duel with the bestest Thousand Son swordsman, ends up meeting Ahriman.
    • The Eightfold Path - Kharn and the World Eaters realise that too much rip and tear is leading them down a damning path, but they're already too far gone.
    • Guardian of Order - Cypher and Zahariel discover that the Ouroboros (banished in Fallen Angels) is coming back
    • Heart of the Conqueror - Angron's Navigator gets a bit uppity about being made to turn traitor, despite having been picked for the job as the angry man's chauffeur by the Emperor himself. Blams herself during mid-warp transit with not-fun results for flagship.
    • Censure - Aonid Thiel killing time and Word Bearers in the Underworld War on Calth, writing notes on his armour that will eventually get written into Guilliman's draft of the Codex. Get's bored and goes back to Macragge in the end.
    • Lone Wolf - Bjorn has lost all of his squad, but is now such an awesome badass that he can solo Bloodthirsters.
  • Death and Defiance Yet another anthology
    • Imperfect - Daemon-Fulgrim has been getting Fabius to clone Ferrus Manus, because the split personality thing makes him feel guilty about failing to turn his brother to Horus's side, but the clones are never quite right and go mental at each suggestion. Fabius also has his own stuff going on.
    • Howl of the Heathworld - Space Wolves get sent to Terra to watch over Rogal Dorn so he doesn't start using psykers, its a pointless task and everyone know it. Also offers insight into the Wolves naming conventions.
    • A Safe and Shadowed Place - Night Lords start stabbing each other in the back as soon as Curze goes missing while solo'ing Macragge. It's about a ship floating in the ruinstorm that has just discovered the Pharos and foreshadows problems for Ultramar.
    • Virtues of the Sons - Sanguinius forsees that he will not always be in charge of the Blood Angels, but worries about the Red Thirst causing havoc with his sons futures. So gets Amit to duel Kharn and Azkaellon to duel Lucius in hopes they'll learn something. Azkaellon learns to let the rage out a bit and Amit learns a modicum of restraint.
    • Gunsight - The Vindicare Assassin from Nemesis is still alive and on Horus' flagship, its about him spending years waiting for the opportune moment to get a shot, but he starts going mad while he waits. Gives ups when Horus plucks his killshot from the air and Horus gives him a chaos rifle for his change in loyalty.
  • Blades of the Traitor yet ANOTHER anothology
    • Daemonology - To and fro' story about Mortarion. On Terra he discovers the initial construction of the Golden Throne and gets told about Emp's plan for removing psykers. In the "present day" he captures a daemon and starts practising sorcery on it.
    • Black Oculus - A short story about Navigators describing what it's like travelling in the warp.... basically it's Grimdark.
    • Chirurgeon - Fabius Bile narrating about his history, and what happened about the gene-flaw that almost wiped out the Emperor's Children. Totally has the gene-flaw and has been using his bestest bro turned servitor to keep it under wraps.
    • Twisted - Maloghurst gets a story about him uncovering plots against Horus and gets wrapped up in intrigue. It actually shows him as a really clever bastard and a bit of a badass.
    • Wolf Mother - Alivia Sureka's kids get captured after their escape from Molech and she teams up with Sevarian in order to get them back. Lots of coolness on Sevarian's part and we also get to see that Perpetuals can resist possession.
  • Tallarn: Executioner - A novella about a vehicle squadron (Leman Russ Executioner, Vanquisher and a Salamander) having to deal with the toxic surface in the weeks after the surface bombardment and then come into contact with the Iron Warriors. Also the Alpha Legion have a hand in things, like they always do.
  • Tallarn: Ironclad - Part two of the Tallarn story.
  • Deathfire - What the Salamanders have been saying since Isstvan is true: Vulkan lives! Well now he does. Basically a bunch of Salamanders take his body from Macragge to Nocturne (with some side help from didn't ask for this Magnus) and throw him into Nocturne's largest volcano, and lo and behold he comes back to life, making that entire plotline pointless. Still has the fucking Fulgurite in his chest, though. TL;DR: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M7nzml-zZ9M
  • The Wolf King - The Space Wolves find themselves set upon by the forces of the Alpha Legion before they can recover from the Razing of Prospero and are hounded to the edge of the Alaxxes Nebula (swiss cheese acid cloud). There the Alpha Legion beat the ever-living shi...stuffing out of the wolves whilst Russ locks himself in his room and sulks. Russ eventually summons his new favourite Bjorn to join him and they have bit of a heart to heart about what a bunch of morons they were in allowing themselves to be manipulated so easily by Horus. By the end Russ is back to his old self and celebrates by massacring every Alpha he can get his hands on even if it’s clear that his defeat is inevitable. Fortunately for the Wolves helps comes from a hidden armada of Dark Angels ostensibly "loyal" to Luther, but unaware of the Horus Heresy or of the whereabouts or actions of the Lion. Russ borrows gear and manpower from them in exchange for info on current events which most likely finds its way back to Luther and sets the "Destiny of Caliban" in motion. Russ then heads for Terra.
  • War Without End: Anthologies Without End.
  • Pharos: Night Lords fucking up the Pharos Lighthouse on Sotha. Sanguinius eventually grows some balls and starts standing up to Guilliman instead of just being a pantomime Emperor, while the Lion is nowhere to be seen as usual. Warsmith Dantioch bites it while using the Pharos to burn the Night Lords out of his fortress, but inadvertently piques the interest of the Tyranids, causing them to show up 10,000 years later. Skraivok become a prime example of DEMON SWORDS: NOT EVEN ONCE.
  • Eye of Terra: Another anthology.
  • Path Of Heaven: Sequel to Scars. The White Scars have been fighting traitor legions for a few years but are starting to show the strain. They finally make a shift back to Terra but things don't go as planned. Notable for digging into the Webway storyline and the Navis Nobilite as well as featuring a resurrected and suddenly competent Eidolon. Navigators weren't going to sit around while E-money built their replacement, White Scars use a prototype webway portal to escape their last stand, and Moratarion starts using sorcery to locate Typhon.
  • The Seventh Serpent: a novella about the Shattered Legions going up against the Alpha Legion; a simple premise made awesome by sheer depth of Alpharian plot twists: They had been manipulated by Alpharius into fighting a battle against Loyalist Alpha Legionaires.
  • The Silent War: Guess What?! It's another anthology of stories that GW have already sold indidually as audio-books. So value might be had for those who hadn't listened to them.
  • Angels of Caliban: two Dark Angels stories in one book again, though this one actually moves the plot forward. In Ultramar, the Lion captures Konrad Curze but only after discretely nuking a whole region despite a ban on orbital weapon use, which results in his disgrace and we find that it is Guilliman who breaks the Lion Sword. Curze reveals that there were chaos cults on Mcraggae too, and that Guilliman would be a traitor if he had landed a little to the left. On Caliban, the Fallen openly declare their rebellion from the Imperium and ironically steal some starships that were meant to collect them and actually bring them into the war again. Zahariel kills Cypher and takes his place.
  • Praetorian of Dorn Alpharius tries to invade Terra Pluto. Dorn kills him. Yes, Alpharius is now dead. And not a fake either, but the real Alpharius. Omegon can confirm. Alpha Legions fags blew a gasket. Oh shit believe we did.
  • Corax A compilation of all the Corax Stories, plus a new one, Weregeld, which manages to undo all the hard work the previous stories have done and turn Corax into a douchebag. Kills all his mutated Raven Guard because he promised to kill warp stuff. Saves Russ and his arrogant ass though.

Books XLI onwards

  • The Master of Mankind The Emperor is a dick. We all knew this, but now it's set in stone. Emperor states to Arkhan Land that the Primarchs are tools and he views them with a scientific but detached fascination. Referring to them as numbers but content to allow the fantasy of being their "father" and therefore canonizing his shitty treatment of them and justifying the traitor Primarchs outrage. He actually seems to care more for his Custodians than he does any of his other creations, but they don't consider him to be a father and see him as just their warlord. Drach'Nyen is also revealed to be the Daemon created when Caine killed Abel. In the end he closes the door on the webway and has to spend the rest of his time sitting in the chair keeping it shut. Despite this, it does show off why the Chaos Gods fear him, as he pretty much rapes an infinite army of Daemons; the Greater ones either flee or try and fail to fight him (being destroyed in a matter of moments) whilst the lesser ones die just by looking at him. Despite this, Drach'nyen nearly kills him, and it is confirmed that fate has indeed decreed that Empy will die at the daemon's hand claims that it will kill the Emperor (keep in mind that the future is malleable and Daemons lie). But how will it feast on the Emperor's tattered soul when Abaddon lacks arms to plunge it into his chest? Also known as Master of skubkind. Reveals his grand plan of saving the human race from the Eldar fate by absolute control of every human to a custodian before shanking him with Drach'nyen and making him run into the webway. Also put all his chips into the webway plan and screwed us all over without a backup. Can you tell that this is an ADB book?
  • The Crimson King Magnus was broken into shards when Russ felled him. Now the Thousand Sons with the help of Lucius the Eternal must put him back together.

The Tabletop Wargame

Forge World is producing a new line of books and models (in addition to Imperial Armour and Warhammer Forge) to allow players to fight battles from the Horus Heresy in Warhammer 40,000. This includes rules and models for the Primarchs (both pre- and post-fall, for the Traitors) as well as ancient vehicles. No xenos, unfortunately. Presumably this came about because GW felt that they just weren't making quite enough money from die-hard marine/chaos players and figured they could literally buy a dump-truck full of gold plated cocaine each if they made a version of the game that requires only Forge World minis AND thousands upon thousands of them. Still worth it, though.

Betrayal

Forge World starts big, as their first book covers the battles on Istvaan III, in which Horus sent the remaining loyalist elements of the Sons of Horus, Emperor's Children, Death Guard, and World Eaters to the surface, ostensibly to rout the anti-Imperial resistance that had taken hold in the capital city, and then fired Exterminatus torpedoes (of the life-eater virus bomb variety) onto the city to wipe them out.

Unfortunately for Horus, not everything went as planned; not only did the loyalist Death Guard frigate Eisenstein escape to the Phalanx with word of Horus's betrayal, but loyalist elements on other ships were able to disrupt the bombardment and warn the loyalists on the ground that it was coming. Between the disruption, the warning, and good old-fashioned Space Marine toughness, only a third or so of the landed force had actually died. Horus would have fired another bombardment, but Angron and his traitor World Eaters jumped the gun and made planetfall; the other traitors were left with no choice but to deploy themselves and destroy the remaining loyalists personally.

Betrayal contains a Great Crusade Legion army list (for which we have a tactica), and rules for special characters and units from the Sons of Horus, Death Guard, Emperor's Children, and World Eaters Legions, including their Primarchs (even Fulgrim, who was not actually at the battle) and several major characters from the book series such as Garviel Loken.

Massacre

The infamous Drop Site Massacre is the focus of the next book, where seven Legions are sent to crush Horus’ rebellion, only for four of those to turn on the other three and crush them utterly. The books storyline is essentially just the first day of the battle, leading up to the death of Ferrus Manus.

Massacre contains additional rules for special characters and units from the Iron Hands, Night Lords, Salamanders and Word Bearers Legions including their Primarchs and several more major characters from the book series make their debut such as Sevatar, Eidolon, Erebus and Kharn.

Extermination

Focusses on the second half of Istvaan V, as well as the Battle of Phall between the Iron Warriors and Imperial Fists; and on that note, it includes rules for those two Legions, as well as the Alpha Legion and the Raven Guard.

It also gives us a complete Mechanicum Army List: the Taghmata.

Condensed Lists

The ICL and LACAL were initially released as part of the limited edition run of Extermination, but were then later released separately. They are fluff-lite, codex-equivalent books that also included all of the FAQs/Errata up to their release; which unfortunately was still the end of 6th edition so some rules haven't carried over well. (eg. Lorgars psychic rules.)

The Legiones Astartes Crusade Army List is basically the generic 30k Space Marine "codex", whilst the Isstvan Campaign Legions contains all of the collected rules for the legions from Books 1-3; their units, characters and wargear in the previous three books. Meaning you can have a cheaper alternative to buying multiple £70+, huge black tomes JUST to play the game. The ICL was continued in the Age of Darkness Legions, which collected everything to book 5, including the errata.

Later came the Mechanicum Taghamata Army List, which contained all the Mechanicum units and army lists mentioned and rearranged them to keep everything on the same page, but lacked the Questoris Knight Army. The Crusade Imperialis Army Lists contain the Solar Auxilia, Imperialis Militia/Warp Cults, and Questoris Knight Crusade army lists.

Conquest

Horus Heresy Volume Four is entitled 'Conquest', despite early hints from Forgeworld that it would be about the Battle of Prospero, it instead features Horus' conquest of the Imperium and the "Major" battles of this time, which is to say some battle-zones that Forgeworld made up to fill time whilst they worked on the more well known events from the in-universe history. (And to be fair, their response as to why Prospero was delayed was because it included four major factions, two of which have NEVER been represented on the tabletop, so required more time to do them justice.)

A large portion of the book is given over to running battles in the "Age of Darkness", which is a variant ruleset used as the default for Horus Heresy games (where only Troops usually score, amongst other things) and has rules and FOCs for Cityfight missions, rules for running ongoing campaigns, variant rules for mysterious terrain and objectives as well as including unique relics to be taken by the various army lists to add flavor to non-special characters.

It also introduces the Solar Auxilia and "Questoris" Knights (as an AdMech list) armies to play while the modellers take a break from building power armor 24/7.

Tempest

The fifth Horus Heresy book will cover the Battle of Calth. The rules for the Ultramarines (including Roboute Guilliman himself) as well as several warp-corrupted Word Bearer units are brought in alongside a few other new miscellaneous FW releases, including the Deredeo and the new Thanatars. There's also an Imperial Militia (Read: PDF) list that's super-customizable so you can make both loyalist and traitor lists. Also, the MOTHERFUCKING WARLORD TITANS IS IN IT TOO. PREPARE YOUR WALLET.

Retribution

Focused on 'Shadow Wars' far from the main fronts of the Heresy, in particular the Shattered Legions - that is, the Iron Hands, Raven Guard, and Salamanders in their weakened state following their losses in the Drop Site Massacre. But other Legions can also be included, with special rules for the Shattered Legions, Black Shields and a list for Armies of Dark Compliance - mixed traitor Legiones/Militia lists, as well as ten new special characters. It includes Legiones Astartes rules for the White Scars, Blood Angels and Dark Angels, so that players of those legions can start playing properly; however, it does not include special units, characters, or Primarchs for those legions. It also includes Garro and the Knights Errant and additional Mechanicum units and characters, including a new Dark Magos, Anacharis Scoria. Space Wolves and Thousand Sons will still need to wait for the Prospero book (Inferno, Book 7).

Inferno

In Set to be book 3. late 2016. early 2017 (Because FW can't keep to schedule) December 2016 February 4, 2017, will come what many neckbeards are waiting for: THE BURNING OF PROSPERO!!! For those Thousand Sons players, start saving up so you can play your space Egyptian sorcerers in all their 30k glory. Rules for the Sisters of Silence as an allied detachment and the Adeptus Custodes as a full army list will be present as well.

Well, it's come, and... it's uninspiring to say the least, with stuff like Magnus being straight up impossible to hit if he casts invisibility, not to mention pumping out 2d6 destroyer hits at every unit within 18" if he likes, Custodes captains beating out every Primarch with a rollable 3+ invulnerable save, some Custodes wargear being straight up left out of the book and to cap it all, pictures of tourists in the book (twice) where you'd expect miniatures to be. You'd think with such a long development cycle the quality assurance would have been more thorough.

Angelus

It will feature Dark Angels, Blood Angels, Night Lords, Daemons, and Dark Mechanicum. No Luther. And that's all we know.

See Also

  • The War of The Beast, for the next massive shit-show the Imperium was involved with.
  • Alternate Heresy, for a discussion of other possible outcomes of the (not necessarily Horus) Heresy.

External Links

Timeline of Warhammer 40,000
The Times of Old Wars of Secession - War in Heaven (60.000.000 BC) - Fall of the Eldar (M30)
Pre-Heresy Age of Terra (M1-M15) - Dark Age of Technology (M15-M25) - Age of Strife (M25-M30)
Great Crusade (M31) The Last Church - Horus Heresy - Battle of Isstvan III - The Burning of Prospero
Drop Site Massacre - The Battle of Phall - Battle of Calth - Siege of Terra
Time of Rebirth (M31-M32) The Great Scouring (M31) - Start of The Long War (M31) - The Legion Wars (M31)
The Battle of Skalathrax (M31) - Creation of the Codex Astartes (M31) - Second Founding (021.M31)
The Forging (M32-M34) The War of The Beast (544.M32-546.M32)- The Beheading (546.M32)
Nova Terra Interregnum (M34-M36) 21st Founding (M36)
Age of Apostasy (M36-37) Plague of Unbelief (310.M36)
Age of Redemption (M37-M38) Abyssal Crusade (321.M37-121.M38)
The Waning (M40-M41) Gothic War (143-151.M41) - The Macharian Crusade (392-399.M41) - The Macharian Heresy (400-470.M41)
Wars for Armageddon (444.M41, 941.M41 and 991.M41) - Damocles Crusade (742.M41)
Time of Ending (M41) The Vaxi Atrocity ((731.M41) - First Tyrannic War (745-746.M41) - Massacre at Sanctuary 101 (897.M41)
Badab War (901-912.M41) - The Vaxhallian Genocide (926.M41) - Second Tyrannic War (990.M41-993.M41)
Third Tyrannic War (997.M41-999.M41) - 13th Black Crusade (999.M41-???)