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 attempt to make heaven on earth invariably produces hell."

– Karl Popper

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 derailed 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[edit]

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[edit]

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) was 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 Main Book Series[edit]

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, The First Heretic, Know No Fear, Fear To Tread, 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[edit]

  • Horus Rising: A prologue story, introducing us to the series and Garviel Loken who will grow into a very significant and popular character, the 'Jim Raynor' from Starcraft of the heresy. Black Library needed a killer opener and they succeeded, Dan Abnett handling it pretty well. 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?". Negotiations with them go sour when Erebus steals the MURDER SWORD from them. It is worth noting that if the Interex had some goddamn CCTV set up in their museum of awesome and valuable weapons then the whole heresy could possibly have been avoided.
  • 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 and 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 is presumed dead after a duel with Abaddon.
  • 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: A divisive entry that is either forgettable to some or pretty interesting depending on who you ask - depends how much you like the Emperor's Children. Tells 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 McNeill 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 is bringing the lost colonies of mankind together 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. The Alpha Legion, along with the Geno Chiliad, a regiment of genetically engineered supermen-yet-not-Astartes lead by anime lolis called uxors (High Gothic for "wives") is trying to bring some Chaos cultists in space AfghanistanNurth into compliance. The cultists activate planetary self destruct blood sacrifice; as this goes down, the Alpha legion meets with the Cabal, gets a glimpse of their vision of the future ("the Alpharius gambit"), 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. The bodyguard of the triple agent turns out to be an Sons of Horus assassin who detonates a bomb that kills the triple agent and nearly accomplishes a suicide run to destroy a bunch of reactors controlled by the triple agent.
    • 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 the Emperor, the Wolves invade it, of course.
    • 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[edit]

  • 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.
  • A 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 his 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 may 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, Iacton Qruze makes his first appearance since forever, but nobody gives a shit about Iacton Qruze. Dorn says it's all lies and enemy propaganda before executing said remembrancer and torching all his ramblings.
    • Rebirth: Magnus'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 out-troll everybody when they fuck things up for the World Eaters (they let the World Eater 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 prometheum 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 siege thanks to the genius of a certain Barabas Dantioch), 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 yo shit!" and left a fortress with no space or warp conveyance and arguably little strategic value in itself in the middle of nowhere alone. It mentions a few times that it looks really bad for a rebellion trying to gain initiative when a mere captain of their Legions tells their Primarch "fuck off, imma keeping this fortress & resources for the Emperor!" The message behind it being if you can't even control your own men, maybe this rebellion thing needs a rethinking, because hearing Horus can't even take this shitty outpost middle of nowhere and he's going to Terra might be bad press.
    • 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 cheating bitch(he initiated the fight, ending the parlay, by getting in a cheap-shot when he plunged his sword into Curze's heart), until Curze, ignoring a terrible wound even by Primarch standards, whoops that ass and goes to his old fallback of strangling a fucker. 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 some R&R. 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." and hand him over to a pair of kind counselors who torture the poor man half to death. After a time, he gets busted out in the nick of time by some convict Space Marines from the Traitor Legions. Why they do this is explained by the Thousand Son sagely stating "Just because." to the others. They name themselves the eponymous Outcast Dead and try to get the hell off of Terra (amusingly, none of the escapees is very happy at the prospect of the Heresy but they are all slightly miffed at being treated like shit by the Custodes just because of the Legion they belong to.) 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 just happened in here. 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 whoop-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 and 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 Phaeron's main heart with an unpowered Power Fist. 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, transitioning into underground war. Special features of this novel include the Ultramarines finally being portrayed as awesome, Guilliman not being a cock, Ollanius Pius 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; Julius Kaesoron is still an angry badass; Marius 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 Nikaea, 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[edit]

  • 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' entire fleet, and what was left over after a third of the Imperial Fists' fleet was dispatched to reinforce the loyalists going to Istvaan, got caught in a warpstorm and was ran "ashore", leaving them drifting and isolated in the backwater Phall system. The Iron Warriors, having the advantage of knowing what the hell is goig on and having the powers of Chaos to guide them through the storm, show up at Phall wreck shit for some good old fashioned revenge. 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 superior 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 with 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 one of the first solid depictions of Perturabo, and clearly the worst of the two as he's shown to be nothing more than an abusive, cold-hearted Saturday morning cartoon villain with rage issues and the depth and complexity of a kiddy pool. The second story line follows Sigismund as he follows Rogal around the Imperial Palace after deciding to stay home, even though he was ordered to command the same fleet 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 the job of commanding the fleet. When he eventually opened up to Rogal about this, it 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 that, even if you buy that Curze was a murderous paladin of justice and order rather than just a deranged serial killer, he's getting pretty fucked up in the head, and lives with the knowledge of his demise haunting him (which isn't that great for what little sanity he has left). 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 fucking 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 is 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 up to the close of The Dark King. (Don't ask how he got them. Really.) Also that (*Name Drop*) the Lightning Tower is the important card that comes up, signifying a destruction of fortifications and/or a change of thinking brought about by sacrifice.
    • The Kaban Project - Right before Istvaan, techpriest Pallas Ravachol is working on a top secret "Kaban" robot project on Mars and realizes that the project has achieved sapience, and is in fact a form of full 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 waiting to escort the Ravachol off site the next morning. Ravachol, thinking there were few ways this could end 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 bad. 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 Malevolus's forge, 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 Malevolus and the assassin are letting him run. As he gets out the door, he meets the Kaban machine, who realizes friendship was most important thing, 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 simply can't be friends for realsies, because of the 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. 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 and 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 to 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 (Warp-registered trademark) 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 the 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's mortal essence works just as well as sacrifice. He goes full Daemon Prince despite a generous helping of Thunder Hammer to his pretty face, 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 Legions were 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. (It works out for them in the end.)

    Subplots include a lot of buildup for McNeil's Iron Warriors stories, the Shattered Legions' 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 first resurrection, 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 totally bro-tier, until that bitch Erebus decides to intervene and a team-killing asshole. Why Erebus isn't modeled with a long mustache fit for twirling is beyond us.
  • Mark of Calth: Another set of short stories, though all focused 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 he ended up killing his mentor with dark powers (turned him insta inside out). A kind of nice story that shows the degradation 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 hard-on for a certain Word Bearer trolling him. Hunts down said Word Bearer into a cave system with a team of soldiers and Spess Merheens. Word Bearer trolls them by summoning a Gorgon. Ultramarine wins by tricking the Gorgon into looking at its 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. The Daemon doesn't have time for that shit so it lets him die during his transformation, much to the distress of the still fairly bro tier Argel Tal who is soothed by the honeyed words of did nothing wrong.
    • 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. It's based as all fuck and written by Dan Abnett, so don't miss it. Also features Ol' Oll's much, much earlier encounters with the big daddy E looked back on in reflection, and kinda proves O.P. Diddy right in his contention against Him that faith has power it not directed in the wrong places, and has in fact protected Terra for fuckawatts worth of millenia, and if He hadn't have been such an aspergated edgelord about atheism, more daemons might have been conquered due to the power of 19th century English hymnody, albeit with some of the words altered to refer apparently to the very same edgy athiest. Also features a traumatized but insightful qt3.14 psyker witch.
  • 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 to the face. 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 and the Chaos Gods give it to him by sending him to the Hyperbolic Time Chamber from Dragon Ball Z (kinda). 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. (In all seriousness though, the Chaos Gods have been claiming this throughout the series. It could be the truth, or one of their beautifully crafted lies.) 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 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". To cut a long story short, daemons take over a world in the Pandorax system, capture a starship and use it to start ferrying cultists from place to place. The book also has some crossover with 40k and the Pandorax Campaign.

Books XXXI - XL[edit]

  • 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.
    • Riven - Iron Hand from Crusader Host is sent by Sigismund to look for some of his brothers, scattered after Istvaan V. He found one suspicious looking group and discovers that they use forbidden technologies to fight traitors even after death.
    • 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, with loyalist and traitor Titans punch each other faces on background.
    • Butcher's Nails - A good one to read, Angron & Lorgar go on the Shadow-Crusade and come to an understanding whilst fighting Eldar. It is also prequel to "Betrayer".
    • 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. Prequel to "Angel Exterminatus".
    • 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 - Marcus Valerius (army commander from Raven Guard story ark) receive prophetic dreams and subsequently prevents Alpha Legion diversion. It serves him as final push to Imperial Cult.
    • 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 (cause he cheats and reads your mind to see what you do next), ends up meeting Ahriman. Uh-huh...
    • 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 is killing time and Word Bearers in the Underworld War on Calth, writing notes about it on his armour. Said notes will eventually get written into Guilliman's draft of the Codex on the subject of killing Word Bearers (because it's that damn important to kill Word Bearers). Thiel eventually gets 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.
  • 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
  • War Without End: Anthologies Without End.
    • The Devine Adoratrice - Prequel to "Vengeful Spirit", shows, that House Devine was rotten to the core long before the coming of Fulgrim.
    • 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.
    • Lord of the Red Sands - during slaughter of Istvaan III Angron indulges himself in philosophizing about the nature of his rebellion and what is good cause to butchering his own sons. I swear, I'm telling truth.
    • Artefacts - On his way to Istvaan V Vulkan decides that all of his artefacts should be destroyed to prevent them falling into the wrong hands. His forgemaster intervenes and persuades him to keep at least some, so Vulkan grants him the right to choose seven items to preserve and give him the title of Forge Father, keeper of these artefacts.
    • Hands of the Emperor - depicts one typical day of the Adeptus Custodes through eyes of their newly appointed Master of the Watch, including colossal orbital plates invading Imperial Palace, Custodes and the Imperial Fists being stubborn assholes; even facing battle with each other at the heart of Imperium, never ceasing Blood Games and bureaucratic and diplomatic hell wrapping all that entanglement.
    • The Phoenician - dying Morlock witness the final duel between Ferrus Manus and Fulgrim.
    • Sermon of Exodus - another prequel to "Damnation of Pythos", explains the appearance of the huge cultists' fleet from Davin in orbit of Pythos. Provides rare insight on the life on Davin and origins of Chaos cults there. Also features really bizzare description of the first Davinite priest, who spent the last several thousand years in the warp.
    • By the Lion's Command - prologue to "Angels of Caliban". Corswain is tasked by the Lion to hunt Death Guard ships, but is experiencing a stark lack of manpower. After an uneven engagement with Typhon that nearly costs him his life and fleet, he decides to send Chapter Master Belath to Caliban for recruits.
    • The Harrowing - some random Alpha Legionnaires take over some random Mechanicus ship. Turns out that they are so god-mode that everyone important is their operative, so they meet none resistance at all. The end.
    • All That Remains - transport ship full of war orphans and Imperial Army soldiers with severe PTSD is lost in space during warp transit. Fear not though, because in fact they are being stolen by a Malcador agent for transfer to Titan and induction in Grey Knights.
    • 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.
    • Allegiance - Revuel Arvida spends some time on the White Scars flagship trying to understand what to do after losing all his Legion. He reflect on his time on Prospero, visiting Khan's trial on plotters from "Scars", undertake escape, but in the end he chooses to spend some more time with Scars.
    • Daemonology - after his duel with Jaghatai Mortarion tries to interrogate a Daemon, which goes as well as you'd expect. Also, story shows that Malcador and the Emperor planned Nikaea for almost seventy years before it takes place.
    • Black Oculus - Navigator that serves IV Legion, loses his mind after Perturabo drives his ships into the black hole in the center of the Eye of Terror.
    • 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.
    • The Laurel of Defiance - story is about Lucretius Corvo, later founder of the Novamarines, and how he (and his squad) kills Traitor Titan using only their wits and one meltagun.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • Chirurgeon - Fabius is dying from the genetic flaw, that haunts Emperor's Children from the times before Fulgrim. Or not, since he found the way to distill other Marines into drug that keeps illness at bay.
    • Twisted - Maloghurst solves some routine troubles on the Vengeful Spirit, like persistent petitioners, lack of water, rogue demons and the Davinite cult plotting to control Horus.
    • Wolf Mother - right after events of the "Vengeful Spirit" Alivia Sureka search for her daughter that is stolen by Slaaneshi cult escaped from Molech. With a little help from Severian The Wolf. No, really, she is so badass that Severian isn't looked like someone superior.
  • 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.
    • The Wolf of Ash and Fire - takes place before Ullanor. Emperor and Horus destroy one really powerful WAAAGH!!!, lead by an exceptionally huge Big Mek. Story consists almost completely of foreshadowing.
    • Aurelian - see "First Heretic"
    • Massacre - young Night Lords apothecary Talos takes part of the Istvaan V massacre.
    • Brotherhood of the Moon - after failed coup, Torghun Khan is being interrogated and tells the story about his conversion to Horus cause.
    • Inheritor - Eliphas The Inheritor (yes, that one from the DoW-series), sacrifices population of a city on a planet Kronos (yes, again from the DoW) and company of Ultramarines to have a nice little chat with Lorgar.
    • Vorax - one unlucky Dark Mechanicum priest falls to the loyalist ambush and subsequently being killed by Vorax-class battle servitor. Really short and forgettable story.
    • Ironfire - turns out, that Idriss Krendl (that arrogant warsmith, who had a stronghold dropped on his head by Dantioch) is alive! Really though bastard, although several months under debris affect his sanity a little. He now spends his time testing new siege tactics on the Emperor's Children world in preparations to the siege of Imerial Palace.
    • Red-Marked - Aeonid Thiel starts his band of cliche badass marines and learns about mysterious Nightfane, that treatens Macragge itself.
    • Master of the First - Astellan takes part in coup to remove Luther from command, but only to prevent it.
    • Stratagem - Guilliman explains to Aeonid Thiel how important it is not to follow military books to letter and concludes, that he just have to write a book about it (guess what book it is)
    • The Long Night - Jago Sevatarion chilling in Dark Angels captivity, slowly loosing his mind due to genetic gift from his gene-father when some girl from Astropath corps starting to talk to him from boredom. When her charges find it out, they flogged her nearly to death, because it was obviously forbidden. Jago doesn't take it lightly, flees captivity and kills main astropath and calls it JUSTICE. Because for man, who skins young girls in dozens on daily basis simply for strike fear in populace, it is very fitting, doesn't it?
    • Sins of the Father - during his emo-phase Sanguinius contemplates, how his legion will fall after his death. He then decides, that switching roles between Azkaellon and Amit during ritual combat will propably solve all problems.
    • The Eagle's Talon - while Battle of Tallarn rages, some Imperial Fists covert operatives try to take over the huge macro-transporter. They fail and are forced to crush transporter onto raging battlefield below, blasting everything in 300km and causing nuclear fallout.
    • Iron Corpses - one really tough and stubborn Iron Warriors Warsmith refuses to die despite the nuclear fallout from the previous story, waits for the storm to subside, finds and reanimates Warlord Titan and returns to action.
    • The Final Compliance of Sixty-Three Fourteen - governor of some backwater world recollects memories of his long service to the Imperium, while preparing himself for spitting in face of Horus representatives, who come to demand from him to switch allegiance.
    • Herald of Sanguinius - Azkaellon invents Sanguinor to free his gene-father from the burden of being titular fugurehead of Imperium Secundus.
  • The 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 Silent War: Guess What?! It's another anthology of stories that GW have already sold individually as audio-books. So value might be had for those who hadn't listened to them.
    • The Purge - story consists of two story lines. In the first of them, Sor Talgron purges one of the worlds in Ultramar during Shadow Crusade, but gets tricked and takes bombshell of life-eater virus into his face (he survives nontheless, though). In second, he make some covert action on Terra before Istvaan V and leave some nasty surprise for Dorn in catacombs beneath Imperial Palace.
    • The Sigillite - see below, in section "Audio Books"
    • Wolf Hunt - a samurai witch hunter Yasu Nagasena hunts Severian the Wolf right after events of Outcast Dead.
    • Army of One - some Eversor assassin goes for the routine "kill everyone" mission, but finds out, that his main target not only stereotypical Stupid Fat Decadent Planetary Governor, who turn traitor, but also a jerk-from-the-past. And kills him.
    • The Gates of Terra - Dorn and Malcador have the idea, that it will do good for the defences of Terra if they will employ some psykers, who will run some chosen veterans through endless hypno-simulations of ill-fated space battles with the Vengeful Spirit over the Sol borders.
    • Ghosts Speak Not - Amendera Kendel, who had crisis over her moral values after events of The Voice, and had leaved the Silent Sisterhood, returns to Luna to recruit some of the Garro's Death Guards to the Knights Errant. They then are dispatched to a mission to uncover traitor's plot at Proxima Centauri.
    • Templar - Sigismund purges the asteroid temple of Word Bearers, that was mentioned in The Purge (those cross-references are awesome).
    • Distant echoes of Old Night - some Death Guards are drowning Imperial Fists defences with bodies on some shithole moon in nowhere, but it seems, they are running out of time. So they make final assault, but fail to coordinate the phosphex bombardment with the assault and actually destroys themselves with little help of the primitive trap from Fists. Facepalm on the house to everyone.
    • Grey Angel - Loken, freshly from Istvaan III and accompanied by Iacton Qruse, is sent to Caliban to check Luther's loalty to Terra. Mission actually failed as Loken got caught and is interrogated by Luther himself, but Loken is rescued by the Watcher in the Dark and Lord Cypher and subsequently flees the planet.
    • Lost Sons - Tylos Rubio goes to the Baal to disband Blood Angels Legion and recruit last battle company to Malcador's Knights Errant after Sanguinius is lost after Signus Prime. Blood Algels doesn't lake this news and Rubio nearly got killed, but saved by message from Raldoron, that Sanguinius and Legion are alive.
    • Child of Night - it turns out, that one of the Nught Lords Librarians had fled his Legion and hides on Terra. One of the Knight Errant finds him and recruit him to future Grey Knights.
    • Luna Mendax - after his fail on Caliban, Garviel Loken shuts himself in forgotten garden on Luna and spends his time, growing flowers and. This is so pathetic, that spirit of long-dead and eaten by daemons Tarik Torgaddon escapes warp to talk and return Loken to sences.
    • Patience - Helig Gallor from Ghosts Speak Not, now acting on his own, is searching for Garro, who is too busy killing giant daemons to report to the Malcador's office in time.
    • The Watcher - mysterious Ison from the Knights Errant founds and saves horrifingly mutilated and nearly dead survivor from Space Wolves squad, that was sent to ill-fated mission to watch over Konrad Curze.
  • 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 Macragge 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 though.

Books XLI - L[edit]

  • The Master of Mankind: The Emperor is a dick: the book. We all knew this, but now it's set in stone. Highlights being: Emperor stating 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", an interpretation of the character that was fairly divisive to say the least. 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 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? (But Abaddon never lost his arms due to the same retcon that let Eldrad live) 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 Human Webway plan and screwed us all over without a backup. Can you tell that this is an ADB book?
  • Garro: Compilation of all the stories about Garro and his boy band, though they insist it isn't just an anthology since the audio book stories were expanded to be more written novel friendly.
  • Shattered Legions: It's an anthology containing an anthology. I shit thee not. It shoves together the limited edition anthology Meduson with a few other shorter stories, including some Alpha Legion stuff like the Seventh Serpent.
  • 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. Kairos Fateweaver makes an appearance. Ties into the Ahriman Trilogy
  • Tallarn: Does it even need to be stated? It's another fucking anthology, this time putting all the tank porn of the Tallarn books into one binding. It is worth a read if you are a fan of Imperial Guard (Army), as most of the storylines are about around mortal tank crews doing what they do best, which is dying of course.
  • Ruinstorm: The conclusion to the Imperium Secundus plotline, as well as the follow on to Damnation of Pythos. Shows the Lion, Sanguinius and Guilliman trying to cross the Ruinstorm to reach Terra. Having a brief stopover at Pandorax, they decide to head out to Davin where the Heresy began and where destinies are re-made; they pass systems along the way that show what the Galaxy would look like if Chaos wins, such as a Forge World surrounded by an immense fortress wall in outer space 4000 miles thick, or a sector of space filled with solid ritualised geometric shapes that are perhaps light years across. Davin itself is surrounded by a cloud of bones and wreckage millions of kilometers thick, but the planet has long since been abandoned. There, Sanguinius finds out that in order to live through the Heresy he must become a monster even worse than Horus, but dying will curse his sons with the Black Rage; blood is on his hands either way. Instead, Sanguinius tries to sacrifice himself to save the day, but the Sanguinor steps in and takes his place while the fleets rain down a shitstorm and destroy the planet. In the aftermath, the Ruinstorm abates enough for them to reach Terra, but Horus has so much force that it is impossible for all three legions to reach, so Guilliman and the Lion agree to distract the Traitors long enough to give Sanguinius a window to get back and face his destiny, explaining why they never made it to the Siege since they were engaging Traitor fleets and burning their worlds.
  • Old Earth: Set immediately after Deathfire, Vulkan and three Salamander legionaries (the rest of the Salamanders weren't informed of their Primarch's resurrection) travelled through the Webway by a gate hidden in a cave on Nocturne. On their path to Terra, they came across the Shattered Legions, who were preparing for their first major void engagement with the Sons of Horus. Just before the attack, some Medusan-born Iron Hands tried to stage a coup against Shadrak Meduson by revealing a hideous contraption of machines, and the last remnants of Ferrus Manus - his iron hand (They were under the illusion that they could resurrect their Primarch through cybernetics, it is hinted that the Mechanicum had some hand*BLAM*that pun was so bad heresy is automatic in this affair.) Thankfully, Vulkan shattered the hand, and Meduson assumed command again, though he was killed by Tybalt Marr in a boarding action after the Iron Hand refused to send reinforcements to him. In the end, it was revealed that the Emperor had Vulkan forge a weapon, that in the event Terra fell to Horus, would amplify the power of the Golden Throne into a potentially fatal/crippling FUCK YOU nuke into the heart of the Chaos God's domains. Sadly also wiping out the entire Throneworld (this is possibly also one of Vulkan's nine relics) Oh, and Eldrad rescued Barthusa Narek from Nocturne and made him his assassin. They killed most of the Cabal, including a vaguely amphibian alien sitting on top of a jungle pyramid. Yes, Eldrad Ulthran might just be the only person alive to have killed an Old One. Finally they rescued John Grammaticus, who had his memory wiped after his failure to assassinate Vulkan. With his memory restored, Grammaticus was ordered by Eldrad to find Ollanius Pius and go to Terra.
  • The Burden of Loyalty: In the grim darkness of the 3rd millenium, there are only anthologies.
    • The Thirteen Wolf: Old Guard Space Wolves get lost in a a series of Warp Portals during the battle of Prospero.
    • Into Exile: Arkhan-the-Humble-Land basically has to have a Boltgun Shoved in his face to leave during the initial Mars Revolt.
    • Cybernetica: Story full of Awesome about Carrion the Raven Guard Tech-aspriant awaiting graduation watches his fellows get slaughtered before hulking out Sith-Style. Meanwhile an Iron Warrior proves how badass they are when not under the thumb of their Whiny Emo excuse of a primarch. Litterally throwing Carrion off a tower so he's the sole target of an incoming Warlord Titan. Carrion then joins the Knights-Errants, actually makes Dorn backpedal and heads back to Mars to aid the Resistance take it back through use of Heretek.
  • Wolfsbane: Leman Russ faces off against Horus, with the help of the Spear of Russ mentioned in the FUCKOLD Space Wolves novels. They're evenly matched, but Russ seems to get the better of Horus when the Spear partially de-corrupts the Warmaster. Unfortunately for him, Russ tries to bring his brother back to his senses rather than strike a killing blow and is dragged away barely conscious by his men after Horus retaliates, setting the stage for the Battle of Yarant. Also, a glimpse of Belisarius Cawl from back in his earlier, fleshier years.
  • Born of Flame: ANTHOLOGIES!

Books LI-LIV[edit]

  • Slaves to Darkness The traitor primarchs gather for the assault on Terra, but things aren't going well. Guilliman and the Lion are giving them a hard time and Horus himself is still quite literally drained from his duel with Russ. Basically how the gang gets back together for the push on Terra. The Sons of Horus start fracturing badly and Maloghurst takes it on himself to cure Horus. In doing so, he finds out that even though Horus was super powered from his Molech makeover, he'd left a part of his soul behind in the Chaos God's realms, which had come to the realization that Chaos had been using him from the beginning. Maloghurst also meets his end as he resurrects Horus due to infighting within the Sons of Horus, erasing the last uncorrupted part of Horus's soul in the process. Mortarion is named the vanguard of the Siege, Perturabo is sent to pick up Angron, and Lorgar manages to bind Fulgrim into joining the party. However, Lorgar makes the fucking massive mistake of trying to depose the Warmaster, which leads him to being utterly curbstomped by the revived Horus and told that he will be killed if Horus ever sees him again. Lorgar merely names Zardu Layak as the acting commander of the Word Bearers before he leaves, but warns Horus that his refusal to completely submit before the Chaos Gods will lead to the Traitor Legions' ultimate defeat at Terra. Magnus makes an appearance at the end, swearing himself to Horus's service. Alpharius makes a token appearance to hand over Terra's defence data before disappearing without a trace and no mention of his legion at all, although Alpharius does basically mime they are done fighting for the Warmaster's ends.
  • Heralds of the Siege You know the drill by now. Anthology. But the end is in sight.
    • Myriad: Loyalist Mechanicum forces hiding underground in Mars launch guerilla attacks on targets of opportunity from below. During one raid which blows the head off of a warlord titan, they retrieve a Castellan automata with the Abominable Intelligence from Cybernetica and a tech menial. Putting them into quarantine the Abominable Intelligence wakes up from probing and cleanses the menial of all scrap code & corruption to display it means no ill will to the loyalists. Tech Inquisitor leader decides it's time to go Tech Radical, enemy of my enemy is my friend. Abominable Intelligence supplies them with a complete battleplan and strategy (4.7k item checklist) for wiping out all the dark mechanicum off of Mars and starts off with seizing & cleansing a warlord titan searching for their headquarters.
    • The Grey Raven: Ship sent back to Terra by Corax arrives in solar system, with Librarian Raven Guard who opened the emps gene-banks for Corax, 7 custodians, and Imperial Fist force. Presenting to a border post for inspection, the custodian commander upon discovering the identity of the Raven Guard states a code word to custodians on ship and they all try to pull the librarian's head off. Fist captain saves him and his men try to hold off the custodians while he and librarian try to get off the ship. Custodian captain corners them and slays the captain. Librarian gets angry and is about to use his psychic powers on custodian when he remembers his vow to Corax and surrenders to execution. Revealed to be an elaborate test by Malcador, who subsequently recruits him into grey knights after apologizing for the death of the Fist captain.
    • Valerius: Marcus Valerius of the Therion cohort (unaugmented troops fighting with Raven Guard) is now big believer in the Lectitio Divinatus. He sets his forces to defend cross over points on a river where a bigger enemy force is attempting to cross. Corax had sent the Therion cohort (23k soldiers) and Valerian to die fighting for a planet near Beta-Garmon, no escorts for their transport ships, fighting against traitor marines & titans. Gives a speech about how proud all his soldiers should be for facing a suicidal mission to die for the emperor. Therions manage to take out all titans and before being overrun. As the remaining marines breach his command leviathan, Valerius gives the order to detonate their reactor and leads a prayer with the remaining command crew. Another regiment of the imperial army happens across the aftermath, and think that the Therions were wiped out and some other regiment managed to hold the line against the traitors. Leviathan death took out everybody on the battlefield. Valerius stumbles out of the wreckage of the Leviathan, and proclaims his survival a miracle.
    • The Ember Wolves: A warhound titan pack attached to the World Eaters takes down a warmonger titan on some planet. World Eater influence leads to a leadership challenge shortly after tipping over the warmonger. Despite the pack leader putting down the leadership challenge, the downed loyalist warmonger blows up it's reactor and takes out all named characters.
    • Blackshield: Khorak, a renegade member of Mortarion's Deathshroud, is on the run from loyalist hunters. He and his squad escape down to the surface of a swamp planet, where they are slaughtered till only he remains. He recognizes the leader of the loyalists as another Death Guard member, who reveals himself to be Crysos Morturg, a survivor of Isstvan III. Khorak explains that he turned against Mortarion after Molech, when his entire squad was sacrificed by Mort for witchcraft. They both express their hatred of Mortarion, and Khorak briefly considers teaming up with Morturg, but then one of his buddies proves to be not quite dead and tries to shoot Morturg, who deflects the shell with his psychic abilities. Khorak immediately tries to kill him and is gunned down. Morturg is revealed to be a mangled mess, who survived Isstvan thanks solely to his psychic power and an extensive cybernetic rebuild by Calleb Decima, another Istvaan III survivor (who by the end of the battle was so mangled he resembled a spider more than a person). After Crysos ruminates on the pointlessness of Khorak's death, he decides it's time to go see the Emperor.
    • Children of Sicarus: Kor Phaeron and the remainder of his party are on the run in Sicarus, a daemon planet, being constantly harassed by daemons that are whittling them down. They gain the attention of a warlord acoloyte of Tzeentch, and at the same time a prophet appears to them and offers them sanctuary. The prophet leads them into a camouflaged valley where he reveals to them glyphs and Lorgar's athame that show how Kor Phaeron would arrive, slit his own throat to open a portal, and his remaining legionaries would lead the prophet's people through to join Lorgar at the Siege of Terra. Kor Phaeron kills the prophet, announcing that his fate is his own. The camouflage breaks down with the prophet's death and the warlord meets him. She offers him lordship of the planet after she ascends to daemonhood, and he accepts letting her have the prophet's people. As she is about to ascend on the spot, he sneaks up behind her and slits her throat with the athame. Shortly after Sicarus is now a worship planet, with slaves laboring to create monuments of worship. Kor Phaeron states that it is now a refuge for the Word Bearers in the never ending war ahead of them.
    • Exocytosis: Typhon is refitting his fleet at Zaramund by the grace of Luther. The Death Guard forces have set up an isolated camp away from any of the Fallen or natives of Zaramund. Luther decides to send a Fallen to spy on the Death Guard to see what's up with their shyness. Typhon is trying to get used to the gifts of the Grandfather on his body when a group of civilians approach the camp. They reveal themselves to have been expecting his arrival, and all of them are revealed to be dead but kept alive by the grace of Nurgle. They call him Typhus and proclaim that with his arrival, they are finally free to spread Papa Nurgle's gifts everywhere. The Dark Angel captain observing all of this sees a crowd of zombies and flies and Typhon conversing with them. Typhon sees regular people, though he can glimpse their true nature. The Death Guard sentries just see regular people. The captain springs out of his observation spot and starts attacking the tainted civilians like a true Dark Angel. Typhus kills him and in the process becomes one with his gifts. The Death Guard depart shortly afterwards with no contact with the Dark Angels. Luther is puzzled by this, ignoring a medicae request for apothecary aid for a sudden new disease in the civilian population, and wonders what other effects the Death Guard may have left on Zaramund. Typhon uses his blood to poison his commanding officers after announcing they will reunite with the Primarch.
    • The Painted Count: Gendor Skraivok is having a hard time getting rid of his daemon blade. He tries burning it, tossing it into a plasma reactor, and out an airlock, but it keeps coming back. In a political battle for command of the legion, a rival tosses him into the impossible maze built by Perturabo to contain Vulkan. Failing to leave the maze normally, he seals his pact with the daemon blade and it leads him out of the maze. Killing the rival in a duel, he takes command of the Night Fall and leads the Night Lords to Terra to join the Warmaster.
    • The Last Son of Prospero: Revuel Arvida is transformed into Ianius after teaming up with the soul shard of Magnus. Jaghatai Khan & Malcador happen to be in the room.
    • The Soul, Severed: Eidolon puts down a leadership challenge from a leader who is loyal only to Fulgrim and wants the legion to sit around waiting for him to return. Being still reasonable, the challenger lures Eidolon's forces into a chemical treatment factory, blows up the chemical tanks, then counterattacks. The challenger deepstrikes with a bodyguard squad directly onto Eidolon, and then Eidolon and every single other noise marine giggle and laugh at the same time, obliterating the entire battlefield. Eidolon realises that he needs a planet with limitless numbers of potential slaves so he could spend lifetimes in debauchery, and so accepts that his fate and that of his forces is to eventually assault the Imperial Palace.
    • Dark Compliance: Argonis, an emissary of Horus meets Decigus the Lord of a star system. Decigus is pretty intent on executing Argonis in person, and Argonis tells him to swear fealty to Horus or else... and starts to relate the tale of how he became an emissary, starting over a mechanicus world that also gave Horus the finger and roasted his emissary. Horus meets with Argonis and reveals the emissary was a distraction to the Mechanicum ruler, while another plan was put into place. Horus sends a distraction fleet, followed by another distraction fleet, followed by hidden fighters and vortex missiles he had dropped off point-blank on the moon when his emissary had been killed. Wiping out all orbital defenses the magos still believes he can extract a heavy toll on Horus over several months of fighting. Horus flies down, summons a demon w/ invasion on the side, then departs with his forces. The world gets covered in blood clouds and is infested by demons. Argonis then reapeats his question to Decigus, join us or die.
    • Duty Waits: The Imperial Fists have beefed up security protocols around the Imperial Palace to ridiculous levels after the Alpha Legion shenanigans from Praetorian of Dorn. All the civilians in the Palace are barely tolerated and given limited rations. There is a food riot & all the new Imperial Fists who were inducted during Heresy and have never killed anybody get their first taste by shooting rioters, which they're not thrilled about.
    • Magisterium: Valdor is busy handling the Custodes post-Webway war. Not enough resources, custodian serfs are working to their deaths, and Custodians dealing with the fact that they can no longer effectively protect the emperor. Flashback to Valdor being talked to dismissively by Leman Russ during the Burning of Prospero.
    • Now Peals Midnight: Rogal Dorn is told that long-range sensors & astropathic choirs have detected something big approaching through the Warp, and he realizes that Horus's arrival in the solar system is imminent. He passes along the message to his brothers on Terra. A strategium general is amazed at how she was bred, augmented, and trained to process insane amounts of info and what takes her 15 minutes to re-appraise herself of the solar system tactical info takes Dorn a brief glance at the screens. Archamus and Andromeda-17 from Praetorian of Dorn have a quiet chat concerning the imminent siege and the fact that humanity will be forever psychologically scarred by what is about to happen. Dorn, Sanguinius, and the Khan gather on a wall of the Palace and stare up at the sky. At midnight a new star blossoms, signalling the exit of Horus's fleet from warp space.
    • Dreams of Unity: A terminally ill Thunder Warrior helps some Custodes kill an Alpha Legion infiltrator while continuously having flashbacks to the Unification Wars and the Emperor's grand dream of Unity. Once the Alpha is dead, he surrenders himself for execution to the Custodes.
    • The Board is Set: Malcador contacts the Emperor for advice just before the Siege and plays a game of strategy that they have been playing for a long time, detailing the movements and eventual fates of the Primarchs. Shows that the Emperor was certainly manipulating them but was mostly on the back foot for much of his conflict with the the Chaos Gods so the outcome could have been much worse. Emps reveals a final gambit that will screw over Malcador in order to deny Chaos their victory.
  • Titansdeath Titan-centric book taking place during the battle for Beta-Garmon, the Loyalists' final effort to prevent the Traitors from reaching Terra. How one book could be made of a battle taking place across an entire solar system that had, according to Slaves to Darkness, more casualties than the last five years of the Great Crusade remains to be seen. As it happens...fairly feasibly. Beta Garmon represented the tipping point for both the loyalists and the traitors ; if the traitors didn't move past it, Guilliman would crush them from behind. If the loyalists didn't engage, then Horus would take his overwhelming numbers, unopposed. The point is that Horus would win Beta Garmon either way. Rogal Dorn makes the only proactive move that he can make in the whole war, and sends a sizeable contingent of Terra's defenses to Beta Garmon to delay the Warmaster for as long as possible. And because Titan's aren't really well suited to defending Terra, they are let out in force on Beta Garmon. Which makes perfect target practice for the massive orbital platform that Horus proceeds to use. Unfortunately the story is let down by its ham-fisted portrayal of an all-female Titan Legion and a rushed storyline. Also a mopey Sanguinius who makes 'I do not die here today' into the new 'Vulkan Lives!'.
  • The Buried Dagger This is the final book in the "main" Horus Heresy series, and tells the story of how Mortarion and the Death Guard fell to Nurgle's service. It happens essentially as has already been seen in other fluff sources: Typhon murders all the Navigators and claims he can guide the Death Guard fleet to Terra himself, only to deliberately strand them in the Warp so that Nurgle can turn them to his service. Mortarion becomes increasingly horrified and outraged as he realizes what's happening to his legion and finally kills Typhon in retaliation, but the Destroyer Host reanimates his corpse, turning him into Typhus. After some more internal angst and butthurt, Mortarion finally accepts his destiny and becomes Nurgle's champion. The B-plot of the book concerns the founding of the Grey Knights, as well as an assassination attempt on Malcador by Erebus, who planted a psychic suggestion in Tylos Rubio's head all the way back on Calth. Rubio, Sevarian, Revuel Arvida/Ianius, and several other Knights-Errant are named as the first eight Grey Knights and are shipped off to Titan to prepare for what will come after the Heresy. Garviel Loken is supposed to be the ninth Knight, but he turns it down because he still wants a shot at Horus. Nathaniel Garro gets cut loose from the Knights-Errant and sets off to find his own destiny.

The Siege of Terra series[edit]

Yep, it's getting an entire series to itself. What, did you really think they'd dedicate only one book to it? The series is slated to be eight books long.

  • The Solar War: The Traitors make their big push through the remaining defenses of the Sol system and clear the path to Terra. Dorn's strategy is to make them pay for every centimeter and hope he can delay them long enough for the Ultramarines and the Dark Angels to arrive. To do this, he sends entire fleets out to fight delaying actions and blows up some of Pluto's moons after the traitors capture them. It sort of works, but the traitors have thousands of ships and even a few Space Hulks, so Perturabo just keeps feeding them into the grinder until they break through. Meanwhile, Mersadie Oliton receives a warning vision from Euphrati Keeler and busts out of space jail to deliver her message to Dorn, only it turns out "Keeler" was a daemon who manipulated her to get her onto the Phalanx and use her as a gateway. Samus shows up again and is killed again, this time by Dorn. Abaddon bypasses the outer defenses via a warp rift opened up by Ahriman, captures Luna, and convinces the matriarch of the Selenar to start making more Astartes for the traitors. The book ends as Horus, Fulgrim, and Angron arrive in-system with the main strength of their fleets, meaning shit is now officially real.
  • The Lost and the Damned: Sanguinius rallies the defenders of Terra as the Siege begins in earnest.
  • The First Wall:

The Primarchs Series[edit]

Because Black Library don't seem satisfied confusing us with all their anthologies, audio-books, and short stories, they have begun releasing a spin-off series of Horus Heresy novels centered on the Primarchs. The series don't really take place in a specific time, but generally focuses on expanding on the titular Primarch's backstory and motivations during events before the Horus Heresy (though some of them also have events occurring after it). Why Black Library lists it as part of the Horus Heresy series when that isn't always the case is beyond our comprehension.

Roboute Guilliman: Lord of Ultramar[edit]

Centers on the papa smurf himself, and him trying to deal with how the Emperor used him like a rusty hammer to smack Lorgar in the head at Monarchia. Uses a conflict against Orks squatting on human ruins as a vehicle for him and the smurfs to express their angst over the event. Eventually discover that the original humans went extinct from literally a war of red shirts vs blue shirts. A subplot details the conflict of morality the Ultramarines legion had with their Destroyer companies, especially the Nemesis Chapter (later a second founding) who held on to their Terran roots. Guilliman didn't much like their use, but eventually saw their necessity (especially when Imperium Secundus came swinging around).

Leman Russ: The Great Wolf[edit]

Focuses on Leman Russ' notorious rivalry with the Lion, and explaining why to this day whenever the Chapters meet they throw the gauntlet down and beat the stuffing out of one another. Notably it reveals some interesting stuff like the Lion being aware of the Space Wolves' furry issue and keeping a lid on it. And that the Lion shanked Russ in the imperial basement in front of a fresco of the compliance where they previously fought. Establishes clearly that even with overpowered Mech suits, baseline humans will always lose to legionary soldiers.

Magnus the Red: Master of Prospero[edit]

Depicts the unlikely friendship between Magnus and old Pert with a joint venture between their legions to evacuate a planet that's getting torn apart by accelerated magnetic polarity shifts. Things go wrong on the planet due to totally not Chaos cult nonsense, and it does a decent job of showing Magnus' flaws, specifically his inability to leave things that have "do not fuck with this" written on them alone, something Pert tries and fails at making him understand. Crucially, it's set early enough in the Crusade that the use of psychic powers by Astartes is uncommon and the Thousand Sons basically have to keep a lid on how powerful they really are. They do not succeed. The original colonists of Morningstar survived by rounding up all the psykers into their seed ship and splitting them from their psychic powers, throne room of the emperor style. However since they didn't dissipate these psychic powers, the souls of the psykers just floated around inside the ship until they joined up into a single entity. When their jailers realized what was happening, they ran and sealed the ship but the psychic gestalt had already infected their minds with a doomsday meme, resulting in the shenanigans that Magnus and Pert arrive to. The entire Morningstar government fell victim to this meme, and built a continent sized machine to destroy their planet which Pert & Magnus somehow didn't notice. Magnus poke balls the psychic gestalt into his book, and the surviving natives of Morningstar are obliterated in space to stop the meme from spreading.

Perturabo: The Hammer of Olympia[edit]

Probably the book in the series that did the most character building of all of them. This book is a mix of showing off Perturabo's childhood on Olympia alongside a "current" day conflict against the Hrud. The former showing why Pert is the odd genius manchild guy he is, while the latter does a great job of showing why fucking with an alien species capable of controlling time is somewhat of a stupid idea. However, the real draw of the book is that it is mainly written as an attempt to merge together the seemingly contradictory depictions of Pert we've had over the years. Showing how the ruthless dick who decimates his legion for not being good enough in the Forgeworld books is the same guy who just wanted to be a builder in Angel Exterminatus. Yep. Definitely a sperg. Also he may or may not have wanted to bang his adopted sister.

Lorgar: Bearer of the Word[edit]

Yep, the first(ish?) heretic himself gets his own obligatory messed up childhood novel. Focusing slightly more on Kor Phaeron rather than Lorgar himself, showing him to be a manipulative dick who beat Lorgar as a child and never really bought into this whole "fatherhood" shtick, or this whole concept of One True God but allowed Lorgar his fantasies and to take over Colchis (By "Word" or by "Mace") while Phaeron benefitted from increased position and secretly kept the faith of Chaos Gods.

Though by the end Kor Phaeron wonders if Lorgar just let him think that he was manipulated and could have disposed of him at any time. The book does introduce a contrasting character to Kor Phaeron who actually shows Lorgar compassion growing up and was far more worthy of being named "father" but was far less useful to Lorgar's goals. The book shows that Lorgar isn't as stupid or naive as everyone thinks and does indeed realise that people have been using him for their own gains, but while he only really cares about doing the work of the gods, so long as they both align he doesn't seem to care.

Fulgrim: The Palatine Phoenix[edit]

Fulgrim tries to conquer the newly discovered planet Byzas with only 7 men. Planet has devolved to steam power and bolt-action bolters, but capital palace has DAOT gun defenses and they use anti-grav airships (think blimps but no gas bubble). Along the way he encounters a brotherhood much like his own that wants to work with him that Fulgrim dismisses as a bunch of idealists. It's implied that he COULD have gotten the same results (Compliance) working with them but unfortunately that would have meant calling in backup and Fulgrim didn't want to do that so that was out of the question. In the end Fulgrim takes the world, but nearly dies from a hidden hydrogen bomb which he disarms. Several of the characters (such as Cyrius (who gets shanked by a squad from the brotherhood while wearing armor and has to be saved by fulgrim), who later became Lucius's first armor-victim actually, and Kasperos Telmar) later become prominent champions of chaos, while the others were blown up on Istvaan III. Also makes the first (but all too brief) direct mention of one of the Missing Primarchs, as well as the amusing spectacle of Fabius Bile in formal attire.

Ferrus Manus: Gorgon of Medusa[edit]

Ferrus is overseeing joint exercises between the Iron Hands and the Emperor's Children when he learns about a noncompliant human empire called the Gardinaal. He decides that he'll conquer them singlehandedly so as to impress the Emperor and his brothers and maybe even get appointed to that Warmaster position everyone's whispering about. He decides to quit fucking around after the Gardinaal try to assassinate him under the pretense of surrender negotiations and orders his fleet to demolish their entire capital planet before personally going down to smash faces in until they finally give up. In the end, he admits to Fulgrim that he doesn't have the patience to be Warmaster, and that he'll back whoever gets the job.

Probably the highlight of the novel is that we get a look inside Ferrus' head while it's still attached to the rest of him. Ferrus is a zealot who gives no fucks about anything beyond conquering systems in the name of the Emprah and being the best there is at what he does. In fact, he was just as obsessed with perfection as Fulgrim, which is why they got along so well. He's also got a lot of built-up resentment toward Dorn, since Dorn once called him a dumbass on the bridge of his own flagship in front of a bunch of his sons. He doesn't seem to like Guilliman very much either at this point, probably because the G-man encouraged restraint when dealing with noncompliant planets and Ferrus just wanted to smash everything and let someone else pick up the pieces.

Jaghatai Khan: Warhawk of Chogoris[edit]

Basically a recap of some of the White Scars' more important pre-Heresy campaigns, including conquering the Nephilim homeworld and killing a shitload of Orks on a planet made of psychically resonant crystals. The main thing the book does is confirm that Jaghatai was always meant to be a wild card. More importantly, it shows that while he didn't really agree with the Emperor about anything, especially the Imperial Truth, he was still willing to serve the Imperium in his own way (read: killing xenos on the edges of the galaxy while everyone else built an empire behind him). Also shows the Khan trying to plan ahead for the inevitable showdown between pro and anti-psyker factions in the Imperium, and how the warrior lodges were first introduced to the Scars. On a side note, we learn that the V Legion's original name was the Star Hunters, and that they relied heavily on armor and mechanized infantry before the Khan and his Chogorian posse taught them to love jetbikes and going real fast. Oh, and they became known as the White Scars because of a mistranslation, not unlike the Vlka Fenryka/Space Wolves.

Vulkan: Lord of Drakes[edit]

Vulkan is united with the Terran members of his legion while they're on campaign against a fuckhueg WAAAGH! on a volcanic death world. The main takeaway from the book is that the XVIII Legion were stubborn badasses ready to lay down their lives for civilians right from the start of the Crusade. Without Vulkan around, though, they kept throwing themselves into desperate last stands, to the point that other Imperial forces were starting to call them suicidal. Some of the Nocturnean legionaries even suggest that the Emperor kept Vulkan away from the legion for so long because he was waiting for all the Terrans to get themselves killed, but Vulkan dismisses that idea out of hand and nothing comes of it. There's also a pretty nifty sequence where Vulkan and a bunch of his sons surf a modified Termite assault drill into an attack moon and blow it up from the inside.

Corax: Lord of Shadows[edit]

Corax and the Raven Guard are sent to bring the Carinae system into compliance. He initially tries to use stealth and surgical strikes to get them to surrender peacefully with minimal casualties, until one of the Carinaean leaders unleashes what is essentially a zombie virus on his own people to cover his escape from Imperial forces. A pissed-off Corax orders his legion to hunt the dude down and kill him, which comes at the cost of dragging out the compliance and thousands of unnecessary casualties. There is also a subplot about Corax’s home planets of Kiavahr and Deliverance, which shows that Imperial compliance didn’t actually make things all that much better for the people living there; the Kiavahr tech-guilds and the Mechanicum can barely tolerate each other, and people from Deliverance are still routinely discriminated against to the point where some of them have turned to terrorism to express their displeasure. Corax himself admits that he didn't have time to fix everything before leaving, but pledges that he'll come back and set Kiavahr to rights once the Crusade is over.

The book shows us that Corax was an idealist who believed in the principles of the Great Crusade and genuinely didn’t understand why people would reject the Imperium. It’s shown that, while he was a proponent of treating normal humans as equals, he could still be astoundingly arrogant when dealing with them, since he was a genetically-engineered transhuman demigod and all. He is also shown to be constantly grappling with his need to deliver justice at any cost, aware that he might turn into another Konrad Curze if he’s not careful. We also get a look at what the Sable Brand is like through the eyes of an afflicted Raven Guard legionary; basically, it's a watered down version of the Black Rage that causes them to hallucinate and become suicidal, which some of them deal with by joining the Moritat.

Sons of The Emperor[edit]

A collection of short stories showcasing the contrast between the Primarchs and the rest of mankind, getting down to how they really perceive themselves and how humanity sees them.

The Passing of Angels: Sanguinius leads a Destroyer host to completely obliterate an abominable culture. He has his men adopt anonymity so they do not need to shoulder the burdens of what they do, but argues that since he was designed for dark deeds he cannot set aside what he is. Primarchs might be angels, "but angels were not created for kindness".
Mercy of the Dragon: Recounts a conversation between Vulkan and the Emperor that shows us how Vulkan was always intended to be the "most human" of the Primarchs, and to be able to teach his brothers how to be more like him. Possibly hinting towards a plan after the Great Crusade that involved the Primarchs settling down into civilian life.
The Abyssal Edge: Shows a conflict between Curze and Magnus that was kept confidential, because the rest of the Imperium were not allowed to see the Primarchs in disagreement with each other. Crucially shows a side of Curze that ISN'T a terrorizing murder junkie edgelord. Also the first chronological appearance of Khayon from the Black Legion series, as well as Sevatar back on his finest snarking form.
Shadows of the Past: Set some point after the Horus Heresy, a "daemon" starts killing its way through some Word Bearers. Turns out Corax has ascended into a creature made of pure darkness and gets into a duel with Daemon-Lorgar. Corax wins, but the Word Bearers act as a mass human shield to allow Lorgar a chance to escape.
The Emperor's Architect: A biography on the life of Perturabo, showing what he was doing before awoke halfway up a mountain, then later. Hints that Perturabo's projected image was carefully stage-managed, and oh how he hated to be upstaged. He was destroying artwork that embarrassed him long before he was discovered by the Emperor.
Prince of Blood: After Angron gets Daemon-Prince'd by Lorgar, he goes mad and gets locked in his flagship, causing all sorts of changes. Kharn goes to him to talk, finding that Angron has been stripped of his sense of self, completely lost to Khorne, and Angron warns them against his form of slavery. Though it appears that Kharn and the others followed him down the same path simply because he was their father, but also comes a promise that they will "thank" Lorgar for what he did to them.
The Ancient Awaits: Long after the Heresy is over, Magnus sends a Thousand Sons squad to an abandoned planet to find a repeating broadcast that says only "the Ancient awaits". In a deep underground hangar they find an ancient Dreadnought, realize that the planet is Istvaan III, and that the Dreadnought is Ancient Rylanor of the Emperor's Children, who's been sitting there ever since Horus Exterminatus'd the planet. Fulgrim appears to try and seduce Rylanor into joining up with the endless party machine that is the III Legion, and Rylanor goes "Surprise Motherfucker" and detonates a virus bomb he was sitting on. Thousand Sons feel sympathetic to how honorable Rylanor is (despite being a bit cuckoo from sitting on his ass) and let him do it. Fulgrim's ego is wounded from seeing that even after several millennia Rylanor rejected all the pleasures he had to offer.
Misbegotten: The Sons of Horus take over a system without having to fight, but have to deal with one hold-out planet defended by frankenstein-like creatures, spliced together from multiple human donors. Their creator was a five thousand year old bio-engineer who encountered the Emperor at some point on Terra and then got the fuck out before the Great Crusade kicked off. For all his own abominations, he sees the Primarchs as representing something far worse than even what he could have created.

Angron: Slave of Nuceria[edit]

Covers the events leading to the World Eaters' adoption of the Butcher's Nails. Ever since taking command of the Legion, Angron has been ordering them to complete every planetary conquest they undertake in thirty-one hours, this being the length of a single day on Nuceria. When and if they fail, he has them kill one in every ten Astartes, the same thing Perturabo did when he took command of the Iron Warriors. This has happened so many times that the World Eaters are starting to suffer some serious daddy issues, and the only way for them to earn his approval is to accept the Butcher's Nails. Unfortunately for them, the implants keep failing, sometimes explosively so, until they're sent to bring a rebellious Imperial world back into compliance and find that it's been turned into a planet full of androids who were created with some of the same tech used in the Nails. With this, one of the Legion's Apothecaries is able to create a stable version of the Nails. Kharn is the first to successfully undergo the procedure, and the Nails make him RAGE so hard the book literally blacks out for a couple of pages. Angron orders the entire legion to be implanted, which triggers a brief spate of infighting between the World Eaters who want to earn Papa Angron's approval at any cost and those who think that he's a broken psychopath who needs to be taken to the Emperor for help. The one World Eater captain who still thinks the Nails are a terrible idea gets killed by Kharn in a duel, and the rest of them submit to the procedure. The story ends right as Russ shows up with the entire VI Legion fleet, having decided that Angron needs a talking-to about all this nonsense. We all know how this ends, of course.

The book gives Angron some character development beyond "giant frothing berserker", which turns him into a pretty tragic figure. As it turns out, he didn't get the Butcher's Nails immediately after landing on Nuceria, but received them as a punishment for refusing to kill his adoptive father in the arenas. Before the Nails, he was a pretty bro-tier guy who loved his fellow gladiators and used what appeared to be latent psyker powers to absorb all their nightmares so they could rest properly, while he dealt with all their accumulated fear and anger. This Angron would have probably made one hell of a general for the Crusade. Then the Nails got pounded into his head and he Hulked out and killed his adoptive father, which broke him and turned him into the psychotic death machine we're all familiar with. He also has a death wish caused by the Emperor yoinking him from his last stand with the other gladiators on Nuceria, and has spent the entirety of the Great Crusade looking for something tough enough to kill him.

Konrad Curze: The Night Haunter[edit]

Grimdark Batman finally gets his very own standalone novel! The entire thing is told in flashbacks, framed by Curze talking to a statue of the Emperor he stitched together out of human flesh while waiting for M'Shen to come and kill him. Most of it involves explaining how Curze got out of the stasis coffin that Sanguinius stuffed him into at the end of Ruinstorm. As it turns out, he was adrift for a few decades after the end of the Heresy, until he got picked up by the crew of a sub-light freighter who planned to sell the coffin for a packet. Instead, Curze woke up and decided to play some tag with the human crew. He left one of the crew alive and told him to drive the ship to Tsagualsa, slowly mutilating the poor kid whenever he got bored. The kid has a chance to escape after dropping Curze off, but follows him instead and is predictably killed by the Night Lords when Curze decides he's done with him. Konrad also struggles under the weight of his visions throughout, only for the Emperor to contact him and explain Konrad's great mistake: his visions of the future were not fixed, and Curze could have chosen a different and better path if he had not been so convinced of the inevitability of fate. The Emperor also tells him two very interesting things: he does not consider any of the traitor primarchs irredeemable, and he forgives Konrad for all that he's done, just as Papa Sang had said he might. Konrad freaks out and insists he cannot be forgiven because there is no justice in that, then tears the statue down before leaving to get ready for M'Shen's imminent arrival.

Other highlights include some flashbacks to Curze's days murdering people on Nostramo, including killing a woman who was about to commit suicide. (Though she definitely didn't want Curze to do it, fucked up as he was.) And Curze eating his victims because he enjoyed it. Also Curze hated Corax, not because Corax was good, but because Corax was a better ninja than him (Curze.) Funny enough, though, he also says he didn't hate any of his other brothers, even the ones who were dicks to him like Fulgrim or Dorn.

Seriously though, this summary doesn't do it much justice. It's still a pretty good book. And it's barely 200 pages, read it anyway.

Valdor: Birth of the Imperium[edit]

Not a Primarch (like Malcador), but still technically part of this series. Will cover Constantin Valdor's role in the Unification Wars, and according to previews it will hold some new insights on the Emperor's plans.

Audiobooks[edit]

The Sigillite Despite not being a Primarch, his short story is included in the Primarch sub-series of the Horus Heresy. It covers a discussion between Malcador and a Stormtrooper named Khalid Hassan about the nature of the Emperor's plans and whether or not Malcador agreed with everything the Emperor thought. (hint: he didn't). Khalid had brought the Rosetta Stone to Malcador without fully understanding its significance, whereupon Malcador reveals that he is part of an ancient order dedicated to the preservation of humanity's knowledge and history, and whose symbol will later become the Inquisitorial =I=.

Malcador also reveals the doors to the Golden Throne and indicates the awesome battle going on behind them, foreshadowing the events of the Webway War that are covered later on in the main series.

Malcador: First Lord of the Imperium In the story Malcador visits his elderly personal astropath who is on her deathbed. The pair have a few conversations where Malcador shows surprising compassion and humanity. During the conversations, though, there are some major revelations about Malcador and the origins of the Heresy. You should listen to it yourself as it's cheap and short (25 mins), but in case you don't care about spoilers here's some stuff: he's 6718 years old, he helped the Emperor go from being just the biggest warlord on Terra to... well, being the Emperor, and he explains who the Sigillites are and what their role in the Imperium is. After the astropath despairs about the countless billions who've died in the Heresy, he drops the mother of all bombshells: the Heresy was planned by him and the Emperor from the beginning.

Just how the Thunder Warriors served their purpose and were betrayed and wiped out, the plan was to eventually pit the Primarchs against one another and have them wipe themselves out. He says the two of them carefully maneuvered the Primarchs into specific roles and situations, as well as the Emperor showing unequal favour between them, in order to foster hostility. The ones who "couldn't be controlled" never made it to the endgame (possibility referencing the lost Primarchs). He admits though that his failure was underestimating Chaos who caused the Heresy to happen much sooner than expected, which turned it into the calamity that it is.

After she dies Malcador he admits he lied, but doesn't say exactly which bit he lied about. Some people think the truth is they planned to wipe out the Primarchs and Astartes, but the Heresy was never planned and was instead a lie intended to comfort an old woman on her deathbed (by saying they have it under control, sorta). Some other people think the lie is where he tells her that the Emperor "will catch her" when she dies (hinting at an afterlife and saving her soul from Chaos). The truth is we'll probably never know as this is typical Malcador obfuscation. If there's even a shred of truth to the origins of the Heresy, though, the implications are staggering: Horus was right in turning against the Emperor, even if his reasons for doing so were wrong.

Perturabo: Stone and Iron A minor story largely about showing the differences between the Iron Warriors and the Imperial Fists, so doesn't provide any major revelations for the series. The Iron Warriors are supposed to be supporting an Imperial Fist position that is currently under assault, but Perturabo holds back and uses the opportunity to instruct his own officers about how the Fists prosecute their own wars.

Konrad Curze: A Lesson in Darkness

Short Stories[edit]

Grandfather's Gift: Mortarion has a lab accident and knocks himself out. He wakes up in Nurgle's Garden, wanders around for a bit, and has a nice chat with Ku'Gath the Plaguefather, whose name is misspelled for some reason. It's revealed that Nurgle has tracked down his foster father's soul and will let Mortarion capture it as a gift for joining his service. The timeline is a bit squiffy due to warp fuckery. Mortarion knows what daemons are and knows that he's fought alongside them, but doesn't recognize Ku'Gath. Ku'Gath knows Mortarion, but also says that they haven't met yet. Morty himself doesn't know where he is or what's going on at first, but eventually his memories return, and he mutates into his daemon primarch form and captures his foster father's soul.

A Lesson in Iron: Ferrus Manus chases some orks into a warp rift and stumbles across an Iron Hands ship from a few thousand years in the future. The boarding parties he sends are attacked by daemons which fuck them up, and Ferrus himself finds a dead future Iron Hand whose bionics look like a shitty hack-job to him, so he gets pissy and orders everyone to leave. When his Mechanicum adept points out that they might be able to mine the databanks for advanced technology and info on future events, he declares that he wants no part of this future. Also reveals that Ferrus had seen enough shit on Medusa to know that the Imperial Truth was a "useful lie."

The Tabletop Wargame[edit]

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[edit]

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[edit]

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[edit]

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[edit]

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[edit]

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[edit]

The fifth Horus Heresy book covered 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[edit]

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[edit]

In Set to be book 3. late 2016. early 2017 (Because FW can't keep to schedule) December 2016 February 4, 2017, comes with 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. Didn't help that Alan Bligh was likely fairly ill in late 2016, and his death in May of 2017 means the Horus Heresy team now has a big hole in it.

Malevolence[edit]

After the untimely death of Alan Bligh, this will be the first book with John French behind the wheel after two years of internal re-organizing. Covers the events of Signus Prime and the Chondax Campaigns. It features White Scars and Blood Angels including rules for both Jaghatai and Sanguinius, making the Lion the only Primarch without rules. Introduced as a new army is Daemons of the Ruinstorm, an army of 'unknown aberrant xenoforms' (since this was before the Imperium really understood what Daemons really were) which play quite differently to the Daemons of Fantasy/Sigmar/40K. Also included are 5 new consuls and two new squads that interact with Psykers and Daemons.

Crusade[edit]

Was originally to be called Angelus, though the current working title is said to be "Crusade". Set to cover the Thramas campaign with the Dark Angels vs Night Lords; but is teased to also include a full Dark Mechanicum army list, as well as ways to incorporate forbidden technology into your games.

See Also[edit]

  • 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[edit]

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 - Interex - Faash - Council of Nikaea
Horus Heresy (M31) Battle of Isstvan III - The Burning of Prospero - Drop Site Massacre - Thramas Crusade
The Battle of Phall - Battle of Calth - Signus Campaign - Imperium Secundus - 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) - Sabbat Worlds Crusade (755.M41-780.M41)
Siege of Vraks (813.M41-830.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)
Octarius War (999.M41) - 13th Black Crusade (999.M41-ongoing)
Age of the Dark Imperium (M42-ongoing) Indomitus Crusade (M42) - Ultima Founding (M42) - Plague Wars (M42) - War of Beasts (M42)