Horus Heresy

From 1d4chan
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.

"I never wanted this. I never wanted to unleash my legions. Together, we banished the ignorance of old night. But you betrayed me. You betrayed us all. You stole power from the Gods, and lied to your sons! Mankind has only one chance to prosper. If you will not seize it...then I will!! So let it be war! From the skies of Terra, to the Galactic Rim. Let the seas boil! Let the stars fall! Though it takes, the last drop of my blood, I will see the Galaxy freed once more! And if I cannot save it from your failure, father...then let the Galaxy BURN!"

– Horus, making his own feelings known and totally not projecting at all.

"The attempt to make heaven on earth invariably produces hell."

– Karl Popper

The Horus Heresy also known as Horus Humbug, Cosmic Scale Daddy Issues, That time Erebus fucked everyone over forever, Paradise Lost IN SPACE, Jimmy Space and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Decade and (in-universe) as The Great Heresy War 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 cut the head off the proverbial snake by killing the Emperor and winning 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 gribblies 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 Clusterfuck in motion. If this map reminds you of the Syrian Civil War, consider getting a gold star. Also notice how the Gothic Sector and Port Maw, canonically bordering the Eye of Terror, are positioned a quarter of the galaxy away from it. For some reason.

The Horus Heresy screwed with almost everyone's plans (except the Chaos Gods' of course) and changed the flavor of the Imperium's Grimdark from Stalinist Soviet "if you breathe a positive word about religion, we rape you and your family 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' to make the problem go away". 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, Konrad allowed himself to be assassinated, Ferrus Manus had already died in the Drop Site Massacare, Sanguinius was KIA, Big-E was interred onto the Golden Throne, the surviving loyalist Primarchs freaked out trying to figure out what do now that daddy was in a coma, the surviving 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]

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

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. And there a couple that are just objectively bad (Battle for the Abyss).

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. Actually a rather weak and rushed affair when it comes to detailing the Horus Heresy's origin story. Until this point, we've been exploring Horus' character in great detail for 1.5 books, but then he has a nasty fever dream, sees a few bad prophecies and boom, he wakes up as a traitorous Saturday morning cartoon villain, after which point his machinations to create the Isstvan III event and Dropsite Massacre or any other bits of the heresy go completely undetailed and left behind the scenes. The really cool shit in this book is the battle on Davin, as the Sons of Horus and the Imperial Army fights against a massive horde of chaos zombies in a foggy swamp and the wreck of a space ship.
  • 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. While it's good to have a whole book detailing a key event in the Heresy, there isn't actually any important or interesting dialogue to read that would make you glad you didn't just read a synopsis. There's also an embarrassingly written sequence towards the end, where a large number of loyalists survive an Exterminatus event by fleeing to some magical and super convenient bunkers. They see virus bombs entering the planet's atmosphere with the naked eye and somehow have enough time to run deep enough underground to survive one of the Imperium's most effective superweapons.
  • 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 of the III Legion from the 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." The second plot of this book is about some human, but it is so forgettable the writer has it dropped halfway through the book. The human plot also explains where Lucius get his self-scarring habit from: a painter woman told him it will make his face perfect (ugly) again, because he wouldn't shut up about how Loken ruined his perfect beauty with a sucker punch.
  • 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 cannot 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. Another divisive book, but could definitely have used some more time with the editor. Be aware that this book was published long before GW had decided what to do with the Lion's loyalty and personality, so its descriptions of the Lion are outdated and do not match his current status.
  • 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 what 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"! This book is still 100% canon, but in later books GW seems to have changed their mind on the Alpha Legion so they abandoned most of the plots from this book.
  • 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 thought it was cobbled together from Wardian fluff stitched together by C. S. Goto. Reading this book, in fact, causes mind cancer, which is to say, that it does not create brain tumors, but hurts the ideas of the reader. 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. The book's adherence to canon is an atrocity, but it does contain some decent depictions of ship-to-ship combat as a mildly redeeming quality.
  • Mechanicum: Easily one of the best novels in the series, it explores many hidden/forbidden aspects and lore of the Mechanicum. Techpriests 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 as he uses 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 gaoler 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 defenses. 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 they're narrated from a slightly different point of view .
    • The Voice: A 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 what 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 different from the old warlords who waged crusades and holy wars in the past to push their own agendas on other people. The 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 defeats 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 everyone above him in the War Hounds chain of command calmed Angron down as fleshy squeeze balls.

Books XI - XX[edit]

  • Fallen Angels: this sequel to Descent of Angels is actually two stories rolled into one book that never converge. The Lion heads to a strategically important forge world only to find that the magos has turned traitor, then fights a war to reclaim some Ordinatus devices only to hand them to Perturabo to gain his trust, not realizing that his brother has already turned. He's really spergily awkward with people throughout. Meanwhile, Zahariel and Luther encounter a daemon cult on Caliban and get into shenanigans with Cypher, setting the stage for the rise of the Fallen as they reject the Lion and the Emperor due to misplaced patriotism for Caliban and butthurt over feeling abandoned by their primarch.
  • 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 cliché one liners out there.
  • The First Heretic: Lorgar's turn to get a backstory 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. Significant 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 archaeologist named Kasper Hawser (as typical for GW authors flexing obscuring knowledge, not very subtle given that the real Kaspar Hauser was a liar from 1820s Germany, who thrived on getting public attention and accidentally killed himself when public attention faded) 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 Guilliman. (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. An Alpha Legion serf arrives on a agri-world and turns its allegiance to Horus just by hacking all their interplanetary 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 and to send the message that neutrality will be punished. The Iron Warriors were doing weird shit on that world for years beforehand and were probably a bigger 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. 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 the PTSD he has 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 promethium 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 bigwig 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 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 with the Imperium Secundus; 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 in the middle of nowhere might be bad press when he's going to Terra.
    • 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, Curze 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 Curze 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, 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) 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 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 Guard for the endgame: steal the genetech, kill some Raven Guard, 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 a 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 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 book that made the Ultramarines (of all people) cool again. The Ultras are still ignorant about Istvaan and the civil war erupting around the galaxy, and are mustering at Calth with the Word Bearers on orders from Horus to go kill some Orks together as a conciliatory gesture. They're 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 fuckup in the shipyards that leaves the Ultramarine forces blind, deaf, and crippled. They use the confusion to say that the Ultras are 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, 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 the Underworld 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. While not exactly winning awards on the philosophical or psychological side, the book itself is a genuinely thrilling read that really knows how to keep its tension up.
  • 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 their 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 (instashifts 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 in front 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 were run "ashore" leaving them drifting and isolated in the backwater Phall system. The Iron Warriors, having the advantage of knowing what the hell is going on and having the powers of Chaos to guide them through the storm, show up at Phall and 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 hateboner, 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 worse 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 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 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. 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. The end. 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 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. At barely 20 pages long, you might as well read it anyway.
    • Prince of Crows - A novella featuring the Thramas Crusade as viewed by 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 and 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 gives away their location, and the Emperor'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' same mad scientist overloads the engines and does a mother of a ramming maneuver which kills an Emperor'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.) When 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 Emperor's Children anymore. Pert kills Fulgrim but it doesn'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, ordering 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, and a tense story 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. The ghosts of Eldar's Aspect Warriors and Wraith-Constructs inside a planet left inside the Eye of Terror, 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 is canon rape on par with C.S. Goto. 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 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. When not showing off the two traitor primarchs, the book focuses on Khârn and Argel Tal being totally bro-tier until that bitch Erebus decides to intervene and becomes a team-killing asshole. Why Erebus isn't modeled with a long mustache fit for twirling is beyond us. The guy also resurrects the Word Bearers' waifu, apparently turning her into a perpetual in the process, only for her to be kidnapped rescued by the Cabal soon after. She is never seen again in the rest of the series. Best known for containing Angron's dressing-down speech toward Guilliman having it easy since birth while Angron had a pretty shit life from day one.
  • 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. He 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 are 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 in flashbacks 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 millennia, 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 with some of the words altered to refer apparently to the very same edgy atheist. Unmarked 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 major problem with the story is that, while it is fun reading Curze taunting Vulkan, not much happens in it and it barely affects the stakes or the overall plot to a great degree, except we now know that Vulkan is a perpetual.
  • 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 and 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 a cheat; they just consolidated several pre-existing stories and 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 - An Iron Hand from the Crusader Host is sent by Sigismund to look for some of his brothers, scattered after Istvaan V. He finds 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 - An Ultramarine squad fights its way through Calth with a innocent woman and child trying their hardest to follow them to safety, while loyalist and traitor Titans punch each other's faces in the 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 a prequel to "Betrayer".
    • Warmaster - Horus considers how much of a badass he is while chatting with Ferrus Manus's skull and complains about how all the primarchs that sided with him are dickheaded edgelords or batshit lunatics, while the cool guys like Sanguinius and Guilliman are still loyal to the Emprah.
    • 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".
    • Wolf's Claw - Bjorn the Fell-Handed needs a replacement arm but the Iron Priests are too busy; he happens to find a nice fancy relic one just lying around.
    • The Divine Word - Marcus Valerius (army commander from Raven Guard story arc) receives some prophetic dreams and subsequently prevents an Alpha Legion diversion. It serves as his final push to join the 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) and ends up meeting Ahriman. Uh-huh...
    • The Eightfold Path - Kharn and the World Eaters realize 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 - Aeonid 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). Goes on a buddy cop adventure with an army trooper. 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 - "vUlKaN lIvEs" 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 Hearthworld - Space Wolves get sent to Terra to watch over Rogal Dorn so he doesn't start using psykers; it's a pointless task and everyone involved knows it. Also offers insight into the Wolves' naming conventions.
    • Lord of the Red Sands - During Istvaan III, Angron indulges himself in some philosophizing about the nature of his rebellion and what is good cause while butchering his own sons. I swear, I'm telling the 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 and Custodes and the Imperial Fists being stubborn assholes even when facing battle with each other at the heart of the Imperium, never-ceasing Blood Games and bureaucratic and diplomatic hell wrapping all that entanglement.
    • The Phoenician - A dying Morlock witnesses 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 bizarre 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 severe 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 no resistance at all. The end.
    • All That Remains - A 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 one of Malcador's agents for transfer to Titan and induction into the Grey Knights.
    • Gunsight - The Vindicare Assassin from Nemesis is still alive and on Horus' flagship; it's about him spending years waiting for the opportune moment to get a shot, but he starts going mad while he waits. He finally gives up 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 reflects on his time on Prospero, attends the Khan's trial for the pro-Horus plotters from "Scars", and tries to escape, but in the end he chooses to spend some more time with the Scars.
    • Daemonology - After his duel with Jaghatai, Mortarion tries to interrogate a daemon, which goes as well as you'd expect. Also shows that Malcador and the Emperor planned Nikaea for almost seventy years before it took place.
    • Black Oculus - A Navigator that serves the 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 foresees 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 - Lucretius Corvo (later founder of the Novamarines) and his squad kill a 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's been killing Emperor's Children since before they found Fulgrim - or not, since he found a way to distill other Marines into drug that keeps the illness at bay.
    • Twisted - Maloghurst solves some routine troubles on the Vengeful Spirit like persistent petitioners, lack of water, rogue daemons and the Davinite cult plotting to control Horus.
    • Wolf Mother - Right after events of Vengeful Spirit Alivia Sureka goes searching for her daughter, who was stolen by a Slaaneshi cult that escaped from Molech, with a little help from Severian The Wolf. No, really, she is so badass that Severian doesn't even look 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 DAEMON 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 - A young Night Lords apothecary named Talos takes part in the Istvaan V Massacre.
    • Brotherhood of the Moon - After the failed coup from Scars, Torghun Khan is being interrogated and explains why he chose Team Horus.
    • Inheritor - Eliphas The Inheritor (yes, that one from the DoW series) sacrifices the population of a city on a planet Kronos (yes, again from DoW) and a company of Ultramarines to have a nice little chat with Lorgar.
    • Vorax - An unlucky Dark Mechanicum priest falls to a 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 tough bastard, though several months under debris has affected his sanity a little. He now spends his time testing new siege tactics on the Emperor's Children world in preparation for the siege of the Imperial Palace.
    • Red-Marked - Aeonid Thiel starts his band of cliche badass marines and learns about the mysterious Nightfane that threatens Macragge itself.
    • Master of the First - Astelan takes part in a 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 the letter and concludes that he'll just have to write a book about it (guess what book it is).
    • The Long Night - Jago Sevatarion is chilling in Dark Angels captivity, slowly losing his mind due to his suppressed psyker powers, when some girl from the ship's astropath corps starts to talk to him from boredom. When her superiors find out, they flog her nearly to death because it was obviously forbidden. Sevatar doesn't take it lightly, flees captivity and kills the main astropath and calls it JUSTICE, because a man who skins young girls by the dozens on a daily basis simply to strike fear in a populace is definitely all about justice.
    • 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 probably solve all problems.
    • The Eagle's Talon - While the Battle of Tallarn rages, some Imperial Fists covert operatives try to take over a huge macro-transporter. They fail and are forced to crash the transporter onto raging battlefield below, blasting everything within 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 - The Imperial governor of some backwater world recollects memories of his long service to the Imperium, while preparing himself to spit in the face of Horus's representatives when they come to demand his surrender.
    • Herald of Sanguinius - Azkaellon invents the Sanguinor to free his gene-father from the burden of being the figurehead of Imperium Secundus.
  • The Path Of Heaven: Sequel to Scars. The White Scars have been fighting the traitor legions for a few years but are starting to show the strain. They finally decide to head 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 Mortarion 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 - The story consists of two story lines. In the first of them, Sor Talgron purges one of the worlds in Ultramar during the Shadow Crusade, but gets tricked and takes a bombful of exterminatus grade phosphex to the face (he survives nonetheless, though). In second, he undertakes some covert actions on Terra before Istvaan V and leaves a nasty surprise for Dorn in the catacombs beneath the Imperial Palace.
    • The Sigillite - see below, in section "Audio Books"
    • Wolf Hunt - Samurai witch hunter Yasu Nagasena hunts Severian the Wolf right after the events of Outcast Dead.
    • Army of One - An Eversor assassin is sent out for the routine "kill everyone" mission, but finds out that his main target is not only a stereotypical Stupid Fat Decadent Planetary Governor who turned traitor, but also a jerk from his past. So he kills him.
    • The Gates of Terra - Dorn and Malcador have an idea that it will be good for the defenses of Terra if they use some psykers to run some chosen veterans through endless hypno-simulations of ill-fated space battles with the Vengeful Spirit within the boundaries of Sol.
    • Ghosts Speak Not - Amendera Kendel, who had a crisis over her moral values after the events of The Voice and left the Silent Sisterhood, returns to Luna to recruit some of Garro's Death Guard into the Knights Errant. They then are dispatched to a mission to uncover a traitor's plot at Proxima Centauri.
    • Templar - Sigismund purges an asteroid temple of Word Bearers, this being the same temple that was mentioned in The Purge (those cross-references are awesome).
    • Distant Echoes of Old Night - Some Death Guard are drowning Imperial Fists' defenses with bodies on some shithole moon in the middle of nowhere, but it seems they are running out of time. They launch a final assault but fail to coordinate the phosphex bombardment with the assault and actually destroy themselves with little help from a primitive trap built by the Fists. Facepalm on the house to everyone.
    • Grey Angel - Loken, fresh from Istvaan III and accompanied by Iacton Qruze, is sent to Caliban to check Luther's loyalty to Terra. The mission actually fails as Loken gets 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 Baal to disband the Blood Angels Legion and recruit their last battle company into Malcador's Knights Errant after Sanguinius and the rest of the legion go missing after Signus. The Angels understandably don't like this news and Rubio nearly gets killed, but is saved by a message from Raldoron announcing that Sanguinius and the IX Legion are alive.
    • Child of Night - it turns out that one of the Night Lord Librarians had fled his Legion and went into hiding on Terra. One of the Knight Errant finds him and recruits him for the Grey Knights.
    • Luna Mendax - After his fail on Caliban, Garviel Loken shuts himself away in a forgotten garden on Luna and spends his time growing flowers and feeling sorry for himself. This is so pathetic that the spirit of the long-dead and eaten by daemons Tarik Torgaddon escapes the warp to return Loken to his senses.
    • 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 Malcador's office on time.
    • The Watcher - Ison from the Knights Errant finds and saves a horrifyingly mutilated and nearly dead survivor from the Space Wolves squad that was sent 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 discreetly nuking a whole region despite Guilliman's 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 include the Emperor stating to Arkhan Land that the Primarchs are tools and he views them with a scientific but detached fascination. He refers to them as numbers but seems 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 their father and see him as just their warlord. Drach'nyen is also revealed to be the daemon created when Cain killed Abel. In the end the Emperor 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 daemons 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 VERY malleable, Daemons lie, and that this was written by a man whose hate-boner for Big-E exceeds that of The Four, themselves). But how will it feast on the Emperor's tattered soul when Abaddon lacks arms to plunge it into his chest? (Abaddon never lost his arms due to the same retcon that let Eldrad live) Also known as Master of Skubkind. The Emperor reveals his grand plan of saving the human race from the Eldar fate by giving 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? It also features one of the most depressing endings of the whole Heresy series as in the last scene of the book the Emperor somberly acknowledges to one of his Custodian that he fears that he has now run out of cards to play and can't yet think of a way out of the whole situation. Grimdark, indeed.
  • 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 (dying).
  • 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. After a brief stopover at Pandorax, they decide to head out to Davin where the Heresy began and where destinies are remade; 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 and a sector of space filled with solid ritualized 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) travel 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 shatters the hand and Meduson assumes command again, though he was killed by Tybalt Marr in a boarding action after the Iron Hands refused to send reinforcements to him. In the end, it is 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 fatal 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 rescues Barthusa Narek from Nocturne and makes 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 rescue John Grammaticus, who had his memory wiped after his failure to assassinate Vulkan. With his memory restored, Grammaticus is ordered by Eldrad to find Ollanius Pius and go to Terra.
  • The Burden of Loyalty: In the grim darkness of the 3rd millennium, there are only anthologies.
    • The Thirteenth 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 how Carrion the Raven Guard Tech-aspirant 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 by literally throwing Carrion off a tower so he's the sole target of an incoming Warlord Titan. Carrion then joins the Knights-Errants and actually makes Dorn backpedal and heads back to Mars to aid the Resistance in taking 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 helluva 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 upon himself to cure Horus. In so doing, he forces a daemon to act as his guide through the Warp and finds out from this surprisingly forthcoming daemon (presumably from the Chaos God of Exposition) that even though Horus was superpowered 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. The daemon also suggests that Horus was never meant to win in the first place and that for all his new power he is no match for The Emperor, but Maloghurst very loudly refuses to believe it. Maloghurst 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 gets Zardu Layak to speak Fulgrim's true name and bind him into joining in a plot to depose the Warmaster, believing that his refusal to completely submit before the Chaos Gods will lead to the Traitor Legions' ultimate defeat at Terra. This turns out to be a massive mistake that leads Lorgar to be utterly curbstomped by the revived Horus and told that he will be killed if Horus ever sees him again. Witnessing this, Zardu Layak and the Word Bearers present all swear allegiance to the Warmaster before Lorgar leaves with his tail between his legs. Layak frees Fulgrim who finds it all hilarious. Magnus makes an appearance at the end, swearing himself to Horus's service. "Alpharius" makes a token appearance to hand over Terra's defense 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. The 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 on Mars and starts off with seizing & cleansing a Warlord Titan searching for their headquarters.
    • The Grey Raven: A ship sent back to Terra by Corax arrives in the solar system, with the Librarian Raven Guard who opened the Emp's gene-banks for Corax, seven Custodians, and an Imperial Fists force. Presenting to a border post for inspection, the Custodian commander, upon discovering the identity of the Raven Guard, states a code word to the Custodians on ship and they all try to pull the Librarian's head off. The Fist Captain saves him and his men try to hold off the Custodians while he and the Librarian try to get off the ship. The Custodian captain corners them and slays the Fist captain. The Librarian gets angry and is about to use his psychic powers on the 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 the 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 a 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 against traitor marines & titans for a planet near Beta-Garmon with no escorts for their transport ships. Gives a speech about how proud all his soldiers should be for facing a suicidal mission to die for the emperor. The Therions manage to take out all titans 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's 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 its 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 acolyte 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 the 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 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 Nightfall 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 deep-strikes 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 realizes 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 daemon w/ invasion on the side, then departs with his forces. The world gets covered in blood clouds and is infested by daemons. Argonis then repeats 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 and all the new Imperial Fists who were inducted during the 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, signaling 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. Big-E reveals a final gambit that will screw over Malcador in order to deny Chaos their victory.
  • Titandeath 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 Titans 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 (mostly out of wasted potential) 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. As disease spreads through the fleet, Mortarion becomes increasingly horrified and outraged as he realizes what's happening to his legion and finally kills Typhon in retaliation, but the Destroyer Hive reanimates his corpse, officially 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, along with an unspecified number of novellas.

  • 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. Unfortunately, it turns out "Keeler" was actually Samus manipulating Mersadie to get her onto the Phalanx and use her as a gateway to invade the station, so she winds up committing suicide in front of Garviel Loken. Samus rampages around the Phalanx for a few minutes 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 with Horus, Fulgrim, and Angron arriving in-system along with the main strength of their fleets, meaning shit is now officially real.
  • The Lost and the Damned: This is it, ladies and neckbeards. The Siege has begun in earnest. Dorn is using millions of conscripts and all the vast firepower he’s installed on the Palace walls to blunt Horus's initial attacks, holding the V, VII, and IX Legions in reserve. Unfortunately, this is all more or less playing into the traitors’ hands. They want to cause as much death as possible so that the walls between reality and the warp will be thin enough to let hordes of daemons onto the planet and the daemon primarchs themselves can safely set foot on Terra without being banished by the Emperor’s psychic mojo. To their credit, Dorn and his brothers are aware of this, but also recognize that they’re screwed either way, so they decide to just go ahead and kill as many traitors as possible. After a few months of traitor Army regiments, Chaos spawn, and beastmen being sent in to soften the defenses up while the Dark Mechanicum build siege guns and towers to punch through the walls, the Death Guard finally show up after their side trip to visit Grandpa Nurgle. Horus sends them in first, mightily pissing off Angron in the process, and they immediately set about turning the warzone into a large-scale recreation of Passchendaele circa 1917. Jaghatai goes out to gather intel on the siege engines and gets poked with a plague knife, but as soon as he crosses back into the Palace grounds the Emperor’s psychic aegis cures him. He then takes half the White Scars to go defend the citizens of Terra from rampaging traitors despite Dorn ordering him not to, and promises to return when needed. Sanguinius rallies the defenders and leads his sons from the front even though Azkaellon and Raldoron would really rather he didn’t. The book ends with the World Eaters and Night Lords launching their first full-scale attack on the Palace walls; Angron challenges Sanguinius to battle while Raldoron beats Gendor Skraivok hollow and tosses him off the wall. The book reveals that despite their numerical superiority and the aid of the Chaos gods, Horus is maintaining control over his war effort and the other traitor primarchs only by sheer force of will: Lorgar, Curze, and Alpharius are out of the picture, Magnus is doing his own thing, Fulgrim is being a prissy dick, Perturabo is as much a whiny bitch as ever, and Angron is so uncontrollable that Kharn and Lotara Sarrin are forced to teleport him into the labyrinth Perturabo built to contain Vulkan until he can be set loose on Terra. Only Mortarion still seems relatively normal despite the fact he’s now a daemon primarch. Moreover Abaddon is getting really fucking cagey about Horus's new habit of Chaos worship, for good reason. It turns out that the wound Russ inflicted on him at Trisolian has resulted in his soul slowly being drained. As a result, the Chaos Gods have to keep juicing Horus up, with the downsides of time-wasting sojourns into the warp and the gradual destruction of Horus's body. What's more, there are implications that Abaddon is being groomed to take over when Horus falls, all but confirming that the Chaos Gods expected Horus to lose his duel with the Emperor.
  • The First Wall: This book focuses on the battle for the Lion’s Gate spaceport, which is the tallest structure on Terra and the only place that void-going ships can dock on the entire planet, meaning that the traitors will be able to shuttle in reinforcements and materiel more easily if they can capture it. Perturabo details Warsmith Kroeger to command the Iron Warriors’ assault on the spaceport under the logic that Dorn will be expecting Pert to command the attack personally and won’t be expecting whatever battle plans Kroeger comes up with. Warsmith Forrix isn’t happy with this or with anything else that’s going on, since he’s realized that Horus is using the Iron Warriors in the same way the Emperor did and he's become increasingly disillusioned with Perturabo himself. To aid the attack, the Dark Mechanicum sets a technophagic virus loose inside the spaceport and Zardu Layak, Abaddon, and Typhus perform a Nurglite ritual to infiltrate Cor’bax Utterblight inside the Emperor’s wards. The Fists hold out as long as they can and inflict heavy casualties, but Dorn finally gives the order to withdraw and abandon the Gate as Perturabo lands his flagship atop the port and joins an assault led by Abaddon and Kharn. Sigismund duels Kharn and nearly loses while Dorn kills Zardu Layak, which allows daemons to manifest on Terra for the first time. He then has a brief exchange of taunts with Perturabo and the first Chaos Titans set foot on Terra, spelling a new stage of the battle. In the midst of all this is a little passage detailing just how many artillery pieces the Iron Warriors have landed on the planet, including two thousand Basilisks, fifteen hundred Manticores, five hundred Medusas, sixteen hundred Siege Dreadnoughts, seven thousand Thunderburst guns, five hundred Deathstrike launchers and eighty-four Typhon siege guns, plus uncounted thousands of Rhinos, Land Raiders, Vindicators, Predators, Sicarans, and assorted superheavy tanks. That sound you just heard was Josef Stalin and the entire Red Army popping a boner from beyond the grave. Meanwhile, to stop Cor’bax’s taint from spreading inside the Imperial Palace, Malcador recruits Euphrati Keeler and the Custodian Amon Tauromachian to hunt down and eliminate any corrupted cults of the Emperor, giving us the weirdest buddy-cop pairing of all time. Malcador wants to see if he can weaponize the cult’s belief in the Emperor against the Chaos gods and sees Keeler as the key to doing so, while Amon would rather just stamp it out. They eventually find a cult that has been corrupted by Cor’bax. When the daemon uses their bodies to manifest inside the walls, Keeler, Malcador, and Amon team up to kill him. Malcador tells Dorn, Valdor, and the other Imperial commanders that he will allow the cult of the Emperor to exist until the Emperor himself says otherwise. While all this is going on, we get to see more of the siege from a mortal perspective. Katsuhiro, a veteran of the initial fighting outside the walls, is detailed to a section of the outer walls under attack by the Death Guard and eventually has to aid in putting down an outbreak of plague zombies. We also follow Zenobi, a seventeen-year-old line worker from the Afrik hive of Addaba who volunteered to serve in the Imperial Army, only it turns out that she and her entire regiment are pledged to Horus, though this ultimately results their city getting bombed to shit. (Zenobi's story took about a quarter of the book, but its entirety can be summed up in one sentence, and could at best be described as misguided, inexplicable filler; sounds like a fun read, huh?) The novel ends with John Grammaticus arriving on Terra, mission unknown.
  • Saturnine: Dan Abnett's first HH book in seven years. Dorn is trying to decide which parts of the Palace need to be defended and which can be allowed to fall, as the Imperial forces are outnumbered, outgunned, and running low on supplies. He identifies four key parts of the defense that cannot be allowed to fall to the enemy, then decides which one he can afford to lose anyway: the Eternity Wall spaceport. The Saturnine Wall, one of the other key elements, has developed a subtle fault thanks to the relentless traitor bombardment. Dorn suspects that Perturabo will try to exploit it, so he lays a trap for the traitor assault force and calls in Arkhan Land to help fix it. While this is going on, Sanguinius kills an Iron Warriors Warsmith at the Gorgon Bar, then solos a Warlord Titan and stares down three Warhounds until they turn tail and run for it. Jaghatai and the White Scars lead a few massed jetbike charges into the ranks of the Death Guard and really ruin their day, further pissing off Mortarion. Abaddon enlists the entire Emperor's Children Legion and three companies of the Sons of Horus, led by the entire Mournival, to attack the Saturnine Wall with Perturabo's help; however, Perturabo anticipates that Dorn will expect them to do so and refuses to lend his aid. The III Legion attacks from the front, using three ancient and irreplaceable siege engines, while Abaddon and his Astartes burrow up from beneath with Termite assault drills. When the Sons of Horus emerge from their assault drills, they're ambushed by kill teams led by Garviel Loken and Nathaniel Garro. All three companies, including the famed Justaerin and Catulan Reavers of the 1st Company, are wiped out to a single (armless) man. Garro kills Falkus Kibre while Loken kills Horus Aximand (and takes his sword) and Tormageddon, finally avenging his old friend. Tybalt Marr and Lev Goshen are also killed off, meaning that all of the Sons of Horus characters we were introduced to at the beginning of the series are now dead except for Loken and Abaddon. Abaddon goes on a killing spree, but eventually gets beaten up by a nobody Blood Angel, Endryd Haar, and Garro. Abaddon manages to kill the Blood Angel and Haar, but is almost killed by Garro, only to be teleported to safety at the last moment (presumably losing his arms in the transfer) despite his own wish for death, as the Chaos Gods already have him in mind as their new Warmaster. Arkhan Land floods the fault line with thousands of tons of quick-setting rockcrete, entombing a bunch of the Sons of Horus beneath the palace forever. Fulgrim hurls his legion at the Saturnine Wall en masse, which accomplishes nothing but getting 18,000 of them killed and destroying the siege platforms. Dorn and Sigismund fight Fulgrim; Sigismund manages to injure Fulgrim despite being hilariously outclassed, but before Fulgrim can finish the job, Dorn appears. He holds his own against his psychotic bishonen brother, inflicting so much damage that Fulgrim throws a tantrum and takes his legion and goes home, abandoning the Siege entirely. The two then fight a bunch of III Legion champions and defeat them all. In one particularly awesome moment, Sigismund feeds Eidolon his own sword and just straight-up kicks him off the wall. At this point, Perturabo seems to be the only person on Team Horus who still gives a shit about winning the siege. The rest of traitor primarchs are all too indignant to focus on their alleged objective, too busy conspiring against each other, or too insane to care.
    • Crucially to the ongoing progress of the Siege, the loyalists lose the Eternity Wall spaceport, but this was part of the plan. As noted above, Dorn identified four key points in the defense that he couldn't afford to lose, then chose the one that he couldn't afford to lose the least, personally took command at the Saturnine Wall, and sent Sanguinius and Jaghatai to hold the other two spots. Angron and the World Eaters assault the spaceport, and pretty much every named Imperial Army character in the book dies at this point, along with Jenetia Krole, the leader of the Sisters of Silence, who gets killed by Kharn, and Camba Diaz of the Imperial Fists, who literally dies standing while holding the main bridge into the spaceport. Also, Angron gets blown up by artillery but comes back to life since, y'know, he's a daemon prince and all. Sanguinius' visions are getting increasingly powerful and painful, especially when he winds up inside Angron's tortured mind. He eventually delves deeply enough to realize that Angron has sensed the annihilation of Nuceria. The Dark Angels and the Ultramarines are on the way!
    • Other miscellaneous things that happen: John Grammaticus is trying to meet up with Ollanius Persson and encounters the Perpetual Erda, who tells us that Big-E was named Neoth when they met, but that this was just one of the many names he's had over the millennia. It is also revealed that she is the true mother of the primarchs and is technically responsible for their scattering as the result of what can only be described as a fucked up custody battle - cue the sound of countless facepalms from the fanbase. Dorn has Kyril Sindermann form the proto-Inquisition, and he recruits Euphrati Keeler and some other people to go around collecting interviews with soldiers, workers, and other residents of the Palace. Keeler interviews Basilio Fo, the mad genesmith from the short story Misbegotten, and he reveals that he can create a biomechanical phage that could kill Horus, along with every other Space Marine and primarch in the galaxy. Keeler and her Custodian babysitter decide that this information should go to Dorn, just in case he decides he needs such a doomsday option. The Ollanius Pius myth is partly born from a Guardsman named Olly Piers standing up and defending a banner of the Emperor before dying at Angron's hands. Horus is sliding further into apparent senility as the Chaos Gods' power begins to overwhelm his body and mind to the point that it would have killed him outright had he not died in the duel against the Emperor first, much to Abaddon's disgust. He is almost totally disconnected from the siege, asks for things and immediately forgets asking for them, and keeps calling his equerry Maloghurst, even though Maloghurst has been dead since Slaves to Darkness. At the very end, Corswain of the Dark Angels arrives with a large chunk of the Dark Angels fleet, ready to aid in the battle. In short, a lot of named characters die and plot threads are set up for other books and the rest of 40K.
  • Mortis: John French's second book in the series. As the morale of the Palace's defenders slowly erodes under the pressure of the unrelenting assault and the malign influence of the Warp, the traitor Titans of Legio Mortis are unleashed to break through the Mercury Wall, with only the loyalist engines of the Legio Ignatum to hold them off. Not as good as Saturnine or The Lost and the Damned, but not as bad as Zenobi's story in The First Wall, it feels more like an anthology, though all of its stories have a common beginning and converge in the end.
    • The main story, the siege itself, has very little to offer. Horus has finally decided to take direct command of the traitor forces, but his first order to Perturabo is to send everything they have, include the entire Legio Mortis, to attack the Mercury Wall head on. Perturabo objects to such a terrible strategy, after which Horus sends his equerry to tell him to disperse his legion among the traitor forces and let the Death Guard take over their positions. Perturabo immediately realizes that Horus is about to pull some serious warp fuckery, which he's not okay with, so he orders a complete withdrawal of all IV Legion assets on Terra and fucks off, abandoning the siege entirely. The rest of the main siege plot centers around the Titan battle in front of the Mercury Wall; the traitor forces have used Warp power to reanimate countless Titan wrecks collected from Beta-Garmon and elsewhere, using them as cannon fodder to weaken the loyalist defenses before attacking with the full might of the Legio Mortis, the largest Titan legion in the entire Imperium.
    • Meanwhile, in another corner of the battle, a small group of loyalist Imperial Army soldiers are still holding a maybe no longer important line of defense. Amongst them is Katsuhiro, the luckiest unlucky son of a gun from The Lost and the Damned, who has fought from the Outer Wall all the way into the central palace and is still fighting because in the grim darkness of the far future, there is only war. Their forces are initially led by a Blood Angel, but he dies during the battle and puts Katsuhiro in charge because this man's got nothing but unwavering belief in the Emperor and balls made out of titanium.
    • Shiban Khan, to everyone's surprise, survived his shuttle crashing in Saturnine thanks to his extensive augmetic rebuild. He wakes up in the middle of nowhere and starts hearing the voices of his dead brothers as he limps toward the Inner Palace. It could be warp fuckery, as the land shows various signs of Chaos corruption, or perhaps more likely, he just had some severe head trauma due to the shuttle crash (and the sky's the limit when it comes to head trauma). Either way, Shiban wants to return to the fight, so he starts to walk, and walk, and walk (there is a lot of walking in this not that long of a side plot). Then he encounters an Army lieutenant with a baby (feels like there is a joke in there somewhere) and the man tags along with him. The lieutenant explains that he just found the baby in the middle of all this shit and took it without any question; I keep expecting it to be a daemon or something, but it ends up to be something hopeful, wholesome even. Later the lieutenant is severely injured by an actual daemon, but Shiban refuses to leave him behind and carries him and the baby. Eventually, they come across the line Katsuhiro's defending; though the lieutenant doesn't make it, the baby survives, which amazes the crumbling troopers to no end and boosts their morale. Shiban and Katsuhiro have a brief chat before Shiban keeps pushing on to rejoin his legion. For the Emperor's sake, please don't let the baby be a daemon in the coming books.
    • We finally get to see psi-titans deployed!!! For a few paragraphs at least and in somewhat limited capacity. Princeps Aurum of the Ordo sinister (whom we saw in a previous short story tell Dorn to fuck off because being one of The Talons of the Emperor, they only answer to Big-E himself), shows up and tells Dorn that the Emperor has personally authorized use of the Ordo Sinister, an act that simultaneously tells Dorn that the Emperor has commanded victory at any cost. We see a psi-titan strut up to a battlefield, order all friendly titans to fire warp missiles at itself, then redirects the warp power in the warp missiles to instant-kill several daemon titan engines, and thanks to their nature as blanks, they deny the traitors any further resurrections, so anything they kill stays dead. They also tank damage without even staggering, simply repairing any damage they accumulate on the spot. However, the traitors brought a LOT of titans, so even those few Psi-titans we get to see are eventually overwhelmed, though they take a fuckton of traitors with them.
    • On the traitor titan side, special siege titans are unveiled bespoke from Mars. Turns out you can just line up several big titans and hook up all their reactors to mobile reactors behind their shields, then slow walk towards the wall like a big phalanx advance. And you get called the special engine class of Warmaster Titans. Plus lots and lots of guns on the front.
    • At the end of the last book, Corswain and his fleet came to reinforce the loyalists. Now we learn that he was expecting to meet the Lion and the main strength of the Dark Angels at Terra, but finds out that he is the only reinforcement that has shown up yet. If you have read the new Luther book, you know that he was lied to by Luther, and most importantly, the ten thousand Dark Angels he brought along were given to him by Luther, which means they're most likely no longer loyal to the Imperium. Now here comes some plot fuckery: the traitors took the Astronomican and put it out. What? Wasn't Dorn's entire plan was to delay the traitors' offensive long enough for the reinforcements to arrive? Why was the Astronomican not as heavily defended as the Imperial Palace itself? How the fuck are the reinforcements going get to Terra without the Astronomican? The Dark Angels probably could due to their abundance of Dark Age archeotec and The Lion's maybe Old Ones-creation biological computer Pinnochio macguffin... Thing, but everyone else? Nonetheless, the plot decrees that Corswain and his Dark Angels must be given something interesting to do I guess. Thus, Corswain plans an assault through the traitor fleet blockade; with the sacrifice of the Emperor's personal flagship and the gap left by the Iron Warriors' departure, the Dark Angels successfully make planetfall on Terra and retake and secure the Astronomican by killing a Daemon Prince of Slaanesh and a bunch of Kakophoni. But here comes the backstabbing: the officers Luther sent to follow Corswain cannot allow his plan to succeed for obvious reasons, but one of the Librarians, Vassago, is having second thoughts about the whole thing after the daemonic horrors he's just witnessed. When he tells this to his fallen brothers, they decide to kill him and keep on with their plan.
    • The various storylines are tied together in the end by a speech given by Dorn. As he speaks, what's left of the loyalist Titan legions begin to charge an unknown anomaly that appeared mid-battle; Katsuhiro's ragged force faces off against a new wave of enemies; Vassago is attacked by his fallen brothers; and the Legio Mortis finally reaches the Mercury Wall, the true Imperial Palace itself.
    • Also, remember all of those weird metaphorical scenes of the Emperor being a dirty old man they put in every book? Turns out it is the physical manifestation of the struggle and suffering the Emperor is enduring in the spiritual world, and it is getting worse and worse. In previous books, he could still shelter himself in a cave and have Malcador deliver him food or something; now he is quite literally cooking under the sun in an open desert with only a dead tree for cover, and because the Chaos gods are winning, it has become impossible for Malcador to keep supporting the Emperor. So the Big-E is now facing off against the entire warp with nothing but his own willpower to sustain him. Horus keeps showing up to taunt his father and sometimes the Chaos gods accompany him like some kind of pet snakes. Every time he appears he is closer to the Emperor and at the end of this book he is finally able to reach him.
    • Oh, Ollanius and his crew from Calth also return in this book. They finally make it back to Terra after bouncing through all of time and space, and then they infiltrate a hive overrun by the Emperor's Children in order to rescue John Grammaticus. Along the way, they run into someone named Actaea (who might be Cyrene Valantion based on John's horrified recognition of her) and a legionary calling himself Alpharius, because everything wasn't convoluted enough already. Ollanius decides to team up with these two even though Grammaticus is getting some serious bad vibes off of them. This part of the plot is not a bad read, but it really feels like it has nothing to do with the ongoing siege. This, and John's plot from the last book, feel like they should have gotten their own book instead of being cut to pieces and stitched into the main series. But again, it's not as bad and irrelevant as Zenobi's storyline from The First Wall. At least it revealed Ollanius was once a close friend to the Big-E. How close, you ask? He was the Emperor's first Warmaster. He led an army to raze the Tower of Babel to the ground, in the 40K narrative the tower was actually built by Cognitae precursors who were using it to learn Enuncia (first seen in the Eisenhorn books). After taking the tower the Emperor decides that he in his enlightened state can actually run the project better then the Cognitae. Ollanius disagrees and stabs the Emperor while using Enuncia to bring lightning down on the tower. John, having stumbled into this memory via being caught in the same pleasure-warp trap uses his psyker language ability to learn Enuncia on the spot. Uses it to unmake a daemon (as in permakill), but gets a bad nose-bleed. The horror.
  • Warhawk: The Khan vs. Morty, round two. The end of the Siege is nigh, and everyone on Terra knows it. Angron and the World Eaters are loose inside the Mercury Wall, the Sons of Horus are happily killing anything that crosses their path, and the Death Guard have taken over the Lion's Gate spaceport after Perturabo ragequit halfway through Mortis. Many of the XIV Legion are still coming to terms with their new warp-touched nature. Some of them aren't sure the bargain was worth the price, while others are happily adopting pet Nurglings and savoring the feeling of turning into walking sacks of pus and tentacles. Mortarion is using his daemonic powers to turn the port into a mirror of Barbarus and blanket the Palace with a psychic miasma of despair; the effect is so potent that even Rogal Dorn is beginning to crack under the strain. Jaghatai is tired of playing defense, so he rallies up the entire V Legion and every single tank that Ilya Ravallion can coax out of reserves to storm the Lion's Gate and retake the spaceport. They use the last intact orbital plate on Terra to shield them from the traitor fleet bombardments and charge across the leveled wreckage of the Palace's outer districts en masse, wrecking shit all the way until they slam into the Death Guard and their defenses. The two legions proceed to just shred the hell out of each other across the spaceport. We get an interesting comparison between their fighting styles here; the Scars dominate the battlefield when they can use their speed and maneuverability, and then when the fighting turns into a battle of attrition the Death Guard give just as good as they get. Jaghatai is in fine form; at one point he yeets a Leviathan Dreadnought with one hand, and the narration explicitly states that everyone on both sides stops to watch him do it. The battle culminates in a knock-down, drag-out brawl between the Death Lord and the Warhawk. Mortarion literally beats the Khan to a pulp, but Jaghatai just laughs it off and needles Mortarion until he makes a mistake that lets Jaghatai gut him. Mortarion reminds the Khan that he can't die, since he's a daemon prince now, and the Khan reminds Mortarion that he can die, then pulls the classic "let the other guy impale me so I can kill him" move and decapitates Morty even though he's now got a power scythe embedded in his chest. The resultant explosion of psychic energy disorients the Death Guard and sends the Scars into a frenzy. Jaghatai's body is carried out on a Leman Russ, and just when it seems like they might actually have unexpectedly killed another primarch, Ilya Ravallion shows up and demands that he be taken to Malcador, who sets about putting the Warhawk back together. The White Scars' frenzy doesn't end until a newly raised khan gets word to Shiban that their primarch yet lives, and manages to remind Shiban that they were supposed to take the port, not destroy it. The Death Guard retreat in shambles, abandoning the Gate and rejoining Typhus, who had once again taken off to do his own thing earlier in the book.
    • Dorn finally lets Sigismund off the chain, telling him to just go kill as many traitors as possible. On his way out to the field, he's given the Black Sword, which was forged in the dark times prior to the Unification Wars, and sets out to become the Emperor's Champion. He kills so damn many captains and praetors that whispers of "the Black Sword" spread across the Palace, and both sides seek him out, either to join him or to kill him. He rematches Kharn and puts him down, though not before Kharn has a lucid moment and is horrified by what Sigismund has become: a remorseless, passionless, icy-hearted killing machine who will raise an entire legion of fanatical killers just like him to crush the galaxy beneath their boots.
    • Euphrati Keeler inspires thousands of civilians, stragglers, and refugees to take up arms and go drown the enemy in bodies in the name of the God-Emperor, establishing the foundations for the Imperial Cult and the Imperium's philosophy of sending wave after wave of conscripts and Guardsmen at the problem until it ceases to be a problem. Garviel Loken tracks her down and is disturbed by her new, more nihilistic mindset, but decides to stay by her side anyway.
    • Basilio Fo runs around for a bit and gets attacked by a Night Lord who can apparently see the future and isn't sure if killing him or letting him live will do more damage. He's then retrieved by Constantin Valdor, who took a break from daemon-hunting to haul him back to the Sanctum Imperialis so he can go to work on his anti-Astartes phage. Valdor wonders if using the phage would interfere with the Emperor's plans somehow, since even he isn't sure what is or isn't part of the Big-E's schemes anymore. Really, the whole subplot is kind of pointless, since Fo just winds up back under guard and doing exactly what he wanted to do all along. Makes you wonder why the authors bothered setting him loose last book.
    • Ollanius Persson and his merry band are still traveling to the Palace. Actaea is all but stated to be Cyrene Valantion, who has an agenda of her own that involves getting to Horus. "Alpharius" is one of the Alpha Legion infiltrators from Praetorian of Dorn, who's apparently just been kicking around the planet since his legion's attack on Pluto failed. They fly all the way to the Palace and start making their way into the Dungeon to get on with whatever their missions are, planning to pick up some more Alpha Legionnaires who were planted in the catacombs.
    • The Sons of Horus are quietly starting to turn on each other. With Horus still sitting on his arse and doing nothing to lead his legion, some of his captains are starting to refer to Abaddon as the XVI's Legion Master, which is pissing off the hardcore Horus loyalists. Most of them end up getting killed by Sigismund anyway, though.
    • Erda dies. Maybe. Erebus turns out to have disguised himself as a random Word Bearer in order to reach Terra and track her down, and after he introduces himself he tells her that her scattering of the primarchs was such a nice gift to the Chaos Pantheon that they themselves sing her praises in gratitude. He offers to help her achieve apotheosis and become a queen of the warp as a reward. Erda sneers at him and tells him that he's being manipulated by the cast-off thoughts and unconscious desires of humanity; more or less confirming that she knows many of the same truths about Chaos as the Emperor does, but unlike Big-E, she perhaps underestimates the danger they pose. That might also be why she tries to say it's not her fault some of the primarchs were corrupted and fell to Chaos, deflecting the blame onto the primarchs themselves, Big-E, society (that's actually barely an exaggeration), and basically everyone but herself. Erebus eventually gets sick of her obfuscation and summons four greater daemons to kill her. However, Erda's able to defeat them pretty comprehensively, with Erebus assuming they've been banished, but the book suggesting that they've been permakilled. Regardless of which however, the fight still leaves her drained enough that Erebus is able to hit her with a psychic attack that overwhelms her with the true consequences of what she did. Erebus then moves to finish her off and wreck her house, but does so offscreen. As he's leaving, however, he wonders if she let him kill her, and if so, why.
  • Echoes of Eternity: ADB's contribution. We're in the endgame now: the Palace defenses have completely collapsed, the Khan is down for the count, Dorn is surrounded at Bhab Bastion, Corswain and his Dark Angels contingent have locked down the Astronomicon but are ordered to stay put, and all other surviving loyalist troops have been driven back into the Sanctum Imperialis, and Guilliman and the Lion still haven't arrived. Angron is leading the World Eaters and Sons of Horus toward victory as Sanguinius rallies his troops for a last stand at the Eternity Gate. Will almost certainly have Sanguinius duel Angron as the big climactic fight.
    • A lot of this books focuses on the defenders retreat to (and attackers assault on) the Eternity Gate leading to the Sanctum Imperialis, specifically their mustering and battle before the Delphic Battlement. That being said, this is also the point in the siege where things really start to go Not as Planned for Team Chaos, and as ever, it's often as much due to them getting in their own way, just as much as the efforts of Team Emperor. The Imperial side of things is mostly narrated through the perspectives of Nassir Amit and Zephon of the Blood Angels. Zephon apparently wasn't killed back in Saturnine and was just taking a nap until Arkhan Land and some Legion serfs fix him up with Dark Age archeotech and send him on his merry way. Meanwhile, the Chaos side of things is told from the POV of the World Eaters Apothecary Kargos from Betrayer as he tags along with a random Word Bearers Chaplain, reminiscent of Kharne and Argel Tal's previous bro-ship. It doesn't matter though, because Kargos gets curb-stomped by the Flesh Tearer and left for dead by his Word Bearers buddy. After a day of fighting, the defenders begin to retreat to the Sanctum, knowing that whoever is left on the outside after the doors close will be daemon chow. Sanguinius duels Ka'Bandha and wrecks him pretty one-sidedly. Just as the gates are being closed, a Legio Audax (the same guys from Betrayer) titan holds the door open long enough for Angron to swoop in and start fighting the Angel. The two duel, and Angron gets a good sword-stab to Sanguinius' gutmeats, but then Fabulous Hawk Boy rips the Butcher's Nails from daemon Angron's head and drops him to the ground before heading inside and letting the gates close.
    • There's a sub-plot about Vulkan going into the shattered remains of the Emperor's Webway project to duel with Magnus, who is on the other side after being ejected in Fury of Magnus. Magnus does a bunch of magic tricks to Vulkan, but Vulkan is an unkillable primarch with a big fuckoff hammer and eventually Magnus gets tuckered out long enough for them to 'kill' each other. Magnus is banished from the Webway and Vulkan eventually gets up and wanders out. One revelation from these parts is that the Emperor's 'you only perceive me how I want you to perceive me' shtick extends to the Primarchs, as Vulkan remembers the Emperor's offer to Magnus to lead the Grey Knights as a stern 'lol gtfo'. Well that's one interpretation anyway; the other is that the corruption of Chaos wormed its way yet further into Magnus, altering his cognitive function, allowing him to think of himself as the victim, and thus ensuring that Magnus would dance further to their tune.
    • We also get a look into how things are going in the fleet and for some of the mortal followers of Chaos. The aforementioned Legio Audax Warhound, the Hindarah, has been on Terra pretty much since the beginning. It's princeps still believes herself to be alive, and frequently hallucinates that the cockpit of her god-engine has become an abattoir of horrors, but then she comes back to it and everything seems normal again. It isn't until we get another character's view on the interior that we see that, yeah, the princeps and moderati have all fused into a that thing. Lotarra Sarrin, everyone's favorite spunky girl-boss captain of the Conqueror, has become a corrupted thing partly fused with her command throne, while the parts of her that wanted to run away from the horror of it all became a ghost that the rest of the crew just sort of tolerate. This ghost even manages to get in a call to Horus aboard the Vengeful Spirit, who has continued to deteriorate from 'kooky grampa' to 'scary kooky grampa'. It's heavily implied that Argonis is the only one left really running the fleet.
    • The book ends with the Lion's Gate Space Port finally opening fire on the traitor fleet, much to the horror of those aboard, who were caught completely unprepared, in close formation while stationary in geosynchronous orbit, and immediately starts getting torn to pieces. They then receive a message from its new occupants, who basically just calls to laugh at them. Then he hangs up. In the epilogue a few pages later, we get a sweet little note from Guilliman to Sanguinius, saying that he's a couple days from the system's edge and only a solar week from Terra. However, this message is intercepted and blocked by daemon Lotarra Sarrin from reaching the surface.
    • A lot of this helps to set up and answer the ultimate question of "why did Horus drop the void shields?" At this point in the siege, the defenders are on their very last legs. Dorn and a lot of forces are cut off at Bhab Bastion, while everyone else who is still alive has fled inside the Sanctum Imperialis. There are no more walls to get behind, nowhere else to run to. On the Chaos side of things, by book's end, Horus is no longer the smug little shit we've seen throughout the siege, and is instead now shitting his pants, because he has now lost every single one of his generals. Lorgar had already been driven out for plotting to overthrow Horus, Konrad is not even in the correct side of the galaxy, Alpharius Omegon (or whoever was pretending to be Alpharius or Omegon) seemingly died at Pluto, Fulgrim fucked off during Saturnine, Perturabo during Mortis, Mortarion got clapped by the Khan in Warhawk and shunted off into the warp, and by the end of Echoes, both Magnus and Angron have been reduced to greasy, whiny smears, staining sections of the Webway and Eternity Gates' floors, respectively, about to be shunted off to the warp having lost their original bodies. The board, as they say, is set for the final showdown.
  • The End and the Death: This is it. 17 years and over 60 books, all leading up to the main event of the Heresy: the duel of the Emperor and Horus, as written by the man who started the series. Will be split into multiple volumes, because there's no way in hell BL wouldn't milk this for all it's worth, and because Abnett belongs to the school of write a shit ton of words (thankfully, unlike someone else we can name he actually finishes his shit).
  • Sons of the Selenar: The first novella in the series. Flashback to the compliance of the Selenar gene cults on the moon, the high supreme matriarch tells a grumpy gene witch to take their best gene tech and hide it from the Emperor while she starts a date/mind purge to wipe out all knowledge of the tech from existence before she surrenders to the soon-to-be Luna Wolves. Flash forward to the crew of the Sisypheum returning to Terra, SOMEHOW getting all the way to Luna through a lot of luck and bad traitor captains. They pick up a distress signal from Ta'lab Vita-37 saying that the Sons of Horus are breaking through the defenses she has built around the Magna Mater - a silver case containing all the genetic knowledge used to make the first Space Marines. They manage to meet up with Vita-37 and make their way to the center of a moon volcano just in time to snatch it from some tech-priests. Some explosions happen and we get to see Tarsa the Salamander Apothecary walk through radioactive lava while hallucinating that Vulkan lives and dying as he hands the case to Ignatius Numen who also waded in. He dies too because radioactive lava, but the case gets out of the lava. Justaerin Terminators chase them through the gene labs, and Vita-37 unleashes a bunch of hideous gene-monsters on the Terminators before dying. One spooks them cause it has the face of Horus, but the Terminators finally form up and continue the chase. The last two Iron Hands hand off the Mater to Sharrowkyn and tell him to run like hell while they slow down the Terminator squad, with predictable results. Sharrowkyn gets rescued by the other two Iron Hands in a Storm Eagle, and they make it back to the Sisypheum, while Thamatica uses a Selenar combat AI to destroy a fighter chasing them before it turns back on him and eats his brains. Magnus makes an appearance and saves the Sisypheum for some reason, then leaves. Wayland drops off Sharrowkyn on an abandoned refueling station before flying away to distract the traitors. Sharrowkyn has to go into suspended animation, Garuda the mechanical eagle watches over him as he passes out, under the name of the station "Sangprimus Portum", strongly implying that the Magna Mater is the relic that will be given to Archmagos Cawl to create the Primaris Space Marines.
  • Fury of Magnus: The second novella, which focuses on Magnus's attempt to reclaim the shard of his soul that he believes is housed inside the Palace. Alivia Sureka agrees to come with Malcador in exchange for protection for her adopted family, and he takes her down trans-dimensional tunnels known only to him (it's strongly implied that Valdor would fuck Malcador up for keeping these tunnels secret even from the custodians). Magnus and some of the Thousand Sons breach the Emperor's telesthetic wards, saving some civilians along the way, and storm the Hall of Leng deep beneath the Palace. They're met by Malcador and Alivia, and Magnus demands to know where the last shard of his soul is. Malcador admits that it's already gone, having been fused into Revuel Arvida to produce Janus, so Magnus throws a psychic tantrum that permakills the Sigillite. One of the Thousand Sons kills Alivia for some reason, so Magnus explodes his head for disobeying his orders not to kill anyone. He and his Astartes make it all the way to the Golden Throne, only to find out that the Emperor let them through because he wanted to offer Magnus a shot at redemption. He explains that, though Magnus has been wounded and touched by Chaos, there is still a chance for him to return to the Imperial fold, at the head of a shiny new legion of incorruptible psychic warriors. All he has to do is abandon the remaining Thousand Sons to their fate, as they're already too corrupted to be brought back. Vulkan, who is still guarding the Throne, pleads with Magnus to accept the deal, but Magnus decides that abandoning his legion is too dear a price to pay and tries to kill the Emperor. Vulkan proceeds to kick the ever-loving shit out of him until Magnus finally surrenders to Chaos and ascends into his daemon primarch form. He forever repudiates the Emperor before being ejected from the Palace. Alivia resurrects, finds Malcador's barbecued corpse, and surrenders her Perpetuality in order to bring him back, dying permanently herself in the process.
  • Garro: Knight of Grey: The third novella in the series, featuring Nathaniel Garro's final showdown with Mortarion as he fights to protect Euphrati Keeler.

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. Hopefully the Horus book finally shows us his conquest of Ullanor.

Roboute Guilliman: Lord of Ultramar[edit]

Centers on Papa Smurf himself and his 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. He eventually discovers 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, 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, also 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. The surviving natives of Morningstar are obliterated in space to stop the meme from spreading, and shortly before the Siege of Terra Magnus Pókeballs the psychic gestalt from its prison in the ruins of Prospero into his book so he can use it to get past the Emperor's psychic shield.

Perturabo: The Hammer of Olympia[edit]

Probably the book in the series that did the most character building of all. This book shows 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. 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. Focuses 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 the takeover Colchis (by "Word" or by "Mace") while Phaeron benefitted from increased power and secretly kept the faith of Chaos Gods. 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 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. Byzas has devolved to steam power and bolt-action bolters, but capital palace has DAOT gun defenses and anti-grav airships (think blimps without gasbags). Along the way Fulgrim encounters a brotherhood much like his own that wants to work with him; he dismisses them 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. In the end Fulgrim takes the world but nearly dies from a hidden hydrogen bomb which he disarms. Several other characters such as Cyrius (who gets shanked by a squad from the brotherhood while wearing armor and has to be saved by Fulgrim) 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 who have just humiliated a compliance force of Ultramarines and Thousand Sons. 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 throws his weight around when he arrives and tells off the Ultramarines commander for getting his ass kicked, then learns that the Gardinaal are actually some tough mothers, with their own genetically enhanced soldier caste and a willingness to nuke their own cities if it'll kill some Imperial troops. Ferrus quits 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 his own way, 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. The system is basically a thousand floating space station hive cities, all independent of each other with a thousand different governments, orbiting a star. Typically they hate each other's guts but are able to come together and combine firepower to a devastating effect when an Imperial compliance fleet gives them a common enemy. The leaders aren't keen on handing over all their power to the emperor. He initially tries to use stealth and surgical strikes to get them to surrender peacefully with minimal casualties, but a real Imperium hater forms a coalition and death stars the first city to surrender. When Corax targets him for surgical elimination, he releases a zombie virus on the whole station and escapes via a stealth shuttle to a hidden station masked by the sun's emissions. A pissed-off Corax orders his legion to hunt the dude down and disable the station engines, letting him broadcast his 5 stages of grief to the whole system while he descends into the Sun. This also comes at the cost of dragging out the compliance and thousands of unnecessary casualties since the remaining orbitals are able to consolidate their strategic/tactical positions and form actual armies. 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. Doesn't stop him from executing one of his best friends in the rebellion for being uppity.

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. Sevatar leaves the choice up to the investigating officer, and it's implied the officer chooses to hush up the report. 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. Shaken from the fight, Lorgar heads to his room and slams the door behind him for a few millennia.
The Emperor's Architect: A biography 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 had a sculpt-off with a prodigy artist, and just like Fulgrim he made a perfect statue. But the artist worked for a decade to make a cool statue of some hero that showed a different facet of his life/personality from the angle you were standing, and practically everybody who saw them side by side said that was better than Pert's 3D-printed like replica. Pert slapped the statue and never spoke about it again. 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 up in the bowels of his flagship, causing all sorts of disgusting changes to take place. Kharn goes to talk to him and finds that Angron has been stripped of his sense of self, completely lost to Khorne. 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 there is also 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 and 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 millennia ago. 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. The 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. A story forever immortalized in song form.
Misbegotten: The Sons of Horus take over most of a system without having to fight, but have to deal with one holdout planet defended by Frankenstein-like creatures spliced together from multiple human donors. Their creator (Basilio Fo) is a five thousand year old bioengineer who encountered the Emperor at some point on Terra and then got the fuck out before the Great Crusade kicked off. He sends a big ball of human hands to surprise strike Horus in his command post, but Horus naturally defeats it messily. For all his own abominations, Fo admits that he sees the Primarchs as representing something far worse than even what he could have created. The epilogue shows him laughing his ass off in his cell on Terra when the Siege starts because he's kind of been proven right.

Angron: Slave of Nuceria[edit]

Covers the events leading to the World Eaters' adoption of the Butcher's Nails and the Ghenna massacre. 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. There's also an epilogue where Kharn happens to ransack Ghenna 10,000 years later and comes across an embellished statue of the World Eater captain he beheaded, and has a rare moment of clear headed dispair for what he and his broken legion have become.

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 stupid humans. He left one of the crew alive and told him to drive the ship to Tsagualsa, mutilating the poor kid whenever he got bored. The kid had a chance to escape after dropping Curze off but followed him instead and was predictably killed by the Night Lords when Curze decided he was 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 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. Oddly enough he also says he didn't hate any of his other brothers, even the ones who were dicks to him like Fulgrim or Dorn. So he really just tortured the shit out of Vulkan for shits and giggles, what a dick.

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.

Scions of the Emperor[edit]

A second short story collection and cocktease extraordinaire, originally a Weekender exclusive.

Canticle: Focuses on Ferrus Manus during his early days on Medusa, fighting his way through hordes of cyborg monstrosities while he scavenges for armor, weapons, food, and equipment; battles the extreme weather; and tries to find a name for himself. He encounters a woman who tries to hold him up, but when he shows no fear of her and gives her his weapon on the grounds that she's earned it, she instead suggests he join her clan. He refuses, stating that he has something to do (namely killing Asirnoth). Amusingly, the story reveals that Primarchs can literally eat sand and metal to stay alive.
The Verdict of the Scythe: Set during the Great Crusade. Having been yelled at by his brothers for trashing yet another planet, Mortarion tries being nice for once when bringing the world of Absyrtus into compliance. He roams the streets for a bit after the official compliance ceremony and realizes that the witch-cults which dominated Absyrtus before his arrival weren't limited to just the ruling tyrants but are completely integrated into the planet's society, so he deems the planet beyond saving, nukes it from orbit, and decides that being Mr. Nice Guy isn't for him (Liberating Humanity from Lifetm).
A Game of Opposites: Set during the Heresy. An Iron Warriors warsmith tries to outthink Jaghatai Khan and loses hilariously because the Khan is too subtle for him. Jaghatai easily defeats the trap the Iron Warriors tried to set, then explains to the warsmith why he lost before executing him: the warsmith may have studied the Khan's writings, but he failed to grasp their true meaning, and so he was doomed to defeat even if the Khan had not been present.
Better Angels: Follows Jehoel, a line legionary of the Blood Angels, throughout the latter days of the Great Crusade and the Horus Heresy. Sanguinius chooses to be his patron as Jehoel commemorates the battles the legion has fought by making glass sculptures, all the while lamenting the destruction and loss wrought by the Heresy. Just before the Siege of Terra, he finally asks his father why Sanguinius chose to be his patron, and the primarch explains that he sees himself in Jehoel more than he does any of his other sons; he is the best expression of the Blood Angels' highest ideals.
The Conqueror's Truth: A remembrancer gets herself assigned to the Night Lords so she can see some war, and Curze and Sevatar oblige her in the same way a jackass genie might grant your wish for a ton of gold by dropping it on you: they bring her to a city under assault by the Night Lords and allow her to record the civilian population being dumped en masse into its geothermal furnaces. When she declares that she will find some way to show this atrocity to the people of Terra, Curze tells her that's what he wants. He says that the citizens of the Imperium must know what kind of war is being waged in their name and that he'll use the footage to show other worlds that there are only two options for them: compliance, or death.
The Sinew of War: A flashback to Guilliman's younger days on Macragge as he returns from putting down a tribal uprising to find Macragge City in flames and his adoptive father dead. He quickly realizes that his father's co-consul, Gallan, is responsible, and busts Gallan in front of the entire Senate. He fights down the temptation to just murder him, thus holding true to Konor's ideals. One of his bitterest enemies is so impressed that he swears allegiance to Roboute, and so does the rest of the Senate, thus setting Guilliman on the path to becoming the Lord of Macragge.
The Chamber at the End of Memory: Also known as light touching above the clothes. Some workers fortifying a forgotten corner of the Imperial Palace in preparation for the forthcoming siege are killed by a psychic booby trap. When Rogal Dorn investigates, he discovers that they accidentally broke into the personal quarters of the Lost Primarchs, which have been heavily warded with psychic defenses forged by Malcador himself. When Malcador shows up, Dorn realizes that he can't even remember his brothers' names, and starts to tear into the Sigillite for having sealed his memories. Malcador counters by revealing that it was Dorn's idea to begin with, and further explains that he and Guilliman were able to save the II and XI Legions from being purged alongside their primarchs; they were mind-wiped and absorbed into the other Legions. He then unseals Dorn's memories long enough for him to realize that whatever his lost brothers did was so horrible that the Imperium would have long since fallen if they were still alive.
First Legion: Also known as a gentle groping of your mental bits. Lion el'Jonson and the Dark Angels are in the midst of the Rangdan Xenocides when a mysterious legionary calling himself Alpharius turns up and requests an audience with the Primarch of the I Legion. He offers to secretly take over the war effort so that the Dark Angels may withdraw and rebuild their strength as this will improve the Lion's chances of one day being named commander of the entire Imperial war machine, which "Alpharius" believes is necessary for the Imperium to survive. The Lion rejects the offer immediately, stating that he will see the Xenocides through.

Lion El'Jonson: Lord of the First[edit]

While the campaign for Ullanor takes place, the Emperor tasks the Lion with pacifying an irrelevant little world on the galactic fringe that had already been considered compliant. The Lion begins fortifying the world and bringing in more troops and fleets, keeping his true intentions to himself, while his senior commanders are keen to move on and earn real glory elsewhere. As it turns out, the planet was being used as a feeding world for the Khrave, a race of uber-psychic xenos from before the Fall of the Eldar that can read minds, crush tanks with a gesture, and possess people in their millions from outside of a solar system. The book shows how clever and callous the Lion could be by coming up with a massively convoluted plan that he needed to keep secret from a race of mind readers, even going so far as to issue seemingly contradictory orders to his men to confuse the enemy as well as knowingly sacrificing millions of mortal lives in order to escalate the conflict and draw out the Khrave's leader in order to destroy them. This is all interspersed with some of his brief meetings with the Emperor, highlighting how similar the two of them were in mindset. As the dutiful firstborn son, the Lion seemed to always know what his father desired and was the one most trusted to enact it. At one point, the Lion laments that his own contribution to the Imperium is nothing but ash and destruction, but the Emperor explains that this is the point of him and the I Legion: to do the things that even Konrad Curze and Leman Russ cannot, such as the complete erasure of opponents too troublesome to allow to exist (including obliterating all memory of them), and to do it without the need for recognition, accolades, or ceremony. The book even ends with the Lion having potentially mind wiped his own Space Marines so that they cannot remember who they just fought. What the novel does best is illuminate the labyrinthine inner workings of the Dark Angels, showing why even the Alpha Legion saw they were too tough a nut to crack. There are orders and cabals and subdivisions of orders and cabals threaded throughout the legion's structure, reaching across rank, station, and specialization, all of which are linked by a complex and ever-expanding web of coded heraldries, hidden symbols, and secret passphrases that only the Lion seems to fully grasp.

The book also reads like a tie-in novel to the recently released Horus Heresy 9: Crusade. It has many references to items and formations that were first introduced only months earlier such as the Fusil Actinaeus, the Excindio battle-automata, Dreadwing Interemptors, Firewing Enigmatii Cabals, and the various hidden Orders of the Hekatonystika. It also disappoints because it actually shows the secret arsenals of those orders that are tantalizingly NOT represented on the tabletop, such as Fire Raptors equipped with psionic lance weapons, assault psycannons, archaeotech pistols that erase their target from memory, and the Lion wearing a psychic dampening cloak.

Alpharius: Head of the Hydra[edit]

Long story short, everything we’ve been told about Alpharius is true, from a certain point of view (or maybe not). Alpharius himself (unless it was actually Omegon) lands on Terra after the primarchs were scattered. He immediately senses that some part of him is missing, but before he can ponder this too deeply the Emperor finds him and brings him back to the Palace. He's raised in total secrecy by Malcador, who explains that he will be the Emperor’s hidden blade, the son who can strike from the shadows and weave deceptions of surpassing subtlety. The Emperor further explains to him that Alpharius' job will be to preserve the Imperium at all costs, no matter what he might have to do. Alpharius interprets this to mean that he should test the Palace’s defenses, so he breaks into the Imperial Dungeon, kills a Custodian and steals his armor, and sets up a fake assassination attempt on the Emperor. Constantin Valdor stops him, but Alpharius reveals that he had already hacked into an AA battery on the other side of the Palace and could have just shot down the Emperor’s shuttle at any time, proving his point and annoying Valdor. Alpharius and his legion go on to wage war in the shadows throughout the Great Crusade, using wetwork teams, deep-cover sleeper agents, and psyops to defeat the Imperium’s enemies. The XX Legion apparently has agents seeded throughout the galaxy, even on worlds that haven’t yet been contacted by the Imperium, and uses them as appropriate to destabilize governments or cripple armies and infrastructures prior to the arrival of other Legions. Alpharius claims to have fought alongside the Dark Angels in their first deployment (as seen in Valdor’s novel), and also claims to have been present for the rediscoveries of several of his brothers, disguised as members of their legions. He and his legion are shown to be content with their role as black operatives, though also a bit bummed that they don’t get to stomp around kicking ass and gaining glory like the rest of the Astartes do.

He later unmasks his legion’s existence to the Lion during the Third Rangdan War, and the account of this meeting directly contradicts the one from Scions of the Emperor, in that this time Alpharius merely offers his legion’s support to the Dark Angels, rather than suggesting that the Angels withdraw and let the XX Legion take over. The truth probably lies somewhere between these two accounts. While fighting the Rangdan behind the scenes and dealing with civil insurrections, Alpharius gets wind of a mysterious warrior who may possibly be his missing twin on a world behind enemy lines. When he goes to investigate, he discovers that the world is being overrun by the Slaugth, so Alpharius takes a small team in to find his brother. Most of his legionnaires die, but he finds Omegon (unless it's really Alpharius), and they sit down for a friendly chat. Omegon tells Alpharius that he fetched up on a deserted planet and stole a ship belonging to some space pirates in order to escape (unless he’s lying). They wonder if the Emperor had deliberately engineered them as twins or if they had been divided somehow by their passage through the Warp. Either way, they decide to keep the truth concealed from the rest of the Imperium, then escape the Slaugth together and start planning how to reveal Alpharius' existence to the Imperium. They decide to stage an attack on the Vengeful Spirit, so Omegon sneaks onto the ship and fights his way to the bridge. Horus recognizes him immediately and is overjoyed to have found his last brother, who introduces himself to the Lupercal as Alpharius. This is followed by the last line of the novel: “This was a lie.” So does that refer to Omegon calling himself Alpharius, or does it mean that the entire story was all one big lie? Hydra Dominatus, ladies and gentlemen.

Throughout the novel, Alpharius comes across as a surprisingly philosophical person, often ruminating on his nature and that of his brothers. He isn’t particularly impressed with any of them except for Horus (Alpharius even expresses a foreboding worry that Horus is carrying too much on his shoulders), The Lion to a certain extent (whom Alpharius speculates was the only brother to see through him and sense the truth), Sanguinius (but he might be lying), and he reveals that he distrusted Rogal Dorn so much that he decided to plant some sleeper agents on Terra just in case. (Of course, one of these sleeper agents was Alpharius himself, according to Praetorian of Dorn, so does this mean that the Alpharius who was narrating this novel is a disguised Alpha Legionnaire?)

Blood of the Emperor[edit]

Oh, look, another short story anthology. Only six stories this time.

Lupis Daemonis: Turns out Cthonia is even shittier than we were told it was, ranking as possibly even shittier than Nostramo and Barbarus combined. Horus, who goes without a name until the end of the story, is the runt of his gang in the utter shitheap that is the Cthonian underworld and is only spared from getting shanked by the other members of his gang because the gang leader realizes he isn't normal. We find out Horus was made differently from the other Primarchs in that his Primarch-level growth rate was intentionally stunted until psychically activated by the Emperor from afar, for some reason. Long story short, Horus evolves into his current form Pokémon style at the end after killing his gang leader/foster father, who was the one who gave him his name. Also apparently the Justaerin got their name from a violent gang on Cthonia who enjoyed impaling people on stakes.
Skjalds: We learn Russ returns to Fenris every once in awhile to fuck with the locals, in this case a hunting party trying to kill a warp tainted creature who killed a whole village. Also we get confirmation that, yes, he does indeed smell like a dog.
The Sixth Cult of the Denied: Magnus soft-exiles a member of his legion (and disbands an entire cult of the Thousand Sons) for consorting with demons in the quest for forbidden knowledge, specifically how the fuck he managed to cure his legion of the Flesh Change. Oh, the irony.
The Will of the Legion: Dorn and the Imperial Fists happen upon an opportunistic bunch of void-dwelling bandits who attack their fleet and are a hair's breadth away from destroying every single one of them with extreme prejudice until they surrender at the very last moment. Basically a reminder that just because Dorn is a loyal good boy to the Emperor doesn't mean he isn't still a mass murderous dick at the end of the day.
Council of Truth: Alpharius "confesses" to doing things the hard way as a means to constantly test himself and the Alpha Legion in preparation for the day that might see them standing as the Imperium's last line of defense. Basically confirms that Alpharius saw the Heresy coming a loooong way off.
Terminus: Two Death Guard at the Siege of Terra, fresh off the events of 'The Buried Dagger', wonder if they're (gasp) the bad guys, what with their rotting flesh and awful smell and such.

Mortarion: The Pale King[edit]

Set during Mortarion's early days in the Imperium, just after the events of The Verdict of the Scythe and flashing back to the Conquest of Galaspar, his first campaign as primarch of the Death Guard. As he's settling into command of his legion, Mortarion learns of a noncompliant human empire known as the Order in the Galaspar Cluster. Billions of people are enslaved, kept permanently drugged up, and forced to work themselves to death for the enrichment of the High Comptrollers, a pack of oligarchical assholes who refer to their slaves as "labor units" and have them executed and turned into nutrient sludge because their baking wasn't up to par (no, really). The Order's similarities to the Overlords of Barbarus piss Morty off to the point where he rejects the other Imperial commanders' suggestion that they blockade and besiege the cluster and decides to do a Leeroy Jenkins-style decapitation strike instead. He takes his fleet and barges clean through the Cluster's exterior defenses before ramming a cruiser into the side of the largest hive on Galaspar Prime and going out to kick ass the Death Guard way: fistfuls of rad grenades, rivers of phosphex, and power scythes, all topped off with plenty of orbital bombardments. No one who belongs to the Order is allowed to survive; Morty and the legion kill most of the Comptrollers even when they try to surrender and leave a few to be torn to pieces by their former slaves. Morty expects to be praised for his work, but the Emperor seems upset and sends Horus and Sanguinius to call him to account. Both primarchs are stunned by the level of destruction Mortarion has wrought, and When he tries to justify himself to his brothers, Horus points out that all he's done is replace one kind of tyranny with another. Morty has a brief moment of clarity and wonders if there is a better path forward for him and his legion. Ultimately, however, he concludes that the examples of Galaspar and Absyrtus justify his way of war and decides to become an embodiment of unstoppable, unrelenting Death, and we all know how well that worked out for him. Also features Calas Typhon and Nathaniel Garro in their early days as line legionaries. Typhon falls into a disgusting sewer at one point and runs into a psyker who seems to know what he'll become, while Garro is the sole survivor of a kill team sent to take out the Order's chief asshole, which is probably what set him on the path to becoming battle-captain of the Seventh Grand Company.

Rogal Dorn: The Emperor's Crusader[edit]

Six decades into the Great Crusade, the Emperor orders Dorn to take his Legion into an area of the galaxy obscured by a colossal warp storm and bring it into compliance.

Sanguinius: The Great Angel[edit]

A disgraced remembrancer joins the IX Legion on campaign and learns more about the early days of the Blood Angels, possibly including some of their more unsavory secrets.


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 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 as 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 officers about how the Fists prosecute their own wars.

Konrad Curze: A Lesson in Darkness Pretty skippable, really just Curze giving his thoughts on why the Emperor made him like he did and the Night Lord definition of "compliance" during the Great Crusade. Hint: It involves flaying. Lots of it.

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."

Horus Heresy Character Series[edit]

A subseries of novellas and short stories focusing on major characters from the Crusade and Heresy eras. Originally these were part of the Primarchs series until BL finally split them off into their own category.

Valdor: Birth of the Imperium[edit]

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.

As it turns out, it doesn't really tell us anything that we didn't know already, though it does expand on a few things. The book is set near the end of the Unification Wars on Terra. The new Provost Marshal, Uwoma Kandawire, has uncovered evidence of some shady doings at Mount Ararat and confronts Constantin Valdor as to the Custodians’ role in that battle. Along the way, he tells her of the war against the warp-tainted Confederacy of Maulland Sen, where the inherent instability of the Thunder Warriors first became apparent. They weren't just genetically unstable; the influence of the Warp also caused them to go more berserk than usual, so it became evident to the Emperor that a long-term solution would be required. Valdor also tells Kandawire about the primarchs being scattered by the Chaos gods; the psychic backlash from the event was so strong that it wrecked a large section of the Imperial Dungeon and killed thousands of those present. Valdor himself waded in to save the stored gene-seed from being destroyed, alongside Amar Astarte, the Imperium’s best gene-wright and the namesake of the Adeptus Astartes, though everyone believed that the primarchs had been killed. The Provost Marshal concludes that the Custodes are trying to make a grab for power and leads an uprising alongside Lord Ushotan, the “primarch” of the Thunder Warriors’ Fourth Legion, who survived the purge at Ararat. Valdor confronts Kandawire and Ushotan outside the Lion’s Gate and explains himself thus: the Custodians and the Emperor are the architects of humanity’s future, and any crime can be forgiven and any virtue dismissed if it is in service to that future. Then he unleashes the fledgling I Legion to destroy the insurrectionists and personally kills Ushotan in a duel. In the aftermath, he explains to Kandawire the Imperium’s ultimate aim: not just Unity on Earth, but Unity throughout the galaxy, a vast undertaking which will require hundreds of thousands of these new soldiers. Meanwhile, Amar Astarte has come to the conclusion that the Space Marine project will fall apart without the primarchs and has decided to destroy the stored gene-seed in order to stop them from failing like the Thunder Warriors did. She manages to blow up the gene-seed vaults underneath the Palace, but Malcador already had copies of all twenty batches moved to Luna. He then reveals to Valdor that the Emperor believes the primarchs are still alive and intends to seek them out. Valdor wonders if it wouldn't just be better to abandon them or destroy them outright, since they might be tainted by whatever power snatched them away in the first place. Malcador's dialogue heavily implies that the Emperor actually did have some paternal affection for the primarchs at this point, as he mentions that the Emperor has started referring to them as his sons and suggests that he has a lingering attachment to them which has yet to fade. Valdor's response is equally telling: he notes that the Emperor's "human sentiments" are slowly ebbing away, and Malcador acknowledges that this is the price the Emperor was willing to pay to secure his dream of Unity.

Luther: First of the Fallen[edit]

A story told from the perspective of Luther starting at the time he’s found by Redloss after the events of Caliban’s destruction. Locked in a cell and tortured on and off so frequently that he barely even registers it anymore, he’s constantly forced to deal with Dark Angel Chapter Master after Dark Angel Chapter Master as the millennia go by, each one coming to him for knowledge of the past in between being frozen in stasis by the Watchers in the Dark. Each time he’s asked a question, Luther answers it in a roundabout way by telling a story from his past as a way to demonstrate some point to whichever Chapter Master happens to be listening: some get what he’s saying, and some don’t. One story gets misinterpreted so badly that the Chapter Master in question comes back afterwards and kills himself in Luther’s cell. By the time of the events of great rift with Azrael as the current chapter master, while the Rock is under siege, he finds that his cell door is open and he literally just tip-toes his way out.

Sigismund: The Eternal Crusader[edit]

Solomon Voss comes to interview Sigismund for the first time near the end of the Great Crusade, and Sigismund reveals why he believes that there will only be war in the Imperium's grimdark noblebright future.

Most of the novel is concerned with Siggy's backstory: he was an orphan recruited from the slums of Terra by the Night Lords, but the initial genetic testing revealed he was more compatible with the Imperial Fists, War Hounds, Luna Wolves, and Raven Guard, in that order, so he got bumped into the VII Legion instead. He earned his position as First Captain by beating 200 other Templar Brethren in one-on-one duels, with his final opponent being a Contemptor Dreadnought containing the guy who coached him when he joined the Templars. He's named Dorn's personal champion after winning a duel with an Iron Hands champion over whether Dorn or Ferrus was right about the proper prosecution of a campaign. We also get to see his infamous duel with Sevatar, which lasted an entire day until Sigismund was about to land the killing blow and Sevatar cheated to end it, and his time with the World Eaters, where he picked up his habit of chaining his sword to his arm. Most interestingly, he admits that he never wanted to be recruited for the Legions, and that if he knew as a child what he'd become, he'd still have said no. Voss further realizes that Sigismund is hoping to die at some point so he can escape the endless cycle of conflict. The book ends with Voss summarizing what Sigismund believes: there will always be war, because even if the Imperium pacifies the galaxy, it will still have to fight against the cruelty, savagery, and cowardice of human nature. Needless to say, later events proved Sigismund to be absolutely right in every possible way.

The Tabletop Wargame[edit]

Forge World produces a line of books and models (in line with the old Imperial Armour and Warhammer Forge) to allow players to fight battles from the Horus Heresy, with rules and models for the Primarchs (both pre- and post-fall, for the Traitors), named characters who were romping around back then and ancient vehicles and machines that would be one off units in 40k armies, being fielded en-mass. Originally an add on system for Warhammer 40,000, it became it's own game with a rulebook after 40k moved on to 8th edition making it a sort of legacy game for the older style of 40k edition and also meaning the game has become a refuge for fa/tg/uys who don't enjoy 8th/9th edition 40k. Since the game is set during the 31st millennium pretty much all the armies are more archaic versions of their 40k counter parts, with lots of rules and quirks that help differentiate the factions from their future selves, such as legion tactical squads being able to be fielded in 20 man squads representing how much bigger the legions were and Daemons not having their gods properly identified (though still having rules for god specific daemons) and having vague unit names to represent the only basic understanding the Imperium had of them. There are no xenos armies unfortunately (or fortunately depending on who you ask), but all the factions that are in the game are very customisable with a huge array of rules, army types and really good conversion opportunities being able to be brought to the table, especially for Mechanicum, Daemon and Militia & Cults armies. 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.

Following the passing of Alan Bligh and the re-organisation of Forge World as a studio, the fate of this wargame had been seen as a bit precarious. While there were probably more books to cover up to and likely including the Siege of Terra, it seemed increasingly likely that Daddy GeeDubs wasn't keen on letting FW continue writing for this game (or making massive monsters and tanks for the mainstream games) on top of their work on Necromunda and Blood Bowl. One only had to look at how gutted the Imperial Armour books became in recent editions to see the writing on the wall. That said, the game had itself a sizeable following, especially after 8th Edition 40K essentially threw out all the crunch fans knew and made something entirely different, predictably leading to reactionary grognards clinging to the remaining flecks of nostalgia.

The game was never fully cancelled though. Though the black books had essentially stopped after Crusade, GW did release Zone Mortalis rules, the Exemplary Battles PDFs mentioned below and more alarmingly, the lead-up to Adepticon 2022 announced that the Horus Heresy wargame was going to see a new edition, now written by the core GW design team. Warhammer Fest 2022 displayed their full intent, with a full box set (filled with plastic Beakies, two new Praetors, a Spartan, and Cataphractii Termies, all in plastic) as well as plenty of other updated models: new support squad weapon kits, reboxed 20-man kits for Mk. III and Mk. IV Marines, plastic Deimos-pattern Rhinos, Sicarans, and Leviathan Dreadnoughts, an updated plastic Contemptor Dread kit, and the brand new Kratos Heavy Assault Tank, a heavy tank placed in between the Sicaran and Fellblade.

First Edition[edit]

Book 1: Betrayal Forge World starts big, as their first book covers the battles on Istvaan III, in which Horus sent the remaining loyalist elements of the Sons of Horus, Emperor's Children, Death Guard, and World Eaters to the surface, ostensibly to rout the anti-Imperial resistance that had taken hold in the capital city, and then fired Exterminatus torpedoes (of the life-eater virus bomb variety) onto the city to wipe them out.

Unfortunately for Horus, not everything went as planned; not only did the loyalist Death Guard frigate Eisenstein escape to the Phalanx with word of Horus's betrayal, but loyalist elements on other ships were able to disrupt the bombardment and warn the loyalists on the ground that it was coming. Between the disruption, the warning, and good old-fashioned Space Marine toughness, only a third or so of the landed force had actually died. Horus would have fired another bombardment, but Angron and his traitor World Eaters jumped the gun and made planetfall; the other traitors were left with no choice but to deploy themselves and destroy the remaining loyalists personally.
Betrayal contains a Great Crusade Legion army list (for which we have a tactica), and rules for special characters and units from the Sons of Horus, Death Guard, Emperor's Children, and World Eaters Legions, including their Primarchs (even Fulgrim, who was not actually at the battle) and several major characters from the book series such as Garviel Loken.

Book 2: Massacre The infamous Drop Site Massacre is the focus of the next book, where seven Legions are sent to crush Horus’ rebellion, only for four of those to turn on the other three and crush them utterly. The book's 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.

Book 3: Extermination Focusses on the second half of Istvaan V, as well as the Battle of Phall between the Iron Warriors and Imperial Fists; and on that note, it includes rules for those two Legions, as well as the Alpha Legion and the Raven Guard. It also gives us a complete Mechanicum Army List: the Taghmata.

Book 4: Conquest Horus Heresy Volume Four is entitled 'Conquest', despite early hints from Forgeworld that it would be about the Battle of Prospero, it instead features Horus' conquest of the Imperium and the "Major" battles of this time, which is to say some battle-zones that Forgeworld made up to fill time whilst they worked on the more well known events from the in-universe history. (And to be fair, their response as to why Prospero was delayed was because it included four major factions, two of which have NEVER been represented on the tabletop, so required more time to do them justice.)

A large portion of the book is given over to running battles in the "Age of Darkness", which is a variant ruleset used as the default for Horus Heresy games (where only Troops usually score, amongst other things) and has rules and FOCs for Cityfight missions, rules for running ongoing campaigns, variant rules for mysterious terrain and objectives as well as including unique relics to be taken by the various army lists to add flavor to non-special characters. It also introduces the Solar Auxilia and "Questoris" Knights (as an AdMech list) armies to play while the modellers take a break from building power armor 24/7.

Book 5: Tempest 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.

Book 6: Retribution Focused on 'Shadow Wars' far from the main fronts of the Heresy, in particular the Shattered Legions - that is, the Iron Hands, Raven Guard, and Salamanders in their weakened state following their losses in the Drop Site Massacre. But other Legions can also be included, with special rules for the Shattered Legions, Black Shields and a list for Armies of Dark Compliance - mixed traitor Legiones/Militia lists, as well as ten new special characters. It includes Legiones Astartes rules for the White Scars, Blood Angels and Dark Angels, so that players of those legions can start playing properly; however, it does not include special units, characters, or Primarchs for those legions. It also includes Garro and the Knights Errant and additional Mechanicum units and characters, including a new Dark Magos, Anacharis Scoria. Space Wolves and Thousand Sons will still need to wait for the Prospero book (Inferno, Book 7).

Book 7: Inferno In Set to be book 3. late 2016. early 2017 (Because FW can't keep to schedule) December 2016 February 4, 2017, 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.

Book 8: Malevolence 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, two new squads, and an entire slew of relics that interact with Psykers and Daemons.

Book 9: Crusade: Was originally to be called Angelus, though it eventually was renamed to Crusade. It covers the Thramas Crusade with the Dark Angels vs Night Lords and introduces new Legion-specific units and characters for the Dark Angels, including Dreadwing units and rules for upgrading DA characters to represent any of the six Wings of the Hexagrammaton. Most importantly, the Lion finally has his rules. The Night Lords got revamped rules and some new toys, including a new VIII Legion-specific Terminator squad that isn't the Atramentar. Unfortunately leaks have confirmed that the Dark Mechanicum army list has been pushed back to the next book edition. Also has rules for some new Space Marine vehicles, including the Sabre strike tank and the Arquitor Bombard, plus new additions for the Solar Auxilia, Imperial militia, and Chaos cults. Finally released in September 2020, having been delayed due to Nurgle's interference. Remarkable for atrocious fluff like Dark Angel auxiliary fleets usually including Glorianas, "the biggest threat to the existence of Imperium" being reduced to 80k Marine casualties in all three campaigns spanning for two decades, Legion recruits retaining their noble status after being conscripted, and many, many more things that would give even Matt Ward a pause. This proved to be the last of the black books for the first edition of the Heresy tabletop, as GW announced a new edition of the game at Adepticon 2022.

Condensed Lists[edit]

The Istvaan Campaign Legions (ICL) and Legiones Astartes Crusade Army List (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. Lorgar's psychic rules.)

The LACAL is basically the generic 30k Space Marine "codex", whilst the ICL contains all of the collected rules for the legions from Books 1-3, including their units, characters and wargear. 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 Taghmata 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.

Exemplary Battles[edit]

Starting in Fall 2021, GW started publishing a series of free PDFs for the Horus Heresy tabletop which contain mini-campaigns based around battles from the Heresy that have been mentioned in the novels or black books but weren't big enough for a book of their own. These PDFs also include fluff and rules for Legion units that haven't been given any yet, along with photos and conversion tips for said units. These tips boil down to "buy tons of Forge World stuff while you still can", so one could plausibly argue that the PDFs are just ads for FW's overpriced upgrade packs. Still, it's a neat concept and at least they're free. These seem to be leading into the new edition of the game as announced at Adepticon 2022; GW has confirmed that the PDFs released prior to the launch of the new edition have been written to work with both sets of rules.

  • The Battle of Pluto: Hydra's Devastation: Focuses on the Alpha Legion's invasion of Pluto, as seen in Praetorian of Dorn, and provides a scenario for Imperial Fists vs Alpharius' sneaky sneks. Also has rules for the Huscarls, Dorn's elite bodyguard, which make them into Phalanx Warders on steroids.
  • The Defence of Sotha: Aegida's Lament: Focuses on the Night Lords' raid on Sotha and the near-destruction of the Ultramarines Aegida Company while attempting to hold Sothopolis. The Atramentar finally get their tabletop rules and also are spotlighted in the fluff, which concludes with them murderfucking their own commanding officer because he was getting too uppity for the other Night Lord officers' liking.
  • The Siege of Hydra Cordatus: Sundering of the Cadmean Citadel: Imperial Fists vs. Iron Warriors brawling it out on the ruined world of Hydra Cordatus. Includes rules for the IV Legion's Dominator Cohort, Perturabo's former bodyguards who got fired and replaced with the Iron Circle after Phall. Hilariously, they are so salty about this that they have Hatred (Cybernetica Cortex) unless you take them as Pert's retinue.
  • The Battle of Armatura: World Eaters vs. Ultramarines on the war world of Armatura, as seen in Betrayer. Includes rules for the XII Legion's Red Hand Destroyer squads, who can take Caedere weapons like meteor hammers and excoriator chainaxes in addition to all the usual Destroyer nastiness and must declare a charge whenever able if they're within 12" of an enemy unit at the beginning of the Assault phase.
  • The Battle of Perditus: Umbral-51: The Death Guard are trying to loot galaxy-wrecking archaeotech and the Dark Angels mean to stop them. Iron Hands and Mechanicum are there too, and the mission pack has rules for rampaging battle-automata trying to kill the Spess Mehreens so the techpriests can go back to worshiping their doomsday devices in peace. Includes rules for units from both sides: the Order of the Broken Claw and the Mortus Poisoners. The Broken Claw are Inner Circle Knights who get bonuses against Monstrous and Gargantuan Creatures and daemons, representing the fact that they were the I Legion's specialized Rangdan-killers during the Xenocides. The Mortus Poisoners are Destroyers who can swap their bolters for flamers with chem-munitions for free and one in every five can swap their bolt pistol for a heavy flamer with chem-munitions for 20 points (that's right, their bolt pistol, not their bolter, blame FW editors), and can be taken in units of 15 for when you just want the table to burn.
  • The Battle of Calth: Underworld War: Smurfs and Word Bearers duking it out in Zone Mortalis missions representing the underground battles fought after Calth's surface was trashed in Know No Fear. Includes rules for the Ultramarines' Nemesis Destroyer squads, aka Guilliman's least favorite sons. Instead of dual bolt pistols, they get bolters with specialist ammo that gives them Assault 2 and Rending and they can take weapons usually reserved for Breacher and Support squads. Kinda weird, but makes sense given the XIII's "tactical flexibility" schtick. No jump packs, though.
  • Battle For Kalium Gate: Emperor's Children and White Scars get their turn, fighting over a huge void gate as the Scars try to get back to Terra in time for the big party. Has rules for new units from both sides. The III Legion gets the Sun Killers, Heavy Support squads that only use lascannons, multi-meltas, volkite culverins, and plasma cannons because they're elegant weapons from a more civilized time. The White Scars get the Karaoghlanlar, or Dark Sons of Death. Aside from sounding like a Welsh person choking on something, they're jump-pack Destroyers who don't get phosphex or missile launchers and trade one bolt pistol for a chainsword, but can be taken as a retinue for a Stormseer with a jump pack. They also have a rule that lets them autofail Sweeping Advance rolls in exchange for performing a spooky ritual that forces enemy units within 6" to pass an Ld test or suffer -1 WS next turn.
  • The Breaking of the Perfect Fortress: Raven Guard storming the III Legion's Perfect Fortress on the world of Narsis, previously mentioned in Deliverance Lost. Includes rules for the Deliverers, Terran-born Raven Guard who were trained under Horus and still prefer to use Terminator armor and shock-assault tactics. They're Stubborn and get teleportation transponders for deep-striking, but their main rule is Corax's Shame, representing the fact that Corax wasn't fond of his brutal Terran sons. They get +1T against attacks that cause Instant Death and cannot be deployed within 18" of Corax, nor can he ever join them. If you take Deliverers as part of a traitor force, they instead gain Hatred against Corax.
  • The Scouring of Gilden's Star: Word Bearers vs Blood Angels fighting over a Hamlet reference last seen all the way back in 1989. Has rules for the Word Bearers' Procurators, basically assault squads led by evil Apothecaries who steal gene-seed and desecrate corpses to summon daemons. They give boosts to friendly psykers with the Harbinger of Chaos, Diabolism, and Anathemata disciplines and award an extra VP every time they Sweeping Advance an enemy unit.
  • The Battle of Trisolian: Vengeful Spirit: Taking a page from the Wolfsbane novel, this portrays the part of the Battle of Trisolian when the Space Wolves broke into Horus' flagship during Russ' attempt to kill Horus before he reached Terra. Introduces the Space Wolves' Jorlund Hunter Pack, assault marines that can temporarily supercharge their flamers, and the Sons of Horus' Chieftains, an elite retinue of junior officers who specialize in hunting down characters.
  • The Axandria IV Incident: Imperial Fists, Custodes, and Sisters of Silence raid a Thousand Sons repository world not long before the Siege of Terra, and the Thousand Sons actually score a win this time by evacuating their data stacks before the loyalist forces can trash them. Includes rules for Numerologist Cabals of the Order of Ruin, Thousand Sons Techmarines and tacticians who used divination to generate battle plans and predict enemy movements. The Numerologist gains a special psychic power that gives him a geo-locator beacon and boosts the BS of two friendly Thousand Sons squads if he passes a psychic check. He also gets a special bubble-wrap rule that prevents him from taking any wounds no matter what until all his bodyguards are dead, unless he accepts a challenge.

Second Edition[edit]

The first two books for the new edition of the tabletop were revealed at Warhammer Fest 2022: the Liber Astartes and the Liber Hereticus. These are basically updated and combined versions of the LACAL and ICL books. Both books contain the rules for all non-Legion-specific units, while the Liber Astartes has the rules for the loyalist legions and the Liber Hereticus has the rules for the traitor legions, including their Primarchs, unique units and wargear, Rites of War, Warlord Traits, and faction abilities. The Legacies of the Age of Darkness PDF contains the rules for vehicles, units, and characters who either never had models or whose models are now out of production, including most of the Legion-specific special characters, Castraferrum Dreadnoughts, the CRASSUS ARMOURED ASSAULT TRANSPORT, and all of the Baneblade variants. Later leaks, which Warhammer Community would confirm, revealed that there would also be books for the Mechanicum (Liber Mechanicum) that would contain rules for the Taghmata, Knights and Titans as well as a book for the Custodes, Sisters of Silence, Solar Auxilia, and Divisio Assassinorum (Liber Imperium). Daemons of the Ruinstorm and Imperialis Militia/Warp Cults will get downloadable lists, and according to the Legacies PDF the Knights-Errant and Blackshields are being made into full factions. They will also continue to release the Exemplary Battles series; the previously released PDFs got a separate update PDF in order to work with the new edition. The tactics page for the Legions can be found here.

The core rules have been drastically modified with the addition of "Reactions", which make gameplay more dynamic. In addition to basic reactions such as Overwatch, each Legion now has an "Advanced Reaction" that can be taken in response to the opponent's actions. Furthermore, USRs have been rewritten to be more granular (e.g. Bulky, Very Bulky, and Extremely Bulky are now Bulky (2), Bulky (3), and Bulky (5), where the number in parentheses is how many models that unit counts as for the purposes of transport capacity) and the Psychic Phase has been removed in lieu of the pre-7th edition manner of resolving psychic powers.

See Also[edit]

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 (Late M30-005.M31) Unification Wars - The Last Church - Rangdan Xenocides - Interex - Gardinaal - Faash - Council of Nikaea
Horus Heresy (005.M31-014.M31) Battle of Isstvan III - The Burning of Prospero - Battle of the Alaxxes Nebula - Drop Site Massacre - Thramas Crusade
The Battle of Phall - Battle of Calth - Signus Campaign - Imperium Secundus - Battle of Trisolian - Siege of Terra
Time of Rebirth (015.M31-M32) The Great Scouring (~015.M31) - Start of The Long War (M31) - The Legion Wars (M31) - The Battle of Skalathrax (M31)
The Battle of Harmony (M31) - Creation of the Codex Astartes (M31) - Second Founding (021.M31) - Battle of Thessala (121.M31)
The Forging (M32-M34) The War of The Beast (544.M32-546.M32) - The Beheading (546.M32) - The War of the False Primarch (780.M33-860.M33)
Nova Terra Interregnum (M34-M36) 21st Founding (M36)
Age of Apostasy (M36) Plague of Unbelief (310.M36)
Age of Redemption (M37-Early M38) Abyssal Crusade (321.M37-121.M38)
The Waning (Early M38- Early 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 (Early M41-999.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)
Orphean War (991.M41-Ongoing) - Third Tyrannic War (997.M41-999.M41) - Taros Campaign (998.M41) - Fall of Shadowbrink (998.M41)
Octarius War (999.M41-Ongoing) - Conquest of Uttu Prime (Late M41) - Devastation of Baal (999.M41) - 13th Black Crusade (999.M41-M42)
Age of the Dark Imperium (000.M42-Ongoing) Ultima Founding (999.M41-012.M42) - Indomitus Crusade (999.M41-Ongoing, first phase ended on 012.M42)
War of Beasts (001.M42-025.M42) - Plague Wars (~012.M42) - Psychic Awakening (M42)