So remember when the Lion decided to send back a whole bunch of Calibanites to Caliban without explaining why? Book #11 in the Horus Heresy, Fallen Angels by Mike Lee, takes place immediately after Luther and Zahariel’s exile. The book opens with the exiles landing on Caliban and getting to work on the task the Lion laid out for them. He said he wanted them to work on training the recruits, but he never explained why he chose this bunch. Why did he pick his First Captain, right-hand man and father-figure? Why did he send Zahariel, the strongest Librarian in the Legion (yes, stronger than Israfael) and his personal confidant for years, back home? Why did he not tell ANYONE his decisions?
After reading the Lion’s primarch novel, the answer is suddenly quite simple. The Lion is his father’s son.
The Apple Does NOT Fall Far From the Tree
One of the biggest underlying themes in the primarch novel is how much the Lion is like his father. It makes sense, being the firstborn child and all, which means the Lion was the first experiment. The Emperor would have made the first primarch most like him before piecing the rest of him to the other 19. And, being like the Emperor, the Lion explains his actions to his sons as much as his father does.
The Emperor never explained to Perturabo why he had him destroy instead of build, why it’s so important that Lorgar not worship him, why Magnus shouldn’t study the warp, or why he was leaving the Great Crusade. As I’ve joked many times on the podcast, the Horus Heresy occurred because the man wouldn’t hug his children. The Lion is the exact same.
He never explained to Luther or Zahariel or his other sons why he sent them back. He didn’t check in with them to see how things were faring. Granted, he had an excuse once Horus showed his colors, but there were decades before that where he ignored them.
Also like his father, he didn’t explain why he wanted those books from the Northwilds preserved and hidden away from everyone. He kept it to himself that there was something rotten in the core of Caliban.
And what happened to both father and son? Their sons were easily led astray by someone proclaiming to know “the truth.” With Horus, it was Erebus. With Luther, it was Cypher. Then their sons divided and warred against one another. The parallels are so crazy obvious, I’m mad that it took David Guymer’s recent book to open my eyes.
Luther’s Fall Broke My Heart as Much as Horus’
Even though I knew Horus was going to fall, either in Horus Rising or False Gods, it broke my heart all the same when it did happen. I had the exact same reaction when Luther fell. I was outraged at how easily both Horus and Luther were manipulated. And I was livid with the Emperor and the Lion not explaining their actions. If only you talked to your sons! If, if, if!
I can’t blame Horus or Luther for falling, not entirely. Outside forces manipulated them both as well, but the blame falls squarely on the fathers.
And then there’s Zahariel. Poor, poor Zahariel. He’s stuck in the middle, and yet he’s watching the Imperium destroy Caliban. As rebels pop up, clearly not happy about Imperial rule, the Terran general makes life harder for them. As he explains to Zahariel how it works, all Zahariel sees is how the general is creating more rebels. His views only worsen when he sees that the Imperium has segregated the Caliban “natives” into lower hab levels, below the Administratum and “nobles.” They’re also without steady food, water, and power, because evidently, the Imperium hasn’t shown exactly how inferior they are. If that wasn’t enough, how about the Terran sorcerers who were trying to banish a daemon by sacrificing people for their ritual? And not telling anyone what they were doing?
DOES ANY OF THIS SOUND FAMILIAR?
GAH! I just want to crack some skulls together, I swear to all that is holy.
No wonder Luther is ready to overthrow the Lion and the Imperium. It’s hardly a surprise that Zahariel, and even Astelan, are ready to side with Luther. The Lion has ignored them for so long, and despite the Lion telling Nemiel that the “restriction of information isn’t the same thing as deception,” it’s still keeping your sons in the dark. As we’ve seen with the Emperor, that doesn’t always work out in your favor.
The next Horus Heresy novel jumps forward to the aftermath of Istvaan V, and I kind of wish it went back to what happened with the other chapters on Istvaan V. Whatever happened to the Raven Guard? The Salamanders? The rest of the Iron Hands? I have questions that need answering. If you’re wondering what happened to Book #12, I already wrote it up. Yes, I know, I’ve read some out of order when I swore I wouldn’t.
Fourteen books down, 40 to go.
Horus Hearsay is dedicated to Keri’s journey through the Horus Heresy saga. The chronicling of the Horus Heresy began over ten years ago, with currently 54 books in total, not counting The Primarchs series or the various short stories. Horus Hearsay will only cover the main novels.