Remember when I said I was going to read through the entire Horus Heresy series? Pepperidge Farm remembers. And I do remember, but I got distracted. It didn’t help that when I read the first chapter of Nemesis by James Swallow, I had instant comparisons to Battle for the Abyss. Here we go again, another book where a battle doesn’t matter because both sides cancel one another out. Only this time, it’s with assassins, so it’s totes different.
And I realized I pre-judged this book a little too harshly. I really enjoyed this book.
It’s not really about the shark, but the reaction of the town…
While yes, the overall story is how both sides sent assassins to kill Horus and the Emperor and both failed, that’s just the surface. The bigger picture falls with the Imperial citizens, and just how they are dealing with the galactic civil war.
The answer is not well. While the planets openly support one leader over another, there are still pockets of “rebels” for each side on these planets. For example, the main planet where the assassination plot all comes to a head is Dagonet, and Dagonet has openly supported the Warmaster Horus. Since Horus was the one who brought the planet under Imperial compliance, it makes some sense as to why they would feel a tighter bond with Lupercal than the Emperor far away on Terra. However, there is a small band of “rebels” who want to fight for the Emperor and thwart their countrymen’s plans.
On the other plot planet, Iesta Veracrux, the opposite was the case.
Each side of assassins start on opposite planets and try to fit in and slip everyone’s notice. By doing so, the reader learns of the plights of the people as they just try to live another day. This really isn’t their fight, but it’s being made their fight. For better or for worse, they have to try to do what they feel is best.
Unfortunately for them, the assassins muck everything up, which was exactly James Swallow’s point.
Fix it until it’s broke
Even though I developed a strong attachment for the Vindicare, and even the Eversor (he was funny when he wasn’t murdering everything that moves), I wanted to scold all of them for ruining lives. By getting involved in the Dagonet rebellion, which they did only to get Horus to land on the planet, they destroyed the entire planet. Once the Sons of Horus realized that Dagonet was trying to assassinate Horus, they decided to kill everyone in sight.
Sure, they could have asked the governor if he knew anything about this attempted assassination, but it’s been proven time and time again that these guys aren’t good with their words. Even if the Vindicare was successful in his mission, the result would have been the same: a glassed planet.
Horus told Erebus that assassination was the coward’s strategy, and I have to agree, especially after seeing the aftermath here. Even Dorn scolded the Assassinorum, telling them that killing Horus would do nothing in the end. Another one would take his place, and planets would still be massacred in the name of the Warmaster.
The entire story ended up being a waste, but not in the same transgression as Battle for the Abyss. This waste came in the form of a loss of resources, a loss of life, and a massive loss of time for both sides. As such, it was hardly a waste of my time.
Dorn it all
Nemesis is certainly skippable in the grand scheme of things, but if I had skipped it, I would have missed a most excellent dressing-down of the Assassinorum by Rogal Dorn. This man suffers no fools, and he doesn’t mince words.
I giggled through his whole tirade.
Fifteen books down, 39 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.