Is it wrong that I’ve liked the short story collections more than most of the HH books? I loved Tales of Heresy, and I found Age of Darkness to be just as delightful. Actually, I found it to be more than delightful. It was downright illuminating when it comes to famous conversations between the Legions during the war.
I read most of the stories while we were on vacation in Hawaii, and while I tried to read them in order, Jen and her husband pretty much stalked me until I read “The Iron Within.” And they were right; it was pretty darn great. It had everything on my personal checklist: deception (using an Ultramarine, no less!), a Space Marine telling his own traitorous Legion where they can shove it, and a diabolical escape plan. I learned a lot about the Iron Warriors’ cunning when it came to sieges from Graham McNeill’s Magnus primarch novel, but this was slow-clap-at-the-end-of-The-Illusionist worthy.
How did the Ravenguard and Salamanders escape Istvaan?
After Ferrus Manus lost his head on Istvaan V, the other Legions that came to support him—the Salamanders and Ravenguard—were officially caught off guard with more traitor Legions than they originally believed on the planet. They planned for two, but five other Legions were with Horus as well. I knew that Corax and the Raven Guard survived as well as some Salamanders, but how did they escape?
Gav Thorpe’s story tells how Corax and his remaining Raven Guard were able to leave, but it wasn’t a story I expected. One would think I’d always expect the Alpha Legion by now, but I never do, and I’m always grinning like a Cheshire Cat when they arrive.
Although, I do admit I wasn’t as pleased with the Alpha Legion with “Liar’s Due.” While that whole short story is literally how Alpharius softened up planets for his brothers’ conquests, it didn’t make it any easier to read. It was brilliant to be sure, but damn that Legion can be downright cruel.
The Lion and the Night Haunter
While I did highly enjoy “Rebirth,” the story about a group of Thousand Sons revisiting the rubble of Prospero, it was “Savage Weapons” by the venerable ABD that took second place in Age of Darkness. I’d heard of this story, the explanation about why the Lion wasn’t on Terra at the time of siege, but I was excited to read it all the same.
Needless to say, it did not disappoint. This was the first time you really saw two brothers squabbling like brothers. With Ferrus Manus and Fulgrim, that was more like a bad breakup than two brothers fighting. You know, when the breakups include hitting the person in the jaw. With a warhammer. That that other person made for you. Typical bad breakup.
The next book, Outcast Dead, seems to get back on the main track somewhat? We’ll see. All I know is that it’s a doozy of a book, clocking in at over 400 pages. This may be awhile.
Sixteen books down, 38 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.