Here we go YET AGAIN. It’s yet another short story collection in the Horus Heresy, The Silent War. This collection—for the most part—is about Malcador collecting wayward Space Marines for his future Grey Knights and the various missions he sends them on. As much as it kills me to admit, I had a good time with 90% of these stories. Maybe it’s because the stories featured Garro, Loken, and Iacton Qruze, or maybe it’s because we got a bit more insight into Malcador.
Either way, this collection wasn’t a complete waste of time. Was anything lore-shattering or something we really needed to know for the Horus Heresy? Not really, no. But compared to the last several short story collections the HH hoards, it was fairly entertaining.
My absolute favorite short story of the bunch was “Grey Angel” by John French. Loken and Iacton Qruze have gone to Caliban to see 1) if they’re aware of the civil war and 2) whose side are they on? While it’s obvious Luther’s Dark Angels aren’t aware of anything outside of Caliban, Loken and Qruze don’t feel safe finding out where these Angels’ loyalties lie. The Watchers in the Dark and a mysterious Dark Angel—I’m guessing is either Cypher or Zahariel—help them escape and get back off planet. The mystery angel instructs them to tell their master what they have seen there. Truth is, they haven’t seen much of anything. Neither has seen evidence of loyalty to Horus, but they both strongly feel that something is off about the Caliban angels.
I have to admit that this short story makes me slightly optimistic about John French’s Cypher: Lord of the Fallen book. Then again, I have said repeatedly that John French writes excellent short stories, not novels.
Another fantastic story was “The Sigillite” by Chris Wraight. Malcador shares how he really feels about the primarchs and a little insight into how all of this mess could really be part of the Emperor’s plan. Most fascinating to me was that Malcador said he hasn’t blamed Horus for anything yet, but he does blame Magnus. “Of all of them, he should have known better. We had so many hopes for Magnus.” Naturally, my next question is, “Did you ever share with Magnus your hopes? I’m going to guess not.” Talk to His own kids? What madness of a parenting idea is that?
And yet, of all of the primarchs, Malcador feels the most sorry for Lorgar. “Out of them all, if I could have saved just one, it would have been Lorgar…He was such a fragile soul, so subtle and ready to bruise.”
Other story highlights include “Ghosts Speak Not” by James Swallow (the final word of the story sent CHILLS down my spine), “Lost Sons” by James Swallow, “Child of Night” by John French, and “Luna Mendax” by Graham McNeill. The latter brought a tear to my eye.
They can’t all be winners, right? “Patience” by James Swallow was short and a bit meh. “Distant Echoes of Old Night” by Rob Sanders didn’t really belong in this collection. Halfway through it was like someone reminded Sanders that hey, this is about Malcador and his Knights Errant, so he tossed in a mention. Other than that, this story could have been in any other random anthology of short stories.
The novella The Purge by Anthony Reynolds was an interesting story about Malcador trying and failing to recruit a Word Bearer, but it was a little too stretched out for my taste.
And that’s all I have to complain about The Silent War. Pretty good for a short story anthology in the Horus Heresy series, right?
The next book is a true novel, and, after looking through the final 17 books, only FOUR are short story collections! Hooray! But as for the next book, it appears to be the Lion vs. Konrad Kurze, ROUND 2. Suddenly the idea of a version of Mortal Kombat featuring just the primarchs sounds really, really fun.
Thirty-seven books down, 17 books 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.