One of my favorite characters in the Horus Heresy, thanks to James Swallow’s Flight of the Eisenstein, is Captain Nathaniel Garro of the Death Guard. Since I started reading this series so late in its life, I already knew he survived and went on to become the first of Malcador’s Grey Knights. As such, I really looked forward to reaching this novel and seeing how he cements his place for the final battles. However, I was greatly disappointed to learn that the novel Garro was merely a prose collection of the audio dramas James Swallow already wrote and produced. As a result, I was able to read the entire novel on a flight to Denver.
I could only think of a few possibilities as to why the Black Library decided to proceed with Garro in this manner. Considering at least one audio drama was damn near required listening before reading Vengeful Spirit, which was several books back, this novel is quite out of order. So either this novel was planned too late or not as many people invested in the audio dramas to understand how the hell Loken survived Istvaan III, therefore warranting the audio dramas to be reproduced. Either scenario is poor planning on the Black Library’s part, but if I’ve learned anything from reading the Horus Heresy series, it’s that the Black Library does not know how to plan, but they do like making money.
At least it wasn’t all a rehash, I suppose. The first three-fourths were the audio dramas, and then the last was a new novella-ish story about Garro searching for Euphrati Keeler.
An Arrow Without a Target
Garro, from the beginning of Flight of the Eisenstein, as always seemed to know exactly who he is and what his purpose is. He was always considered to be on the outside from his Death Guard brothers because he was a Dusk Raider from Terra. (There’s that pesky divide between the Terrans and the primarch-world Space Marines again!) But it’s because of his Terran roots that he had such a deep-seeded loyalty to the Emperor and Terra. So, serving the Regent of Terra seems to be an obvious fit for him.
However, he is filled with doubt. The secrets of Malcador, especially after finding his secret base on Titan, has made him doubt that what he is doing is right. Malcador told him plainly that he will sacrifice as many people as it takes to keep his secrets safe because what he is doing is for the Imperium. (Omelets and eggs once again as well.) The philosophy doesn’t sit well with Garro, and so Malcador lets him go on a sabbatical of sorts to get his head on straight for the battles ahead.
When the Saints Go Marching In
Naturally, Malcador has a way to keep tabs on Garro, and oh hey, Malcador also wants to know where the Saint is. Garro unwittingly leads other Knights Errant to her for collection, although to be fair, he really should have known better.
His journey wasn’t for nothing, as the Saint did renew him with purpose and he’s ready to lead the Knight Errants once more. However, the Saint and her retinue did leave Garro with quite a nagging thought, and it’s one you can’t help but pick up on, even if you only listen to the audio dramas. Malcador says everything he does is for the Imperium. But does the Imperium mean the Emperor? Is the Imperium supposed to include the Emperor or is the Imperium more important than the Emperor Himself? What is Malcador’s overall goal and does it align with the goals of the Emperor?
I really hope one of the novels in the Horus Heresy Character series is for Malcador. Hoo boy that would be fascinating reading.
Next book is unfortunately another collection of short stories, Shattered Legions. At least we’re coming near the end.
Forty-two books down, 12 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.