I was warned this was coming. That after Legion, the books would be filler for awhile. Considering that the Horus Heresy series has 54 books, this fact is hardly surprising. I used to watch anime for years. I’m used to filler, especially bad filler.
But I wasn’t expecting pointless filler.
Before you argue that all filler is pointless, I disagree. You could easily argue that Descent of Angels, Legion, or The First Heretic are filler. They aren’t directly part of the Horus Heresy, yet they provide crucial background information for these Legions. These filler books are far from pointless.
Battle for the Abyss by Ben Counter, however, was a complete waste of everyone’s time. It was a waste of author Ben Counter’s time. It was a waste of the Black Library’s time. And it was a waste of readers’ time. Nothing, absolutely nothing happened in this book that will affect things down the road.
Did You Know the Word Bearers Planned to Attack Macragge too?
The War on Calth is a known entity. It’s hardly a surprise that the Word Bearers took what the Ultramarines did on Colchis personally and wanted some payback. Plus, they also knew Guilliman would never betray the Emperor, so his Legion was already on the target list for the Traitor Legions. The Word Bearers volunteered to make this a bit more personal, that’s all.
But hey did you know that Kor Phaeron sent a separate fleet to take out Macragge at the same time? If you didn’t, it’s because the mission failed. The Ultramarines don’t even know of this plan, because everyone who stopped the attack died. Everyone.
Everyone who was a part of the attack on Macragge died. The Ultramarines saw the Furious Abyss approach the Formaska moon and they tried to hail them, but they don’t know what they were doing there. By the time they saw the ship go down, the attack on Calth was already underway. As far as any of them would know, this gigantic ship was part of the attack on Calth.
What About the Brave Souls Who Stopped the Abyss?
Yeah, they’re all dead. The humans. The Ultramarines Chapter. The Space Wolves, Thousand Sons, and World Eater allies. All dead.
Wait, there were Thousand Sons and World Eaters ready to help Captain Cestus warn Macragge? Surprisingly, there were. As I assume this took place after the events on Istvaan V, I’m guessing these are minions not part of the attack on Prospero or they weren’t invited on Istvaan V. Or does this take place before Istvaan?
Either way, these guys weren’t in the know. Skraal of the World Eaters was told by the Word Bearers and Angron sided with them. But he never got to find out if it was true or not because he got kil’t. Mhotep of the Thousand Sons had visions of Prospero’s spires burning and the howling of wolves, but he never got to see how true that was either because he, too, got kil’t.
So, this was a story about an attack that was going to happen but didn’t happen because it was stopped. And no one lived to tell the tale. No one will even search for the ships that Captain Cestus commandeered, because they were on the decommissioned list.
If a mission fails and no one lives to tell the tale, it matters as much as a tree making a sound while falling.
What’s worse is that I was looking forward to Battle for the Abyss, because I liked Ben Counter’s Galaxy in Flames so much. I can’t blame him entirely though. From reading both Dan Abnett’s and Graham McNeill’s stories on the early years of the Horus Heresy, it sounds like the books were assigned to writers. If that’s correct, then Counter was handed a bad assignment that he made the most of. Doesn’t make it any less disappointing, though.
Eleven books down, 43 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.