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 55 books in total, not counting The Primarchs series or the various short stories. Horus Hearsay will only cover the main novels.
I’ve gushed about the first books of the Horus Heresy, and I keep waiting for the other shoe to drop. When I added Flight of the Eisenstein to my GoodReads list, my eyes were drawn to the list of ho-hum reviews for the book. So many readers started their reviews with the same phrase: “I’d heard this is where the series drops in quality…” I’d never read anything by James Swallow before, so I started the book rather apprehensively. With 55 books and counting, they can’t all be winners.
Well GoodReads naysayers, Flight of the Eisenstein is definitely a winner. In fact, it’s my favorite book so far.
After I finished Galaxy in Flames, it was unbelievably difficult to not pick up FotE immediately. But I had the actual book club book to read, and those take precedent. I lost power for four days last week, which I used to finish that book and then I promptly jumped into FotE. I could not put it down.
The Death Guard Before Dark Imperium
Galaxy in Flames ended with the Saint escaping the Vengeful Spirit with Iacton Qruze to Captain Garro’s Death Guard frigate, the Eisenstein. Garro welcomed them aboard, and then the book went back to the surface of Istvaan III, where the best characters all died horrific deaths. I mean, I assumed Euphrati Keeler escaped with Garro, but I had no idea. If I knew lore outside of the books, I would have known that Garro was the first Grey Knight and thus had to have escaped. But I’m so glad I hadn’t, because not knowing what would happen kept me on the edge of my seat the entire novel.
But I digress. I thought FotE would start with Keeler et al boarding the ship, but it started with some background on the Death Guard instead. Since we’ve been reading the Dark Imperium series lately, it was rather refreshing to read about the Death Guard before they had their livers hanging out of their bodies.
Much to my surprise, I found that I liked Mortarion. He reminded me a lot of Abaddon and Horus before Horus’ fall. Demanding. Ambitious. Loyal. Understanding.
Even more fascinating to me was learning about Typhon before he became Typhus. He hadn’t changed a single bit in ten thousand years. Typhon was always insubordinate against Mortarion, and always loathed his position as second-in-command. He was bitter at being First Captain, especially since Erebus educated him first about the gods and the ambitions of the Emperor. Typhon acted according his own wishes even before he was a servant of Nurgle.
Since I knew how ruthless Typhon can be from Dark Imperium, my heart pounded when he realized what was going on with the Eisenstein before the vox-caster alerted him.
More Intense Escape Than Night Crossing
Had I known beforehand that Garro became the first Grey Knight, the Eisenstein‘s escape probably wouldn’t have gripped me like it did. All I had were assumptions that somehow Euphrati Keeler escaped, and thus so did the frigate.
I hung on every word from the time the ship hung back from formation due to “weapons malfunction” to when Malcador met with Garro. I think that’s when I finally breathed again. Actually, that’s not true. I started to hang on every word when Garro made his Apothecary swear to melt his lodge coin if the lodge ever turned from the Emperor.
These lodges seem to be the root of it all, eh? Abaddon seemed to make it sound like Erebus was the one who introduced the concept of the lodge to him, and if that’s true, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to connect those dots. Granted, I’ve only read about two lodges so far, but that’s enough. Now I wonder if loyalist chapters had lodges, but I’m doubting they did.
Four books down, so many more to go.