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Everything is going right for Garviel Loken. Thirty thousand years into the future, Loken is part of a force fighting to unify humanity as a species spread across the galaxy. He does this as an Astartes, a post-human warrior gifted with great strength, fearless in battle and well-equipped.
After one engagement Loken finds himself elevated from Company Captain to a member of the Mournival. This four-strong body advises Horus, the Primarch of the Sixteenth Legion and newly anointed Warmaster of the Imperium.
The Emperor has left the battlefield and returned to Terra on other business. An unexpected move, and now Warmaster Horus will lead and direct the other Astartes legions and untold millions of human soldiers across a galaxy-spanning battlefield as they fight to bring disparate human worlds into ‘compliance’, part of a united humanity under the Emperor’s banner.
What could possibly go wrong?
The Horus Heresy is the tale of everything that went wrong. In this, the first of fifty-four(!) books, Dan Abnett deftly introduces us to the Astartes and their Primarchs. We also see their deeds through the eyes of ordinary humans, as the Emperors parting command was that groups of ‘Remembrancers’ accompany the Astartes and record their deeds for posterity.
Horus Rising is a book of two halves, as an encounter inside an alien mountain leaves Garviel Loken shaken by the knowledge that a terrible secret is being kept from him and the rest of humanity. Loken takes refuge from his shock in the comradeship of his brother Astartes. The Remembrancer Euphrati Keeler, witness to the same event, lacks the same martial connections and takes refuge in a banned religion, worshipping the Emperor as a deity.
Their paths will cross but their different backgrounds mean they have very different outlooks on this threat and what it portends.
Rating: 5 golden thrones