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After a few books that moved us away from the action with little connection to the overarching story, Mechanicum is like a fresh drink of Heresy-Cola.
The Mechanicum, based on Mars and other fore worlds across the galaxy, are a vital ally of the Imperium in this period. Without them, the Imperium would have the men but not the material to conquer the galaxy. From las guns to the biggest space ships, and all manner of Astartes armour, the Mechanicum makes it all.
This book also looks at the contradiction the Mechanicum represents in this time. The conquest of the galaxy has been a triumph of atheism. There are no gods, only the Emperor. Those who try to worship the Emperor as a god are liable for punishment. However on Mars the Emperor is openly worshipped as the Omnissiah, the Machine-God of the Mechanicum.
This veneration is central to the Mechanicum’s position as an ally of the Imperium, and so is not interfered with in any way.
Horus has been able to corrupt the Mechanicum to his side with promises of powers and knowledge once forbidden and sealed away. The Mechanicum forces and titan legions allied to Horus move quickly once they have acquired the chaos technology.
Loyalist forces across Mars find themselves under both physical and electronic attack from which many do not recover. With communications to Earth scant at best, the loyalists hold on as best they can.
Mechanicum does what Horus Heresy novels do best. It introduces us to new characters and makes us care about them. It shines a light on areas previously unknown and shows us something new about a previous known faction. Finally it connects the action to the broader heresy story, with successes and failures that will matter as the story moves forward.
Rating: 4.5 golden thrones