Scent of a Gamer

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Book review: The First Heretic (Horus Heresy XIV)

This book starts years before the Heresy, but don’t worry about that as the story takes us up to date and provides another perspective on the Isstvan drop site massacre.

The Word Bearers legion were once a loyal legion. Too loyal in some ways, for which they were duly punished. During the great crusade they moved slowly and worst of all (from an Imperial standpoint) encouraged the worship of the Emperor as a deity. This was not going to be tolerated, and the Word bearers found themselves brought low.

Their Primarch, Lorgar, reacts to his humiliation by going in search of other gods, and finds chaos waiting. It turns out that more than one key member of his legion has been worshipping chaos, and in his time of weakness they step in with some handy answers.

Horus may be the leader of the heresy, but the Word Bearers have been orchestrating much behind the scenes.

The Heresy didn’t spring out of nowhere but was the result of patient building by the Word Bearers, who have manipulated Horus to being where chaos can take hold. The First Heretic is well-named, since the Word Bearers act as the pathfinders to the realm of chaos.

Possessed space marines are a feature of traitor legions in Warhammer 40,000 but at the time of the heresy only the Word Bearers have such individuals – and the Death Guard. The Word Bearers’ journey to possession is chronicled vividly here, although to the Word Bearers it represents a union with chaos.

The First Heretic provides important insights into the opening stages of the heresy and answers the question of why the Word Bearers are the legion which so enthusiastically volunteers to take on the mighty Ultramarines, in a campaign designed to keep this legion out of the way.

rating: 4.5 golden thrones

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This entry was posted on August 21, 2022 by in Books, horus heresy, Review and tagged , , , .
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