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“Sometimes the only victory possible is to keep your opponent from winning.” This is the story of The Outcast Dead.
This story picks up the thread left by A Thousand Sons, and deals with the effects of Magnus the Red’s disastrous attempt to warn the Emperor of Horus’ treachery. The psychic spillover has driven many mad, and decimated the ranks of psykers based on Earth, at a time when their powers of communication are sorely needed.
Another part of the psychic spill has been visions of a possible future.
Simply being a member of a legion rumoured to be disloyal is enough to be suspect now. A group of Astartes who happened to be on earth when war broke out escape from their prison taking an astropath navigator with them. This astropath has been blessed with a vision of the future that is now locked in his mind and even he cannot access it.
This book has come in for some criticism over the years, mainly because it contains moments where an Astartes is able to beat a Custodes in combat, something generally at odds with the setting. If you can get past that, then get ready to enjoy a story of loyalty and lies, hatred and hope, seekers and secrets, set in amongst the ordinary masses of Earth, reeling from one rumour of betrayal after another.
As the Astartes seek a way to leave Earth and return to their legions and learn the truth , the navigator must wrestle with his own mind to unlock the vision, which is more of a message, and intended for one person only. The vision of the future is so grim and dark that once unlocked, he must never share it with anyone, especially not anyone charged with defending the Imperium against Horus.
rating: 3 golden thrones