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This book moves us firmly into the mid-section of the overall saga. The initial moves have played out – the betrayals and Isstvan and Calth, and the loyalist forces are reeling but determined to hold and fight back. While the loyalists are split under the pressure of surprise attacks and misdirection, the traitors are no longer one cohesive force, but individuals following their own agendas. The Iron Warriors and the Emperor’s Children are both on the side of Horus, but they have arrived there in different ways.
The Emperor’s Children have fallen fast and far into the clutches of chaos, and look more like a rabble than a legion, concerned less with military discipline and more with excess in all forms.
The Iron Warriors may be shocked by the obvious transformations of the Emperor’s Children, but they are also being changed by chaos. The bitterness in their character is being magnified, and divisions within the legion are becoming more pronounced, more lethal.
Fulgrim approaches Pertuarbo with tales of ancient eldar weapons of great power, lying in a warp storm at the galaxy’s centre. The Iron Warriors’ Primarch knows this war can only end with a siege of the Emperor’s Palace, and he is determined to gather the weapons he needs to win.
The voyage of the traitor host is being shadowed by a ship of the shattered legions. This is the name given to those of the iron Hands, Salamanders, and Raven Guard who survived Isstvan but are bereft of the legion structures that once sustained them. Now they fight their own battles, content to strike back at the traitor forces, but not part of any coordinated effort.
On a dead world of the eldar Fulgrim will attempt to fuel his own ascension to daemonhood with the death of another Primarch.
rating: 5 golden thrones