Tag Archives: Novella

Book Review – Sons of Selenar

A Novella for The Siege of Terra by Graham McNeill

With The Siege of Terra in full swing, Graham McNeill takes us down a little cul-de-sac to close off the story-arc of the ‘Sons of Selenar’… or the Shattered Legions. This is an interesting departure from the other Siege of Terra books, in that it has characters from the Horus Heresy series who have been with each other for some time and gone through a number of adventures together.

Sons of Selenar from Black Library

From the book:

The Shattered Legions crew of the Sisypheum, broken and at the end of their endurance, find themselves divided – torn between following their resurrected captain on a suicidal mission or obeying orders to return to Terra and rejoin their Legion brothers.

Following a series of garbled messages intercepted by the Kryptos, the divided warriors descend to the shattered surface of Luna. Here, their bonds of loyalty, duty, and their devotion to one another will be tested as ancient horrors of the earliest days of gene-manipulation are unleashed, and a long-buried secret is revealed.

A secret that will have far-reaching consequences for the future course of the galaxy, no matter who eventually claims Terra.

The Shattered Legions – a group of loyalists separated from their own legions, find themselves hiding in the solar system following a void battle, when they receive a call for help from the surface of Luna. Ancient technology is under threat from the Sons of Horus and they are being called to help.

This is a strange – but I imagine essential – addition to the Siege of Terra, and I can understand why it is a novella and not part of the main story arc. The characters have all been introduced in some depth in the Horus Heresy series and – as I note above – have already have adventures, battles and close-calls within that series. This then left the writers of the Siege of Terra books in a quandary – the need to close this particular story-arc, but not confuse people who are just reading the Siege of Terra – like me!

And they have succeeded – sort of. This story has what you need in a Horus Heresy novella, but it should probably have been released under that series and not the Siege of Terra series. There is only a minimal link to the Siege of Terra proper – they are on Luna – and Black Library could easily have released it alongside.

The writing is of course good as we’ve come to expect from Graham McNeill but the characters are already developed, and I would have liked to have a little more description of them, even if it would have been superfluous for those who’ve read all the Horus Heresy novels. They fly, fight, kill and die whilst struggling to save the secrets of Gene-manipulation… and there’s some more history about the Emperor thrown in for good measure.

Overall a good book, but you really need to have read the Shattered Legion novels from Horus Heresy first.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

— Declan

Check out the full list of Book Reviews we’ve done on Woehammer here

Book Review – Astorath Angel of Mercy

A Novella by Guy Hayley

The Primaris Space Marines have well and truly arrived and are making their mark in the Warhammer 40k universe and timeline. But there have been doubts about the gene-seed and whether the changes designed by Belasarius Cawl may have removed Sanguinius’ curse.

Black Library

From the book:

Following the Devastation of Baal and the arrival of the Primarch Roboute Guilliman’s Indomitus Crusade, Commander Dante of the Blood Angels has been appointed Lord Regent of all Imperium Nihilus. Working with the successor chapters of the Blood Angels, Dante commands that the area around the Red Scar be scouted in preparation for reconquest. The Red Wings’ sweep has led them to the foetid world of Dulcis, dangerously near to the Cicatrix Maledictum itself. Decimated by the tyranids during the war for Baal and only lightly reinforced by Primaris Space Marines, the Red Wings Chapter are in no position to deal with the events that unfold there. Strange psychic phenomenon and a deadly xenos enemy threaten the great hope of all the Chapters of the Blood – that the flaw in Sanguinius’ geneseed has at last been tamed. Drawn by the Black Rage to Dulcis, Astorath the Grim, Lord High Chaplain and Redeemer of the Lost, comes to aid the Red Wings. But what he discovers there will shake the Chapters of the Blood to their very core.

Astorath has one role; to keep the secret of the Blood Angels and to tame the savage beast of the flaw of the Blood Angels. He comes to Dulcis and the Primaris Space Marines of the Red Wing chapter who are encountering changes in their fellows that they don’t understand.

This is a much needed novella length story for the Blood Angels to confirm if we need to paint Death Company Primaris and whether the flaw still exists within the Primaris Space Marines who have recently joined the chapter following the Devastation of Baal. It’s brilliantly written, flows well and is a nice quick read. It also has a Xenos peril thrown in and a local threat from the planet of Dulcis that we have not seen before in the Warhammer universe. I really like seeing these possibilities that you may see in a role-playing game but not on the battlefield.

Definitely a key novella if you are a Blood Angel fan and recommended for anyone else who likes a good roaring Warhammer 40k but fancies a novella length.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

— Declan

Check out the full list of Book Reviews we’ve done on Woehammer here

Book Review – Fury of Magnus

A Novella for The Siege of Terra by Graham McNeill

With The Siege of Terra in full swing, Graham McNeill takes us down a little cul-de-sac to see what happens to Magnus. It’s not critical to the direct path taken by Horus, Sanguinius and the rest but is a very interesting journey none-the-less.

There’s a lot of red Primarchs… Magnus is one of the largest! — from Black Library

From the book:

Of all the Emperor’s sons who fell to Chaos, it is perhaps Magnus the Red whose tale is the most tragic. Sanctioned because of his desire for knowledge, chastised, judged, and shattered to his very elements – there is much for the Crimson King to feel vengeful for. Yet revenge is not the only thing that draws him to Terra alongside the Warmaster’s besieging armies. He seeks something, a fragment, the missing piece of himself that lies within the most impregnable place on the planet – the inner sanctum of the Imperial Palace. As the greatest conflict of the ages reaches fever pitch, Magnus fights his own inner battle. To be whole once more, he must not only overcome the fiercest of defences, but also face the one being whom he loves and hates with equal fervour more than any other – his errant father, the Emperor of Mankind.

Ah… poor Magnus. All the Crimson King wants is knowledge… can he be convinced that this knowledge would better serve the side of the Emperor or will he fight with the Warmaster for control of Terra?

Magnus begins by placing himself and his legion at the front of an assault planned by Perturabo, when he offers his legion as a distraction so that Perturabo’s real target will be more lightly defended. It works, and Magnus is able to enter the Palace hidden in plain sight and intent on meeting his father and The Sigilite.

I can see why this is not one of the main stories of the Siege of Terra, but it is great fun none-the-less. The story of Magnus includes and intertwines with the stories of many of the people featured in the Horus Heresy series which came before – as such it does help if you have a rough knowledge of the stories outside Terra. It features Malcador, The Sigilite, and Olivia – an eternal – and Magnus’ own personal battles on Terra. And it’s all great fun.

If you’ve picked up the other Siege of Terra books then this is a great addition, despite not being part of the main 6, and definitely worth picking up. Recommended.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

— Declan

Check out the full list of Book Reviews we’ve done on Woehammer here