Book 8, volume 1, of Siege of Terra by Dan Abnett
Dan Abnett returns for the Epic conclusion to the Horus Heresy and the Siege of Terra… well sort of, this is volume 1 of that epic ending…!
From the book:
The arch-traitor Horus Lupercal’s forces have bombarded Terra and the Imperial Palace lies in ruins. With the Emperor’s dream in tatters, he seeks only to rob Chaos of its ultimate victory…
It’s the beginning of the ultimate conclusion to the Horus Heresy, and hope still remains for the Loyalists! The Emperor plans a gambit that could snatch victory from the jaws of defeat – but at what cost?
There is no way out. The walls have fallen, the gates are breached, and the defenders are slain. It is the end and the death. After seven brutal years of civil war, the Warmaster stands on the verge of victory. Horus Lupercal, once beloved son, has come to murder his father. The Emperor, a shining beacon of hope to many, an unscrupulous tyrant to others, must die. The lives of uncountable numbers have been extinguished and even primarchs, once thought immortal, have been laid low. The Emperor’s dream lies in tatters, but there remains a sliver of hope. Now, at the final hour of the final day, the Emperor rises. With him come his Angel, his Praetorian, and his Captain, all determined to enact terrible vengeance. Yet the hope is slim, for the Warmaster sees all and knows all, and the ultimate victory of Chaos is at hand.
The book starts much as the rest of the Siege with vignettes from the fighting on Terra which is a great way to demonstrate the global nature of the conflict. Abnett interspersed these stories with discussions from Horus on his father and brothers a Malcador talking about the Emperor. Both include great further snippets from the past and how the Emperor got to where he finds himself. Sure, it doesn’t all make sense especially when they discuss pre 21st century history, but its fun watching Malcador and Horus separately talk of the weaving of the fates!
As the battle on the surface continues Ol and John Gramiticus work their own plans with the mysterious help of Alpharius and the Sons of Horus eventually call on their father to lead them in the final battle… but he’s not the man he was… he has fallen! Meanwhile the White Scars have control of the ground batteries and are targeting the fleet and a force from the 1st Legion – The Dark Angels – have taken over the Astronomican – but with the edict of Nikaea in place can they do anything to bring it back?
The Primarchs are starting to prepare for the final battle as well. Sanguinius and Dorn approach the Emperor whilst the Khan is at death’s door and Vulkan makes his way back through the webway after dealing with Magnus.
It’s fair to say there is a lot going on, and this wouldn’t be the book you would start with, but it’s got some great things to recommend it. I really like the way that Malcador is in the first person – and Horus Lupercal in the second… with all other stories being in the third person. It takes a bit of time to get used to, but its a great way of telling the reader which protagonist is currently centre stage.
As mentioned above the vignettes or ‘fragments’ also aid the reader in understanding the scale of the war with some fragments being returned to and others ending in death or defeat. Many of them are outside the eternity gate where Sanguinius has locked out loyalist and traitor alike and there are individual battles and heroism and evil!
The End and the Death also continues the Horus Heresy series in not have too much action from the point of view of the Primarchs or the Emperor. It is not possible to have nothing from them, but the reader is firmly given the impression that the Siege of Terra is being won (and lost) by the unnumbered masses; and not by the Primarchs. It’s a great way to make the book easier to ‘get into’ and emphasise with the protagonists.
It is difficult to recommend this book to anyone who hasn’t read the rest of the Siege of Terra but it is a great start to the final series in the Horus Heresy / Siege of Terra series and – whilst we don’t know how many volumes it is – I eagerly look forward to the next installment.
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