Tag Archives: Siege of Terra

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

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Book Review – Echoes of Eternity

Book 7 in the Siege of Terra Series – by Aaron Dembski-Bowden

The Siege of Terra is reaching it’s climax, having been promised 8 books in the series although it does appear that book 8 will be in a number of parts! Such is the difficulty of writing an ending.

Echoes of Eternity from Black Library

From the book:

The walls have fallen. The defenders’ unity is broken. The Inner Palace lies in ruins. The Warmaster’s horde advances through the fire and ash of Terra’s dying breaths, forcing the loyalists back to the Delphic Battlement, the very walls of the Sanctum Imperialis. Angron, Herald of Horus, has achieved immortality through annihilation – now he leads the armies of the damned in a wrathful tide, destroying all before them as the warp begins its poisonous corruption of Terra. For the Emperor’s beleaguered forces, the end has come. The Khan lies on the edge of death. Rogal Dorn is encircled, fighting his own war at Bhab Bastion. Guilliman will not reach Terra in time. Without his brothers, Sanguinius – the Angel of the Ninth Legion – waits on the final battlements, hoping to rally a desperate band of defenders and refugees for one last stand.

Wow… how do you fit all that in? There are so many Primarchs still left on Terra or interacting with Terra, and there must have been a strong temptation to tell these stories, but Dembski-Bowden doesn’t – or rather he does, but through the eyes of others.

The book starts with a setting of the scene of war – which is essentially a series of short stories of those fighting. The author gives a superb view of the war, with pockets of soldiers fighting, tanks under attack, titan deaths and attacks on the Eternity Gate. These short stories bring the war to the gates, as the defenders (mostly Blood Angels) prepare and await their fate.

The second part is the attack itself, interspersed by the story of Vulkan and Magnus, and has the fight between the Blood Angels and Ka’Banda; and between Sanguinius and Angron. Meanwhile the Eternity gate is still under threat and the Emperor’s shield against the forces of the warp (The Neverborn) starts to weaken under constant assault.

It’s a great addition to the series – and my favourite one so far. We are approaching the end, and it’s great to have the iconic fights included but still see the battle and fighting from the view of more normal people — if ‘normal’ includes the Space Marines!

Rating: 5 out of 5.

— Declan & Eeyore

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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

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Book Review – Warhawk

Book 6 The Siege of Terra by Chris Wraight

Chris Wraight has written a few books on the Khan of the White Scars and he enters the Siege of Terra when the Khan decides that attack is the best form of defence and attacks Mortarion and the Death Guard for the Space Port… hoping for the arrival of the Ultramarines and Gulliman.

Warhawk Cover from Black Library

From the book:

The Inner Walls are breached.

Traitor vanguards tear towards the heart of the Palace, sensing victory. Desperate gambits are attempted: an unwilling saint is released into the ruins, as well as an enthusiastic sinner. A black sword rises, forged from spite, ready to create a legend. But amid the slaughter, Jaghatai Khan, Warhawk of Chogoris, prepares to launch the most audacious strike of the conflict. His goal is nothing less than the liberation of the Lion’s Gate space port. Cut off from any help, he stakes everything on one desperate counter-offensive, launched against an old enemy who has been made far greater than he ever was before. As the White Scars ride out against the newly crowned lords of life and death, they know that defeat for them dooms not only the Legion, but Terra itself.

As we approach the end of the end with the Siege of Terra things are definitely hotting up and it’s great to see Chris Wraight return to the White Scars and the battles with Mortarion and his Death Guard.

The Khan is stuck on Terra where he is one of the Primarchs facing the invasion of Horus in the final stages of the Heresy and it is not his natural environment, being trapped behind walls, unable to use the speed of his jetbikes. Eventually he grows tired of defense and goes on the attack… straight towards the Death Guard and the Lion’s Gate Space Port.

This is another great addition to the series, and one I liked a lot – which, considering neither of the chapters hold particular interest for me was down to the good writing and pace. The White Scars are introduced slightly in case you hadn’t seen or read of them before and then it’s quickly into the action – there are still lots of smaller stories whirling around here, so don’t be surprised if you find yourself getting a little lost! I certainly did.

That said, it is a fun addition to the story which slowly moves towards it’s conclusion and Chris Wraight does a good job of bringing in the White Scars, but keeping the underlying story moving as well.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

— Declan

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Book Review – Mortis

Book 5 The Siege of Terra by John French

John French returns to the Siege of Terra series having written one book. And this is a big one… Titans come to Terra; and the Dark Mechanicum are here for war.

Black Library – Ah an Imperator Titan!

From the book:

The victories of Saturnine and the sacrifices of the Eternity Wall space port have faded into the hope of yesterday. Denied but not defeated, the Traitors intensify their assault on the Imperial Palace. With the principal space ports in Horus’ hands, the Warmaster now drains the heavens of his reserves.

As the pressure of the assault increases, the power of Chaos waxes. The waking lives of the defenders are filled with despair, while their dreams pull them in search of a false paradise. As the fabric of the defences fails and the will of those who stand on them cracks, Horus commands the Titans of the Legio Mortis to breach the walls. Against them stands the might of Mercury Wall and the strength of the Legio Ignatum. Ancient rivals, the god-engines of both Legions meet in battle, while within the walls a few desperate individuals seek a way to turn back the tide of the warp’s malign influence. Across Terra, lost warriors and travellers make their way through wastelands and gardens of horror, towards home and an unknown future.

Gosh, book 5 already, and the Death Engines of the Mechanicus are unleashed on Terra… but the Dark Mechanicus have embraced chaos and their engines have changed, and they are coming for the walls.

The globe spanning conflict continues as Horus gets closer to the end, and his inevitable conflict with the Emperor of Mankind, and Dorn holds the walls. As with the other books in this series, there are a lot of characters, and storylines and they all entwine to make a story of war which is not only gun shots and death (although it is mostly that!). The Siege of Terra series would certainly be difficult to follow if you didn’t know the overall story but I have missed a lot of the Horus Heresy series and am following the story in Siege of Terra with interest.

Another great addition – but one for the fans only!

Rating: 4 out of 5.

— Declan

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Book Review – Saturnine

Book 4 The Siege of Terra by Dan Abnett

They couldn’t keep the author of so many Black Library books away and Dan Abnett comes into the Siege of Terra with a tour-de-force very different (but earily similar) to the Gaunt’s Ghosts series.

Black Library – a great example of movement and scale!

From the book:

The Traitor Host of Horus Lupercal tightens its iron grip on the Palace of Terra, and one by one the walls and bastions begin to crumple and collapse. Rogal Dorn, Praetorian of Terra, redoubles his efforts to keep the relentless enemy at bay, but his forces are vastly outnumbered and hopelessly outgunned. Dorn simply cannot defend everything. Any chance of survival now requires sacrifice, but what battles dare he lose so that others can be won? Is there one tactical stroke, one crucial combat, that could turn the tide forever and win the war outright?

Dan Abnett brings his own special writing style to the Siege of Terra series and it is a tour-de-force. The defenders of Terra are trying to delay their defeat, in the hope of rescue from the other loyalist legions, and Dorn is at the head of the defense.

In common with the other books in the series, the Primarchs are incidental in most cases, and the battles are seen through the eyes of Space Marines, humans, and Sisters of Silence. It’s great to have more female representation in warhammer and Abnett succeeds with a truely scary representation of a Sister.

Although not the last book in the series, it is a powerful stand alone book and definitely not a bridge between set pieces – a great read.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

— Declan

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Book Review – The First Wall

Book 3 The Siege of Terra by Gav Thorpe

It’s Book 3 and of course the reigns had to be passed to Gav Thorpe at some point. A safe, dependably write who seems to really care for the Warhammer 30k story line… and produces cracking books as well.

Black Library – Always Excellant Cover Art

From the book:

The war for the fate of mankind blazes on. Though the outer defences have fallen, the walls of the Palace itself remain inviolate as Rogal Dorn, the Praetorian of Terra himself, uses every known stratagem and ploy to keep Horus’s vast armies at bay. In Perturabo, the Traitor siegebreaker, Dorn faces an adversary worthy of his skill. A terrible, grinding attrition ensues. The crucial battle for the Lion’s Gate space port is at the heart of this conflict. With it in their possession, the Traitors can land their most devastating weapons on Terran soil. Dorn knows it must not fall. But with enemies attacking from all sides, and the stirrings of the Neverborn drawn to the slaughter, can the Imperial defenders possibly prevail?

Gav Thorpe brings characters from Terra and Terra orbit together from Imperial Guardsmen, Rememberancers, Traitors and Primarchs… and knits it all together in a satisfying progression of the story… as the Space Port comes under attack from Perturabo.

Not every novel can include Sanguinius and his Blood Angels, and so this one brings in the battle of the greatest strategists within the Primarchs together in the first for the Lion’s Gate space port. As with other books in the series, Gav Thorpe ensures that he includes ‘normal’ citizen in the form of Imperial Guardsmen and Rememberancers to give us – the simple reader – a change of understanding the super-human conflict which is raging on Terra. And he does a good job of it too.

There are times when the battles stall a little, but it is barely noticable as you quickly dive into another ‘set-piece’ battle as part of the conflict. It’s another great addition to the end of the story!

Rating: 4 out of 5.

— Declan

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

Book Review – The Lost and the Damned

Book 2 The Siege of Terra by Guy Hayley

Guy Hayley returns to the Horus Heresy in the second book from the Siege of Terra. This is the follow on series from Black Library and was made as a great ‘drop in’ point for those who lost track of the Horus Heresy series. I previously reviewed book 1, which can be found here.

From the book:

With the solar defences overcome through the devastating strength of the Traitor armada and the power of the warp, Horus launches his assault on the Throneworld in earnest. After withstanding a ferocious barrage of ordnance, an immense ground war commences outside the Palace with every inch gained paid for in the lives of billions.

On the thirteenth day of Secundus, the bombardment of Terra began… With the solar defences overcome through the devastating strength of the Traitor armada and the power of the warp, Horus launches his assault on the Throneworld in earnest. After withstanding a ferocious barrage of ordnance, an immense ground war commences outside the Palace with every inch gained paid for in the lives of billions. The front lines are beyond horrific and the very air is reduced to poison and blood. Bodies are thrown into the meatgrinder but the outer redoubts cannot possibly hold for long, even with the loyal primarchs to reinforce them. For Horus has his own generals to call upon… Between the plague weapons of Mortarion and the fury of Angron, the defenders face a losing battle. 

The Lost and the Damned includes the three Primarchs defending Terra from Horus and the attacks from Mortarion and Angron. Guy Hayley continues to tie together the threads of the battle, and as this book is based on Terra it is much easier to follow than Book 1 (which concentrated on the battle for the Sol system).

Sanguinius also makes his first appearance at the Siege, ignoring his brother Dorn’s instructions to stay behind the Wall, and going out to take the fight to the Heretics. His presence rallies the defenders and brings them hope that victory may be achieved… his appearance is great from a personal point of view, as I collect Blood Angels!

And similarly to much of the Horus Heresy series there are stories of ordinary defenders either from Astra Militarum regiments or from local PDFs.

A really good second book in the series – and definitely leaving me wanting to read the rest!

Rating: 4 out of 5.

— Declan

Book Review – The Solar war

by John French

Review by Declan Waters

The Solar War is the beginning of the end in the epic Horus Heresy series from Black Library.

With the Horus Heresy reaching 54 books, countless short stories and novellas I admit to finding it difficult to keep up-to-date with the storyline – and I read a lot, and have known the story since I was 11! As such, it was a great decision to ‘restart’ the series numbering to allow readers to get back on track with the ‘Siege of Terra’ series.

Horus’ fleet has arrived at Sol and must get to the Emperor’s palace on Terra – fortified by Dorn – but first he must fight through the remaining loyal fleet of the Emperor.

The book returns to some of the characters from the start of the series – Mersadie & Logan – and is was fun to read their story of the start of the invasion.

The book includes mass space battles, many (many) deaths as the loyalists attempt to slow down Horus’ treachery.

I did struggle at times with the number and names of the ships many introduced to be destroyed and I did sometimes have to re-read a passage to work out if a destroyed ship was loyalist or traitor. Although they have restarted the numbering, it is difficult to see how anyone who is new to the lore could understand what is happening in the story. Definitely a book for those already invested in the Heresy – although fine if you’ve not read all the previous books.

The pace feels significantly quicker than the rest of the series, so don’t expect another 50 books for the Siege of Terra, but I’m looking forward to the next in the series.

A promising start to the Siege…

Rating: 3 out of 5.

The book is available from Black Library direct, your friendly local book store, or audible (audiobook)