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Your 10 Essential Reads

black library top 10 top ten

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#26
Galloway

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Not sure I would call all ten of these essential, but within 1 book per author I'd say ones that that sit most vividly in my mind are-

 

Abnett: Pariah

ADB: Spear of the Emperor (just because I just re-read; Betrayer & Black Legion series could just as easily go here)

French: Ahriman: Exile

Guymer: Voice of Mars

Haley: Bel. Cawl the Great Work

Harrison: Honourbound

MacNiven: Red Tithe

McNeil: Thousand Sons

Reynolds: Apocalypse

Wraight: tie between Path of Heaven and Hollow Mountain

 

Just about everyone there has others I could have picked just as easily.

 

Runner up: short stories and novellas:

ADB: Wonderworker

Farrer: Inheritor King

Fehervari: Crown of Thorns

Guymer: Dreadwing

McNeil: Zero Day Exploit

Parrino: No Worse Sin

Wraight: Restorer


Edited by Galloway, 28 April 2020 - 10:54 PM.

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#27
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Ok, my list:

 

  • Aaron Dembski-Bowden - so very torn on this, but I think I have to lean towards Spear of the Emperor, although Talon of Horus was an incredibly close runner-up, but see the comments on Chris Wraight below for why

  • Ian St. Martin - Angron

  • Rachel Harrison - Mark of Faith

  • Simon Spurrier - Lord of the Night

  • Robbie Macniven - Red Tithe

  • Josh Reynolds - Lukas the Trickster - much as some may like the "Path of" Dark Eldar series, they always felt a bit too moustache-twirling "look at me I'm being evil" in that, along with the fluff errors (Archon that is clearly supposed to be a Succubus that leads a Wych Cult instead of a Kabal), this book just gets the sheer arrogance of the Drukhari

  • Andy Smillie - Trial By Blood

  • Chris Wraight - Regents Shadow - does so much to help dispel the notion of "the setting is now NobleBright that Guilliman is back"

  • Guy Haley - Konrad Curze

  • John French - Slaves to Darkness


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#28
aa.logan

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It’s really nice seeing so many shared titles on these lists, but even more assuring that I’ve not been aghast at any of the selections that folk have made.

I am intrigued by both of the David Guymer titles suggested, as they’ve both passed me by. In the absence of any new releases, I’m going to pick up one or the other at the weekend/when I’ve finished Blackstone Fortress (whichever comes first).

#29
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I am a relatively new reader to the Black Library.  My introduction to Warhammer40K was Dan Abnett's Horus Rising and 3 years later I have read 38 Black Library novels which is impressive for me.  Twenty five of those are from the Horus Heresy series and the rest are Abnett, Haley and Wraight books so my list to pull from is rather limited especially without repeating authors.

 

1.  Horus Rising  by Dan Abnett - Who knows if I would have started with a lesser title I may not be putting together this list now.  

 

2.  The First Heretic by ADB - This was my first ADB book and I went in with high expectations based on his reputation and I was not disappointed.

 

3.  Plague War by Guy Haley - Guilliman waking to the nightmare of the Imperium is obviously entertaining but my favorite aspect of Haley's Dark Imperium novels is Militant Apostolic Mathieu.

 

4.  The Emperor's Legion by Chris Wraight - Custodes and Silent Sisters front and center along with an informative political perspective.

 

5.  Mechanicum by Graham McNeill - Civil war on Mars, Akashic records, Kaban project, Omnissiah, Void Dragon.  This book is a lore goldmine and was a welcome respite from purely space marine driven novels at the time I read it.

 

6.  Nemesis by James Swallow -  My first introduction to the Assassin classes which were each individually interesting and made even more so when grouped into a suicide squad.  I also enjoyed the detective aspect of this story and again I liked seeing the universe through eyes other than those of the space marines.

 

7.  Descent of Angels by Mitchel Scanlon -  I know this book has a lot of detractors mainly due to the difference in tone I guess as it is closer to fantasy than sci fi but I thought it was solid.  It was interesting to see what a "successful' compliance looks like and I also liked the perspectives of the two cousin protagonists being first aspirants to a knightly order then aspirants to the space marines.  

 

8.  Fallen Angels by Mike Lee -  A good follow up to Descent of Angels.

 

9.  Deliverance Lost by Gav Thorpe -  Raven Guard stealth and Alpha Legion subterfuge hijinks and a look at what it was like to be the Primarch or a legionary of one of the shattered legions.

 

10.  Galaxy In Flames by Ben Counter - A serviceable conclusion to the opening trilogy with some memorable scenes.

 

 

Not too hard a list to put together as I have only read 10 different authors of Black Library thus far not including short stories of course.


Edited by Cherubael, 29 April 2020 - 12:29 AM.

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#30
drooling blood

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Space marine by Watson.

Id even give a few marks to Inquisitor by Watson.

So much lore thats stuck from those 2 books.

Yeah im old.

 

Horus Rising

15 hours

Geniveve


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#31
Battle Brother Abderus

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I only need one.

 

The Flight of the Eisenstein 


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#32
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I only need one.

 

The Flight of the Eisenstein 

 

Surely you aren't going to leave us hanging on that one.


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#33
Tarvek Val

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A lot of interesting lists. It's enjoyable seeing what everyone has gotten out of the BL canon thus far! I like the Heresy-heavy list, Cherubael. 


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#34
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I've always considered Black Legion to be stronger than The Talon of Horus, so I'm surprised to see people picking the latter. Here's hoping the third book is even better!


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#35
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I've always considered Black Legion to be stronger than The Talon of Horus, so I'm surprised to see people picking the latter. Here's hoping the third book is even better!

I think this could be due to Black Legion being so very different in nature and not what many readers, myself included, were expecting. Reading Talon at times had me feeling like an architect, unearthing forbidden lore and secrets of the warp that only I was privileged enough to comprehend. The cast was small and intimate, it felt like a very personal experience that was over all too quickly. Black Legion on the other hand, while being bigger and more bombastic, seemed to suffer from the lack of intimacy that made Tolon so great. It felt like there was too much going on at too fast a pace for me to keep up. Despite that it was still a great roller-coaster ride, just a very different kind of ride than i'd hoped for.

 

I so very nearly included Talon in place of Helsreach on my list as I rate it as his best work, but sentimentality pipped it to the post for the last stand of the Helsreach Crusade! happy.png


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#36
Battle Brother Abderus

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I only need one.

 

The Flight of the Eisenstein 

 

Surely you aren't going to leave us hanging on that one.

 

 

 

I've done some where between 25-30 of the Horus Heresy Books and a 1 or 2 of the stand alone title.

 

Most of the books written by GW are average, a lot of them are unfortunately quite poor. 

 

Flight has the right balance of an overarching meaningful threat, personal development. A strong but human protagonist and good use of language to describe the events without over doing it. The story is not perfect and starts and ends quite slow. 

 

The most significant reason for this one, is it is the only one which I've read where, wanted to keep going not out of interest, but I wanted Garro to succeed.

 

"The little man's sacrifice"

 

"But we might appear in the middle or star"...."DO IT!"

 

"My Lord, are you blind?" 

 

"A wave of such emotion, that every man in the room, even the Primach froze" 


Edited by Battle Brother Abderus, 29 April 2020 - 10:32 PM.

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Daemons   Deathwing

 

"It had often been said that a Space Marine knew no fear....Saul Tarvitz was no exception.... but when Angron charged, he ran." - Galaxy in Flames. 


#37
Bobss

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I've always considered Black Legion to be stronger than The Talon of Horus, so I'm surprised to see people picking the latter. Here's hoping the third book is even better!

I think this could be due to Black Legion being so very different in nature and not what many readers, myself included, were expecting. Reading Talon at times had me feeling like an architect, unearthing forbidden lore and secrets of the warp that only I was privileged enough to comprehend. The cast was small and intimate, it felt like a very personal experience that was over all too quickly. Black Legion on the other hand, while being bigger and more bombastic, seemed to suffer from the lack of intimacy that made Tolon so great. It felt like there was too much going on at too fast a pace for me to keep up. Despite that it was still a great roller-coaster ride, just a very different kind of ride than i'd hoped for.

 

I so very nearly included Talon in place of Helsreach on my list as I rate it as his best work, but sentimentality pipped it to the post for the last stand of the Helsreach Crusade! happy.png

 

 

Spoiler


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#38
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Master Of Mankind -- ADB

 

Spoiler

 

Solar War -- John French.

 

Spoiler
 

 

Know No Fear -- Dan Abnett

 

Spoiler

 

Watchers of the Throne -- Chris Wraight

 

Spoiler

 

False Gods -- Graham McNeil

 

Spoiler

 

Path of the Archon -- Andy Chambers

 

Spoiler

 

Asurmen: Hand of Asuryan -- Gav Thorpe

 

Spoiler

 

 

I could probably find two more but these eight include some of my favorites overall so I'll leave the last two TBD.


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23.jpg


#39
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Warmaster- Dan Abnett

 

Cult of the Spiral Dawn- Peter Fehervari

 

Outer Dark- Robbie MacNiven

 

Honourbound- Rachel Harrison

 

Lukas the Trickster- Josh Reynolds

 

Blind- Matthew Farrer

 

Path of Heaven- Chris Wraight

 

Deathwatch- Steve Parker

 

Graham McNeill- Outcast Dead

 

Resurrection- John French


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#40
caladancid

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I only need one.

 

The Flight of the Eisenstein 

 

Surely you aren't going to leave us hanging on that one.

 

 

 

I've done some where between 25-30 of the Horus Heresy Books and a 1 or 2 of the stand alone title.

 

Most of the books written by GW are average, a lot of them are unfortunately quite poor. 

 

Flight has the right balance of an overarching meaningful threat, personal development. A strong but human protagonist and good use of language to describe the events without over doing it. The story is not perfect and starts and ends quite slow. 

 

The most significant reason for this one, is it is the only one which I've read where, wanted to keep going not out of interest, but I wanted Garro to succeed.

 

"The little man's sacrifice"

 

"But we might appear in the middle or star"...."DO IT!"

 

"My Lord, are you blind?" 

 

"A wave of such emotion, that every man in the room, even the Primach froze" 

 

 

A bold, and perhaps to many (including me!) unexpected, choice, defended well.  This is what I come here for.



#41
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Warmaster- Dan Abnett

 

Cult of the Spiral Dawn- Peter Fehervari

 

Outer Dark- Robbie MacNiven

 

Honourbound- Rachel Harrison

 

Lukas the Trickster- Josh Reynolds

 

Blind- Matthew Farrer

 

Path of Heaven- Chris Wraight

 

Deathwatch- Steve Parker

 

Graham McNeill- Outcast Dead

 

Resurrection- John French

 

 

Tell us about The Outcast Dead, if you have the time.

 

I like to book more than most, but I'm curious what makes it Mcneill's #1 for you?


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#42
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Honourbound - Rachel Harrison

Requiem Infernal - Peter Fehervari

The Carrion Throne - Chris Wraight

The Great Work - Guy Haley

Primogenitor - Josh Reynolds

Spear of the Emperor - Aaron Dembski-Bowden

The Solar War - John French

Atlas Infernal - Rob Sanders

Angron - Ian St Martin

Outer Dark - Robbie MacNiven


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#43
caladancid

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Warmaster- Dan Abnett

 

Cult of the Spiral Dawn- Peter Fehervari

 

Outer Dark- Robbie MacNiven

 

Honourbound- Rachel Harrison

 

Lukas the Trickster- Josh Reynolds

 

Blind- Matthew Farrer

 

Path of Heaven- Chris Wraight

 

Deathwatch- Steve Parker

 

Graham McNeill- Outcast Dead

 

Resurrection- John French

 

 

Tell us about The Outcast Dead, if you have the time.

 

I like to book more than most, but I'm curious what makes it Mcneill's #1 for you?

 

 

Ha! Yeah for sure that's an outlier on my list.  The three others of McNeill I was considering were False Gods, Crimson King, and Priests of Mars.

 

I like Outcast Dead way more than the average poster here, and almost entirely because it is a story that adds to the 'mythos' of 40k.  One of the reasons I soured on the HH series is because it explained away the soul of the series.  I have always felt like 40k and HH meant you to take a second before you asked the question and wonder- is it worth finding out the answer?

 

I thought it was awesome and weird and unbelievably Warhammer that right under the nose of this shiny bright new empire the leader of the old was running a brutal crime ring.  Also really exploring how Terra is so big and impossible to really know whats going on there, sort of a microcosm of the Imperium. 

 

I will forgive a lot in a book that brings mystery and some sort of 'it' factor.  Definitely agree with some of the criticisms about the novel, but for uniqueness and standing out that's my pick!


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#44
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Nemesis and The Outcast Dead are Josh Reynolds' favourite Horus Heresy novels for what it's worth

 

I liked them conceptually, but they weren't written well enough to hang with the big boys, and that's that


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#45
Ascanius

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I was considering starting a new generic top 10 thread, but I figured that was a little boring. 

 

So, if your Black Library collection was limited to 10 books, what would they be? That said, they can't be just any 10 books, no, there are limitations:

  • The story must take place in the Warhammer 40k (or Horus Heresy) Universe.
  • Each author is limited to a single book, no series and no multiples - 10 authors, 10 books.
  • The story must be a full and singular novel (~200 - whatever pages): no novellas, short stories, or omnibuses. 

 

Here's my stab at it. Authors in alphabetical order:

 

  • Dan Abnett - Prospero Burns. I know it's controversial with a lot of people, including those who are otherwise Abnett fans, but all I can say is that I am exactly in tune with the wavelength this book puts out. It's a shame to lose, well, any of his 40K series, but if I'm only going to have one Abnett novel it's going to be this one for sure.
  • Aaron Dembski-Bowden - Black Legion. As much as I enjoy everything else he's written that I've read, and even here it's a close-run thing with The Talon of Horus, the Black Legion and the Thousand Sons are my two favourite Chaos factions, so it's no real contest.
  • John French - Ahriman: Sorcerer. The timewarping story thread about Astraeos and his dead Chapter is one of my favourite 40K ideas ever, and again I do love the Thousand Sons.
  • Guy Haley - Dante. Before I read this novel, I didn't think the Blood Angels were very interesting. Now, I think they're fascinating, and Dante is one of my favourite personalities in the setting. This might be the best version of the "feral worlder becomes a Space Marine" narrative there is.
  • Graham McNeill - Mechanicum. It's a very hard choice between this and A Thousand Sons to pair with Prospero Burns, but ultimately I think Abnett's novel can stand on its own, while this is the best thing I've read from McNeill. I really enjoy the insights into the Mechanicum of this era, and how half of it fell.
  • Sandy Mitchell - The Traitor's Hand. I haven't read the Ciaphas Cain stories for a little while, but I recall this one as my favourite - it's the one with the Tallarns and the Slaaneshi cultists on the tidally locked world.
  • Josh Reynolds - Fabius Bile: Clonelord. I really like Reynolds's writing, including outside of 40K, and this is nice and twisted.
  • James Swallow - The Flight of the Eisenstein. Since I'm not going to have any of the "opening trilogy" of Horus Heresy novels in this list, I might as well have the follow-up - and it's a really good story.
  • Gav Thorpe - Deliverance Lost. I know people rate his Eldar novels highly, but I've never read any of them. I really enjoyed the way the Alpha Legion infiltrators were handled (especially since, listening to the audiobook, I got confused and didn't realise there was more than one, which actually added to the experience), and the story of the Raptors was also great.
  • Chris Wraight - Scars. Again, fierce competition from his recent 40K work, especially the two series set on Terra, but this one is really great and sold me on the White Scars as an interesting Legion when I'd previously not thought much about them. The contrasting Astartes protagonists are great, and I love Ilya Ravallion, too.

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#46
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Richard Williams - Relentless. Surprised I'm the first to mention this, it's a great read.

Guy Haley - Belisarius Cawl The Great Work

Josh Reynolds - Lukas the Trickster. If I had been allowed a fantasy/horror vote Dark Harvest would have beaten it. A great author.

John French - Praetorian of Dorn

Dan Abnett - Xenos. Because the Eisenhorn trilogy is just fantastic.

Sandy Mitchell - Caves of Ice. Best Cain book imo.

Gordon Rennie - Execution Hour.

Steve Parker - Deathwatch

I'm going to have a think about the last couple. I've doubtless forgotten authors I really like. Mitchell Scanlon for 15 hours and Steve Lyons for Death world are honourable mentions but sadly they don't seem to have been picked up by BL for on going series/repeat novels. I also like Justin D Hill but I can't think of a particular stand out novel just now.

Edited by Red_Shift, 03 May 2020 - 09:20 AM.

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#47
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Richard Williams - Relentless. Surprised I'm the first to mention this, it's a great read.

Guy Haley - Belisarius Cawl The Great Work

Josh Reynolds - Lukas the Trickster. If I had been allowed a fantasy/horror vote Dark Harvest would have beaten it. A great author.

John French - Praetorian of Dorn

Dan Abnett - Xenos. Because the Eisenhorn trilogy is just fantastic.

Sandy Mitchell - Caves of Ice. Best Cain book imo.

Gordon Rennie - Execution Hour.

Steve Parker - Deathwatch

I'm going to have a think about the last couple. I've doubtless forgotten authors I really like. Mitchell Scanlon for 15 hours and Steve Lyons for Death world are honourable mentions but sadly they don't seem to have been picked up by BL for on going series/repeat novels. I also like Justin D Hill but I can't think of a particular stand out novel just now.

 

I've had my eye on Relentless for ages, haven't gotten around to it. Found an extract that read beautifully though, so hopefully some day soon.

 

How would you rate Imperial Glory?


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#48
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I think you would like Imperial Glory. I read it at the time of release and my memory is fuzzy and I can't really tell you much of what happens without giving it all away. It's certainly not your usual slash and stab action book and its a little melancholy in overall tone but a good read. The irony of the title in that it's not really about the glorious or successful actions of the imperial guard at all.

One of the things I liked in Relentless is that the crew, even when they are in opposition to each other, really believe in the ship Relentless as an entity. It's a little like the way football fans will idolize a team, even if they disagree with the management's decisions. Like Imperial Glory, I think if you bought it because you wanted to read about ship battles you might be disappointed. It's more of a character piece set in the pretty immersive set piece of a city sized space ship.
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#49
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I think you would like Imperial Glory. I read it at the time of release and my memory is fuzzy and I can't really tell you much of what happens without giving it all away. It's certainly not your usual slash and stab action book and its a little melancholy in overall tone but a good read. The irony of the title in that it's not really about the glorious or successful actions of the imperial guard at all.

One of the things I liked in Relentless is that the crew, even when they are in opposition to each other, really believe in the ship Relentless as an entity. It's a little like the way football fans will idolize a team, even if they disagree with the management's decisions. Like Imperial Glory, I think if you bought it because you wanted to read about ship battles you might be disappointed. It's more of a character piece set in the pretty immersive set piece of a city sized space ship.

 

I personally liked some of the other Imperial Guard novels you mentioned (particularly Fifteen Hours) more than Imperial Glory, but I can see how it ends up in a top ten for sure depending on taste.


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#50
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Authors in alphabetical order (and just 8 books instead of 10):

 

„Legion“ – Dan Abnett

 

It´s perhaps not his strongest book but that which I´ve grown the most fond of. Since I´ve read ther “Index Astartes”-White Dwarf-article I was hooked on the Alpha Legion, because of all the mystics and secrets surrounding them, their modus operandi and the strong focus on intelligence and brotherhood and pragmatism. And in my opinion the Alpha Legion was never in the whole Horus Heresy-series better characterized than in “Legion”. Abnett managed to take all the hints from the article and “creates” a legion very different from all the others. It´s still great to see them in their own book just as side-characters and the grey cardinals in the background, scheming and planning and assassinating and sacrificing others for their goals – and even if I loved the “old” rationale for their rebellion, to pit their strength against their loyal brothers – I love, what Abnett did with them in “Legions” and the introduction of Alpharius and Omegon is as obvious and logical as it´s great.

 

“Damnation of Pythos” – David Annandale

 

I know, that book isn´t one of the most acclaimed one in the series but for me it works. I love the bleak and somber atmosphere and characterization of the Iron Hands. I admire, how Annandale pictures them as broken beyond repair, as furious and fierce, as introverted and fighting and battling their own inner demons after the death of their Primarch. “Damnation of Pythos” is grimdark as you can expect WH30/40K to be and I love the contrast between both the perfection-seeking, Tech-addicted Iron Hands on the one hand and the perfection-seeking, self-“improving” Emperor´s Children and the with life brimming planet on the other hand.

 

“Soul Hunter” – Aaron Dembski-Bowden

 

It´s the first novel from on of the best Black Library-series ever. I really love the story of Talos, Uzas, Xarl and the rest.  Nuff said.

 

“Slaves to Darkness” – John French

 

That book was so badly needed, because it shows all the twisted and unreliable nature of Chaos and brings all the traitors – Primarchs and legions – together for the storm on Terra. I was never before interested in Ekaddon, Maloghurst or Perturabo – but French has managed it and it was fun to read from the first page to the last.

 

“The Eye of Medusa” – David Guymer

 

Even if his Primarch-novel wasn’t received well by many readers and even if it had some flaws – Guymer has proven that he can write and characterize the Iron Hands like no one else can (okay, except for John French perhaps). His eye for detail, his prose, his imagination is stunning and "The Eye of Medusa” is like a profession of love for the Iron Hands and Medusa in particular and nearly perfect in worldbuilding. The Iron Hands aren´t heroes in shiny armour, they are brutal and monstrous and inhuman and Guymer nails it. Especially the recruitment-part is brutal in all it´s cruelty and thrilling in it´s depiction. It´s not the story itself what makes the book so great but Guymers fantasy and creativity and I really love it  - and the second book “Voice of Mars” as well.

 

“Corax” and “Konrad Curze” – Guy Haley

 

Both Primarchs are so similar and still so different and Guy Haley has displayed both characters in a fantastic manner in the two Primarch-novels. Both have the potential to be cruel and egoistic, both have the potential to be savior or punisher, both are shaped by their past even if they deny it or wallow in it and it´s great to see how thin the line is between genius and insanity and both books are two sides of the same coin. I love them.  So please forgive me for chosing two books from the same author but I really can´t separate them. biggrin.png

 

"Angron - Slave of Nuceria" - Ian St.Martin

 

Like "Perturabo" it´s one of the Primarch-novels that delivers exactly what I wanted to read: some retrospects in Angrons past, action, tragic, the point of no return.... I think that´s the best novel you could possibly have written about Angron. I always wanted to read something about the pre-heresy and pre-rebellion World Eaters and since there wasn´t the chance to do so in the "normal" Horus Heresy-series I was glad that they started a Primarch-series and hoped that some of the lesser-present legions would get their 15 minutes of fame. And I think, St.Martin has done a good job in that case.

 

“Lords of Silence” – Chris Wraight

 

Wraight is one of my favorite authors so it wasn´t easy to pick just one book (especially because “Wrath of Iron” and “Scars” are so fantastic) but “Lords of Silence” made me giggle and laugh so many times and I don´t have enough words to say how much I loved nearly every single character, the story and especially the little Nurglings. I must admit that I´ve never shown a special interest for the whole “Dark Imperium”-storyline before, but that changed a lot after “Lords of Silence” and I wanted to know what happened to Mortarion and the Death Guard thereafter. Wraight is one of the best authors in the Black Library-roster and he´s given every one of the main characters some personality, his writing style is so…versatile and captivating and it was a great fun to follow Vorx and his warband on their little crusade – especially against the White Consuls. The whole book seems like a bow to Nurgle himself. Refreshingly different and highly recommended!


Edited by Ingo Pech, 07 May 2020 - 01:17 PM.

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"I am the Emperor´s loyal servant, and through me his will and vengeance will be done!" - Ferrus Manus, Primarch of the Iron Tenth (Iron Hands)

 






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