Luther follows in the path of last year’s Valdor. Not quite mainline Horus Heresy, obviously not a Primarch novel, but a welcome curiosity.
A series of vignettes from the life of the man who found the Lion, related to various Dark Angels from the Scouring to just before the Great Rift opening, this books is one of the best illustrations of how Astartes and the Imperium generally have degraded over time and how even in such a monolithic and moribund organisation change happens. Decay is change, right?
Luther must be a tricky character to write- notoriously brilliant and charismatic is hard to pull off. Thorpe gives him just the right amount of arrogance to make him charming, but as the book progresses his mask slips. Trapped in a statis field, even he isn’t immune to the decline of the Imperium either. As the book progresses he hints at his own brilliance once to often, and his easy confidence is replaced by self-justification and his stories, intended as allegorical lessons to those he deems below him become outright polemic, explaining his actions.
A nice, short novel that fleshes out a pretty-well documented character and satisfyingly ties together events from earlier in the series. Luther, never actually an Astartes, is depicted as a fittingly nuanced human- the book hints at a wider emotional life and a depth of personality and motivation that is lacking from many of his Legion contemporaries. Names crop up and are never mentioned again, adding to Luther’s sense of loss. This idea of being trapped between mortal and post-human leads the reader to consider what he has gained and what he left behind, which explains some of his choices.
Really very good.
Spoilers that folk will possibly focus on more: