Book Review 128 // Angel Exterminatus by Graham McNeill


Feels good to get back into the Horus Heresy after a little break and what a book to come back to. Angel Exterminatus was written by Graham McNeill. This 416-page novel follows the two Primarchs Fulgrim and Perturabo. Here is the official write-up.

Perturabo – master of siegecraft, and executioner of Olympia. Long has he lived in the shadow of his more favored Primarch brothers, frustrated by the mundane and ignominious duties which regularly fall to his Legion. When Fulgrim offers him the chance to lead an expedition in search of an ancient and destructive Xenos weapon, the Iron Warriors and the Emperor’s Children unite and venture deep into the heart of the great warp-rift known only as ‘the Eye’. Pursued by a ragged band of survivors from Isstvan V and the revenants of a dead Eldar world, they must work quickly if they are to unleash the devastating power of the Angel Exterminatus!


I have to admit the villains in the Horus Heresy series have actually been the highlight characters of the series. I can only assume it is because of the very human flaws, that make them so enjoyable. It feels almost heartbreaking, to see how impressive they could have been if they had remained uncorrupted. It also highlights how childhood affects adult life and the need to be wanted by a parental figure so dangerous.

In this novel the focus is Perturabo, so far only mentioned in passing or as a side character. Meaning we are treated to some real insight into the character for once. Always portrayed as a moody, siegecraft specialist, we finally get to start experiencing the creator, the builder, the want a be statesman. He has a lot of depth which could rival the other Primarch's if he wasn't always underestimated (a role I believe he plays up to). In this novel, we also discover his sons follow their father's lead and downplay their skills and abilities, as they seem to be a far match for most other legions.

The way the story is written it would seem Perturabo is the "Good Guy" of the tale, facing off against his brother Fulgrim. Once close brothers and allies, we now see a rift forming between the brothers. Fulgrim falls further into the worship of Slannesh, whilst Perturabo wishes to be no man's or God's tool. These differing viewpoints are played out through the story, which sees the brothers traveling into the Eye of Terror to discover a weapon known as the Angel Exterminatus.

This is a solid story and a great introduction to the Iron Warriors. It also did a great job of expanding the Emperor's Children's arc. We also get to visit a Crone World and experience a bucket load of Eldar! But it is not all wonderful. I found the inclusion of the loyalists a bit too forced, I know it's great to see some Iron Hands, Raven Guard, and Salamanders, but they didn't really add much to the story. If you cut out their chapters, the story runs the same at a third of the size. But that is really just me knit-picking at an otherwise great story. The epilogue for me also seemed forced, I know the author is just trying to link his stories together but it was needed.

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