Book Review 165 // Luther: First of the Fallen by Gav Thorpe

Last book review of 2021. I knew I had to finish the year with a banger, so I chose an author I trusted on a subject I know he excels at. Without wasting too much time, let us jump into the final book of 2020.

Title: Luther: First of the Fallen (The Horus Heresy: Characters)
Author: Gav Thorpe
Fluff: Hero. Villain. Protector. Destroyer. Loyal. Fallen. Luther embodies the duality at the heart of the Dark Angels – but what is his story? Prepare to find out…

Get new insights into one of the key figures of the Horus Heresy, who shaped the destiny of the Dark Angels for ten millennia, in a new novel by the master of First Legion fiction, Gav Thorpe.

Knight of the Angelicasta. Saviour of the Lion. Grand Master of the Order. Lord of the Dark Angels. Protector of Caliban. Chaos Heretic. Destroyer of Caliban. Sorcerer of the Abyss. Arch-traitor. Dark Oracle. First of the Fallen. Can one man be all of these things?

Kept alive and imprisoned for ten thousand years, Luther is the curse, and the salvation of the Dark Angels made manifest. None are so close to the heart and history of the Chapter as the man that embodies all that was great about the First Legion and all that is shameful about the Dark Angels. In his story is writ the tale of the Horus Heresy and the fall from Enlightenment in a single long life. Glory, honour, pride, shame, and betrayal weave a tapestry of truth and lies that the Supreme Grand Masters of the Dark Angels have sought to understand and unbind across ten bloody millennia. Luther claims repentance for his past deeds, but was it his sins that condemned the Chapter to its secretive fate, or should warnings from history have been more closely heeded?


Part of the character series alongside Valdor: Birth of the Imperium by Chris Wraight. These titles aren't precisely HH stories but aren't as noteworthy as the Primarch series. But what they do give us is an insight into the broader galaxy through the eyes of the people living it.

Though claiming to be a novel, it reads more like a series of short tales relating to Luther. Luther was the man who found the Lion on Caliban and helped to shape him. It seems to be set throughout the current timeline, and each story seems to be linked to another Fallen character. With this story arcing across such a broad timeline, we get to see through Luther's eyes the Imperium fall into one of fear and superstition, and we see it within the Dark Angels chapter too.

Gav Thorpe once more captures my interest in a brilliant, charismatic, and arrogant character. As always, as the story progresses, we discover a weak man trying to justify what he did. One who now knows that there was no right choice and that the road to hell is paved in good intentions.

Overall this is a must-read for Dark Angel fans and will leave you wondering if Luther was right in his actions or was he just weak-willed and easily manipulated. It was a great way to tie all of Gav Thorpes' novels together, and it was rather satisfying to see all the characters and tales being linked in this way.

This wasn't the novel I expected, but it was the novel I wanted. Highly recommend and easily in my top five reads of 2020.

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