Book Review 170 // Furnaces of Haeleon by Chris Dows

Hitting up another short story this week focused on Khârn the Betrayer. I hope it is as good as last week's Lost King. Here are the details:

Title: Furnaces of Haeleon (Part one of the Red Path Quick Reads series)

Author: Chris Dows

A brand new series begins, focusing on the infamous Khârn the Betrayer and his blood-soaked wars against the Imperium and his fellow Chaos Space Marines.


Kill, maim, burn, kill, maim, burn, kill, maim, burn, Blood for the Blood God, skulls for the skull throne of Khorne! (Also, it's free, and it's about one of the 41st millennium's most ruthless and fascinating characters. What have you got to lose?)


Khârn the Betrayer wages bloody war across the Imperium, following the Red Path and leading his Warband of Khorne Berzerkers in greater and greater acts of battle and bloodshed against all-comers. Abaddon desires to yoke Khârn's strength and ferocity for his own ends. Still, the Champion of Khorne will not kneel quickly as his violent crusade brings him into conflict not only with the Imperium but also the Black Legion...


I have been hooked to this character since seeing a 2nd Edition piece of artwork for Kharn in Codex Chaos. Unfortunately for Khârn, his backstory and lore suffered for years as he was viewed as a psycho killer, more dangerous to his own side than the enemy. Then books like the First Heretic and Betrayer came along; they made a character that was interesting, believable and slowly becoming broken by the Heresy. We had a chance to rewrite Kharns story to make him something more than a killer. Then I read this opening short for this series and realized the opportunity had been lost. Seems the author went back to the safe and sound psycho, who cares little for "allies" as long as the blood flows.

Everything reads a little safe, a little uninspiring and completely lacking purpose. It seems Kharn is trapped as a being who just fights and kills and never with a goal. The few characters we are introduced to are left flat and lifeless, maybe this changes later in the series, but I don't see why you would include characters that add nothing to the plot.

I feel disappointed and deflated. I don't see me wanting to read the rest of this series. To sum up, it is dull please avoid it.

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