Book Review 172 // Scions of the Emperor by Black Library Part 1

As I read this week's title, I knew that if I was going to do it justice, I would most likely have to do it in two parts. The Scions of the Emperor is a Horus Heresy Primarch anthology, showcasing a variety of Primarchs and some short stories about them. Right, let us get into part one.

Title: Scions of the Emperor (The Horus Heresy: Primarchs #Anthology)

Authors: David Guymer, David Annandale, Guy Haley, Ian St. Martin, Gav Thorpe, Darius Hinks, James Swallow & Chris Wraight.

Description: A fantastic collection of Horus Heresy Primarch short stories. A must-have for all fans of Horus Heresy

Titles in this review:

Canticle by David Guymer

Crash-landed upon a world of perpetual gloom, a young Ferrus Manus is forced to fight for his survival. Upon discovering a strange vessel, he investigates the ship but quickly finds himself battling monstrosities he is ill-prepared for.

The Verdict of the Scythe by David Annandale

Heavily criticized by his brothers over the brutal campaign at Galaspar, Mortarion attempts a new approach during the compliance of Absyrtus. However, discovering treachery at every turn, the Lord of Death must accept an unavoidable truth.

A Game of Opposites by Guy Haley

Jaghatai Khan makes a virtue of being unknowable, yet Warsmith Xyrokles has studied the Warhawk's teachings. Choosing to step into the trap laid for him, the Khan of Khans teaches the traitors just how deadly their ignorance truly is.

Better Angels by Ian St. Martin

Art and war stand fist in glove where it concerns the warriors of the IX Legion. Wending a path through their turbulent history, during the days of the Great Crusade and the Horus Heresy, a Blood Angels neophyte then legionary tries to capture the essence of beauty and art to present to his primarch, Sanguinius.

Buy a  Copy: Amazon CA

Style: Kindle 182 pages

Review

Like all good book reviews, let us start with Canticle by David Guymer. The opening tale sets the pace of an anthology, and I can safely say this is a solid start. We join Ferrus Manus as he is freshly landed on Medusa. Unsure where he is or how he knows what he knows. He explores the wasteland, battling zombie-style creatures to find human life. It is an excellent little world-building exercise. It has also intrigued me enough to explore the back story of the Iron Hands a bit more.

The next title is written by David Annandale, an author I am enjoying more and more as I discover more of his titles. This short is titled The Verdict of the Scythe and involves The Death Guard pre-heresy. It gives us a great insight into Mortarion and how he attempts to appease his brothers, but as he tries to bring a world to compliance, he realizes his way is best and only through extermination can rot be rooted out. Annandale does a fantastic job of creating a world ruled by magic wielders and starts to showcase Mortarion hatred of the Psyker, which will show its head throughout the Horus Heresy. I got a lot of Cthulhu vibes from this tale and really enjoyed it.

A Game of Opposites by Guy Haley. This time we join Jaghatai Khan of the White Scars as he wages war against the Iron Warriors during the Horus Heresy. I have to state that the White Scars are one of the least interesting characters. I find authors lean too far into the Mongolian aspect, and this story is among those. Real shame the Iron warriors are great and make for a good villain.

The final tale for part 1 is Better Angels by Ian St Martin. We join the Blood Angel's and life among this Legion. Sanguinius attempts to teach his sons to become more than just warriors; they need to become artisans to survive the Crusade. Unfortunately, the Heresy hits them hard, and after the Signus Cluster campaign, the Legion is forever changed and is a shadow of its former glory. A genuinely heartbreaking tale to finish on.

Overall positives throughout these opening tales. The winner for me is The Verdict of the Scythe, closely followed by Better Angels. David Annandale is great at creating a narrative I can get behind, and the heartbreaking nature of Ian St Martin's story hits hard. Excited to get into the second half.

Would love to hear your thoughts on these stories. So drop me a comment!

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