Book Review 219 // Horus Heresy: Corax by Gav Thorpe

It's always nice to dip back into the Horus Heresy and to kick off 2023 we start with the Ravenguard novel Corax. Can you believe this is novel 40, and we are still away off from finishing?

Title: Corax - The Horus Heresy #40

Author: Gav Thorpe

Blurb: The Lord of Ravens, Master of Deliverance, Primarch Corus Corvax of the Raven Guard takes centre stage in a collection of works by Gav Thorpe that explore his campaign of vengeance against Horus' allies and his desperate attempts to hold his Legion together.

After Isstvan, after Deliverance, the Raven Guard still endure. Their primarch Corvus Corax has rallied countless warriors to his banner, striking back at the forces of the Warmaster on every front – from the degenerate hereteks of the Mechanicum to the cruel legionaries of the Sons of Horus, none shall escape his wrath. But although Corax has managed to stall the physical corruption of his own Space Marines, what of their spirit? And what sinister end must await those who dwell forever in the darkness?

This anthology contains Gav Thorpe’s tales of the Raven Guard in the Horus Heresy – the novellas Soulforge and Ravenlord, and short stories ‘ The Shadowmasters,’ ‘ The Value of Fear ’ and ‘ Raptor ’. Also included is the brand new novella Weregeld, taking Corax’s legend to its grim conclusion.

Format: Kindle buy now on


Going into this title, I didn't realize it was three short stories and three novellas. This straight away excited me; of late, I have been struggling with longer titles, so stories I can jump into, finish, take a break and then come back to really hit home for me.

Now with it being an anthology, I was going to be cheeky and break it into 6 separate reviews, thinking, wow, six weeks of blog posts! But that just seemed lazy of me, so instead we will do one nice long blog post. Grab a cup of tea, and let's get going.

The story starts with a part of Weregeld being used as an introduction. It has Corax and the Raptors, standing with the Space Wolves and an injured Russ, as the traitorous forces of the Alpha Legion, World Eaters and Thousand Sons close around them. This is a strange opening as it jumps us ahead in the timeline. But it also allows the book to read like we are passing through Corax's memories before he faces the final battle.

We then go back to about a year after the Deliverance Lost title. And read Soulforge. The Raven Guard are doing what they do best. Being sneaky fuckers and we join Corax and company as they raid a Word Bearers Ship. Due to one of the Ravens seeking revenge for Isstvan, the action goes a bit awry. And shows how much the Ravens have been damaged by the betrayal. It shows how the legion has to deal with the trauma before functioning once more as it should. The rest of the story is about this very human trauma getting fixed and how they are able to reset their minds with a battle set on a Mechanicum world.

The Mechanicum world is pretty cool. With floating barge forges, the battle plays out like a naval battle which was a nice change. We also see the first Defilers in action, which is fun. Overall a great showing off of the Legion's guerrilla spirit.

This then leads us to The Shadowmasters, which introduces us to a new faction of the Raven Guard and the character Mor Deythan. The Shadowmasters are an elite cadre of troops who seemingly gained Corax's abilities of stealth. Now pretty much limited in numbers, they use their skills to infiltrate and assassinate critical targets. This story doesn't move the arc but introduces us to this crucial character and their unique skills.

Ravenlord then dives on into the issue of the Raptors. It has become apparent that though they are loyal, they are ultimately a slight on the Raven Guard. Especially as many look like the monsters found within the Word Bearers Legion. This issue is brought ahead when Corax is faced with the workings of Fabius Bile. Whilst freeing prisoners, it is pointed out that the Raptors look like the creations, so when is the line crossed been hero and monster? Should the Raptors even be allowed to continue?

Ravenlord was an intriguing title. It threw into our minds the idea of traitors still being among the legion. Whilst showing how the pressure of his own secrets is weighing heavy on Corax. Paranoia is seeping in, and I can not assume it will end well.

Wow. Halfway through, and a lot has already happened. Time for two more shorts before the conclusion.

The Value of Fear. Another excellent short story,  we get to see a loyalist Night Lord! This time we see how the clash of how to make war comes to a head, as the Nightlord's style of warfare clashes with the Ravens. The argument is a great read, and the chase scene was fun. The ending is clever, and I hope we get more loyal Nightlords soon. It does push home the similarities between the Raven and the Haunter, though.

Raptor was originally an audio drama turned into a short for this book. We join the heavily mutated Lieutenant Navar Hef as he leads the Raptors into an investigation of an in-distress ship. It is soon discovered to belong to the Space Wolves, who made planetfall for one last glorious stand. Wanting vengeance on the Traitors, the Raptors go to the aid of the Wolves and realize their error when they reveal themselves. The Wolves can't overlook the mutations and when combined with Hef's paranoia, leads to bad choices being made.

Damn this was a dark, grim tale. I can already see the fallout of this tale in my mind, and I am excited to see it come to pass. It shows how the Primarch's paranoia has spread and created an air of self-loathing and intolerance. It also shows how narrow-minded the Wolves are as they, too, suffer from a mutation known as the Wulfen, yet can not see past the Raven's version.

Then we finally hit Weregeld. The storyline has progressed, and we are on the verge of the final push to Terra. The story starts off with the Raptors raiding a Night Lords' ship. The Raptors are a changed force, with most of the original "roughs" now dead. Those still alive are becoming lost to the inner beast and it is hard to believe they are Space Marines. Hef is still alive though a sad shadow of his former self. During the story, his shameful act is relieved and it ultimately seals the fate of the Raptors as Corax leads them down a dark, one-way path. At this point, a seemingly broken Corax sends his allies to Terra and confines the Raptors to their cells. And in a vane attempt to make amends rushes his forces to aid a besieged Russ and Space Wolf force. What happens next closes the arc for the Raptors and sets Corax on a path of self-destruction and self-loathing.

This last piece of the book is written as a tragedy. We have a Primarch suffering from paranoia and in discussions. We have commanders questioning every move and motive, and we have an enemy force position to sweep the board and claim Terra. So close to the end of the war, we now have doubt and a loss of hope. We are definitely entering the dark times and the ending of this series.

Let me know what you thought of this title. Did I miss anything?

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