Anyone who has played the tabletop game, Warhammer 40,000 from Games Workshop, will know that the Horus Heresy was the pivotal moment in humankind’s history that led to the current situation in the 41st Millennium. Horus Rising is set at the beginning of this epic tale towards the end of the Great Crusade in the 31st Millennium. The Emperor has returned to Earth and left Horus, his favoured son, in his stead to finish the job of uniting the human race in all corners of the galaxy. However, will Horus’ promotion lead the Legions to glory or Heresy?
Dan Abnett is a household name amongst those familiar with Warhammer 40,000, and for good reason. His writing is perfect for military science fiction. It’s easy to follow and contains enough level of detail to bring the story to life. The story is well paced with a good balance between action and character development.
The focal characters of the story are quite mixed, ranging from Astartes in two different legions, human military personnel, civilian remembrancers and a couple of Primarchs. It’s nice to see the different perspectives as the human characters are the lowest in stature while the Primarchs are the largest, thus, you get a good impression of how each sees the other and their position within the Imperium.
At the front of the book, there is a list of the main characters with their role stated alongside their name and sorted by their affiliation. For example, Garviel Loken is listed as Captain, 10th Company and listed under The Luna Wolves Legion. This is quite useful when there are a lot of characters involved in a story as it means clunky introductions can be avoided, especially when the characters involved should already know who certain people, even if the reader doesn’t. It also has the benefit of allowing the reader to quickly check who a specific character was if they’ve forgotten at some point in the book.
This book is a definite read for anyone interested in the Warhammer 40,000 universe and its incredibly deep lore. At the time of writing this, The Horus Heresy series is 32 books long and still going, so it may not be a good read for anyone daunted by the task of reading such a long series.