If it's crap ... We'll tell you
The Horus Heresy: Horus Rising by Dan Abnett
First Published: 2006
“Of all the battles Loken had fought at his commander’s side, that was the fiercest, the saddest, the most viscous. Teeth bared in the firelight, swinging his blade at the foe on all sides, Horus had seemed more noble then Loken had ever known. He would remember that moment, years later, when fate had played it’s cruel trick and sense had turned upside down. He would remember Horus, Warmaster, in the narrow fire lit street, defining the honor and unyielding courage of the Imperium of Man.
There should have been frescoes painted, poems written, symphonies composed, all to celebrate that instant when Horus made his most absolute statement of devotion to the Throne.
And to his father.
There would be none. The hateful future swallowed up such possibilities, swallowed the memories too, until the very fact of that nobility became impossible to believe.”
Horus Rising by Dan Abnett
It is the 31st Millennium. For 200 years the Imperium of Man has waged The Great Crusade and subjugated the Galaxy, led by the Emperor. Key to victory is the Space Marines, the Astartes, Trans-Human warriors led by the Primarchs, living demigods. Horus, called Lupercal, is the Emperors favorite and like a son. He is named Warmaster when the Emperor returns to Earth, entrusted with the Great Crusade. A Golden Age is dawning on humanity, but despite wiping entire alien races from the Galaxy, despite the thousands of lost colonies reunited with Terra, the greatest threat still lurks…
Seen through the eyes of Garviel Loken, a rising star in the Luna Wolves Space Marine Legion, the reader follows him into battle against a renegade colony, the seemingly inexhaustible denizens of the planet Murder and the warriors of the Interex and earning a place in Horus’ inner council. Horus, whom fans of Warhammer 40,000 will know is doomed to fall to Chaos and lead half his brothers in Heresy against the Emperor of Man, is shown here before the fall. Here is Horus the Warmaster, Horus the Warrior and Horus the Diplomat, striving to end The Great Crusade so a true Golden Age may begin, free from the strife that has plagued so much of history. Indeed we learn that Horus alone of all the Primarchs is looking forward to and preparing for the day when the Astartes may sheath their swords for good and devote themselves to peace
A straight forward space saga Horus Rising is the first volume of The Horus Heresy, a prequel series to the widely popular Warhammer 40,000. Workhorse writer Dan Abnett kicks things off by showing us the end of The Great Crusade which established the Imperium of Man and introduces us to the soon to be infamous Horus. A decent introduction to the Warhammer 40,000 universe though other than the appearance of a Daemon towards the middle and the Astartes it contains little of the iconography associated with the property. Abnett’s writing style is straight forward but is better than one might expect. I can honestly say that Horus Rising was the first book I dreamed about, specifically the middle bits involving the fighting on the planet Murder. Having some knowledge of Warhammer 40K and who some of these characters, especially Horus, are will help. Some of Abnetts final lines tug the heartstrings, playing on that knowledge, showing what will be lost in a few short years as the story progress’ to its inevitable conclusion.
Fans of Space Opera should definitely check it out, as well as fans of 40K. I can tell Abnett was hired here to lay the groundwork for much more interesting stories and conflicts to come. Recommended.