Thursday, August 4, 2011

Fiction Review: Age of Darkness (Part 1 of 2)

Time to review this 'new' compendium from the Black Library Horus Heresy series. I know, I know, it's been out ages, but I've only just found the time to put the proverbial pen to paper, so here goes *spoilers ahoy* :

Rules of Engagement:

It's a quirky twister! Are we reading about the forces of Chaos, are we reading about the Ultramarines? Well, being that Graham McNeill is the author it shouldn't take long for those familiar with the Black Library novels to work out who the main protagonists are. The concept of the short story, in my opinion, is a solid one, although Graham does get a lot of bad press across the interwebz for his 'misunderstanding' of the Codex Astartes and the purpose of Guilliman's tome.

By Roboute's own admission the Codex isn't supposed to be the answer to every single battle scenario that a force could encounter, purely a warfare guide. It was good to see Big Blue in a little more detail and, I suspect, we may see quite a bit more when Know No Fear by Dan Abnett hits the shelves in March 2012. A thoroughly enjoyable start to the compilation of stories.

Liar's Due:

More plot twists ahoy! Then again, any author can throw in the Alpha Legion to get a twist, it's the way the author uses the twist that is key. James Swallow doesn't do a particularly good job of it, although, in his defence, the story is first and foremost about the terror tactics Horus utilises to coax a world to his will without actually having to deploy any force. Many of the forthcoming Horus Heresy novels will be filling in the blanks in terms of the seven year gap between the battles at Isstvan and the arrival of Horus at Terra. This short story by James Swallow becomes very important as a result, because it shows us exactly how Horus 'took' so many worlds without physically visiting them all. A tad predictible as a story though.

Forgotten Sons:

I've never previously read anything by Nick Kyme, as he tends to do a lot of editing of the HH novels rather than producing the text himself. I was quietly pleased with the result of his efforts. He put rather a lot of emotion and feeling in to his characters in a very short space of time and it was hard not to feel something for our featured Ultramarine and Salamander. I'd rather like to see Arcadese (the Ultra) appear again in the series, sadly I believe Heka'tan won't be coming back to our pages any time soon. The Lacrymole 'enitity' that Nick throws in to the story could have major ramifications for future HH novels because of the context this creature was used in. Thumbs up!

The Last Remembrancer:

Iacton Qruze is quite possibly my favourite character to appear in the HH novel series thus far. Needless to say that my comments hereon could be a tad biased! On a personal level it is great for me to see the old war horse get such an honoured position, counsel to Rogal Dorn no-less, after the trials and tribulations that he endured from Horus Rising through to Flight of the Eisenstein. The story itself was quite basic and credit to John French for attempting to put some meat on the bones for his audience. I can't help but think that Rogal Dorn may have been affected long term by this tactical ploy by Horus. We certainly leave Dorn questioning the validity of the Great Crusade from its very outset. More to come I suspect.


That's it for now, Part 2 soon......

1 comment:

  1. Despite having never read any black library things and no background for some of the characters you site, it is a good overview of the novels.

    I would like to know a bit more about how horus co-opted planets without having ever set foot on them. I suppose it does help explain his rapid movement back to Terra.