Stitch and Bear

A long-running Irish blog with reviews of the best restaurants in Dublin and throughout Ireland. Some wine and cocktails thrown in for good measure!

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Horus Rising - Dan Abnett

Up to now, my only exposure to the Warhammer 40,000 series has been via science fiction bookstores and games shops where you can purchase the miniatures. I know it's hugely popular but I've never dipped in before. I also have a feeling that the local factory, Prince August, where I worked as a teenager also was involved in the manufacture of miniatures. But until now, I had dismissed novels like this as pulp fiction. I'm glad to say that I was wrong.

This book, the first in the Horus Heresy series, is set prior to the universe portrayed in the Warhammer 40k universe and the series promises fans the chance to learn the history behind the game. The book tells us how the Emperor of Man has retired from everyday life for a chance to persue his studies, and appoints Horus to act as Warmaster in his stead. The Imperium of Man is on a crusade throughout the universe, destroying cultures, alien and human alike, that refuse to accept their teachings. The Imperium have removed religion and superstition from their existence.

Horus acts in the Emperor's stead, assisted by his Astartes warriors, genetically enhanced superhumans. The Astaertes warrior Loken, one of the inner circle who advises Horus, fights a strange battle where a fellow soldier changes form. This begins to point the way towards the story for the remainder of the series.

The battles scenes are graphic, there is not doubting that, but the book is surprisingly rich in content. The leading Astartes warriors, especially Loken, are used to add human feelings and touches to the story and the scene is cleverly laid for the next in the series. All in all it's a surprising good read.

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