Welcome everyone to the third part of Raist’s Collection, the feature where I take you on a journey through parts of my own personal collection. And honestly I should add to that line the words, of my way too many hobbies. One of things I love to do, but at the same time is also the hobby which I seriously neglect, is reading. There is honestly nothing more relaxing, than picking up a good novel, pour yourself a cup of tea, and just sit in your comfortable chair or bed to just dream away. A well written book can make you forget your surroundings, and even time itself. Today I’m going to talk to you about a very long running series of novels, that is now nearing it’s endgame. To date 54 books have been written for it, and then I’m leaving out various novellas and audiodramas that have also been released. It’s an epic science fiction series that has it’s roots in the popular Warhammer 40000 tabletop game. It once began as little more than a small outline in one of the background books for the game. Since then though the Horus Heresy, as it is called, has grown into a highly succesful and hugely popular set of novels, many of which have reached best seller lists. And except for a few of the novellas, I have the entire series in my possession. Yes, I’m not ashamed to admit that: I am a completionist. Have I read them all so far though? Nope, but I’ll get to that later. So what exactly makes the Horus Heresy so enjoyable? Sit back, grab a chair and let me tell you all about it!
The story of the Horus Heresy
It’s the 31st Millenium. Humanity that was nearing extinction has been united and brought back from the brink of destruction, by the all powerful being known only as the Emperor. Now, the Emperor seeks to reclaim the planets lost to humanity by the various alien species that inhabit the galaxy. Having created 20 genetically engineered and all powerful beings called Primarchs, a Great Crusade is launched to go out to the stars, and liberate all the planets of the Xenos filth (their words, not mine) that conquered them. The Primarchs themselves command the so called Legiones Astartes, or Space Marines, all powerful soldiers that have capabilites far beyond those of normal human beings. Bred for war, which is pretty much their sole reason for existing, they are loyal to a fault to the Emperor. The Emperor’s most favored son, the Primarch Horus Lupercal, has been promoted to the rank of Warmaster. Without any real explanation, the Emperor himself returns to Earth leaving Horus in charge of the Crusade. All of his brother Primarchs are in awe of Horus, and wherever he goes, he manages to instill a sense of strength and nobleness.
Under his leadership more and more planets are conquered to expand the Empire, and it seems that things are going well. But then the unthinkable happens. During a mission, Horus becomes critically injured. Morality sinks to an alltime low as everyone believes that this will mean the end of the Great Crusade. However Horus makes a miraculous recovery and resumes his role as The Warmaster. But it soon becomes clear that he isn’t the same man anymore. Horus has been tainted by an ancient evil called Chaos. He is now but a former shell of himself, rotten and corrupted to the core. And thus begins the greatest war in the history of mankind. Brother fights against brother, in the conflict that will become known as the Horus Heresy. The man known as the Warmaster has one goal now, to take down the hated Emperor and conquer the universe. When more and more Primarchs and their legions start to flock to the banner of Horus, humanity stands on the brink of destruction. The gods of Chaos look on and laugh…..
I have so far read 33 books in the saga. Although not all of them have the same quality, there also hasn’t been a book that I have really hated so far. The books have been written by various authors, all adding their own tales to this epic. Some are standalone books, but there also a few that expand upon a previous story. It’s cast of characters and rich mythology is enormous, and there are very few science fiction universes that have this much details in them. As you can see from some of the pictures in this post, the covers are amazing, and the hardback version also have gorgeous artwork contained within them. After this many novels, do I have a favorite? Yes. It’s called A Thousand Sons, written by Graham McNeill. It’s also happens to be one of the most popular books and tells the story of the Primarch Magnus, commander of the Thousand Sons Legion. It’s a tragic story where this legion that was once loyal to the Emperor, is ultimately betrayed and has no choice but to join up with Horus. I have always loved stories that feature fallen heroes, and the author does an exceptional job in telling this incredibly heartbreaking tale. While I have read over 30 books now in this series, this one has so far at least, never been beaten.
All good things come to an end as they say, and the same is true for the Horus Heresy. The tale will come to a climactic conclusion with an 8 part series entitled The Siege of Terra. Horus has finally reached Earth or Terra as it’s also known, for the final confrontation with his father. It will hopefully be a worthy ending to an incredibly entertaining range of books, that has delighted science fiction fans for years now. Obviously things can’t go on forever, and I think it’s good that the end is now near (and so does my wallet). Now a question that might spring to mind is, do you need to know anything about the Warhammer tabletop game to enjoy these books? There is a very short answer to that: no. I for one have never played the game (although I have played other games set in the same galaxy), and I loved these books nevertheless. There is a lot more to discover about the Horus Heresy than just these books though. There are numerous audio dramas that are highly enjoyable and expand the background even more. A graphic novel with amazing art is also available, and then there is the Visions of Heresy book, that contains even more details about the history of this epic conflict alongside some incredible art work. I will leave you with a slide show of a few pages of this lastnamed book. Raist’s collection will return with part 4, where I will show you my “pick a path to adventure” book collection. You will just have to return here, to see what exactly those are. Thanks for reading, see you next time!