Book Review: The Horus Heresy Book 1: Horus Rising

I am now reading the Horus Hersey series published by Black Library.  The series is based in the military science fiction Warhammer 40,000 setting by Games Workshop.  This book review is for the first book in the series, Horus Rising by Dan Abnett.

As a fan of 40k lore, this book pulled me right into the series.  It is the first book of the wider Horus Heresy series as well as the first of a 3 part trilogy telling the story of the Luna Wolves / Sons of Horus Space Marine Chapter and the corruption of Warmaster Horus by Chaos.

The Horus Heresy is THE defining event of the Warhammer 40k universe.  In this time period, mankind in on the upswing, recapturing past glory with a galaxy wide crusade.  This is known as The Great Crusade. The Great Crusade is led by the Emperor of Mankind and his sons, known as the Primarchs.

Horus Rising Is A Strong Start To The Horus Heresy Series

The book starts off with the Imperium of Mankind in the 203rd year of The Great Crusade.  Basically, mankind is coming out of a future Dark Age and experiencing a twisted sort of Renaissance .  The Great Crusade is attempting to bring all the human settlements back under the Imperium, by force if required.  This reunification is not optional.

Another goal of the crusade is to bring the Imperial Truth to these human settlements as well.  This way of thinking is straight from the Emperor.  It bans all worship and religion and denies any existence of the supernatural.  The Emperor is doing this to deny the the Chaos gods the power of worship.  Needless to say, it does not work.

I’m not going to spoil the whole plot here, but if you want a good plot summary, check out the Lexicanum article.

The introduction of the characters is done well and I find myself  invested in their outcomes.  When a character dies, I actually found myself caring.  The main character, Space Marine Captain Garviel Loken is especially relatable and most of the story is told from his point of view.

The overall story is the fall of Horus the Warmaster to Chaos.  Horus betrays his father and the Imperium as he falls to the temptation and degeneracy of Chaos.  He begins a rebellion and the Imperium is torn apart and a massive civil war begins.  This fall happens gradually and you can see little hints here and there along the way that things are not entirely going well.

Rating: Highly Recommended

I can strongly recommend this book to any 40k fans or to someone who wants to pick up a Military Sci-Fi series with fantasy elements.

The Horus Heresy is a long series, with over 30 books so far and more being written, so expect to see a lot of reviews for them here.

Horus Rising was originally published in April 2006.

You can pick up Horus Rising in Paperback or Kindle versions from Amazon or in epub or mobi formats directly from the Black Library store.  The book has been out for awhile now, so you can probably pick up a copy from your local used bookstore as well.