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4.3 out of 5 stars78
4.3 out of 5 stars
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on 3 February 2007
I read this book recently and once I started reading it I was instantly enraptured and devoured this and the two sequels in the space of about a week!

I really enjoyed this opening book of the Horus Heresy series. Dan Abnett is a great writer IMO and I loved the gritty and dark style of this novel.

I think Abnett does a great job of bringing what are essentially and army of faceless clones to life with many interesting characters. The action is fast paced and gripping and for those into the 40K universe this is a great window into the history of the Space Marines.

Highly recommended. I would advise buying the first three books together as once you start reading the first novel it is very hard to put down and you'll be hungry for more when you finish it!
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on 27 August 2010
This was my first 40k Novel but I did have some knowledge of the Warhammer 40k universe as it is something that had taken my intrest a few years ago with the release of Dawn of War.
Now I will admitt for someone who isn't too familliar with the concept of 40k and some its lore and fluff the books could be quite confusing and overwhelming however I think the first Trilogy in the Horus Heresy Series (Which in my opinion is becoming too big for what it is) is a perfect place to start reading the novels.

Now onto my review, the book is fantastic, well plotted and paced and kept me turning the page and always telling people "Let me just read one more chapter." Which is a good testiment to the book. Dan Abnett is by far one of the greatest authors of 40k books and the following 2 books in this starting Trilogy are written by far poorer authors.
The characters are well rounded and believable and I was in for such a shock when it came to Horus. Having known before I went into the series that Horus would turn and cause a galactic civil war I thought heading into the book I would see or you would just know soon as Horus was introduced that he was going to turn bad but in all he was a very loveable character, a man who is a soldier and leader first and at the same time a man who is very down to earth and knowledgable. Infact I would quite happily say he is one of my favourite character in this novel (And in the next two books stays so, even with his change occuring.)
The only real issue I have with this book really is that I think Dan had a slight issue in where to start or ground the begining of the series and what direction to take it and in some areas seems quite muddled but I think it's saving grace is its characters, I think the author decided that rather than finding a setting to propell the story instead grounded it in character development and introduction and for me that gets a big thumbs up but it does take several chapters for it to find its feet.

I would deffinatley recommend this book to anyone intrested in 40k and would probably recommend it to someone intrested in good Military Sci-fi or just Sci-fi generally aslong as they understood there was alot of backstory and things occuring in the background of the books and alot of fluff and lore surronding alot of it that isn't really explained within the books.
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on 19 April 2006
When I first became aware of Games Workshop's plans for the Horus Heresy range, I greeted the news with some degree of apprehension. The planned assortment of art books, collectible card games and accompanying novels visit an era in the wonderfully wicked Warhammer universe that had hitherto been shrouded with veils of mystery and couched in legend. These were the days when the Emperor of Mankind walked amongst the stars and the Great Crusade liberated all of humanity from foul aliens and oppressive tyrants. My initial response to the announcement of the Horus Heresy series was simple - 'Heresy!'. It would be an act of sacrilege to make graven images and scrawl little yarns about these sacred times. How could a Primarch of the Astartes, a demi-god in battle-plate, fit comfortably within the pages of a modern novel? By letting Dan Abnett write the novel, that's how.

Horus Rising is the first of a trilogy of books that catalogues the final days of the Great Crusade, and the infamous rebellion of Horus against his own father, the Emperor of Mankind. It is set 28,000 years in the future, 10,000 years before most of the other Games Workshop science fiction stories. A familiarity with Games Workshop's Warhammer 40,000 universe is pretty desirable before reading this book - take a look at the company's website for a flavour of the horrors to come in the far future. Horus Rising inverts many of the preconceptions that fan-boys like myself have of the Warhammer 40,000 universe, with in-jokes and foreshadowing aplenty to get the sci-fi Forums jangling. The most notable revelation is that religion was banned under the Emperor's rule, yet all Warhammer 40,000 fans know that he was revered as a god after his death. It would seem that denying one's divinity is not sufficient to stop the inexorable rise of worship. And paradoxically, though religion is banned in these glorious days, the theme of faith resonates far truer in this book than in most other Warhammer fiction. Martial force may triumph on the field of battle, but 'hearts and minds' cannot be crushed so easily.

The Dramatis Personae at the start of the book reads like a who's who of Warhammer 40,000, and I noticed with some excitement before reading the novel that Primarch Sanguinius, First Chaplain Erebus, and Lucius of the Emperor's Children would be making 'guest appearances'. Horus himself is a charismatic presence, the Warmaster who dominates every page of text that he is in. Yet as an immortal Primarch he is too big, too immensely big for the reader to identify with, so we have Captain Loken as our guide through the novel, a straight up-and-down everyman figure who possesses a fundamental decency and reassuringly simple innocence.

But the book is more than a celebrity showcase to satisfy the fan-boys. There is real story, character and themes here, amongst the discharge of boltgun shells and laser fire. The book is undoubtedly and unashamedly the first act in a tragedy. Warhammer artists skilled more with paint and easel than word-processors shy away from the post-modern and are drawn to past glories of the gothic and baroque. So too, no doubt, will this trilogy run - reading more like a Greek tragedy than a post-Tolkien heroic quest. The concepts of loyalty and duty feature strongly in Horus Rising - knightly loyalties that the Space Marines have to their oaths, their legions, and their Emperor. These Space Marines are grand figures, single-minded and determined. Yet by the end of the novel the loyalties become unravelled, as doubt and reality assail their superlative qualities.

Others have added their superlative praises for this book. Make no mistake, these praises are deserved. Dan Abnett really is the master of Warhammer fiction. 'For the Warmaster!'
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VINE VOICEon 8 September 2008
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 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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on 9 May 2011
Exactly what you expect from Abnett, who - barring Brothers of the Snake (which though still readable was a oonsiderable step down in his storytelling) is always an excellent read.

Like a lot of fans of the W40k millieu, I had my doubts about the Horus Heresy series. Surely these times belonged in myth. To give them details, and characters, would cheapen the nature of the grand tragedy that is to come (and in that I dont mean the heresy, but the woeful state of mankind 10,000 years on).

However, trust in Abnett to set the tone. He doesnt gloss over or cheapen the tragic melodrama that is to come, in fact he revels in it, by showing a world of hope and pride that makes the fact that we know how this ends all the more tragic.

None moreso than in the character of Horus. I NEVER expected to like him. He was always (in the surrounding literature, codices and explanations) seemingly born to fit in the role of spoilt child who rebelled - or a pantomime badguy. But Abnett pulls it off. He actually presents a Horus that makes you believe that what will happen is a tragic end to one of the best and brightest of the demi-gods of the W40k universe.

A truly excellent read, and joyfully sets the tone that the next two authors (for the most part) successfully run with.
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on 9 August 2014
First up, i have never played Warhammer. Never. I will however confess to a smidge of D&D back in the 80's BG (before girls). I want you to know this not to save my unredemable reputation, but to tell you that this book, hopefully this series, is good going on great. And more importantly for me, and maybe for you, it is a great read for the many of us who had to think hard, and then wiki, warhammer to understand what it was.

This is full on well written Space Opera. Of course it is, But i want impress this point. That it is better written, more imaganitive and less reliant of big hairy space weapons and battle than most Space Opera. There is a suatable array of such hardware, a balenced array of gleaming futureistic boys toys for the machinary fetish intrested,so dont worry if thats your thang. But it also has characters to get intrested in and intreguing plot possabilities for the future.

The book is one that works totaly as a novel, fun to read for itself. It works as a single and as the opening work in what seems to be a gargantuan body of related work. Much of what will follow will vary in quality, of this i am sure, but for now this book is worth your time if you like say Honour Harrington or Miles Vorkosien books, i cant say better than that
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on 5 August 2011
Horus Rising is by far the best book of the Heresy until book 5 titled Fulgrim.

This book is the beginning and so draws the reader into a false sense of security. It is so personal about the characters you feel as if you actually know them, especially Horus and Gabriel Loken. That said these two characters couldn't be more different if they tried although you genuinely set off believing they are both warriors of principle.

Twisted amongst this book is the secrecy and hidden agenda's of the warriors lodge and friendships are broken and others rekindled. Dan Abnett does an amazing job at bringing the 31st millenium alive and does not skimp on the gore we all love and know as blood lust in battle.

Overall a very good book. Word of caution however is with this series some books get a bit tedious as you do not progress in time, simply see the events through different characters and legions eyes. That said it can get rather tedious especially with later books like Mechanicum and Nemesis going off on tangents which again do not progress the storyline.
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on 31 May 2009
A cracking read, Dan Abnett again captures the reader with his well written and enjoyable tales of military exploits in the heresy era.
It was just a little slow to begin with, but the tempo of suspense and revelations build up right to the end, leaving you dying to see how the heresy unfolds.
Dan paints a great picture with words, there is a distinctly different feeling from the rest of Warhammer 40k, (it is more Warhammer 31k) but the hint and roots of things (imperium and Astartes culture and so forth) to come, is palpable.
Before reading the book you already know of the heresy to come (it is after all ancient history by warhammer $0k standards), by the end you will understand the tragedy that the heresy really is. You will look at chaos and the traitor legions differently and you will be dying to learn how they fall to become the debased servants of chaos we all know them as.
I can't wait to finish the rest of the series.
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on 11 January 2010
Dan Abnett has done great things for the Warhammer 40,000 universe, proving that despite all the dross the Black Library has published since Ian Watson finished his work for them, there is still room for actual prose-as-art and better than workmanlike storytelling to happen in the setting. This book doesn't quite have the same love and honesty in its words that his 'Gaunts Ghosts' series has managed, but it's got characters who feel like people, battles that tighten your grip on the covers a little and a wonderful sense of impending tragedy.

All of which is absent from the next two volumes of the series and there, as much as in the Horus Heresy itself, is a true betrayal; the series is handed over to a pair of 'Warhammer 40,000 enthusiasts' with no writing skills beyond the ability to churn out words in bulk to deadline. It's not until book 4 that a real author picks up the sequence again and we see writing of this quality return.
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on 19 September 2008
I have done it all with warhammer 40,000. I started with the old epic game, moved on to 3rd edition of the table-top 40k, even worked part time in a GW shop when i was at college. The thing that captivated me, made me sell my soul, was the rich background 'lore'. At least i thought so until this book hit me and sucked me in so much deeper! The horus heresy has always been a great tale, but to read about the time leading up to it in such detail like this really blew me away. The book its self is very well written, i had read the Gaunts Ghosts books before, so i knew the author wouldn't dissappoint. This book deserves to be read more widely and shouldnt be written off as a sci-fi section geek read.
I have gone on and read all the books in the series, but with possibly the exception of 'Fulgrim', this one is the best.
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