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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 7 March 2009
By the end of 'Galaxy in Flames', the first blood has been spilt in the Horus Heresy, and the first blow has been struck as the insurrection begins.

'The Flight of The Eistenstein' rewinds events slightly, beginning as the orbital bombardment of Istvaan 3, described at the end of 'Flames', is about to take place.

Although this narrative choice was initially frustrating for me, since I just wanted the story of the Heresy to be continued, it makes sense for this story to begin where it does. Some of the narrative beats are familiar, such as the agonising of the crew over loyalty to The Warmaster or The Emperor. Thankfully, these potentially worn ideas aren't lingered on for too long. As soon as the decision is made by the crew to warn Terra of what they've seen happen of Istvaan 3, the eponymous flight begins, and it's wracked with tension, action and drama.

The fact that events take place on a smaller scale than the other books is surprisingly refreshing. The claustraphobic setting suits the atmosphere of the story, and helps focus the action to a number of characters and events that help make this the first book in the series to work as a story in it's own right, as well as an integral part of the overall Heresy plotline.

Unfortunately, the book seems to continue after the thrust of the story has finished. The narrative stalls when the fate of The Eisenstein is concluded, and the tension is vented as if an airlock has breached. Some political wrangling and loyalty-testing, along with a protracted fight scene tie up some plot-threads, but still feel tacked on. It only helps to stretch out several chapters that should have served as a coda to a story that is really finished long before the final page.

For the most part, however, 'Eisenstein' is exciting, tense and a compelling. A sly hint at how one of the greatest and most mysterious institutions in the Warhammer 40,000 universe is formed helps bring a smile to fan's lips at the end and for the most part, this is a tightly plotted and enjoyable read.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 23 May 2011
I'm not an avid book reader, so it can take me a long time to read anyway, but this one I would say took longer than I was expecting. I's say it's split into two. The first half is basically repeating the inevitable story of Horus going bad boy, from the perspective of Garro et al. The surprise is lost and it feels to me, that the writer obviously is restricted in his creativity by having to make sure he gets it right (otherwise die-hard readers would pound him dry for making too many deviations from the previous story). Once the inevitable outcome happens, and it gets back to were Galaxy In Flames finishes, that's when the story blooms. It seems to me, that's where the writer(s) really excels; creativity.
To sum up: it took me two months to read the first part, and then two days to read the second part. Technically I haven't finished it, as I still have the last chapter to go, but to me the story in this book has kind of ended, and now it's just the chaining storyline for the next book.
I would have given it a three star, but then the last part was so gripping for me, that I had to bulk it up.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 10 January 2010
Dan Abnett kicked the Horus Heresy series off with his usual solid, pacy storytelling and energetic characterisation, then Graham McNeill and Ben Counter made a complete mess of the follow-up volumes and wasted the sound foundtion he built for them.

After reading 'False Gods' and 'Galaxy In Flames' I was nervous that Abnett would turn out to be the only actual writer involved in the Horus Heresy, so I was pleasantly surprised to find 'the Flight Of The Eisenstein' packed with well turned out sentences (seriously, this was a nice surprise after the last two), characters I could care about, descriptions which evoked atmosphere without sledgehammer, genuine horror, action that provoked adrenaline rather than being obviously written on an excess of it, and a moment of pure prequelly glee for a long-time Warhammer 40,000 fan at the end. By the time I finished reading it I realised that it was, if anything, actually better than the first book.

The fact that writers of this calibre are invlved gives me a measure of hope as i work my way through this curate's minefield of a sequence.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Having read the Heresy books in order I was looking forward to this one after reading a number of reviews.

The story is quick-paced and the plot has you rooting for the few loyalists against the Warmaster's followers. In a number of other 40k books the Astartes are often made out to be without emotion or where they do not question their loyalty. What I liked about this is that Garro, the Hero (?), questions everything around him including the Imperial Truth but still sticks to his guns when he supports the Lord of Terra.

I found I was scan reading in order to get to the next plot twist and had to go back to check out the detail.

This is an excellent read and will have you picking sides in the civil war!!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
The Flight of the Eisenstein by James Swallow is the fourth book in the long-running Horus Heresy series by the Black Library. It follows the Death Guard Captain Nathaniel Garro as he witnesses the massacre of his brother legions on Isstvan III and his struggle to pass the message of Horus' treachery to the Emperor. It is a sister novel in some ways to Galaxy in Flames, as it shows the events on Isstvan III from a more distant perspective, and from the point of view of an Astartes warrior who has not been party to the changes in Horus and his turn to the forces of Chaos.

By the nature of the story, The Flight of the Eisenstein was never going to be a happy book, but much of the humour and moments of levity from the previous three novels in the Horus Heresy is absent here. Brother betrays brother; Chaos is on the rise; and Garro finds himself questioning everything in which he once believed. It is a dark, grim testimony of the darkness growing within the forces of the Astartes.

Swallow does an admirable job in taking the events covered by Ben Counter in 'Galaxy in Flames', and providing us with the alternative view - in fact, the scenes in which Garro watches in disbelief as Isstvan III is destroyed far beneath him are some of the most powerful and moving in the series to date.

There is also a nice turn in discussing the nature of new vs. old traditions within the Death Guard Legion, which echoes the over-riding theme of Lodges and following a new belief shown in the whole Horus Heresy series. Garro is one of the oldest-serving within the Death Guard, one who was born on Terra unlike many of his battle brothers. He adheres to many of the old traditions and finds himself somewhat outcast within his own Legion.

I also enjoyed (although I'm not sure "enjoyed" is quite the word!) the portrayal of warriors who are unable to fight any longer. Here we have Garro, defiant in the face of injury; Voyen, unable to face the idea of being part of war anymore; and Decius, who chooses a very different path. In each case, Swallow shows how a fighter might respond to the idea that he can play no part in the role that he was born to. All three storylines were written incredibly well.

In The Flight of the Eisenstein, the massive and far-reaching events covered in the first three novels are brought down to a much more micro level. Much of the novel takes place on the Eisenstein itself, and has an incredibly creepy and claustrophobic atmosphere because of it. Adding in a glimpse of the Warp and how Chaos affects the Astartes only increases this.

My main issue with the novel is a matter of characterisation. The Death Guard Legion is not the most charismatic, and they feel a little mundane on the pages. Compare this to the Luna Wolves/Sons of Horus, and the novel becomes somewhat dry. I don't think this is necessarily a fault of Swallow - in fact, I think he portrays these Marines well.

What is a fault of Swallow's is the fact that at times there was little to differentiate the individual characters within the Legion. Apart from Garro himself, Decius and Grulgor - all of whom have a large role to play in the novel - the rest of the Marines are interchangeable and difficult to identify.

All in all, though, this is a very solid entry into the series - dark, forbidding and challenging to read for all the right reasons. Good effort.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Book four begins shortly before Horus's terrible massacre via Life-Eater capsules on Isstvan III.

Battle-Captain Nathaniel Garro of the Death Guard is honored when informed he is to accompany Primarch Mortarion to the Isstvan System. Four Legions obey the Warmaster' command to assemble there. But all he knows begins to crumble around Garro as he witnesses Horus's betrayal. Those crumbs turn to dust after receiving Captain Saul Tarvitz's warning and allowing Captain Iacton Qruze to dock with his three charges.

While aboard the ship named "Eisenstein", Garro learns that Commander Ignatius Grulger is preparing to launch Life-Eater capsules on the Warmaster's orders. Garro deals with the problem only to realize that he needs to flee (something previously unheard of in the Death Guard) in order to warn the Emperor of Horus's treachery. To do so, the ship must enter the warp unprepared and its crew must survive the horrors it throws at them.

***** Much of this story will make no sense to anyone that has not read the previous titles. I strongly suggest that this saga be read in order. This book begins shortly before Garviel Loken and the others drop onto Isstvan III. I, as the reader, relive those events from Garro's point-of-view rather than Loken's. The author did an excellent job describing the chaos, confusion, and horrors. He even brings some new characters into the saga's mix. A cadre from the Divisio Astra Telepathica, led by the Oblivion Knight Sister Amendera Kendel, enter the story. James Swallow clearly shows why the Silent Sisterhood is to be feared by the Emperor's enemies. I am eager to learn more of that Chapter. Encore! *****

Reviewed by Detra Fitch of Huntress Reviews.
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21 of 24 people found the following review helpful
on 5 April 2007
Like every novel published so far in the Horus Heresy series by the Black Library (whose reputation is rising due to the popularity of these books, which are not considered mere merchandise anymore), the Flight of the Eisenstein recites the epic and tragic events in the Isstvan System, as Horus's treachery is finally revealed. Billions perish as the planet is razed with virusbombs and then literally set afire.

Although this plot seems strangely familiar, the fourth novel of the Horus Heresy still makes the - more or less - re-read of the last chapters of its prequel (from the Death Guard Legion's point of view) still worthwhile.

We encounter yet another alien race in the opening of the book, and the actions undertaken by the XVI. Legion remind of the more glorious days of the Great Crusade. Yet events after the termination of the alien 'world-ship' make the reality of the Warmaster's betrayal all too real.

In comparison to the previous novels of the Horus Heresy, 'The Flight of the Eisenstein' focuses more on character development rather than on the action. Needless to say, this book is packed with action, but this time, James Swallow brings the characters of the book closer to the reader, as one expects on a book based on an Age of brotherhood, honorable heroes and dark powers starting a series of events that would change the fate of humanity for the next ten thousand years.

Although the "Flight" of the Eisenstein itself does not envelop the majority of the book, the intense dialogues between characters who stand at the edge of total desperation after they witness the unspeakable horrors of the warp, with their ship stranded in starless space, reminds me of Solaris.

All in all, this book is very well written and prepares us for the inevitable coming storm when the legendary Horus Heresy will truly unfold in all its malice.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 17 September 2011
After the disappointment of the previous two books in the Horus Heresy series, I thought this one was a welcome return to form. It's well-written, well paced and has a cast of interesting and likeable characters that really make you care about them.

The lead character, Garro, picks up the mantle of tortured loyalist hero from Garviel Loken and runs with it. It's an interesting exercise in comparisons really, watching the way in which the two characters are similar and yet also different in their outlooks.

Keeler and the gang are back, but don't take centre stage, nonetheless they're used well as background characters - there to keep the plot moving but not stealing the limelight. The Saint however is really starting to develop nicely and you can feel the church of the Emperor starting to pick up momentum. The Primarchs are handled well in this, very well in fact - complex and subtle characters with their own very distinct personalities.

Action-wise, there's some great scenes in this, particularly what amounts to the final fight. There's also some great cinematic moments scattered throughout the book which create some truly awesome mental images.

Overall I enjoyed this book a great deal, from the character interactions to the descriptions of the action, and it left me really wanting to read more of Swallow's Garro.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on 30 March 2007
As other reviewers have pointed out, this is a crossover linking the first part of the Horus Heresy sequence to the second. It picks up the tale of a captain in one of the other Legions, weaving it into the end of the Galaxy in Flames and then taking it forward as he escapes the massacre at Istvaan.

This makes it sounds like it starts awkwardly, but in fact it is very nicely done, describing events and battles we've already seen from a different perspective. Swallow is able to give Garro some individuality and a bit of history which I hadn't noticed (until now) the previous novels had skipped out. He inherits the mantle of the loyalist hero and is responsible for getting the news of Horus's betrayal back to the Emperor, taking the surviving minor characters from Galaxy in Flames along with him. However, not everyone wants to hear his message and the author convincingly portrays the difficulties he encounters on his way back to Earth.

In covering this journey he also introduces characters and concepts for future novels, and indeed for the Warhammer 40,000 universe in general.

A well paced novel with good characterisation, making the transition from one phase of the Heresy to the next very neatly.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 26 February 2013
This is the 4th book in the Horus heresy series, unlike the previous 3 books( based mainly on the Luna wolfs/sons of Horus chapter) this book expands the space marine universe to focus on the death guard story, and boy is this a good story! A fantastic read with brilliant characters and some old favorites returning ;) At first i wasn't sure because the first 3 books were like a trilogy on there own i didn't want to destroy that great experience i had reading them and the story behind them but this really adds a lot of depth to the previous books as well as its own story onto it. Buy this you wont regret it!
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