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3.7 out of 5 stars
The Age of Darkness (The Horus Heresy)
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 12 September 2011
Hello and welcome to another JBP review!

Age of Darkness is book 16 in the Horus Heresy series - a series of books, which if you are not familiar with the rich Warhammer 40k universe, depicts one of the, if not THE, most pivotal moments in the storyline.

Horus Lupercal, first of the Emperor's Primarch, has betrayed his father, and joined forces with the Dark Gods of Chaos. Civil war is tearing apart the Golden Dream of Humanity, and lines are being drawn.

This book roughly takes place two years after Horus' betrayal was revealed at the Istvaan Drop-Site Massacre. The book contains a total of nine stories written by authors such as Dan Abnett, Aaron Dembski-Bowden, Gav Thorpe and Rob Sanders.

The first story, "Rules of Engagement", depicts how the Ultramarines are training for the war, having decided that they will not join the Emperor and Dorn at Terra, and how they are trying to implement the Codex Astartes, whilst Roboute, Primarch of the Ultramarines, is penning his second tome... It is an interesting story, and sets off the book nicely.

There are several good stories in it - stories such as "Iron Within, Iron Without" concerning loyal Iron Warriors faced with a choice of either joining Perturabo, their own Primarch, or remaining loyal to the ideals of the Imperium and the Emperor. "Liar's Due" is another story (by James Swallow) which is more in tune with his previous book "Nemesis", and is more concerned with the war in the shadows, far from the fields of war.

Of special note is "The Last Remembrancer", which for me is one of the two best stories in the book. Before I get to the best story, I will briefly mention the two stories which were sub-par.

These were the stories "Rebirth" and "The Faces of Treachery", the latter by Gav Thorpe. "Rebirth" is concerned with the Thousand Sons, and their return to Prospero following its devastation at the hands of the Space Wolves, and what they find there. "The Faces of Treachery" follows the Raven Guard and their attempt to retrieve their Primarch from impending doom, and the attempts of the World Eater's fleet to prevent a rescue attempt. Is just plain odd, with a massive moment of "non sequitur", that ruins the moment. Perhaps more light will be shed on the matter in Gav Thorpe's forthcoming book "Deliverance"...but if anything, I am becoming ever more weary of his Space Marine novels (so far, his Eldar "Path-series", is turning out really, really well).

The crowning piece of the novel is the story "Savage Weapons" by Aaron Dembski-Bowden. It concerns a skirmish between the Dark Angels and the Night Lords, somewhere in the Shield Worlds, where the two forces have fought each other to a stalemate. It is, for me, an absolutely sterling presentation of the Dark Angels and hits EXACTLY the nail on the head, of how they are. Having so far had to enjoy the lacklustre Dark Angel books and short stories by Gav Thorpe, Aaron Dembski-Bowden really delivers. It is an excellent story.

Over all, the book contains good and bad stories. Some books are undeservedly forgotten, none are undeservedly read - and so it is with this one.

It is enjoyable, and I consider it time well spent. If you have enjoyed the other Horus Heresy books, then you will surely enjoy this one too.

Kind regards,
JBP
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 2 September 2011
A fun read and follows up on a few characters from the series that haven't had much of a spotlight, as well as giving us a few more self contained stories. There's a surprising amount of variety for a book solely focusing on space marines which is great but don't expect to find any imperial guard here. Definitely not the place to start if you want to avoid spoilers as it does reference or follow on from other titles in the series.

If you want to know what happens after Raven's Flight or what Iacton Qruze, Horus Aximand and Khârn the Betrayer are upto then this is the place.
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The Horus Heresy has been going for some time know and every book I read adds depth and colour to the Warhammer universe and every review seems to say something different, so with that in mind and the number of detailed and varying reviews I will try and keep this short and sweet.

This collection of short stories sets about telling of the few years following the events in the Isstvan system and shows the good, the bad and the ugly of the loyal and traitor Astartes. Every story adds some depth, but in my personal opinion half are well written and captivating, whilst others are sadly a dry husk of a story to show and tell something. Obviously, there are matters of personal taste, but it was this way with the previous short story collection and it seems that the Black Library writers cannot always put their best into short stories.

This is essential reading for the Horus Heresy and having read it you will haved gleaned a great deal of information and read some great stories, all I want to do is to warn you that they are not all of the incredibly high standard that this series sets for itself.

Rules Of Engagement by Graham McNeil 3/5

Some interesting and very important points about the Ultramarines, but sadly not wrought with the wonder McNeil is capable of, but essential reading

Liar's Due by James Swallow 4/5

This is an insidious and fascinating tale of the Alpha Legions operatives

Forgotten Sons by Nick Kyme 3/5

A Salamander (Hek'atan who was in Promethean Sun) and an Ultramarine have countless difficulties acting as ambassadors

It's not easy sending warriors as ambassadors, especially when Horus has iterators and this is a fair point, somewhat interestingly displayed, but it is just far too long and unrewarding

The Last Remembrancer by John French 5/5

This is more like it! Cracking story about Dorn contemplating the fate of a remembrancer who was with Horus' fleet. This is wonderfully written and really evocative and thought provoking.

Little Horus by Dan Abnett 5/5

At last we get a glimpse of the Sons Of Horus from their own eyes, and from the vaunted, bloody pen of Dan Abnett, and it's fuggin' good!

The Iron Within by Rob Sanders 5/5

A tale of a loyalist Iron Warriors bastion who hold against the bloody tide of their traiterous bretheren. Incredibly written and bloody. Raises a good point about those of the traitor legions who remain loyal.

Savag Weapons by Aaron Dembski-Bowden 4/5

Dark Angels and Night Lords battling and posturing at one another. Other than a slightly farsicle moment when the legions are trading insults, a rather interesting tale that adds a few more bubbles of discomfort under the facade of the first legion.

Overall, necessary and worthwhile reading, but don't expect the vaunted heights that the Horus Heresy has soared all the way through.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 4 June 2011
Just a warning: this book was advertised as telling the story of the HH War during the 7 years that it took the rebels to reach Earth. In reality, it is a compilation of short stories about mostly minor aspects (there are a few exceptions). One you have finished, you still don't know anything more about what happened in the 7 years after the beginning of the civl war... Yet again, we are told about Istvan V and one of the loyal Primarchs escaping from the trap. A suggestion: perhaps one day BL could get one of its authors to write a HH book on preparing the defenses of Terra or of the planets and systems that stand between it and the Heresy rather than a collection of short stories of uneven quality and interest.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 17 July 2011
I guess this book isn't for the casual 40k reader of for those just starting out reading 40k, but if you're a real fan of the Heresy then this is a very good book and don't let some of the low star reviews put you off. Personally I thought it was really interesting to get an insight into those years of standoff and to consider some of the issues that were going on in that period. I very much hope they keep expanding on this era before the big final showdown. Unfortunately some just want to race to the end.

Rules of Engagement by Graham McNeill
4*s - Guilliman is writing the Codex Astartes but needs to find out if his strategies work or not.

Liar's Due by James Swallow
4*s - As he prepares to assault Terra Horus spreads disquiet through world after world to weaken imperial resolve.

Forgotten Sons by Nick Kyme
4*s - Some systems have only recently fallen under imperial rule, so who should they back in the war now gripping the galaxy. Representatives of both sides are called to make their case to the worlds of Bastion.

The Last Remembrancer by John French
5*s - Hearing the news of treachery Solomon Voss the first remembrancer visits Horus to see with his own eyes what has happened. Later after capture by imperial forces he finds himself under interigation by his old friend Rogal Dorn.

Rebirth by Chris Wraight
5*s - A Thousand Sons ship returns to Prospero seeking to find out what has happened and one wakes up bound to an interigators chair.

The Face of Treachery by Gav Thorpe
4*s - The evacuation of the Ravens Guard from Isstvan. But why was it allowed by Horus?

Little Horus by Dan Abnett
3*s - Disapointing story given the Author as the White Scars lay a trap for Horus and get the wrong one.

The Iron Within by Rob Sanders
4*s - The Iron Warriors summon warriors back from outposts around the galaxy to gather for the invasion of Terra. But some don't take news of the Heresy well.

Savage Weapson by Aaron Dembski-Bowden
5*s - After waiting for 20 years to find out if the Lion is traitor or not, now we know! El'Jonson is summoned to a meeting with Konrad Curze after 2 years of battle between the two as Horus has an offer to make...
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on 3 November 2013
A collection of short stories (by different heresy series authors), detailing a variety of events in the early years of the heresy. Some stories were better than others but all where worth reading.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 6 July 2011
What you get out of Age of Darkness depends a lot on whether you have read all the other books in the series, and how much you remember from them.

Some people have criticised this because it does not cover the 10 year road to Terra that the Age of Darkness refers to in Warhammer history.

10 years in one paperback was never going to happen.

What we get instead is a collection of short stories that do, for those who know their Heresy, serve to throw some light on the events of that period - after all we can safely assume Games Workshop hasn't given up on further stories from this time period.

For instance, one story tells of how the remnants of one of the traitor legions remain loyal to Emperor and end up playing a vital role in the final part of the Heresy on Earth itself.

Another illuminates the doubts and fears of one of Horus' closest brothers.

The Sons of Horus betray their own, a desperate attempt to trap the Warmaster, Alpha Legion spies...... it goes on. Snippets of information that fill in the gaps of what is known, that mesh with aspects of previous books, to flesh out the history of the darkest time imaginable in the 40K universe.

The Last Remembrancer is perplexing, and will probably not be what the reader expects. In terms of plot points it delivers very little.

Oh, one last thing....Dark Angels. And hints that the role of the Ultramarines - that current 40K mythology places as being unable to reach Earth in time to effect the Siege of Terra or play much role in the Heresy beyond their battles with the Word Bearers - was far greater than known. Their Primarch has a plan....
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11 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on 5 May 2011
I just do not understand why they have released another short story compilation on the heresy. The claim is that it will shed light on the 7 years between the betrayal and the siege of Terra, and to do this they release a collection of short stories averaging less than a 100 pages a piece!
The stories vary in quality, which should come as no surprise to regular readers of Black Libary's 40k releases, a couple add small amounts to the background (a statement from Khairn filling out The World Eaters view and motivation for example) a couple of the stories make little sense in relation to the heresy, (all ways a problem with short stories were there is no space for back stories to explain how the current situation in a story has come about) and some of them could have easily been placed in any time period between 31k and 41k, as they do nothing to expand our understanding of the heresy in particular.
And at least one hugely contradicts previously published GW canon, (which I don't mind if it is done as part of a larger story, but not as a short peice)
My particular lowpoint is a story that explains how one of the loyalist primarchs escapes Istvan V,(no spoilers here) now you may think an event like that should surely warrent a full book, but you'd be wrong! 50 something pages should do the trick in this case, a weaker more tamer cop out of a story I have never read, but this particular 1st founding Legion/Chapter has always been one GW has stuggled to do anything with. (basically it follows on from one of the Audiobooks already published, I suspect it is a rush job to tie up all the loose ends from the Audiobook, as this legion may finally be getting it's own book later on this year,and so they cobbled together this 'bridging' story between the audiobook and the next novel.

In short, as a collection of 40k short stories it is about average when compared to their other short story compilations, as an addition to the Heresy series, it is hard to justify,

But lets be honest, your going to buy this book, you have brought every other heresy book and your not stop now
Those of you who do have everyone of the Heresy Books will place this down amoung the lesser lights of the collection, those of you who are new or just fancy trying a 40k book for a change, don't bother with this one, there are many much better 40k/heresy books out there to buy before you need to get to this one.
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on 3 July 2012
Just been catching up with my Horus Heresy reading, a great anthology. Couldn't put it down till i had read it twice. Black Library at it's best!
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on 9 May 2013
Nice short stories works well to add some extra detail to expanding events.

Loved the Iron Warrior short.

Great! Buy it.
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