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3.9 out of 5 stars44
3.9 out of 5 stars
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on 13 January 2016
Somewhat the beginning of the now 5 book long escapade into the battle of Calth. In this book we are explained the origins of what happened at Calth and the extent the word bearers go to secure victory. We see some action from key players such as Roboute Guilliman and Kor Phaeron and eludes to a deeper pasty and a lot more development of character traits. The novel gets most interesting when we see one of the characters go against the grain of the Ultramarines philosophy in order to succeed.
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on 14 August 2012
5 stars from me. This is a tough book to write - it's a brief event really but an absolutely critical one and extremely dramatic given both the scale of the action and the scale of the treachery. Dan manages to capture both perfectly and has written a book you just want to tear through. As soon as the action starts to kick off you're gripped, sucked into the chaos of unfurling events and really feeling the horror of the Ultramarines as they realise that this isn't a mistake, this is really a brother chapter turning on them.

Amidst this we then have an intriguing sub story involving human agents of the Cabal again as started in Legion and no doubt to continue in later books.
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on 23 November 2012
Finally the Ultramarines get fully fleshed out HH depiction that is neither snapshot, small engagement or flashback. The battle of Calth is the Ultramarines Pearl Harbour, except they manage to salvage victory from disaster. Abnet goes out on a limb and uses a battle-report narrative structure which some readers may find disjointed or difficult to follow.
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on 29 February 2012
I have felt like I was there watching the battle unfold.
This is possibly the best book in the Warhammer universe I have read so far and to be quite honest is one of the best books I have read, and that is saying something. This book could sell itself with the best Sci fi out there, from the first page to the last page is written so well that as another Reviewer has said, MAKE SURE YOU GIVE YOURSELF A WEEKEND TO READ IT ON! As if not you will have either a sleepless night or miss work.

The book is based on the battle of Calth between the Ultra marines and the Word bearers Legions and is written in a timeline style, which swallows you up and spits you out, leaving you shaking and trembling and gasping for air (such is the power of this book, we may have to get the Inquisition to check for any taint of the dark powers!)

The ultra marines now seem to have a depth of character that they did not have before (or at least that is my opinion, I will probably now read the ultramarine novels with a different view than before). Now if we can have some more writing like this for the rest of the Horus heresy Novels.

Well done Dan Abnett for a thrilling read, I have not read such a page turner since the Da vinci code. The best in the Horus Heresy Novels so far.
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on 26 February 2012
This is a well written book, but my expectations of Abnett are pretty high and this novel did not quite reach the bar. Why? I think there are a few reasons:
1. I was going to say it's too short, but I've just checked and the HH standard is about 410 pages, so it's actually pretty average (discounting Graham McNeil's novels). So instead I'll say it's too short for the events depicted. Obviously it *is* a short episode in a massive galaxy-spanning conflict, but it could have been written so as not to feel that way. This leads to:
2. None of the characters start AND finish their story. Some have a bit of background and some have closure, but none of them have both. I would say there are too many characters and none of them get enough coverage for the reader to relate to them properly.
3. Some of the threads are left unfinished which, again, leaves the reader feeling slightly unsatisfied. Presumably some can be tied up by a short story in another compendium. However, other threads are much more significant and connect to plots in earlier Abnett novels. He seems to be writing a separate sub-plot to the whole series (and I think we can guess exactly where this ends), but at this rate it will be another 10 books before we finish the jigsaw.
4. I wasn't too happy about some of the physics: A 12 kilometre long object falling out of (even a low) orbit would not just plough a furrow in the ground - it should have caused extensive damage to the whole continent; bodies falling out of orbit would burn up; tanks falling out of orbit would not 'bounce' off the ground. I wouldn't normally object, but it went too far for me to suspend my disbelief.
5. Finally, although it not a deus ex machine ending (geddit?) because the plot device was pretty integral to the whole story, it was a bit too obvious from about a third of the way through the book.

Against all that:
a) Plot: - great. Lots of treachery, followed by righteous anger. With the bad guys winning so many battles it was nice to have a slightly different ending this time, albeit somewhat pyrrhic.
b) Stylistically: - His novels are always slightly different from one another. This was an interesting approach, making it seem like an entry in the Codex for which Guilliman is famed. (Although this should not exclude insufficient characterisation!). Additionally we learn some new words to describe how marines kill marines. Yay.
c) Coverage: the Ultramarines have been left out of this series so far so it's good that they've finally got a mention.

I was going to give it four stars, but I've written a lot more criticism than praise, so three it is.
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on 4 December 2012
I've read all of the Horus Heresy series so far and can safely say this is one of the best. I've never been a fan of the Ultramarines in the rest of the WH40k fiction but Dan Abnett won me over with his rendering of them. The style of writing he's chosen takes some getting used to but once you're in, you're hooked. Abnett skilfully creates the epic scale of a planet wide battle and never lets the tension slacken off for a single page.

What I also liked about this book was they way it bought home why the Horus Heresy is also referred to as 'The Great Betrayal'. The Word Bearers showing their true colours and the Ultramarines reaction was very powerful. A number of the loyalist characters expressed a very real sense of loss which in places was quite touching.

So as not to gush too much; I have to say there where a couple of minor story lines which I felt never went anywhere and could have been dropped with no real loss to the overall story.

That said it's a fantastic read and easily in my top five HH books so far.
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on 21 January 2016
another great book in the series. bought for my son who is an avid reader and he loves this series
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on 16 April 2012
If you enjoy the Horus Heresy novels then you will enjoy this too, it may not be the best of the series but is still a decent and enjoyable read. The way the book has been written is very interesting as it is in the form of a log book detailings the lead up to the battle and the battle itself. The book portrays the Ultramarines very well and does a good job of getting across how disciplined, methodical and logical they are, more so than any other space marine legion. The only criticism is that near the end of the book I thought this would end up being a two parter however it wasn't because the ending was slightly rushed.
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on 12 April 2012
Another great strand to the HH universe and another great book by Mr Abnett. The battle scenes were great from orbital bombardments to in your face hand to hand combat. The sense of confusion changing to outrage on the part of the Ultra Marines at the betrayal of their so called 'brothers' the Word Bearers was nicely written, especially the reference to the earlier chastisement the Emperor enacted upon the Word Bearers using the Ultra Marines as his instrument to carry this out.
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on 17 May 2012
Sometimes I think it would only be worth mentioning when Dan Abnett writes a bad book. Which this is NOT. The structure of this novel is special. The amount of characters in different situations he gives life to, exemplary. Its no run of the mill 'here's a story about a guy and a war', unlike the previous novel in the series about Corax and the Raven Guard.
Yep, a fine book. I will return to all the Dan Abnett novels in the Horus Heresy series again sometime. The only ones worth going back to.
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