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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars

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on 19 April 2017
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on 29 March 2010
As other readers have said, the HH series was beginning to lose its way slightly, but with A Thousand Sons its back on track big time ! Can't wait for the fall of Magnus the Red from the perspective of the Emperor and Leman Russ with Dan Abnett's Prospero Burns. One of the other reviewers has a slight reservation because the Thousand Sons' embracing of Chaos is not fully explained. I beg to differ. In this book we don't so much see the Thousand Sons embracing Chaos as having Chaos thrust upon them through the niaive and ultimately tragic meddlings of their own primarch. Graham McNeill gives us a deliciously proactive Chaos; the Lord of Change truly spinning intricate webs of deceipt to ensnare Magnus the Red into unwitting betrayal of all he holds dear. Not since Legion have we had a such a fully developed, plausible and pleasing chronicle of a Legion's descent into Chaos.
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on 20 September 2010
For me the story of Magnus the Red and the Thousand Sons was one of the weakest links in the whole Heresy story. The previous lore just didn't really make that much sense and left more questions than answers. But Graham has now resolved all of these issues in this outstanding book.

All of the characters really connect and you're left sympathising with Magnus for his folly whilst at the same time now understanding the actions of the Emperor and why he turns against Magnus in such dramatic fashion. He also really manages to capture the horror of the various participants as their knowledge of what Chaos and the warp actually is grows through the book until the stunning conclusion. The last few hundred pages sees so much detail being put on previously sketchy but critical events in the Heresy that I was left desperate to turn pages and see what was next!

I really hope that Dan provides further insights into the Emperors activities on Terra in his follow up Prospero Burns.

One of the best books in the series so far (and that's one hell of an achievement!)
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on 31 March 2010
I very much enjoyed this book, a well told story with generally well fleshed out characters and a very convincing and sympathetic portrayal of the Thousand sons and there troubled past and seemingly bright future under Magnus the Red.
That said not all the characters get developed that much but with a big story to cover that would have eaten up necarsary pages, Ahriman is the main protagonist and we see much through his eyes. He comes over as a genuine human whose intentions are all for the good, as with Magnus, and therein lies the great tragedy, the road to hell is paved with good intentions!
Some have said this book is a little 'slow' but I think what they mean is 'We want more battles!'. The pace of this story and themes of power and knowledge give this book a deeper undercurrent than some of the others in the series and much for the reader to consider.
I also liked that there was no simple division of good guys/bad guys.. loyal hero/evil traitor in this work. Little is black and white and therein lies another theme of the work. The Thousand sons come over as seekers of knowledge for the greater good whilst the space wolves come over as a bunch of ignorant barbarians. Looking forward to seeing how it seems from the other side and as mentioned by others its a shame that its counterpart is not here now, but nevermind, I'll happily re-read this before Wolves of Prospero comes out.
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on 25 August 2012
It seems a bit unfair to start a 5 star review by bashing the author, but bear with me.

I tend to avoid Graham McNeill's books as I feel he appeals to the younger audience (and by younger I mean early teens, I'm only in my 20's myself) who like an explosion over a plot twist. I also have to say that the two other books I've read by this author in the HH series (False Gods and Fulgrim) have been so dull, colourless and badly written that I've avoided his work thereafter.

I took a chance on this one because of the incredibly high reviews it's got (I generally avoid HH books under 4 stars as they are mostly graded by the same overexcited 12 year olds who are thrilled to see their favourite Legion in print, regardless of the story).


From the first chapter, it felt like a different beast from the author's other work. Subtle, well written, with hints and flavours of greater things to come. I was hooked and couldn't put it down (it's been a long while since any book inspired that kind of interest!). The depth of background, the motivations, intentions and portrayal of all parties involved was brilliant. Graham McNeil also manages to do something no author before or since has done (I'm looking at you, Abnett) by taking the Space Wolves from a raucous drunken bunch of cheeky space barbarians and turn them into quite possibly the scariest legion of the set. Single minded, brutal, bloodthirsty and relentless. It's a side of the Wolves that I have long looked for but have been disappointed again and again. Graham McNeill delivers superbly on two very different and very difficult legions to portray.

Fit all that into a solid story line that carries the reader from opening to end, and you have a book worthy of the Thousand Sons and the Space Wolves both.

I realise I may come across as over critical and unnecessarily negative, but I think the readers of HH deserve to have their high standards met, as we have all poured years of time, effort and money into something which has almost taken a life of it's own. Graham has certainly done that here, and I will be checking out some of his other work to see if there are any other gems hidden away.
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on 9 March 2010
The Horus Heresy series continues and my bookshelf is being taken over by a row of Black Library publications. I'm having to learn how to be selective but I bought this book without hesitation, primarily because it concerned a legion that interested me, secondly because it was written by McNeil and, like Fulgrim, was far meatier than some of the other offerings we've had recently.

Aside from shelf space for me, the other issue with the continuing series is that every author has to avoid telling the similar stories in a different way. The legions have unique characters, but this is not enough to give a book a different flavour. For the most part the authors have been quite successful and this entry is no exception.

The unique selling point with this novel is the perspective it takes on a tale that should be familiar. The enmity between the aggressive Viking-like Space Wolves of the Imperium and the Chaotic sorcerers of the Thousand Sons is well known. McNeil's main character in this book is one of the latter and describes his role in the events leading up to the fall of Prospero. Like some of the other books in the series, this novel describes the tragedy of a legion and its primarch doing the wrong things for the right reasons.

Ahriman and Lemuel come across well throughout and while Magnus necessarily takes a background role to start with, his character and personal misfortune become more apparent as the story proceeds. The others, however, are thinly portrayed and I felt this flattened the human angle of the story a little.
I was also a bit confused by the name and numbers; McNeil tackles it but somehow manages to avoid telling us conclusively why the chapter is and *always was* called the Thousand Sons. The numbers left at the end are closer to what the name would suggest, but not enough to give Bill King's Space Wolves a good fight for the next ten millennia.

However, the chapter was nicely characterised as a whole, with descriptions of how it formed and developed, its historical problems and influences (Egyptian in this case) and fighting abilities at the height of its power before the Heresy began. The coverage of Tizca and Nikaea was also good, giving a sense of the importance of the related events in the overall WH40K storyline. The shift of perspective by making the Space Wolves seem like World Eaters was well done and made me - a long time Space Wolf fan - think again. It's a shame Dan Abnett's "Fall of Prospero" has been put back as these releasing the two books concurrently would - I'm sure - have made both of them better and made the shifting perspectives easier to understand through contrast.

All in all a worthy entry on my bookshelf.
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on 30 March 2010
A sign of a good story is when the author gets you to identify and symapthise with the characters. Considering this tale is about a legion busily sliding into heresy by pursuing dark knowledge and defying The Emperor's commands, Graham McNeil makes it easy to believe how one small step leads to another, and a whole legion strays from the path of right while utterly convinced of their own loyalty. It's the Space Wolves, sent to Prospero to enforce The Emperor's punishment, that appear as the forces of anarchy and barbarism that the Sons are so determined not to become.
Despite dealing with the subjects of sorcery and the Warp the book is still firmly rooted in the philosophy of the 31st millenium. The Sons view their powers as an extension of science, and the way they term their bound warp-spirits as 'tutelaries' neatly shows how these are sorcerors who don't believe in superstition or magic. Other Heresy books have sounded rather too '40K' in the way characters go on about witchcraft and demons. Like Dan Abnett's Legion (The Horus Heresy), it also becomes apparent that there are reasons other than blind loyalty to Horus why a whole legion might turn its face from the Emperor's light. Terra's history before the Great Crusade gets some coverage, enough for me to think that a Unification Wars series would be a viable prospect once this one has run its course.
An excellent book, the fact that Dan Abnett has written its partner from the other viewpoint gives me something clear to look forward to in the series.
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on 3 January 2012
This is a long book, but I'll try and keep the review short: it's superb, and better than 'Fulgrim', which I found to be cartoonish in places and too thin on character development. Graham McNeil fearlessly sustains the pace throughout, and never balks at describing what could be overly momentous things to describe. The Emperor, the primarchs, the Council of Nikaea... they fly off the pages. The remembrancers are well-done as a supporting cast, but the stars of the show are Magnus the Red and Ahzek Ahriman, from whose perspective much of the story is told. One downside is perhaps that the Space Marines are overly humanised, but even that is handled well: these are 30k warriors who do not know if they will be needed in a military capacity for the next ten thousand years, and the Thousand Sons's inquisitive natures makes them good vehicles for inflective thought. And, lastly, if any excuse were needed, the author clearly wanted us to feel both understanding and sympathy for how this bunch of good guys ultimately turned 'bad', and he does so with such sophistication and nuance that we aren't even convinced of that by the end of the book. Though the book may lack that last smidgen of 'something' that leaves you reeling the end of a masterpiece, I highly recommend it.
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With more details on the pivitol points of the Horus Heresy long been demanded by fans, its hardly a surprise that this is one of the fastest selling titles by the Black Library. What Graham brings to the fore is the ability to make the legion personable, whilst other Brotherhoods of the Astartes are just combat mad warriors here we have the thinkers who question decisions as well as taking the field to achieve the objective through brains as well as brawn. Beautifully written it's a cracker of a novel that takes this legion into the shades of grey rather than the simplistic black and white of other books out there. No wonder it's a popular title as McNeill really does give this his all.
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on 7 January 2012
I have literally just finished this book and would like to begin by levelling the only complaint that comes to mind at it first: It is a little heavy. That is NOT to say too long, simply that it can make your hands ache a little after you spend hour after hour after hour holding this book up in worship.

Anyway, this book really puts the Horus Heresy back on track and contains everything that it needs and has been missing, in varying degrees, from the previous books in the series. From the word go my mind was blown, as this book really does contain everything you could ask for and more. There is pretty much the entire history of the Legion, great amounts of expansion and poetic description of the warp powers the Legion possess, a decent array of dramatis personae including wonderfully worked sub-plots and relationships that mesh the story together perfectly (opposed to the meanwhile of Caliban rubbish from Angels Of Darkness and more horrifically wrought and vividly rendered battles than you can shake a heqa staff at.

Although I appreciate it was necessary for exposition and the writing was to a very high standard, I found McNeil's last book, Mechanichum, to be a little stilted and boring, this is the antithesis of that!

I could continue to praise this book until all is dust, but I won't, suffice to say that every criticism that has been levelled at the Horus Heresy series since Galaxy In Flames has been addressed: The characters are fully formed and evoke empathy, their interactions are believable and wonderfully portrayed, the Legions are authentic and rendered vividly, the stories are fascinating and work incredibly with the histories we know and those we don't and the fighting is once again immediate and consuming, which is something that was definitely lacking in the last book.

Graham McNeil is a true master of the aether and my faith in this stupendous series is fully restored
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