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3.8 out of 5 stars
3.8 out of 5 stars
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TOP 100 REVIEWERon 21 July 2013
Mark of Calth is a collection of eight short stories about what happened after the treasonous and treacherous attack of the 17th Legion of the Word Bearers on Calth and the 13th Legion of the Ultramarines, and after they had "poisoned the system's sun", making the surface of the planet inhabitable.

As it generally happens for many readers in such cases, I liked some stories more than others. The two I liked the least were the first one ("the Shards of Erebus", by Guy Haley) and, more surprisingly, the last one ("Unmarked") by Dan Abnett, although he happens to be one of my favourite authors (and in this I am certainly not alone). The reasons for not liking these two stories were similar. They were drafted in such a way that I simply did not see the point of the story or, perhaps more accurately, I did not understand what the respective authors were getting at.

I like the six other stories, however. My three favourites were "The Traveller" (David Annandale), The "Underworld War" (Aaron Demski-Bowden) and "The Athame" (John French), essentially because they were the most original in both style and content although I will refrain from mentioning anything more about them to avoid spoilers.

For those familiar with the works of Anthony Reynolds, "Dark Heart" will show you something of the early feats of one Marduk, and how he manages to impress Kor Phaeron, first Captain of the Word Bearers. "Calth that Was" (Graham McNeill) and "A Deeper Darkness" (Rob Sanders) are told from the perspective of the Ultramarines. They are about how they continued to fight back the war against the Word Bearers but from underground. The "Underworld War" is also largely about this underground conflict, but from the viewpoint of a Word Bearer.

Three and a half stars.
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on 19 July 2017
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on 3 April 2016
good book
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on 20 April 2014
Mark of Calth (MoC) is an anthology of 8 stories set on Calth during the Horus Heresy.
However, you MUST have read "Know No Fear" by Dan Abnett (and possibly "The First Heretic" by AD-B) for this book to make any sense. There are several Ultramarine and Word Bearer characters throughout that appear previously, or events are referenced that you'll want to be familiar with. I waited nearly 2 years between reading KNF and this, and some parts went over my head. It *might* be better to read this first before reading "Betrayer".

As a collection, some pieces are better than others, but overall the additional info from various perspectives that this book provides to that battle is great.

The first book, "Shards of Erebus", explains how certain knives are first forged, and these provide almost a running theme through several of the other books here.
The second, "Calth that Was" is novella-length, and is written from the perspective of Remus Ventanus and Maloq Kartho, generally explaining the context of the Underworld War.
"Dark Heart" was next, following a young Word Bearers acolyte named Marduk, and whilst good, probably meant more for people who have read the Word Bearers series by Anthony Reynolds.
"The Traveller" was probably the worst for me - I wasn't really that interested with the plot, and the "twist" at the end (if you can call it that?) left me thinking "So what?".
"A Deeper Darkness" was next. I enjoyed this one, but it was a bit slow to start with, and it didn't really add much to the overall Calth or HH plot.
AD-B's "The Underworld War" is set deep into this stage of the Calth conflict, and follows a member of the Gal Vorbak, and explains how he first came to be possessed. It also features my favourite heretic, Argel Tal, reveals more about why certain Word Bearers were chosen for Calth, and impacts on the events in "Betrayer".
"Athame" was next and was ok I guess, tracing the titular weapon from its discovery through various owners. I didn't get the 8th section though - who was it talking about?
Finally, "Unmarked" was one of the stronger works for me. It follows Oll Persson's group after he cuts a hole into the warp, and their journey onwards. Particularly interesting is his conversation with fellow Perpetual John Grammaticus, and the hints dropped in this one that are followed up in "The Unremembered Empire". Also, heavy hints dropped that Oll knew the Emperor at the dawn of civilization, but decided he didn't want any part of the Emperor's schemes and was therefore not a part of his inner circle.

A good collection, buy it if you're a HH enthusiast, but make sure you've read KNF first (and preferably fairly recently!)
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on 22 September 2013
I have found with the Black Library anthologies that some of the stories in the middle can be rather average, but this keeps a pretty high standard throughout. Some of them are really novellas and it was interesting to see how the war on Calth evolved. Do not quite get how they are not in contact with the primarch though...
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on 5 May 2014
I love the Horus Heresy series - but hate it when they come out with another of the short story collections. I'll buy and read all of the series (but only in the mass market paperback size so they all look the same on the shelf, so am also annoyed that I have to wait longer for them to be released).
The short story collections just lack the depth, narrative and character exploration found in the full books, for example in Betrayer, and are a read once and shelve book - there's no point going back to re-read, unlike with the first 5 books in the series.
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on 6 September 2013
a good collection of tales with some great action and little bits of extra background on the changes both to the word bearers and to the ultramarines
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on 18 February 2014
Ok so the HH storyline has not progressed with this book but in a Universe where everything is starting to fall apart, the smaller struggles do need telling.

I enjoyed the short stories for the most part so am happy to give this book 4 stars.
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on 11 November 2013
Having read each of the HH novels, I found this one to be nothing but filler. It does explore some of the avenues of story from Know No Fear, but nothing that I would of lost sleep over not knowing how it ended.

Not being a huge fan of short stories in general perhaps this is unfair, but I found myself just reading each short story just to move onto the next one, and eventually just to get the book finished. There were no real links to major plot lines in the HH series other than the obvious UM vs WB battle, and feel fairly let down by the whole book.

Not up to the Black Library's usual high standard. If you are worried about skipping this book and missing something vital, dont be.
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on 28 October 2014
Found this book very difficult to get in to. I was really looking forward to it as well. Would say it's needed to complete the series but if you're on a budget go for other titles first.
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