Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Hastur Sejanus Was Dead: To Begin With

Horus Rising: The Deceived (I)

The Luna Wolves (copyright Games Workshop)
Welcome, citizens, to the Truth.

There are a thousand ways and places in which we might begin the tale of Horus.  We choose this one: the false Imperium, a collection of human worlds ignorant and arrogant enough to declare war upon the Luna Wolves of the 63rd Expeditionary Fleet. 

We begin here for two reasons.  Firstly, it marks the beginning of the tale that will see Garviel Loken take a major role in the shaping of the Legion's future.  Loken will be our touch-stone for some time as we explore the Truth, and his actions against the 'Emperor' are the spark that illuminated him in those all but forgotten days, when everything still seemed to make sense.

The second reason is the 'Emperor' himself.  For it was through him that a dangerous thought first occurred: that honourable warriors could boast unquestioned devotion to the self-proclaimed ruler of all humanity, and yet be horribly and obviously wrong.  The manner by which the Luna Wolves responded to this dark mirror would ultimately tear the galaxy asunder.


What Was

With only fifteen pages under our belt, many of them involving shooting people, there’s not been much exploration of the Heresy’s back-story just yet.  Still, there is some basic priming going on for the uninitiated, so I decided to run a word association test with Fliss to see what she’s picked up.


A planet? No, wait.  Is this the race Locust is fighting for?


A weapon, maybe?


Is that the ship the Emperor is on?

Which Emperor?

The one Locust - or is it Loken?  - is working for?  On those ships.


I picked this one up, at least, but I've no damn clue what it means. A code of conduct between the fighters... warriors... Astartes?

Deeply revealing, I think.

What Is

Dan Abnett seems to have constructed the beginning of this chapter to be intentionally confusing to long-term fans.  It’s an interesting tactic, and the obvious question is to how well it works for people with no reason to be surprised that the Emperor and the Luna Wolves are fighting each other.  So, what do you think is going on?  What’s this fight about, and what does the larger mission of the Luna Wolves seem to be?

I think the Luna Wolves have been at peace for a while after a major war, and they want to expand their territory and/or preach their religion. I think we've got two groups of humans here that have both left Earth.  The fleet people must have settled on that other planet (Cthonia).  Is that where they got the super-juice from that makes them so strong?  They're on a crusade, basically.

Did you notice anything about the implied location?

I thought it might be suggesting this was our solar system, but there aren't enough planets.

Yes there are, or at least there are with Pluto included.

Oh.  Then the 'Emperor' must be from a group of humans who came back to Earth at some point.

Again, with all that space taken up with people exploding, there’s not much room in this first chapter for character development.  Still, with that said, what are your initial opinions of Garviel Loken?

It say's he's being ironic when he talks about Horus killing the Emperor; does it turn out he does it himself?  Or did the Emperor survive somehow?  Actually, could Garviel become a rebel?  Other than that, he's clearly respected and good at his job, and trusted by his superiors.

It’s a common opinion – one which I share, actually – that Dan Abnett is the best writer Games Workshop has to call upon.  How does his prose strike you?

It's difficult to say right now, because it's so packed with terms I'm entirely unfamiliar with. I've too much to absorb to think about prose. Let's come back to that question later.

Would you like to work or live in a building that swivels to face the sun?

No.  Being ginger, I would burn and die in minutes. Unless I could be in the shady bit all the time.  But wouldn't the constant twisting get annoying?  Or would you just get the equivalent of sea-legs.  I could be a pirate! Stealing from those that enter my building without permission.

(At this point, Fliss begins to wax lyrical about rotating rooms she has known, and as her mind turns to rotating German restaurants which offer delicious forest gateau, I decide to move on.)

What Will Be

Again, there’s not really much material to go on here, but for the sake of form: any predictions?

The Emperor is going to die, but which one?  I figured it would be the 'Emperor', but then you started quizzing me in a suspicious manner.  I think there's going to be a problem with Garviel later on.  Maybe he learns something from elsewhere in the galaxy that will turn him from the Emperor?  Or maybe the first Captain (Abaddon) will, and Garviel will have to take him down.  Definitely they're going to end up fighting each other.  Possibly over a woman.  That's how these things usually happen.

Anything else?

One or both Emperors turns out to be the Wizard of Oz.


  1. Just downloaded Horus Rising onto the iPad. Looks interesting :)

  2. I regret to inform you that neither Emperor turns out to be the Wizard of Oz. Apologies for the spoiler, but I don't want you carrying around any false hopes.

  3. Just finished the second book of the series(false gods) and randomly decided to google the phrase "I was there the day that Horus fell" because I thought it sounded cool. Ended up finding this blog. Absolutely not disappointed!! You're so lucky, SpaceSquid, I've tried so hard to convince any of my friends to get into the WH40K universe but never managed to. It is so interesting to see a newcomer's perspective on everything. I can only imagine the Horus Heresy series as a telling of a tale to which all readers know the ending. It's about the journey and not the destination. I think reading this will be extremely "illuminating". At any rate, it's surely extremely fun! I don't usually re-read books often, definitely not this soon after finishing them, but I'm going through every chapter and reading it before reading its review now because I just have to. It's so entertaining! And I know the blog stopped in 2015(which is sort of concerning. I hope you just lost interest and nothing bad happened), but thank you for all the great content anyway!

    1. That's a lovely message to show up in my inbox, thank you. I hope the blog lives up to your expectations :)

      And no, nothing particularly bad happened that caused us to stop posting. F just got a new job a few years ago that really cut into her free time, and this was one project that unfortunately had to be set aside.