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Davout
04-08-2008, 19:54
Just finished reading Abyss and was interested in other people's thoughts on the fate of Skraal (the World Eater Captain).

*SPOILER ALERT*










Did any one else think is was a little sad that he died believing that both his Legion and his Primarch were still loyal to the Emperor, even though (if my timeline is correct) both had chucked their lot in with Horus?

Do you believe that he would have turned traitor if he had been with the main boddy of the World Eaters, or would he have been one of the unlucky few sent down to die on Istavann III with Loken, Tarvits, etc?

Other then that I enjoyed the book, much better then I thought it was going to be. I really enjoyed the conflict between the various Legions.

Eulenspiegel
05-08-2008, 07:49
I found it especially intriguing that two Marines from traitor (though, not initially in case of the Thousand Sons) Legions fought on the Loyalists side.
That is because none of them know anything about the events, not even Skraal and Mhotep. It seems that the World Eaters couldnt inform every Marine of their Legion about their plans.

Do I think Skraal and the fellow Wold Eaters would have followed their Legion?
Depends.
If he only got a message in the lines of "We rebel, just so you know", I do not think they would have turned. Apparently they were alredy too far away on that outpost when the corruption took hold in the World Eaters.

Then again, if they got an encrypted message that said "Most of the Legions are against us, be ready to follow Angron against your brother Astartes", I´m almost positive Skraal would not have hesitated to slaugther the Ultramarines and Wolves on the Ship.

Rico
05-08-2008, 18:15
Then again, if they got an encrypted message that said "Most of the Legions are against us, be ready to follow Angron against your brother Astartes", I´m almost positive Skraal would not have hesitated to slaugther the Ultramarines and Wolves on the Ship.



I did half expect a vox message from Angron initiating Order 66.

Seriously, liked the new novel, It really made me want to read about the extended campaign between the Smurfs and the Word-bashers. I'm eagerly anticipating a novel that will describe in detail a full scale conflict within this era.

different13
05-08-2008, 19:55
I was very pleasantly surprised by BftA. When it was first announced, I was rather dreading it (especially as I was expecting/hoping for a Prospero book).

However, it did suffer even more than most BL books from feeble grammar and punctuation (yes, the command and full-stop are great, but they can be combined to form the *gasp* semi-colon!)

But yes, great characters, loved the signature speech and duel(s) - Counter's HH books are both amongst m favourite in the series.

CULCHAIN
05-08-2008, 20:40
the thousand sons did not turn, but were forced into an alliance by the attack on Prospero by Russ. In order to survive an attack that almost crippled Magnus he made a pact with tzeentch.

Phoenix Blaze
05-08-2008, 21:01
I loved the tenacity of Skraal, and I was dreading a moment where he'd turn on the loyalists because of the actions of his legion and Primarch. I think he would've been one of the few to die horribley on Istvaan III, but I do think a specially worded transmission from his Legion could easly cause him to attack the loyalists.


The actions of Skraal make me want to add a World Eaters section to my pre-heresy Emperor's Children, infact I might as well just create a force similar to what was on Istvaan III!

I too was suprised with Battle for the Abyss. The entire lack of Primarch's actually made it better than I first thought. It showed a small snippet of the Heresy where only small players (besides Kor Phaeron) were concerned and it was good. It was also cool because it followed the one action throughout. Besides time spent travelling through the warp, it all happens over a short period of time and I feel it was much better than Legion.

RCgothic
05-08-2008, 21:06
Before reading Abyss I had always misread Word Bearers as 'World Bearers'. I have no idea why. Felt a bit of an idiot when it finally clicked.

Anyway, thought the book had a slow start, but was good when I got into it.

ryng_sting
05-08-2008, 21:13
the thousand sons did not turn, but were forced into an alliance by the attack on Prospero by Russ. In order to survive an attack that almost crippled Magnus he made a pact with tzeentch.

Magnus turned for the same reason the other traitor primarchs turned: Chaos played on virtues as well as vices. In Magnus's case, it was his hunger for knowledge. As normal, Tzeentch got his pawn to do the work for him: by tempting the naive Magnus to warn the Emperor, he set a chain of events into motion that would destroy the Webway Project and make his prediction about claiming the Thousand Sons for himself a reality.

Talos
05-08-2008, 21:14
I liked it and I did not realize till I did some research how strong Kor Phaeron was as in how much he controlled logar.

Cant wait for the next book where they attack the UM.
The thing I did not like was how dumb the Word Bearers leader was and how bad they seemed to be in combat. I mean the UM attack the ship with like 5 SM but mange to mow down what seems like around 20 word bearers.
That is the only problem with HH I love Chaos but I already know they lose :(

Gdolkin
06-08-2008, 14:18
What about that bit where Skraal and his squad of World Eaters are infiltrating the Imperial Space Station (that the Traitor Word Bearers have themselves infiltrated and more-or-less taken over, under the pretence of loyalty) and suddenly decide a bit of slaughter of innocent Imperial menials is in order just to perk them up a bit, get them in the mood..? The mess and noise they make is what alerts the Word Bearers to the Loyalist's presence, and it's a bit disconcerting that supposedly loyal World Eaters felt they could get away with that before ever becoming Traitors and Khorne-worshippers. I may have misinterpreted, but it seems Skraal and his squad knowingly, casually, recklessly, and for no reason other than their own bloodlust, slaughter loyal Imperial menials that they happen across as they're working towards the real enemy.. Shades of grey indeed.

Phoenix Blaze
06-08-2008, 14:25
I thought the menials were ones from the Abyss, therefore they were traitor. Nuff said.

But, you do have a point if they weren't. I'd see the WE as being quite arrogant in their standing being Astartes, so such menials are nothing but colateral(sp?) damage.

Davout
06-08-2008, 20:36
World Eaters, even when loyal could never be considered "good guys". I'm sure that the last thing I would want as a human citizen on a new world would be for the World Eaters to bring me and my people into complience.

There brand of complience is a chain ax through the skull first and questions later.

Skraal and his boys were just doing what World Eaters do in the corridors of the space station. More then anyother Legion it seems to be that World Eaters don't see enimies and inocents, just targets.

Gdolkin
06-08-2008, 22:12
Phoenix Blaze and Davout, you're both right of course about the World Eaters, but I'm looking in detail at the bit of BftA I mentioned, Ch.9 p191- p196. It doesn't explicitly say so, but the context of the narrative heavily implies that Skraal and his boys' victims are simply the loyal crew of an imperial refuelling and repairs space dock. A few Word Bearers have left the Furious Abyss to flaunt their Astartes authority and get the station's crew and commanders to work on their unexpectedly-arrived ship, but as i read it, all menials attached to the Abyss (de facto traitors, even though many may have no more clue than the Imperial-owned menials on the station) are still on it, and Skraal and his boys start killing some distance away from the actual ship..
"Skraal's assault force sped down the central channel of the dock, a loading bay for fuel and munitions tankers, with reckless abandon. The berserker fury was building within the World Eater Captain and he knew his battle-brothers were experiencing the same rush... /bit about Angron and the psychosurgery/
...Though the orders of the Ultramarine, Antiges, had forbidden it, Skraal encouraged his warriors to kill as they converged on the Furious Abyss. A spate of blood-letting would sharpen the senses for the battle to come. The only directive: leave none alive to tell or warn others of their approach. The World Eaters pursued this duty with brutal efficiency and a trail of menial corpses littered the ground between the assault-boat insertion point and their current position."
See, this is a bit confusing. As I say, the context suggests that the only menials Skraal would have met on the way were completely unconnected to the Word Bearers, other than that they may have been working towards some aspect of the maintenance of the Furious Abyss, that the Word Bearers have turned up and demanded. There's no mention of 'Aha! We can kill these ones lads, they're working for the evil traitors!' at all. It also mentions on page184 that the insertion teams of World Eaters, Wolves and Antiges arrived at 'the farthest docking spike' of Bakka Triumveron 14 Station and had 'a long trek' to the Abyss.. Also, why would Antiges have bothered to explicitly forbid Skraal from killing Imperial menials on his way to battle with Word Bearers? Sure, he knows what the WE are like, but surely if an Ultramarine suspected WE of such murderous treachery and treacherous murder he would have more to say than 'don't do that, it'll make too much noise'? You can say the WE are all 'axe first, questions later', but there seems to be no justification at all for their actions in this case, and they totally get away with it! Skraal's a noble loyalist to the end, he can't even believe Angron would turn on the Emperor, bless him.. but he murders loyal Imperial citizens just to keep his hand in when he thinks no-one's looking! Even without/before the influence of Horus and his Heresy, or the knowledge and worship of Khorne, look what those naughty buggers in the World Eaters were up to..

CULCHAIN
06-08-2008, 22:22
Magnus turned for the same reason the other traitor primarchs turned: Chaos played on virtues as well as vices. In Magnus's case, it was his hunger for knowledge. As normal, Tzeentch got his pawn to do the work for him: by tempting the naive Magnus to warn the Emperor, he set a chain of events into motion that would destroy the Webway Project and make his prediction about claiming the Thousand Sons for himself a reality.

if you read the fluff he turned after Russ wounded him and was close to killing him he made a deal with Tzeentch and a portal took him and the thousand sons into the warp. This is when Russ sends the elite of his army into the warp (the 13th legion) after him.

Davout
07-08-2008, 02:12
Gdolkin,

You are probably right. The WE kill as they go, not bothering to ID loyalists from traitors. Does this make them traitors, in my opinion, no. The WE, are by nature crazy killing machines. Unleashing them on an Imperial space station means good people are going to die. Cestus and Antiges gave them their niave directions because in their minds Marines would not kill innocents. They do not understand that for the WE, there are no such things as innocent bystanders.

I see the World Eaters are a very specialized Legion. They are very good at one thing, bashing the living snot out of the target they are pointed at. To unleash the WE on a world is like doing open heart surgery with a chain saw. It's not going to end well.

Nazguire
07-08-2008, 04:32
if you read the fluff he turned after Russ wounded him and was close to killing him he made a deal with Tzeentch and a portal took him and the thousand sons into the warp. This is when Russ sends the elite of his army into the warp (the 13th legion) after him.


That might have been the immediate reason but read between the lines of his Index Astartes. It tells us in no uncertain terms that Tzeentch manipulated Magnus from the get go. Magnus didn't just decide to turn to a Chaos Power after being wounded by Russ, he was in league with them all along without realising it. The ease that Tzeentch turned him into a daemon prince (or at least changed his form) before his back being broke by Leman Russ is an example of this.

Nazguire
07-08-2008, 04:35
Gdolkin,

You are probably right. The WE kill as they go, not bothering to ID loyalists from traitors. Does this make them traitors, in my opinion, no. The WE, are by nature crazy killing machines. Unleashing them on an Imperial space station means good people are going to die. Cestus and Antiges gave them their niave directions because in their minds Marines would not kill innocents. They do not understand that for the WE, there are no such things as innocent bystanders.

I see the World Eaters are a very specialized Legion. They are very good at one thing, bashing the living snot out of the target they are pointed at. To unleash the WE on a world is like doing open heart surgery with a chain saw. It's not going to end well.


It doesnt' make it right or acceptable either. There are such things as rules of war and codes of conduct. Killing unarmed civillians or military personnel (such as the clerks...) is forbidden and a war crime offence if found guilty of doing it.
It's perfectly understandable that the Emperor was about to reign in their excesses before the Heresy.

Phoenix Blaze
07-08-2008, 08:55
Why are people ignoring the little snippet about killing the menails so they could've warn others of the Astartes' approach? In my mind the killing the WE took part in is totally justified. If other Astartes had done the same, it would've been with grim reluctance, but just because the WE took something good from it, doesn't make them traitors. Granted they didn't have to kill the menials in such a loud bloody fashion, but the idea of preventing any warning from reaching the ship makes perfect sense.

Talos
07-08-2008, 12:06
Phoenix blaze that is not the main reason they killed them. The main reason was to increase there blood rage for the upcoming battle.

Phoenix Blaze
07-08-2008, 12:12
I'm not denying that, but there was still a tactical reason. In my mind, it was something any Legion would do, but with the World Eaters, it also doubles as a method to get them into the frame of mind for combat.

Yes they are blood thirsty maniacs, and the actions of Skraal and his men were wrong, but that doesn't make them traitor.

Eulenspiegel
07-08-2008, 14:34
The killing of those workers was what alerted the Word Bearers to the presence of the loyalists. Thats why Cestus clearly forbade it prior to the engagement, he foresaw that an alert on the perimeters surrounding the Abyss would also alert the Word Bearers.

This is exactly what happened when Skraal ignored those orders, and because of that all Arbites died and the plan almost failed.

So it was not a sound tactical decision, it was a reckless and selfish ignoring of the battleplan.

Also, nowhere it is said or even hinted at that Skraal had any tactical considerations prior to killing the innocents. The book clearly spells out that they did it due to their bloodlust, though.

Xisor
07-08-2008, 16:25
I felt the dynamic between the 'four captains' (and then also Cestus' UMs) was a very interesting play on the dynamic seen throughout the series (and much more interesting than that which was lacking in Flight of the Eisenstein).

That is: Mhotep is the only one who really seems to know what he's actually doing.

Cestus is acting on faith and loyalty to his Legion not to the Emperor and the Imperium (just like most of the actual traitors of the series). He might be the hero of the book who saved Macragge, but at what cost? They ought to have went to Terra by all reason.

Skraal is true to himself, but displays precsely why the Emperor wasn't at all happy with Angron (and also why Angron had led his legion so poorly). Skraal is also awesome in that it shows whilst he's a menace, a liability and a an idiot at times...he is loyal. Many of the World Eaters, then, would be much less loyal than Skraal but no more loyal than Cestus, our hero!

Brynngar exemplifies just what sort of tenuous ground the Space Wolves stand on. Whilst the operating practices of the World Eaters might be dubious, the Space Wolves are a bunch of belligerent miscreants by comparison. Unreliable as allies, unreasonable, irrational. Loyal? Well. He's no less loyal than Magnus' buddies. What of Grulgor in FotE? Consider Brynngar's place if they'd went to Terra instead...Magnus' message might not have been sent, Leman Russ would've been left complaining about Magnus whilst the Emperor would've hopefully found time to reign in Magnus and retrain the Thousands Sons to become a properly fearsome psyker-legion. (or delete them)

There was a lot going on and I found it quite remarkable that no-one was really truly loyal, reasonable and genuine in the book. In that regard it makes a dramatic juxtaposition to Flight of the Eisenstein wherein everyone is clear-cut. Garro is loyal, Grulgor is evil, end. No-one acts out of order or does anything really questionable or unexpected given the rest of the series.

Furthermore, I felt Mhotep, Brynngar and Skraal were amongst the most interesting and convincing of the Horus Heresy so far. Their motives felt...genuine. The faith of Cestus, whilst interesting was odd. Garro felt too 2D, but otherwise alright.

Gdolkin
07-08-2008, 16:54
Good point, Phoenix Blaze, but Eulenspiegel's retort dismisses it I reckon. Extrapolating away from the actual text a little, I think perhaps Cestus's orders, passed through Antiges, were probably along the lines of "Be very stealthy and let no-one see or hear you, or the Word Bearers will know you're coming." (this is the order Brynngar and his Wolves seem to be following), but Skraal, being the World Eater he is, as described by Davout, chose to interpret that as "..but if you can't manage to stay undetected, just kill everyone and it'll be fine." See what I mean? It's much easier and more preferable to the WE to massacre everyone that they allow to see them than to follow orders and NOT allow anyone to see them.. That solves the question of 'why would Antiges order them not to kill loyal imperial citizens ('just this time lads, as we need quiet')?', which is both a question of 'why would Antiges even work with them if he suspected/expected such treacherous murder?' and 'why wouldn't he accept such acceptable losses in order to maintain secrecy?'-- He didn't, he ordered them to ALLOW no witnesses in the first place, and expected them to perform as such, not to LEAVE no witnesses if they failed at that..

Phoenix Blaze
07-08-2008, 20:55
We could possibly even look into the text further and suggest that Skraal had his squad kill the menails *because* he was told not to. Look at the situation, a know-it-all Ultramarine is dishing out orders, so there must be some element where Skraal would feel insulted.


My main thoughts on the book are, it's probably one of the best recent HH novels as it gives you an account of characters who are not major players and it follows a plot which isn't a well known major segment of the Heresy. There's a book of short stories being released soon, and I really hope that just gives us an insight into what was going on while Horus was waging war in the Istvaan system or Terra.


@ Xisor, I feel that Cestus' loyalty to his Legion and Primarch would come before his loyalty to the Emperor....to an extent. Obviously such a feeling caused some of the Legions to turn. They saw their Primarch doing it, so they did too, monkey see, monkey do. But I think that all Astartes, loyal or traitor would hold their Primarch before the Emperor as the Primarch is seen as the father figure within the Legion.

Davout
07-08-2008, 21:06
Phoenix Blaze makes a good point. Skraal, as we see later in the book, and in his death scene had a complex about being a slave. This obviously extends to taking orders from an Ultramarine. It's never mentioned if Cestus or Skraal is senior in terms of time served with their Legions, or in the rank of Captain. it's totaly possible that Skraal could have had several decades more experience then Cestus and chose to do things as he had always done, despite the (as described in the book) vaunted tactical abilities of the Ultramarines.

I actually found this angel of the World Eaters quite interesting. The decriptions of Angron being ashamed of his origins as a slave makes one think about what really drives the rage of the WE.

Eulenspiegel
07-08-2008, 21:12
Possibly.

But what is actually spelled out is what I wrote ;)

They could be Hello-Kitty fans in secret, and just commit carnage to waylay suspicion ...
Not meaning to be rude, but you get my point? If the author wants to hint at something, he actually gives hints.

Trying to get to Skraal via the "Angron was a slave" way was very clever I thought. And I thought even more of Skraal because he wasn´t swayed.

Norminator
07-08-2008, 21:26
There's a book of short stories being released soon, and I really hope that just gives us an insight into what was going on while Horus was waging war in the Istvaan system or Terra.

This is what I'm really hoping they do with it.

There are an awful amount of episodes in the Heresy that aren't entirely suited to whole books, or if they were all done as whole books the series would never be finished. I think they may take it as an opportunity to fill in some of the gaps before the next lot starts (that presumably will be Terra based, as these were all the lead up and results of Istvaan).

I'd really like to read a book about the tank battles on Tallern, mind.

Anyone else think that short stories on the Primarch's growing up would be good? So one on Angron's slave rebellion, one on Corax's revolution etc.?

Lord Dante
12-08-2008, 10:10
I really enjoyed the book, if i had one complaint the death of Cestus at the end felt slightly rushed.

Cestus looks down and has been mortally wounded! - wow, considering the battering SM like Cestus take in most HH novels I found that part a bit flat. "how can i wrap this page up" - "Ohe yeah, Cestus got mortally wounded, da end!"

Perhaps it could have been written in that he had some running injury, like his hearts had given way due to rad posions from the engine room or somthing.

Ok thats a tiny complaint, in short i thought it was a great book, and an interesting part of the HH story. In regards to Cestus taking the choices to go back to Mac, I can understand this course of action, if he heads for earth, he might make it, the smurfs could still and probably would have all been killed, and this wouldnt have helped the loyal forces at all. It was better to try and stop the Word Bearers en-route and give the loyal factions a fighting chance.

I dont mind that HH books are currently dipping in and out of the smaller stories, ill read them all day to be honest. I always compare it to WW2. if someone asked u to write a novel on WW2 then in short u say, the Nazis try to take over the world, the good guys stop them!
But to truly explain the full story u have to delve into all the smaller conflicts, from the D-day landings, sinking the Bismark, the battle of britain, the battle of the Bulge etc... to understand the full picture. and in the same sense, the HH is just as involved with lots of small losses and victories creating the entire Heresy at large.

Id love to see a book about all the Primarchs, explaining thier past lifes on thier respective planets, u could probably stick them all in one book, give them a chapter each etc... just a fluff filler but great background.

sydbridges
12-08-2008, 14:16
I thought this book was an enjoyable read. The writing style was pretty typical for Counter, I thought - nothing terrible, but nothing to write home about - but the characters were some of my favorites in the series so far. In particular, I loved Skaarl and Mtohep, for they both fit into the stereotypes of their respective Legions as the blood-thirsty maniac and the sorcerer who just can't seem to quit magic, but they both subverted the stereotype by remaining loyalists to the very end, even when faced with the possibility that their Legion has turned traitor. The Space Wolf was, to me, less interesting, but I felt he was mostly there to serve as a foil to Mtohep. Cassius was interesting at times, especially early on when he decides to put his Primarch above the Imperium, but most of the time, the sections that focused mostly on the Ultramarines felt like paste - they held the story together very well, but weren't the most striking parts.

Sabbad
13-08-2008, 00:34
Not a good book. 7th best in series, maybe? (Better than Descent of Angels, jostling with Flight of the Eisenstein for 6th place.)

The Word Bearers are Saturday morning cartoon villains and everyone else is a colossal *****. None of the baddies have any substance to them in the slightest beyond droning on about words, books and faith in what allegedly passes as characterisation. Also, why is it that siding with Horus rather than the Emperor automatically defines them as insubordinates and backstab enthusiasts? The taint of Chaos is despicable indeed - not only does it encourage them to call upon the fel powers of the warp, but it also prompts the use of sarky comments when speaking to senior commanders! :eek:

The book is embarrassingly thin in the plot department too. There's a space battle, then a chase through the warp, then a space battle...that's it. In fairness, I'm missing out the bit where something awful happens in the warp. And then something even worse happens in the warp. And then something even worser than everything else happens in the warp. And then the worstest thing of the whole warp everest happens in the warp. And then... yeh, the tedium's set in pretty hard by now.

Why is this even a Horus Heresy novel? There's no Primarchs, no significant characters (except for Kor Phaeron's walk on cameo - my hero, you deserved better), no covering of major conflicts, no insight into what drove the Traitor Legions to betray the Emperor and no interesting new material. Edit out all two of the references to the Word Bearers actually being supposed allies, and not faceless evil grunts for the heroes to blow up in cool and exciting ways, and replace Mhotep and Skraal with a Relictor and a Minotaur. Ta da! It's a regular Warhammer 40K novel! It does actually sound as though someone thought up an idea for a 40K novel, that got translated back 10,000 years for no apparent reason other than to boost sales. Incidentally, it seems they forgot that the "ship travels through Warp and is attacked by gribblies" idea had actually already been used before in the Horus Heresy series, namely Flight of the Eisenstein.

I have to say, I'm somewhat surprised I'm the first person to comment about this book negatively. How can we honour superior HH novels like Legion and False Gods, if let-downs like this are praised in exactly the same way?

Lord Dante
13-08-2008, 09:13
Well, I think I could say the same about any of the books to be honest, Legion, False-gods etc, they all have thier comedy bad guys, and completely daft sub-plots. I dont really see a difference, and to be fair, it doesnt work like that for myself.

The reason for the novel is I expect its a pre-curser to a follow up book detailing the war at Calth, which, without any background found here in Abyss wouldnt make any sense.
If Cestus hadnt stoped the dick-darstedly villians then the Ultras would all be dead, so I think its pretty important plot wise for the entire history of the imperium. ie. what exactly did the UM do in the HH? - ppl ask that question, well, now you know part of thier story.

Lets be serious here, these novels are never going to be like somthing Arthur.C.Clarke pumps out are they? - they are novels about space marines and high fantasy sci-fi. they are your action movies of the book world, I dont expect anything more from them, in the same way i dont expect much from Die Hard 4.0 than big bangs and popcorn.

Sabbad
13-08-2008, 11:26
Well, I think I could say the same about any of the books to be honest, Legion, False-gods etc, they all have thier comedy bad guys, and completely daft sub-plots. I dont really see a difference, and to be fair, it doesnt work like that for myself.

I think you're being harsh. To take the three Horus Heresy Novels I particularly like (Horus Rising, False Gods, Legion), I feel that genuine attempts are made to give each of the characters something approaching a third dimension, with interesting, twisty plots and sub-plots accompanying them. OK, so Erebus is a bit of a let down...

The point is that I think all three of those books are good stories. Battle for the Abyss is not.


The reason for the novel is I expect its a pre-curser to a follow up book detailing the war at Calth, which, without any background found here in Abyss wouldnt make any sense.
If Cestus hadnt stoped the dick-darstedly villians then the Ultras would all be dead, so I think its pretty important plot wise for the entire history of the imperium. ie. what exactly did the UM do in the HH? - ppl ask that question, well, now you know part of thier story.

Ignoring for one moment that I've no idea what the war at Calth is, I see no reason whatsoever that a big space battle couldn't have been covered in one book, thus rendering Battle for the Abyss pointless. The book has zero long term consequences anyway - the Word Bearers build a big spaceship, the Ultramarine blow it up. The end. It's very easily removable from the series, and isn't working with any previously established HH background. In other words, when you say:


The reason for the novel is I expect its a pre-curser to a follow up book detailing the war at Calth, which, without any background found here in Abyss wouldnt make any sense.

...I completely disagree.


Lets be serious here, these novels are never going to be like somthing Arthur.C.Clarke pumps out are they? - they are novels about space marines and high fantasy sci-fi. they are your action movies of the book world, I dont expect anything more from them, in the same way i dont expect much from Die Hard 4.0 than big bangs and popcorn.

I've heard this argument before. "40K novels are designed to be books for ******, so why are you bothering to criticise them?"

I guess the conclusion is that I must be especially moronic, because I genuinelly enjoy some of the books the Black Library produces and consider them to be impressive well-written pieces of work. Legion, False Gods, Horus Rising, Lord of the Night, the Ravenor series, Skavenslayer, 13th Legion - I've read them all and been really pleased with my purchase afterwards, because they are all good books. Battle for the Abyss is not a good book, and its disrespectful to the authors of the aforementioned books if a distinction is not drawn.

Danjester
13-08-2008, 11:54
Skraal managed to become one of my favourite pre-heresy characters. To the extent that I'm now assembling a squad of pre-heresy WE Marines...

I liked the reveal that Gorechild (Later Kharn's beating stick) was originally Angron's. I wasn't aware of that previously.

Phoenix Blaze
13-08-2008, 12:04
Complaints about the lack of Primarchs and such was the reason that I thought BftA rocked! There were no glorius entrances which spanned several pages, it was just gritty combat, but in 30K and not 40K, which we need more of!

I wouldn't like to see books about the Primarchs' early lives. We know enough for most of them, and for those we don't (mainly Alpharius), I think it's best left unknown. While the HH books have been good, they've lessened my view of the Primarch's. It's good to see them with a more human side, but they are no longer the gods of old. They were like the greek legends of 40K, now they're just really *really* good warriors/commanders.

Oberon
13-08-2008, 12:29
Complaints about the lack of Primarchs and such was the reason that I thought BftA rocked! There were no glorius entrances which spanned several pages, it was just gritty combat, but in 30K and not 40K, which we need more of!

I wouldn't like to see books about the Primarchs' early lives. We know enough for most of them, and for those we don't (mainly Alpharius), I think it's best left unknown. While the HH books have been good, they've lessened my view of the Primarch's. It's good to see them with a more human side, but they are no longer the gods of old. They were like the greek legends of 40K, now they're just really *really* good warriors/commanders.

And often not even that good warriors/commanders. Their flaws being just that, and their underlings perform great feats too, while primarchs don't wander in the frontlines that much. Lion el Jonson for example.
Funny thing about HH books, they should be 30k, but thus far it has been only the protagonists who are 30k, no jet bikes or such "high tech" gear imperium used to have.

Liked a *lot* of the abyss, very nice book, as it is written. Heed the word. I too was let down by the word bearers, clearly suffering from the stormtrooper effect :/

Phoenix Blaze
13-08-2008, 12:47
Ha, stormtrooper effect. Personally, I felt there were far too references to the awesomeness that is Mk IV plate (something the first few books probably said every two seconds, just so we remembered it was abou the Heresy).

Another thing I forgot to mention was the genius of the entire book being about this one space battle, and the escalation of things happening in the warp makes perfect sense. When the first attack failed, the bad guys tried a stronger one, then stronger still. It's how it would happen.

Overall, I rate it above Legion, Flight of the Eisentein and Descent of Angels, but nowhere near the first 3 books or the awesomeness that was Fulgrim!

EDIT: Oh yes, I also hope the HH books get back on track to a familiar pattern. I thought they would follow Horus going to Terra, but evidently not.

Count Zero
15-08-2008, 08:46
i just finished this last night, and i also quite enjoyed it, it didn’t have to much to do with the overall HH story arch, but it did lay the grounds for the explanation of the ultramarines absence form the main fight. i expect (hope) there will be a follow up. With the UM being such a popular army nowadays i can see this happening. i think GW realise they have hit a money spinner with this idea and will keep churning the books out for a good while yet.

with specifics in the book i'd agree the death of cestus was a bit odd, perhaps it was a way of demonstrating how strong his will power was to survive up till then, and the whole WE killing the menials (who i took to be innocents too) didn’t feel quite right, although if they were more like servitors rather then intelligent humans then it wouldn’t be so bad.

edit: one question - where is Lorgar whilst all this is going on? i got the impression that most of the Word Bearers legion where descending on Calth.

Splog
16-08-2008, 09:17
Just finished reading Battle for the Abyss. I wasn't all that impressed with it.

The characterization was poor, leaving me with little interest or empathy with the characters. The Ultramarines in particular were bland, and flat.

The writing was largely competent, but jarring in places. The same can be said of some of the ideas; I can't be the only one who thinks that have a giant book on a spaceship that opens up to reveal a super weapon (that our unlovable and unlikeable hero happens to know about) is just silly.

The plot? Its been mentioned elsewhere, the plot doesn't really contribute much to HH series. Its a sideshow shoehorned in. It didn't feel like the author had inspiration and drive to write a HH novel, it felt like he had an obligation to meet in order to get paid.

I think if this book wasn't part of an established setting it would have little positive interest, where some of the other books in the HH series (with some tweaking obviously) could stand alone.

It wasn't all bad. I quite liked the use of loyalists from traitor legions. I'm glad that Cestus dies at the end and none of the Good characters survive. Some of the tidbits thrown in here and there were interesting. There were some high points in there, and some good imagery.

It isn't a bad book, its just not a good book.

Phoenix Blaze
16-08-2008, 10:05
I must admit, the book opening up was a little Bond-like.

About that weapon though, if it's so powerful, why did Horus (who controlled forge worlds aplenty) only have one made? I imagine time and effort is a major factor, but if more could be made, the Siege of Terra would've been a lot shorter.

Danjester
16-08-2008, 10:15
I think it was commissioned by Lorgar/Erebus. They were planning the heresy and sowing it's seeds long before Horus was tempted. At least, that's the impression I'm getting from the HH novels.

The_Warsmith
16-08-2008, 10:22
edit: one question - where is Lorgar whilst all this is going on? i got the impression that most of the Word Bearers legion where descending on Calth.




half of the word bearers under the command of kor phaeron headed for calth to deal with the ultramarines, while the other half with lorgar followed horus to the emperor's palace

sydbridges
16-08-2008, 15:55
I think it was commissioned by Lorgar/Erebus. They were planning the heresy and sowing it's seeds long before Horus was tempted. At least, that's the impression I'm getting from the HH novels.

That's the feeling I've been getting as well. I think Lorgar/Erebus were on team Chaos much earlier than they let on... possibly the only ones who had been corrupted as long were Angron, who basically was a walking altar to Khorne even before the Emperor found him and Magnus, who was probably doing Tzeentch's work for much longer than he realized.

So, as mentioned, it was probably hard for Horus to get another order in for a super death ship because of time and resource constraints. Also, they blew up the place that built the first one right after it was built. That's not going to help you build a second one.

I'd agree that it wasn't one of the better HH novels, but I still thought it was enjoyable. Having now read Dark Apostle, I'd say that the Word Bearers seemed a bit better presented there, but in both cases they do seem to be crazy backstabbing zealots who aren't trustworthy. I certainly enjoyed it more than DoA and FotE.

abasio
18-08-2008, 06:41
Well, I liked the book. The story moved well and although no huge revelations about the Heresy, the characters were what I consider accurate. Cestus was an incredibly boring space marine captain that was very well written as such. This book reaffirmed by belief that the Ultra Marines are a dull lifeless chapter/legion. His dogged belief that the things he is experiencing can not possibly be true speaks volumes of the stupidity of imperial truth that I don't think the other books addressed.
The other captains were great depictions of their legions. I especially liked Skraal & the World Eaters fighting on the side of the loyalists.
My only complaint was that the Ultra Marines didn't get totally wiped out :skull:

Phoenix Blaze
18-08-2008, 08:03
half of the word bearers under the command of kor phaeron headed for calth to deal with the ultramarines, while the other half with lorgar followed horus to the emperor's palace

I think there were also some Word Bearers on Terra. SOme were stationed there and Lorgar would've kept them there as to not raise suspicions.

Lord Dante
18-08-2008, 15:21
I've heard this argument before. "40K novels are designed to be books for ******, so why are you bothering to criticise them?"

I guess the conclusion is that I must be especially moronic, because I genuinelly enjoy some of the books the Black Library produces and consider them to be impressive well-written pieces of work. Legion, False Gods, Horus Rising, Lord of the Night, the Ravenor series, Skavenslayer, 13th Legion - I've read them all and been really pleased with my purchase afterwards, because they are all good books. Battle for the Abyss is not a good book, and its disrespectful to the authors of the aforementioned books if a distinction is not drawn.

Well, I dont think anyone is saying they are 'moronic' but they are not exactly in the same league as Arthur C, Clarke either. And I dont belive they are designed to be either. Space Marines and giant gun battles against alien races are always going to fall into the 'sci-fi action adventure' cat for me and many others.

Ive read all the books above too, and I dont really see much of a difference between them. I Just dont think that BftA is a 'bad' book, I agree it doesnt prgress the HH story much but I dont think that its a bad book because of this. Nor do I feel any of the characters are bad in comparison to any other HH book. I think Cestus is a pretty good character to be honest, I was thinking about him for a quite a few days afterwards.

Personaly, ive found the overall quality of the HH books to be good, there are a few such a descent that annoyed me due to the ending but Abyss didnt, I knew it was another insight into a large scale battle, where as Descent didnt tell me anything other than what the DA do in recruitment.

DotA has been the worse of the HH bunch so far because whilst its written well, it doesnt actually lead to anything, it keeps dropping hints but doesnt follow them through, and ultimately I couldnt see the point.

Ok, I understand that in theory u could drop Abyss and move straight to the battle at Calth, and if the reader was none the wiser then it wouldnt matter either way but then I think u could same the same for Legion. what does it matter if I find out what the Alpha Legion is up too? - they dont feature in the rest of HH, so who cares?

The first 3 books and Fulgrim actually change and progress the plotline - Ie Horus becomes evil and gos for the jugular and Fulgrim instigates a massacre. these are major topics we cant ignore. In theory, DotA, BftA, FotE and Legion could be removed from the HH series and the reader wouldnt be missing out on much info.


The again, i would be missing out on all the trival little details that make up the story of a 'war' - and for that matter, i dont belive that BftA is a bad book. much in the same way i dont belive Legion is a bad book either...

pookie
18-08-2008, 15:45
I think there were also some Word Bearers on Terra. SOme were stationed there and Lorgar would've kept them there as to not raise suspicions.

there was mention of a company stationed on Terra, on BftA.

lonepilgrim
18-08-2008, 18:23
I agree with Sabbad and Splog - Battle for the Abyss was a disappointment.

I haven't read much of Ben Counter's stuff other than his previous Horus Heresy novel which I was largely undecided on, so I was eager to give this book a go.The content of the book was unexpected; but that isn't necessarily a bad thing, indeed it can allow authors to deepen the universe by shedding light on largely unexplored areas of the setting. Look at what Abnett achieved with Legion (which was a great book).

Unfortunately Ben Counter misses the opportunity and instead creates a cliched plot, villains and protagonists and under-imagines all the detail which could have redeemed the book. Skraal's 'journey' through the bowels of the Abyss was a prime example which read like a series of random rolls on an RPG encounter table rather than the desperate guerilla war it could have been.

The writing was so hackneyed and on the nose I can't believe a decent editor would have let it through. There is no way that this book is anywhere near the standard of plotting, writing and in particular characterisation, of Fulgrim, Horus Rising or False Gods.

Phoenix Blaze
18-08-2008, 21:24
The comments about BL books being "moronic" are a bit harsh, but I do see them as simpler books than other sci-fi I read. Like, I wouldn't put them up against say novels by Ray Bradburyor Asimov's Foundation series (well, anything by Asimov!). But that doesn't mean I consider them moronic. The Eisenhorn and Ravenor series are pretty up there.

But then again, if I want a bit of action and danger, I'll read a BL novel, as the good ones do tend to deliver for such things.

Johnator
19-08-2008, 13:49
I thought it was a great book and a quick read. I enjoyed the characters thoroughly and it was A LOT better than Descent of Angels which I still think is the weakest HH book. Good action and the characters of Mhoetep and Skraal were a great bonus.

MvS
22-08-2008, 10:23
Apologies for resurrecting this thread, but I've just started ploughing through this book and I have to say that I find it falls well short of what I would hope for from a Heresy novel.

I fear that there is a risk that the Heresy series might be becoming 'just another series' rather than the jewel in the crown for BLP that it should be. I know there is a temptation to milk the concept, because the Heresy is such a popular area for us fans, but still...

I agree with those who have commented that the Word Bearers are 2D villains. Right from the very start of the book they are listening to a 'Blood and Death!!' speech, which doesn't at all explain why the Word Bearers believe they are right - just that they are yet another bunch of religious fanatics who want to kill their enemies just because they do and yadda, yadda, yadda...

It wouldn't have taken that much to make them more sympathetic in the sense that they feel abused and cheated by the Emperor, and even forced to do what they do because they are objectively right, where the Emperor and those still blinded by his lies are tragically, willfully and dangerously wrong, and that they believe and can explain why their motivations and beliefs are fair and true.

For me that's where the real character interest of the 40K universe is - black and white at the extremes, but so many interesting planes of grey in between.

Even the Mechanicum so far come across as not so much the interesting, tragic-yet-emotionless Geard Bure created by Abnett as they do cliche Borg type characters "we-have-no-feelings-we-are-efficient". I mean I get what he's trying to do here but I think it falls a bit flat, like with the Word Bearers.

I'm sure this will turn into a 'quick read'. But whereas I would (and have) re-read the Eisenhorn, Ravenor and early Heresy novels, I think Battle for the Abyss, like Descent of Angels, looks to be shaping up to be a read-and-forget book. Sadly. :(

BlackLegion
22-08-2008, 10:39
Yea i got almost bored to death to read repeatedly about Zadkiel praising the size and power of his dick...ehm i mean ship.

Iuris
22-08-2008, 11:41
The book simply lacked the core of the Heresy series: seeing the legends in action. Too small scale. No names. This should have been a side story to a novel that contains the whole Calth campaign.

Urza
22-08-2008, 14:40
I actually think that was one of the positives in this book. It showed that the Heresy wasn't entirely about the Emperor and the Primarchs.

Having said that, I didn't really get into any of the characters other than Skraal and Mhotep. They were both interesting because although we know that their respective Legions both eventually turn traitor, Skraal and Mhotep as individuals both stayed loyalist unto death - despite their sometimes dodgy methods!

The Ultras and Space Wolves were all completely uninteresting. They could have been any Ultramarines and Spacewolves from any other novel in the entire Black Library range. They were all completely generic, cookie-cutter characters that never did anything other than what was completely expected of them. The same goes for the Word Bearers, who are rapidly going from my favorite Chaos Legion to my least favorite due to their utter dullness in every novel they have ever been in *yawns*.

Admiral Kaminska was a cool character, and I really liked the way that the lesser Warp Entities were protrayed - as Cthulian style gibbering monstrosities that turn people insane just by their appearance. I particularly liked the jellyfish style entity and also the entity that took over the Fireblade and played with its crew like they were puppets. Having said that, when Wsoric finally made his entrance he was dull - another example of a cookie cutter cut and paste character.

Overall I'd say this book was fairly average. It was nowhere near as good as the opening trilogy or Eisenstein, Fulgrim and Legion, but it was vastly better than the dire Descent of Angels.

I'm looking forward to Mechanicum, especially after the foreshadowing at the start of this book!

Galvatron1701
22-08-2008, 20:15
Well, I liked it.

I enjoyed the space combats, and the inclusion of the various legionnaires. However, I was really hoping for some Guilliman time, as very little has actually been said about him. Sure, we know he was 'boring', and he wrote the codex and such, but little as been said about his personality (or if it has I have yet to read it).

Regarding the UM captain and whether he was boring or not, I do wonder whether the author wrote him to be boring to reflect the personality of the UM's, or whether the legacy of the UM's encouraged his writing. After all, Ventris is an UM.

Yodhrin
23-08-2008, 02:07
Hands down, the worst HH novel to date. Even Descent of Angels including some new/revamped info about the Legion it was based on.

It's not bad because of the subject matter, it's just poorly written. The combat sequences are dull and flat(X does something, Y does something, X replies, X attacks, Y dodges, Y attacks etc etc ad nauseam), with none of the flair seen in Abnett's work. The characters are more like caricatures, it seems as if, in an attempt to give them some sense of identity, Counter has made them so stereotypical that it's just laughable. Even Mhotep, who had great potential, was a dissapointment. I grew attached to Loken and Torgaddon, Fulgrim's internal struggle moved me, I was stunned by the reveal at the end of Legion, all I feel now is a vague ache in my wallet where that seven quid used to be, and a nagging sensation that it could have been better spent.

If Mechanicus is a dissapointment, I may give up on the HH novels alltogether.

Templar-Sun
23-08-2008, 15:49
I'm having similar feelings Yodrin. I am totally sold on the 40k universe and when I started reading the HH I loved it. When I think of the term "Horus Heresy", I think about Horus and his dealings with fellow Primarchs and gaining thier loyalty in rebellion. I swear, the last thing I read in this series that got my blood flowing was on Istvaan 3. The loyalists think they are gonna crush the heresy and the betrayal is revealed. I don't feel like I have read anything since that pertains to the Heresy. Eisenstein, DoA, Legion and now this one could all have been a part of this "short story" novel coming up. Or make them into thier own trilogy's.

I thought this was a great book and enjoyed it very much. I especially liked the first battle in which Mhotep's strike cruiser is doing its death dance. The giant book gun was OTT tho. I'm not sure I could dislike a 40k novel. This is just not the story I think of when I think "Horus Heresy".

I fear Mechanicus will follow along these lines. Half will rebel for some ridiculous reason, the other half will be appalled and then all the Titans will meet at dawn. *sigh* I hope not. Luckily its Graham so maybe we get lucky and the story gets back on track.

Please BL authors, can we get back to the story?? The heresy!!


Templar-Sun

grumpy old gamer
23-08-2008, 19:07
Out of the whole of the series this is the first that really I felt I was buying filler rather than actual story line.
Yes some of the characters were well written but when they are in a basically pointless tale you can stick J R R Tolkiens finest in and still feel flat.
So why was this written - to fill in an important event - I must of missed that chapter - to explain a sub plot that was hanging tantalisingly loose - pages must of been stuck together.
Oh no, right here, the reason the WB attacked the UM was because they had a massive ship but that got blown up by a SW with a melta bomb and a Gemmell personality transplant.
Still renewed my love for the WE - going for a secretive stealth like jog to engage some hostiles in unknown territory ? sneak and use the shadows for maximum cover or endulge insome mindless warm up slaughter of hapless innocents because you can. Gotta love em.

will564752
24-08-2008, 14:54
Personally i felt this wasnt a good novel...
Well if it was a stand-alone normal 40k novel, that actually ended with the fight between Ultramarines and Word Bearers it would have been ok

But i dont think it belonged in the HH series. i mean did it really further the storyline at all? if it did the only way i can think was that it portrayed the rivalrys between legions in a bit more depth.

The Word Bearers got a bad press - squads of them being slaughtered by 5 loyalists was it? :O

This book and "Descent of Angels" so far are the only 2 books ive been disappointed with - my favourites being Fulgrim and Legion. (Legion in particular as it revealed a lot more fluff - Twin Primarchs... and the fact that the Alpha legion remained loyal even though they sided with Horus!! - even the last paragraph gave me goosepimples!!)

"Please my Lord primarch! Please i beg you!"................... Alpharius drew his boltgun
"Why?" Shrieked Namatjira. "Why are you doing this?"
............"For the Emperor" said Alpharius, and pulled the trigger.

But back to the point - due to the fact that this is the HH series i think its supposed to include primarchs and 'important' characters of that age. not a rag-tag band of marines waiting to be picked up from a re-fuelling depo!

I eagerly anticipate the siege of terra and the emperor as a character in these novels! how many books is there going to be again btw? 10?

azhagmorglum
24-08-2008, 19:38
well it's true that it's not the best novel in the series. I'm french, and it's the most difficult novel to read, along with descent of angels.
The other books were quite good IMO, when they involve primarchs. I hope that mechanicum will bring back the story to where it has been left in fulgrim.

Cherubael
28-08-2008, 14:22
Part of the problem i think with both BftA and DoA is that a lot of people expected something different. I know i was expecting DoA to delve into Luthers simmering resentment whilst stuck on Caliban rather than the founding of the legion, and when i heard about an Ultramarine vs Word Bearer book i instantly thought of Calth.

BftA is weaker than the rest of the series i admit, but at least i found it reasonably enjoyable and readable, something that Ben Counter novels can always be counted on to be.

Machiavelli
28-08-2008, 16:49
Skraal has always been a true loyalist. I don't think he would have betrayed the Emperor just 'coz his lord is telling him to do so.
Remember? In Fulgrim or Flight of Eisenstein they were talkign about that there are cool guys among the fallen legions and the exemple was skraal.

Norminator
28-08-2008, 16:58
Skraal has always been a true loyalist. I don't think he would have betrayed the Emperor just 'coz his lord is telling him to do so.
Remember? In Fulgrim or Flight of Eisenstein they were talkign about that there are cool guys among the fallen legions and the exemple was skraal.

Did they actually mention him by name :confused:

Sabbad
28-08-2008, 17:35
No. I've no idea what Machiavelli is referring to here.

aim
29-08-2008, 12:51
Its not a book club or an essay in an english lit' class and as such I'll do what many people have problems doing and reply in plain english =P .

I'm actually astounded by some of these replies. The book wasn't the best in the series, no. It did have its bad points (The giant book opening was freaking cringeworthy), yes. But it is by no means as bad as some people are making out.

Said people also seem to be putting together sentances similar to this;

"I felt a great melancholy decend upon myself as I began to peruse the pages of this latest installment of my beloved serialisaton. The protagonsist demonstrated an insurmountable degree of jarring two dimensionalness resulting in a throwaway forgettable reading experience."

Which, as opposed to making them sound knowlegeable as was obviously the intention, just comes across as pretentious. Especially hen you take into account that they are in fact slating one of the best parts (and, I have a suspicion, the point of) the book.
In that the characters from the different legions had depth and character. The interaction between them, finding their driving forces, differences and completely varied responses to the situations was fantastic IMO.
I found it intresting and telling that the two most loyal characters in the book, were Skraal and Mohtep, both from the traitor legions, They lso seem the more capable warriors (skrall in hth and mohtep is just silly powerful with all that sourcery), as do in fact, most of the legions that fell.
Cestus and Bryngarr both were very self consumed and had their own intrests at heart for most of the book. The only sacrifice or selfless thing bbryngarr did in the entire book to the best of my recolection was when he sacrificed himself at the end, and when he did that he was injured and was doing it for his friend (again personal reasons).

The characterisation of Cestus as a by-the-book, dry, unimaginative and arrogant marine, I think, sums up the whole feel that the ultramarines are ment to have. If they havent been told it by a superior, its not true.

Bryngarr was a fantastic example of how close the wolves are to falling to chaos and how weak minded they are. All it took wsa a small psychic push for him to slaughter his kin with his teeth, and where there are mentions of the other legions feeling it and fighting it off, Bryngarr submits without a fight on more than one occasion.

Skrall and the World Eaters, seeing them as loyalists was fantastic. Seeing how differently they interpret order (i.e. 'dont be discovered') as loyal marines was superb and I'd love to read more of it. He was loyal to the emperor to the last, and a badass aswell, one of my favorite characters so far, and thats just in the space of 1 book, not 3 books worth of character development.

Mohtep exemplified the tragedy of the thousand sons. He knew exactly what was going to happen, he looked into the future, The warp beast even told him that magnus and his legion would get done by the wolves and turn. He had more knowlege and power than any of the other marines on board, he was victimised and ostricised, even locked up. He knew that he would die, he foresaw it. And even with all that knowlege, he stayed loyal, despite everything bryngarr and cests put him through. Just like the rest of the thousand sons, loyal untill there was no other choice.

Conversely, The word bearers, clearly had some loyalty deficiency and lust for power in their inheritance from lorgar. Almost all of them seemed to be consumed with a lust for more power even if it ment stabbing their superiors in the back at the first oppertunity. Quite fitting I feel, for the first legion to fall to the sways of chaos and then go about helping corrupt other legions.

To sum up, This book fulfills a role, it explains what the Ultras were doing during the heresy, and how close they came to destruction. The storyline isnt earth shatteringly epic, but it does give you a fantastic insight into how some of the fallen legions reacted when they were loyal and how they all interact and overcome their differences.
Not the best book in the series, but theres plenty to gain from it if you enjoy character interaction over 'EPIC END OF THE UNIVERSE BATTLE ~ BIG GUN MAKE GO BOOM NOW!' style action.

Just my tuppence worth.

sheck2
29-08-2008, 13:45
...would he have been one of the unlucky few sent down to die on Istavann III with Loken, Tarvits, etc? .

Unlucky is not the word...the word is betrayed.

It's why those that were spared are traitors and not renegades.

Remember Horus and the his Primarch band personally and individually CHOSE each man whose was on Istavann III. They and their traitor captains divided their legions and slaughtered those who would not turn traitor with few exceptions.

Alpharius
29-08-2008, 14:40
Anyone else think that short stories on the Primarch's growing up would be good? So one on Angron's slave rebellion, one on Corax's revolution etc.?

I know that's what I'm hoping for!

I know that's what I'd thought I'd be getting more of in the pre-Heresy/lead up to the Heresy books.

Here's hoping!

MvS
29-08-2008, 18:04
Its not a book club or an essay in an english lit' class and as such I'll do what many people have problems doing and reply in plain english
Seeing as I resurrected this thread, I think I’ll bite.

Reading through the previous posts I have to say I've not seen anyone writing in anything but plain English, but then I suppose people can have different understandings of just what 'plain' means, right?

I'm sure something positive can be said for someone who proclaims he is taking up the banner on behalf of the clearly silent “plain speaking” majority by first attacking those he's decided don't speak plainly enough. When I think of what that something might be I’ll let you know.

That said, I don't imagine that it's a brilliant gambit to make derogatory remarks against people just because they don't write in a style you personally find... what? Easily understandable...? Or maybe it isn't you at all and you are thinking on behalf of that vast plain-speaking majority who will find the offending posts too hard to understand? I donʼt know.

Anyway, characterising people on this thread as “obviously” trying to appear “knowledgeable" but actually cominɡ across as "pretentious" when all they are trying to do is explain their opinions lucidly is not going to win you many converts to The Plain Speaking Man’s Cause - or so I think at least.

You say this forum isn’t a book club. Well I say that it’s our forum, existing for us all to discuss 40K background and what we think of it without being told that the only reason we are saying something is because we are intellectually dishonest or whatever - especially when the accuser hasnʼt actually enɡaɡed any of the previous posters in a discussion in the first place.

Anyway, most of us visit this site regularly, so that to me could be characterised as some sort of free-membership club I suppose. Not that it’s really all that important one way or another.

Just to show you that other people can indeed speak in “plain English” too, I’ll reiterate my opinions more "simply" – although if it's all the same to you I’ll do my best to refrain from making any spelling mistakes or typos. They don't really add anything and in fact they just risk making the language less “plain” to people who don’t have English as their first language.

So:

Iʼm pretty damn sure that it is possible to like this book! Yay!

I’ve read much, much, much worse fiction in my life – naming no names…

That said, I thought it was pretty poorly written by the standards of the other books in the Heresy series and by the standards of much sci-fiction out there, and certainly by the standards of the author. Some of his previous books have been better.

I don’t think you need to be a super-intellectual of some kind to see any of this, you just have to like reading science fiction books, which I imagine the vast majority of us on this forum do.

The characters in this book were indeed very different from each other. However, ‘difference' doesn’t have to mean ‘believable' or ‘interesting'. There was so much cliché in the story and in the characters’ dialogue that I, at least, found it a bit eye-rolling and perhaps even boring in many places.

Some people may find the depiction of a dull and unimaginative Ultramarine as being right on the nose for that Legion/Chapter. Others, like me, will probably find that not only was this character trait put across in a very unsubtle way, but that it doesn't depict Guilliman's Legion in a very rounded or particularly interesting manner.

Yes we can make excuses for this, saying that writing a boring and flat character was intentional and good because it fits with what some of us have clearly decided is a boring and flat Legion/Chapter. For me that smacks a bit too much of making excuses on an author's behalf for so-so writing. Why shouldn't we expect, and ask, for better?

On the separate issue of whether the book adds to the Heresy mythos... well that's a value judgement I guess and so just an opinion. Each of us has our own.

For my part I think the book doesn't add a great deal that couldn't have been put across far more entertainingly in a ten thousand word short story, rather than in a ninety-five thousand word novel (or whatever it is).

There, I think that was "plain" enough for anyone.




Side note:

Apologies for coming across so tetchily here. It really gets my back up when someone enters a discussion from cold saying that other people already involved in the conversation "obviously" aren't genuine for whatever reason or in whatever way, simply because the new guy has some sort of insight whereby he can read between the lines of what they mean where clearly no-one else can.

All very childish if you ask me, hence my diversion into childishness myself. Apologies again! Been a frustrating day all told.

x-esiv-4c
08-09-2008, 10:51
I found this book surprisingly difficult to read. The characters were flat, the action was nonsensical and the overall theme just wasn't interesting.
That being said Mhotep brought some relief to the book as well as the whole "supplicants" thing but at the end of the day it turned out to be on the same level as Descent of Angel for me.

bobbles
08-09-2008, 13:02
If you remove this novel's plot, it's characters, it's ott ship gaint with wtf bookgun-o-doom, it's poorly portrayed ultramarines and word bearers, it's dialouge , it's poor descriptions(in general) and it's auther, you come up with a book theirs a point in reading

And has been said by many people it does in fact add nothing to the series, in that the events in have no baring on anything at all if this book had never existed then people would'nt try counter that with but without what happened in this book the ultramarines would have been wiped out , are not taking into account that until this book the ship gaint with wtf bookgun-o-doom iirc did'nt exist

x-esiv-4c
08-09-2008, 13:18
Exactly. I agree with bobbles.
This book could have been a "stand alone" book. Which doesn't have a place in the HH series. The Abyss wit hthe world killer gun? Hmm fluff injection with no real point to it.
There was no resolution to the book, all the climactic events occured in the last 2-3 pages. Read those and you don't actually need to read anything else in the book.

Gdolkin
08-09-2008, 15:24
MvS, that was well said and fairly put, you beat me to it..

jimbob
09-09-2008, 13:10
I don't think I can say I enjoyed BftA. It had potential. The basic plot of a preliminary strike vs Calth by the word bearers before the great battle was great. The execution was poor. Incredibly so.

I thought the characters lacked any real depth. Notable exceptions were Mhotep and Kaminska. The others played to their stereotypes. By this I mean they did what we expected them to. While both Mhotep and Kaminska did likewise, their characters were fleshed out and we could see motivation and purpose in their actions.
Cestus played the straight up and down character like Loken, but rarely was this challenged in any meaningful sense. Skrall was a berserker (I loved him for his action but the character wasn't given enough thought. As previously mentioned the 'running through the ship' moments didn't really achieve the guerilla war that it could have been.), the space wolf started great but then when Mhotep appeared all his dialogue revolved around 'I hate Thousand Son's' and nothing else.
The dialogue had horrible moments. Mhotep was a classic 'Get thee back foul beast!' when in sorcerer mode and had the mysterious and assured air about him. I enjoyed that. What I didn't enjoy were the moments that he and all his fellow characters became bad action stars. Mhotep faces off against a daemon, and as we are prepared for the dramatic speech/battle, we instead get 'Feeding time's over!' This was, for me, worse than the bond-esque giant book-gun. Just as I began to like a character and become interested, a line like this dropped and all I could see was Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Those are my problems with it.
Next up, in comparison to the rest of the series: as it stands, the book seems to end. Simply put. It doesn't lead on to Calth and I can't think of any lasting repercussions beyond the Word Bearers mentioning it later on in the series. It wasn't needed, in my opinion. Not in its current form. Some may say that Legion and DoA weren't needed, but they develop and lay down the basis of legion motivations for joining Horus. Legion explains (in a long-winded way) the motivations for the Alpha Legion joining the heresy. I admit that had it not been for the ending, it wouldn't have fit the heresy series. But it was still fantastically written. BftA wasn't. DoA is difficult. In all honesty I don't think I can judge this book until there is a follow on to complete it. As a story it was great, and like Legion, if not for the ending it wouldn't have fit the Heresy series. But both books had a purpose in the end. This didn't in my opinion.
The only thing I thought was well handled was how the warp was described, and how it affected people, human and Astartes alike. It dwelled a bit too long in areas but otherwise it was much more interesting than Eisensteins depiction.

Now that I'm done blasting it, here's how I would have changed it:

The characters needed more fleshing out. We needed more motivation for all of them. Each character devolved slowly into a simple 2-D purpose in the end. Cestus was doing stuff because it was right. There was no meaningful inner battle as to how it could all have happened etc.
Skraal's character as a berzerker, as all World Eaters in my opinion are, was flawed on the basis that the legion has been set-up as a 'crazy' legion already. In order to change this, it would need a whole book by itself. But his actions needed to be more ... exciting. Scenes like running through the ship were simply stated. No atmosphere was developed to make us feel what he was feeling.
Mhotep was largely great beyond his sometimes-poo dialogue. It felt forced half the time.
The space wolf was an oddity. While his character became more feral, we needed to see more of that in his interactions. He was ranting about the Thousand Son for half the book and nothing else, then flipped again.
The word bearers were crazy saturday morning villains. I get the feeling Counter watched the early Generation 1 transformers series and thought the relationship between Megatron and Starscream should be applied throughout the legion. Zadkiel's paranoia could have been handled a lot more subtley and a lot more like ... well, paranoia. An interesting twist would have been to have a couple of his suspected subordinates not want his position at all. They may have been content in serving Chaos from their chosen station. Interesting sub-plots could have been developed wherein we see both the treachery and loyalty of a chaos legion in its ranks.
The space battles felt very bland. i'm no expert in writing, never mind big ship-to-ship encounters, but these could have been improved somewhat. It just felt like it went, as previously stated, ship A fires, ship B dodges, Ship B fires etc. Seeing the minds of the commanders at the helm, their choices, their reasoning and responses from areas like gunnery crews and so on would have made much more interesting.

My finace is calling me away so I'll sum up.
Great potential, very poor execution. My least favourite of the series in both writing and plot terms.

iron within, iron without
09-09-2008, 15:30
I really disagree with people saying the BFTA doesn't add anything to the horus heresy series, it does , it really does. It sees the confrontation between two astartes legions (WB & UM) who were bitter rivals before the heresy, actually turn to full-on conflict. It also sets up and shows how bitter the rivalry became between the SW and TS. In terms of the overall plot of the entire heresy, the war at calth is an important part of the plot and so justifies the books existence. The war at calth has been written about in the past outside the series, just because people don't know that it happened their saying that this book is bad when really its not. just because the development of the plot is not obvious doesn't make a book bad or invalid. just look at the bible, that has very little, if any development at all in plot and it's technically one of the most important works of fiction ([IMO) to ever be printed.

jimbob
09-09-2008, 17:45
I think what my general problem with its place in the heresy is the fact that some of us could have happily read a novel about the war in calth and been fine if this book never existed. As it stands, and the way it ends, I can't see any way it could impact a novel surrounding the calth WB/UM war beyond some traitors saying how much easier it would have been. The fact that the events detailed in BftA were not known of beforehand and now have little impact on the future events coming up (that I can see anyway) means that it is simply extra clutter. All that happens in BftA could have been condensed down into a few chapters in a future book surrounding Calth. In fact, I'll probably say the same when (hopefully) the second part of DoA is released. Both books could have been told in one. You are right in saying that it sets up the rivalries between the featured legions. Some of us, including myself, have forgotten that all those reading these books aren't familiar with all the background of the 40k universe. But what some of us do have a serious problem with is how everything was handled. As I said in my previous post, the book had the potential to really add something to the events, and cover a lot of ground not detailed before in other background books and articles. But it didn't. It turned 2 space battles and a chase into a book. And then didn't really lead anywhere. The 2 other books mentioned in relation to this do. DoA will lead to the splitting of the legion, Legion has left us wondering about the impact of the Aplha Legion's decision, how they will handle it, how they will deal with the heresy and so on. This book has almost everyone die and then...nothing.

Treadhead_1st
16-09-2008, 11:22
I really liked it - eventually. At first, I just couldn't get into the book (a problem I've had with all the books, apart from False Gods, Descent of Angles and Legion - Fulgrim was another particularly bad one for me).

Once it got going it was good - though I did have moments thinking "Oh, its the UM again - shut up and let the interesting characters speak".

On reflection though, I think it's a really, really good book - particularly due to the way it's portrayed and the characterisation.

The lack of Primarchs was a good thing IMO - the heresey is "Brother against Brother" - not just "Oh, we've not gota real beef with you, but our dad says your dad smells, so we're here to kick your heads in". It was about simple Marines that had always viewed themselves as allies having to come to terms with the one thing no one ever expected - them betraying the Emperor. Keeping it to small-time players makes for a more empathetic book, as you *feel* the pain the characters have as opposed to listening to the whiny angst of spoilt SuperKids (in FotE I was distracted thinking 'Is that Dorn coming into the room...or Jimmy Saville?' for example - then wishing I'd stopped reading the chapter as soon as he'd opened his mouth).

The characterisation was awesome - and did have a lot of "Oh sh1t" moments, as it were. The characters were legion stereotypes - something that was refreshing to see on the Loyalist side (previously the 'loyalist' have had radical ideas, and the 'traitors' have been the stereotypes). Bryngaar and Mohtep's feud - stemming from a legionary feud - was a nice interplay and had a nice "so will one of them fall traitor?" foreshadowing to it - especially the Space Wolf's reactions when Cestus stops him killing Mhotep. It was good to see that the Bezerkers' bloodlust came from the implants (much akin to the EC implants in Fulgrim) as much as from their upbringing - for example, there's a part where Skraal regrets slaughtering so many dock workers, and feels helpless against his rage [promptly forgotten when enemies appear, but it was a nice hint of humanity none-the-less].

My favourite part of the book was the way that I was always suspicious of the 2 Marines from the "traitor" legions. Mhotep's shiftyness and Skraal's rage made me think that they would follow the "usual" and betray the other Marines. But I was pleasantly surprised they didn't - especially with the "Oh sh1t" moments.

By these, I mean: When Mhotep is battling the Fireblade's deamon, and later on when fighting Wsoric - there was a hint that any moment Mhotep would call upon Big Daddy Tzeentch (whether intentionally or by accident) - whup the Daemons but then damn everyone else aboard the ship. The other was when Skraal was lost aboard the Abyss - not only is he practically driven insane by the pursuit (evidence as when Bryngaar meets him), but is also heavily tormented by the Word Bearers (ie, when he's looking at Gorechild and he's tempted over the speakers) - he seems enraptured by the words, yet somehow shakes them off. It was at these times that I kept thinking "he's gonna turn. Cestus will find him among enemy ranks soon".

But what I liked was that it was these 2 "traitors" who remained loyal to the end - Mhotep taking a big, scary deamon with him; and Skraal going on a suicidal charge - and taking a large number of enemies with him. I was also impressed at Skraal's display of humanity upon finding Antiges' remains - and that's what convinces him, if he did indeed have any doubt, that he could only oppose the Word Bearers. Despite everything the two had seen, neither had lain a damaging finger on a fellow "loyal" Marine (well...mhotep may have injured Cestus' mind when showing him the events...but that's not what I mean!). Yet Bryngaar is swayed into slaughtering his own fellow Legionaries with relative ease - so his 'suicide' is from self-hate rather than duty.


In my opinion, these strengths of plot and character far outweigh the "cartoon villain" casting of the Word Bearers and the "James Bond Villain" superweapon.

And to those who say it doesn't fit the heresey (and for the poster who didn't know what the Siege of Calth was, or how it was important):

The Siege of Calth kept the Ultramarine legion (the largest and most powerful) from leaving their home system - indeed, had Zadkiel's part of the plan worked, they may well have been wiped out - and from re-enforcing Terra. The legion was powerful enough that were it able to arrive then the Siege of Terra would have been broken and Horus would fail (and the Emperor would still be walking). So the Siege of Calth is fairly important as it ensures the space-dominance of Horus' fleets.

And how is that relevant to the book, and making the book relevant to the series? Well, it goes into the brother-versus-brother on a personal level as I've mentioned, but also though Zadkiel's plan failed, there's still a humungous WB fleet hours away from Calth - and it's written the UM fleet is still held in orbit - so IMO it's major forshadowing for another book.

Therefore, though it would have worked as a stand-alone book, it provides background for one of the most important actions of the Heresey, and shows how the schism in the legions affected them at the "groundpounder" level - and the ability of the "basic grunts" to comprehend/come to terms with events hitherto unthinkable.

Thanatos_elNyx
16-09-2008, 15:53
That might have been the immediate reason but read between the lines of his Index Astartes. It tells us in no uncertain terms that Tzeentch manipulated Magnus from the get go. Magnus didn't just decide to turn to a Chaos Power after being wounded by Russ, he was in league with them all along without realising it. The ease that Tzeentch turned him into a daemon prince (or at least changed his form) before his back being broke by Leman Russ is an example of this.

The simple facts of the matter are, regardless of the machinations of Tzeentch, Magnus was utterly loyal right up to the point he was himself betrayed by Leman Russ and the Emperor.
You can't be "in league with" something "without realising it", thats not what being in league with something is, that is what being a pawn is (but then Leman Russ and the Emperor were also pawns in this game and you don't accuse them of being in league with Tzeentch). And as for the changing his form bit, that wasn't Tzeentch, that was Magnus doing it himself.

On Topic, haven't finished the book yet but I do like that Mhotep isn't a bad guy. I'm surprised noone has mentioned (if they have i missed it) the parallels with the hunt for the Bismarck.

abasio
17-09-2008, 14:07
"Mountains of Macragge"

I think this sums up the Ultramarine captain.