Managed to pick this up at Warhammer World today. I hadn't realised so many of the stories in here were reprints of previous limited edition chapbooks, or audiobooks; but, quite honestly, the last four Horus Heresy books have been pretty poor IMO so as long as the new stuff in here was good, I wasn't going to be bothered by that.
I won't go into detail on the stories you've probably read/heard before. Also, no spoilers!
The Crimson Fist (John French) - wow. This story, about the Imperial Fists fleet sent to Isstvan - which obviously never got there - begins with subtlety and psychology, and ends with apocalyptic violence on a massive scale. Along the way we learn the astonishing truth about Sigismund's secret shame, we finally get some hint of a believable motive for Perturabo, and we witness a selfless, noble sacrifice that can only arise when one must lose a battle to stand a better chance of winning a war. Frankly, this was what Know No Fear should have been: you don't make a story feel epic by tediously listing large numbers - you make a story feel epic by... well... writing like this. 10/10, and the Horus Heresy series returns to form in explosive fashion.
The Dark King (Graham McNeill) - previously published in a chapbook and as an audiobook. Konrad Curze realizes the Imperium is not for him. One of the earliest HH stories and still a personal favourite. 10/10.
The Lightning Tower (Dan Abnett) - previously published alongside The Dark King. Rogal Dorn attempts to confront his fears. Brilliant. 9/10.
The Kaban Project (Graham McNeill) - previously published in Collected Visions. Mysterious goings-on on Mars. Decent enough but unremarkable. 6/10.
Raven's Flight (Gav Thorpe) - previously published as an audiobook. Corax regroups after the Dropsite Massacre. Somewhat uninspired. 6/10.
Death of a Silversmith (Graham McNeill) - previously published in a chapbook. About... I can't say. Short but very sweet. 8/10.
Prince of Crows (Aaron Dembski Bowden) - oh! this is splendid. A magnificent tale (which raises almost as many questions as it answers) following the tribulations of Sevatar, as the Night Lords are on the receiving end of a beating from the Tuchulcha-assisted Dark Angels. The story is carried by the character of Sevatar himself; and what a character he is, an anti-hero who defies classification. At times he seems almost autistic; at other times his casual black humour and simple values make him genuinely likeable, and it is easy to understand why some among his men worship him (even if Sevatar, himself, doesn't understand it at all). There are surprising revelations here, and the ending left me desperate for more; a sign of a good story. 10/10.
So there we have it. In my view, TOD, DL and KNF were all rather weak, and even The Primarchs only had one really good story of the four; I was hoping that Shadows of Treachery would reverse that trend, and it did not disappoint. Both new stories are superb; the reprints are mostly excellent too. Highly recommended.