Audiobook Review: False Gods by Graham McNeil – Warhammer: The Horus Heresy – Book 2

audiobookNephrite’s Month Of Heresies

And here we are. The second domino in the chain. So much has happened already. Horus and his men are beginning to doubt…they have received that first push. How much further do they have to go? Let’s find out on Davin.

You are aware you left out mention of the Megarachnids?

Yes. I know I did. This isn’t supposed to be a meme.

Ah well it matters not, as the most delicious chapter of our little tale is about to begin.

First Chaplain Erebus of the Word Bearers, the 17th Legion have specifically requested aid from Horus and the 16th Legion because the unthinkable has happened. A squad of men have turned traitor. Men Horus himself had personally put in command of the newly compliant world. After an encounter with the Interex at the end of Horus Rising they rush to assist. However that isn’t the only thing. The Emperor himself has sent a decree. The Lunar Wolves are to be gifted a new name. One worthy of Horus’s new status. The Sons of Horus! And that’s before you are a third of the way in!

False Gods audiobook 1

False Gods acts as an excellent continuation and extension of the events in Horus Rising. They flow very well from each other and the characters are well written. Garviel Loken preserves his upstanding characterisation. He works perfectly across the three starting books of the Heresy as an audience point of view character. He is learning and growing, trying to be more than just a warrior sent out to act as the attack dog of Horus. He – without even really knowing it – shows just how much potential the Adeptus Astartes actually have. Both in peace and war.

But he isn’t the only one with character development. Horus is beginning to wonder. Just why did The Emperor – his father – abandon The Great Crusade? Just what is he doing on Terra and why? And why is The Crusade receiving demands from tax collectors!? The purpose of The Crusade was to bring the disparate parts of humanity together back under The Imperium was it not? Not to collect taxes. Perhaps that has something to do with why he doesn’t fight the appointment of his own personal Rememberancer Petronella Vivar? Horus will go through plenty of changes in this story…and there are plenty more to come.

Speaking of Rememberancers? Petronella herself is an interesting addition. She definitely comes from Terran high society. She has her own personal mute manservant. But she clearly has an idealised view of a lot of things. Of the Astartes. Of Warmaster Horus. Of war itself. Just how will her view change? And how will she influence others? The other Rememberancers also continue being important and developing. Euphrati Keeler in particular undergoes considerable changes in False Gods. Her scars from Horus Rising are beginning to show. What form will they take?

One final character I will address is another Horus. ‘Little’ Horus Aximand. Little Horus is an unusual character. Like Loken he is another member of the Mournivale. One of the chosen four. Also like Loken he is a thinker. The intellectual of the group. He will fight to defend himself and his friends. For The Emperor and The Warmaster. But he makes different choices…and those changes? They will have quite the impact later.

Changing topic from characterisation, we must talk about the writing. Graham McNeil the author of False Gods certainly has his own style. It is also very entertaining and very engrossing. His descriptions of battles and locations, be they beautiful and pure or tainted and twisted are wonderfully vivid. One special sequence with Horus at the beginning of Part Three comes to mind in particular. But it is also clear that the various authors of the first three books of the Heresy have made a clear effort to make sure that their stories are synchronised. So that there isn’t too severe a disconnect in writing style from the start to the end of the opening trilogy. For some personal reason I can’t put a finger on I find False Gods a more challenging story to listen to although it’s still very enjoyable and expertly crafted. I think it is simply due to a difference in tone. This book is definitely darker than Horus Rising although I’m sure some listeners would prefer this to Horus Rising as the opening salvo.

The narration is once again performed wonderfully by Toby Longworth, a man who clearly knows how to get the most out of both his voice and a microphone. I must congratulate him on his sheer skill. His narration is expertly done and it is incredibly easy to get caught up in the moment. I’ve heard myself calling out the war cry of the Astartes more than once! When characters are caught up in moments of passion it becomes clear in his tone. Regardless of if there is sadness, joy, nervousness or passion he is very well versed in how to make the audience understand the feeling of the characters in question. I must admit I love False Gods. I may prefer Horus Rising but they are both wonderful books and I recommend them both highly!

One final thing I will mention is something that False Gods makes clear. The Imperium has…issues…with technology and technocracy. I wonder how the new Horus might treat one should he encounter one?

I definitely hope that some of my readers will join me in being readers and listeners of the Horus Heresy. Graham McNeil’s False Gods is an excellent tale by a brilliant writer which sets the stage for that which is to follow. Bravo Mr McNeil. I’ll be keeping an ear out for stuff written by him in the future.

And so the die is cast, the final domino of damnation is about to fall as all the pieces are in their place on the board. I am aware I used too many gaming analogies there.

Isn’t all life supposed to be a game to you warp creatures?

Indeed it is, and right now it is a most succulent one but the final act is before us as our brave champion must make one final move.

NephriteBut who will join me and my…companion…in the warp? In the early days of the Heresy? There is one final step before it can truly begin. Before the galaxy can burst into flames!



False Gods by Graham McNeill from the Black Library

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