Informational Note: It is almost impossible to discuss Galaxy in Flames in any detail without spoiling major elements of the plot of the previous two novels in the series as well as Galaxy In Flames itself. As a result if you wish to not be spoiled allow me to simply say I highly recommend the book and the entire starting trilogy of The Horus Heresy. Buy either the physical books or the audio versions. Either way you will be getting your money’s worth – Nephrite
Review in 3
“Don’t you even know what’s happening on this planet?!”
“The Emperor is being betrayed!”…
“There is no Emperor!…He abandoned us! He left The Imperium men died to conquer for him. He doesn’t care! But the Warmaster cares. He conquered this galaxy and it is his to rule. But there are fools who don’t understand that. They are those who have forced the Warmaster into this so that he can do what must be done!”
So the moment has come. The Heresy is truly revealed. And Isstvan III shall become the grave of the loyalists! The grave of the Imperium!
And so my, friend. We have come to the end of this part of our journey. Come and behold for all you are to see is the Emperor’s doing. His failings are now all before you, and I ask you this. Will you turn away, willingly blind? Or accept the truth?
Yes things have gotten very interesting indeed between the end of False Gods and Galaxy In Flames. To begin with among many other occurrences I don’t wish to give away, Euphrati Keeler has fallen into a deep coma after saving Kyril Sindermann from the abomination inside the book. On top of that she has been declared a living saint by those who believe the Emperor to be a god. Just because he does not see himself as a god does not mean the people of the Imperium wouldn’t see him as one…
On top of that Horus has made up his mind. The Emperor has fooled his subjects and he wishes to use Horus and those like him the Primarchs he created to conquer all worlds and eventually declare himself a god when the time is right. But Horus and his fellow heretics have a plan and it involves the planet of Isstvan III. Isstvan III had a native religion of its own before The Imperium arrived and the followers of that religion have begun a rebellion – with some assistance mind you. It’s a useful pretext for Horus’s plan. But what IS the plan?
As all this occurs something else important is happening to Loken. He is being frozen out of important discussions and choices ever since the ‘disagreement’ he had with the other members of the Mournivale. The others and Horus seem to disapprove of the ‘Naysayer.’ The moment of truth has come for Loken and for many others. What decisions will they make before Isstvan and once they reach the planet of no return?
As you can no doubt guess from my blurb of sorts, Galaxy in Flames is definitely a book of two halves. First you have the section dealing with the fallout from the previous two books be that a change in a character’s beliefs or personality, or a character’s realisation they have gone too far, or worst of all the fates of two major Rememberancers. There is much yet to come before Horus’s ship The Vengeful Spirit arrives at its destination. The second section however – which takes up pretty much the other half of the book – is the battles on Isstvan. The heretics will finally reveal themselves to the universe. To the Imperium itself! But those loyal to the Imperium won’t die without a fight. Some fight with words. Some fight with faith. Some fight with blades. No matter how they fight however the moment has come. Several characters shall live. Several characters shall die. In the Grim Darkness of the 31st millennium there is only war. Long live The Warmaster! Death to the Heretics!
This book may be of two halves but all three are the same tale. Remember how Loken commented all the way at the start that the false Emperor’s forces and technology would be equal to his own? But the Astartes were the tipping point since they were considerably stronger? But now we see what would happen when Astartes fight Astartes. A rather interesting call back. Don’t you think?
Both sides will be equally armed. Both sides will be equally vicious. And there will be atrocities on both sides before the end of the Heresy.
When it comes to the writing by Ben Counter his writing is wonderfully crafted for the tone of this moment. The realisation of the cult like religion forming around the Emperor in particular is especially notable. As are the last stands by the characters that choose to make them. No matter if the character in question survives the moment as revealed in later books or not, the ‘last hurrah’ of the multiple final stands is expertly done. You can feel yourself getting lost in the moment. Regardless if you support The Imperium or wish to battle alongside Horus that feeling which grabs you as a reader or listener is thanks to Ben Counter’s writing.
The narration is done once again by the amazing Toby Longworth. His narration helps the already brilliant writing stick in your mind even further. I can remember moments like Kyril Sindermann’s defence of Euphrati, Loken’s discovery of the altar or Saul Tarvitz’s actions after some discoveries of his own and those moments stick in my mind all the more thanks to Toby Longworth. It has gotten to the point that much like Dan Abnett or a select few other authors writing a book is a selling point in and of itself, so is the narration of Toby Longworth or a few others of equal skill.
In conclusion the starting trilogy of the Heresy is quite simply the best possible start it could have had. Horus Rising, False Gods and Galaxy In Flames are all a masterful opener. There’s a reason that when people talk about being curious when it comes to Warhammer people point them towards these three books. Even if the series doesn’t sound like it’s your cup of tea? Give them a try. It will be worth it.
There is one more story yet to come in the Month of Heresies and it deals with the resultant carnage from Galaxy In Flames. It is time to tell you more about ‘Little’ Horus Aximand.
Yes we have one final tale to show you. Come. You may find this one rather…enjoyable.