Books of 2020 # 2 – Legacies of Betrayal

Continuing my way through the Horus Heresy – I was able to finish Legacies of Betrayal on 1/20/2020.

It can be purchased here:

This installment in the series is a collection of short stories. These collections tend to creep up every 8 or so volumes throughout the series. In general, they are usually quite good.

In my opinion, this collection was not as strong as some of the earlier volumes in the series. Only a couple of these stories really pulled me in.

By and large it’s a collection of the Good, The Bad, the Pointless, and In Between.

I’ll take each piece one by one:

  1. Brotherhood of the Storm by Chris Wraight – “In Between” 6/10

    I did enjoy that this story filled out information about the White Scars prior to Vol. 29 Scars. The parts featuring Ilya and Targutai are quite good. They pull you in and are of the quality level you would expect from the series. Unfortunately – the opening section featuring Shiban was pretty weak. There is a tendancy for some writers to write Space Marines as though they are Jedi – and there was a good big of this silliness going on with how the action sequences were presented. It did get better though as the story went on.
  2. Serpent by John French – “Pointless” and “Bad” 2/10

    This story is literally 5 pages long. If you want to experience the horror of a cult sacrifice with no greater narrative purpose – this is the story for you.

  3. Hunters Moon by Guy Haley – “Good” – 8/10

    This is a Space Wolves story written in the style of Dan Abnett’s Burning of Prospero. Because, the author sticks to a successful formula – the story is enjoyable. My only gripe is that there isn’t a whole lot of originality here. If you like Burning of Prospero – you will like this.

  4. Riven by John French – “Good” – 7/10

    This is a pretty good story and as far as I am aware – appears to be new subject matter for the series. It’s a bit Legion of the Damned for the Iron Hands, but well written.

  5. Strike and Fade by Guy Haley – “Pointless” – ?/10

    This is another 5 page story. It features some Salamanders being Salamanders on Istvaan V. Yawn

  6. Honour to The Dead by Gav Thorpe – “Good” – 8/10

    This story is entertaining. It takes place during the events of Know No Fear, and features 2 conflicts occurring simultaneously but at different scale. The larger of the events is a loyal titan legion fighting to rescue trapped comrades while being victims of a surprise attack from a traitor titan legion. While this is happening, a young mother attempts to get her infant child to safety as the titan fight goes on. It’s good – the change of scale and differing motivations of the protagonists add variety.

  7. Butcher’s Nails by Aaron Dembski Bowden – “Good” – 9/10

    This story initially appeared as an audio drama. I prefer the written version to the recording. This takes place before the events of vol. 19 – Betrayer. Basically – Lorgar and Angron are not getting along as they attempt to mount their attack on Ultramar. They bond together while fighting some Eldar. It’s ADB so it’s good. This audio drama came out long before Betrayer – and was the first real good look at Angron as a protagonist character. It’s a vast improvement in term so how he was portrayed during the early volumes of the series.
  8. Warmaster by John French – “Pointless” – ?/10

    This is another 5 page story featuring the arch bad guy Horus. He basically complains mopes and complains to himself about how the brothers he has following him are “broken monsters” as opposed to functional primarchs.
  9. Kryptos by Graham McNeill – In Between – 6/10

    Graham McNeill is a wild card for me. Sometimes he’s really good, other times he’s kinda lame, and at his best and worst his characters are too “in touch with their feelings”. This particular story has a bit of everything. Cool setting, interesting mission, and kinda lame protagonists succeed against the odds.

    10. Wolf’s Claw – by Chris Wraight – Bad – 5/10

    Not to pick on Chris Wraight, but in heroic fiction a “hero of the sagas” does not arm himself through theft. Wraight’s take on Bjorn was pretty good during Scars and he picked up with the characterization in this story. It’s unfortunate the plot wasn’t worthy of the character.

    11. Thief of Revelations – by Graham McNeill – In Between – 6/10

    The Good – this is good McNeill as in a Thousand Sons Good. This story picks up after the events of Prospero Burns. Ahriman is trying to figure out how to stop the flesh change and Magnus is navel gazing into the warp. Ahriman goes to Magnus to get help and the Primarch tells him that he will not help him save the legion and to stop trying. Ahriman asks him why and Magnus agrees to show him his reason – except – ( and this is the bad in the story) – he doesn’t. They go sail around the warp and look at current events and nothing is explained.

    Was there a point to this story other than showing Magnus has become even more of an arrogant turd? His best quality from earlier stories was that he did possess genuine nobility. This seems like a lost opportunity to do something interesting with the character.

    12. The Divine Word – by Gav Thorpe – In Between – 6/10

    The Lectition Divinitatus and divinely inspired victory for the Therion Cohort. Familiar ground retread without the benefit of character crisis or revelation.

    13. Lucius The Eternal Blade – by Graham McNeill – Pointless – ?/10

    It’s Graham McNeill writing Lucius as he has written him for the duration of the series. He does the character well, but this story is another 5 pager with no real impact on the plot. Lucius is upset because he lost a fight so he has to go and duel some other guy to help his ego. Yawn

    14. The Eightfold Path – by Anthony Reynolds – Pointless – 6/10

    The Galaxy’s most self aware berserker realizes things aren’t going to turn out so great – duh – in 5 pages.

    15. Guardian of Order by Gav Thorpe – Pointless – ?/10

    This seems like the end of one of the Marvel movies – where you get a brief scene hinting at what’s to come. The Ourobouros is returning – as if we didn’t know that would happen.

    16. Heart of the Conqueror by Aaron Dembski Bowden – Good – 7/10

    A Navigator on the Conqueror (flagship of the World Eaters Legion) sacrifices herself in order to remain loyal to the Imperium. It’s typical ADB – well written – so enjoyable in spite of also being 5 pages of pointless narrative.

    17. Censure by Nick Kyme – Good – 8/10

    Even though I did not score this story the highest – for me it was the best in the collection for two reasons.
    1. It’s new material featuring an interesting character (Aeonid Thiel).
    2. It’s well written – the plot makes sense – and is completely resolved without any wtf moments.

    I do like Thiel as a character – there is a lot of potential for an Ultramarines iconoclast. I’d be very curious to see Guilliman review Thiel’s record of tactical innovation.

    18. Lone Wolf by Chris Wraight – Bad – 4/10

    At this point Chris needs to stop having anything to do with Bjorn the Fell Handed. We don’t need to see him test drive his stolen wolf claw. Also – what happened to the other guys he has been running around with? This character is not a Jedi or Sith either – just quit it already.

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