Monday, January 21, 2013

Angel Exterminatus Review

The Horus Heresy plot continues to move forward with Angel Exterminatus by Graham McNeill. As Mr. McNeill puts it, this book was meant to be the continuation of Fulgrim but ultimately became an Iron Warriors novel of its own. And a very good one. The Iron Warriors are one of the most popular traitor Legions and yet, after 25+ books we had only had a small glimpse at Perturabo's warriors in the format of a short story.

Well the wait is over and this is a great book that I'm sure will please most Iron Warriors fans out there. Not only we get to learn the reasons that led  Perturabo to turn his back on the Emperor and join Horus' side, but we see for the first time popular characters that appear in the 40k era novels like the popular Storm of Iron. The Emperor's Children also get their day in the sun as we continue to see their evolution and are now completely depraved and, well, chaotic.


The plot


After the Iron Warriors finally overcome an almost an impenetrable fortress defended by, yes the Iron Fists (note: the novel will become far less topical after the start), the Emperor's Children fleet shows up and Fulgrim requests help from his brother Perturabo in order to capture certain Eldar artifacts that could prove crucial to tip the balance towards the traitor's side.

As the story progresses we get to learn of the ways of Perturabo and his Legion, and McNeill does a great job to give the Iron Warriors their own personality and flavour. The way the Warsmiths - which is the Iron Warriors way to say Chapter Master -  fight behind the scenes for power and Perturabo's favour is most interesting.

There's also some stellar participation from some Iron Hands and Raven Guard survivors from Isstvan V . They may play a secondary part in the plot but boy, it's a good one.

Perturabo at war. The book contains 3 more illustrations.

High & Lowlights


As most of Graham McNeill's work, this is a good novel that moves away from the "bolter-porn" (as McNeill himself calls it) and digs deeper onto the ways of the Legions, their own concerns and interests, and fills some important gaps in the story so far. And importantly, it starts to shape their own heresy-era personality. It's not an eye-opener such as Mechanicum or A Thousand Sons were, and it's not filled with as much action as say Storm of Iron, but it is an enjoyable novel and has inspired me to paint the Dark Vengeance Hellbrute and Chosen in the yellow and black livery.

The hardback edition also contains 4 beatifull piees of artwork by Karl Richardson. In case you don't know him this is the artist behind the Lone Wolves novel. Top notch stuff.

On the other hand, unfortunately Angel Exterminatus doesn't really progress the story overall and just covers part of the Iron Warriors / Emperor's Children own story. At the moment this collection is the Black Library's cash cow but they're risking losing interest unless they can make significant movement forward.

Also let me bring this - the Black Library originally released the hardback edition at 25€ as the only way to get the book. While there are no complaints at all about the book's quality, the finish or the illustrations, I don't think fans will want to continue reading the next 20 or 30 installments in the series at this price. You can of course await a month or two until cheaper versions are released but it doesn't feel fair with the fans. If you must, please release the paper and hardback editions at the same time.

The veredict 7/10


Angel Exterminatus is all about giving the Iron Warriors some deserved visibility. The plot is rather predictable and the story might not move much forward, but the intent of the book is to provide the decorations, the set so to speak, so we can finally have a novel dedicated to Perturabo and the Iron Warriors. It is certainly an enjoyable read and a good inspiration if you are building or playing 30k era armies.

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