Tuesday, 20 December 2016

The Path of Heaven - Book Review

My first book review this new blog, The Path of Heaven by Chris Wraight.

A warning there may be spoilers. Where's the fun of a review if there wasn't?...

From Black Library:
For too long had the Vth Legion ranged out beyond the sight of the wider Imperium, remaining ignorant of the Warmaster’s rebellion and the war that inevitably followed. Only once their primarch, Jaghatai Khan, had satisfied himself that the path before them was just and true did the White Scars choose a side, taking the fight to the traitors on every front. But, four years later, the Legion’s unfettered spirit has been broken by relentless attritional warfare against the Death Guard and the Emperor’s Children – the Khan’s Stormseers must find a clear route to Terra if they are to take part in the final, apocalyptic battle.

While the cover art and book description suggested this was one Horus Heresy novel I wouldn't be that fussed about. Believe it or not, there are a few of those. However, Chris Wraight is one of my favourite Black Library authors, ever since Battle of the Fang and I have that need to read the Horus Heresy series in order. So I was going to read it regardless.

The story revolves around what the White Scars have been up to for the last 4 years of the war and their final journey to Terra. In my mind I always thought that the White Scars basically walked away from helping the Wolves when they got called back to Terra and then spent the next number of years helping Dorn and the Fists to build the defences. We didn't know much about what they had been up to from the earlier fluff.

What we discover is that the Scars have been launching hit and run assaults on the traitors, the legion divided in to a number of battle groups fighting along side the Shattered Legions in many cases. But 4 years later they find that they have fought themselves into a noose, bleeding away a third of their strength, with no clear path back to Terra.

Then Ilya Ravallion, a General from the Departmento Munitorum assigned to the V Legion remembers an old associate,  Novator named Achelieux, who was working on a top secret project instigated by the Emperor. She persuades the Khan that if any man can get them back to Terra, Acheliuex can.

It turns out that the top secret project is the Web Way and that Dark Glass is a portal linked directly to the Golden Throne and possibly built by the Emperor himself.

Chased by the Emperor's Children and Death Guard as they race to the portal, all seems lost when the White Scars finally get there. The Khan himself recognises the engineering but the Web Way portal itself seems cold and dead, of no use to them.

But then Targutai Yesugei, chief Stormseer figures it out and activates it just as the traitor forces engage, opening the portal briefly for the V Legion to escape. Revuel Arvida, loyal Thousand Son, then guides the fleet through the Web Way back to Terra.

I've missed a ton of stuff out, such as Arvida's constant battle with the Flesh Change, the double-crossing by some demons who are unleashed by an Emperor's Children ship only to then destroy another Emperor's Children ship, Eidolon's continued fall into chaos and the Navis Nobilite spy that wants to destroy the Web Way portal (so that the Navigators do not become obsolete) and nearly succeeds in doing so.

The book is well written as per all of Chris' work to date. I thought the characters were strong, it ties up some loose ends. We get to read about 4 major Horus Heresy Characters, 3 of which are Primarchs, which Chris' writing manages to humanise yet keep them apart from the mundane. For example, the meeting between Leman Russ and the Khan at the end gives the impression of sibling love between the two despite the fact that Russ is absolutely fuming with the Khan for leaving him and his legion to die earlier in the heresy.

Definitely better and more revealing than I expected, pushing the story arc forward towards the Siege of Terra. An 8/10 from me.

theerrantwolf.blogspot.co.uk - a blog dedicated to The Horus Heresy and Warhammer 40k

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