Book Review: BETRAYER (THE HORUS HERESY)

PrintE-mail Written by Ed Fortune

Review: Betrayer/ Author: Aaron Dembski-Bowden / Publisher: Black Library / Release Date: Out Now

As the Horus Heresy series rolls on, those familiar with the setting and the over-arching plot expect certain key stories (and the revelations those stories should bring) to be comprehensive and yet somehow fresh. Betrayer details the initial stages of evolution of the Space Marine berserkers called The World Eaters from common or garden rebels to ravening monsters fuelled by the powers of hell itself. This is an entire novel told from the villains' perspective, and features two of the major bad guys of the series – the blood thirsty and violent Angron and the pious yet twisted dark priest, Lorgar.

Aaron Demsbki-Bowden’s master stroke is to take the utterly unsympathetic and vile Angron and explain how a being who should be a glorious gladiator king and freedom fighter has devolved into a bloody butcher who exists to end lives and increase suffering. Bowden retreads some of the themes from his similarly powerful novel The First Heretic; the nature of faith, the sins of the father and the humanity-defining quest for identity are all re-examined. Angron’s back story is engaging and some of the scenes involving his past are truly heart-rending. That said, the main character does have a tendency to whine, and this isn’t helped by the fact that he occasionally sounds a little bit like Zippy from kid’s TV show Rainbow in the unabridged audio version.

Fans of the series will be pleased to know that popular characters from the books are also here; Argel Tal and Khârn are heavily featured. These villains have appeared in earlier novels and their story arcs are every bit as important as those of the major bad guys. (Khârn is a key character in the Warhammer 40,000 universe, and Betrayer does serve as an origin story of sorts). The supporting cast are beautifully rendered as well. Meanwhile, the space ship battles are lovingly detailed and greatly improved through the presence of strong characters such as Lotarra Sarin, the brave and powerful ship’s captain, and Lhorke, a war machine with personality.

It is all highly immersive, despite the ridiculous space opera backdrop, and an engaging page turner. Betrayer is Bowden’s best work so far and it’s a pleasure to see the writer simply get better as he progresses. If you’ve read some of the earlier Horus Heresy books and are looking for more (but don’t fancy reading the whole series), then this book and its prequel, The First Heretic, are very good choices.


Suggested Articles:
The Art Of The Film book is something of a mixed bag of late. The format lends itself perfectly to a
Having risen, rather like the series itself, out of the ashes of a company that last traded back in
When Bram Stoker wrote Dracula, he created a legend. Practically everyone knows the story of the vam
Kim Newman’s Anno Dracula series continues as the last in a collection of nineteen short stories t
scroll back to top

Add comment

Security code
Refresh

Other articles in Book Reviews

THE GREAT WALL: THE ART OF THE FILM 01 March 2017

THE KEY TO TIME: ART OF COLIN HOWARD 26 February 2017

POWERS OF DARKNESS 24 February 2017

ANNO DRACULA 1899 AND OTHER STORIES 24 February 2017

A CONJURING OF LIGHT 23 February 2017

THE SONG RISING 21 February 2017

PSEUDOTOOTH 21 February 2017

THE CRUELTY 20 February 2017

SLOW BULLETS 18 February 2017

THE NINTH RAIN 14 February 2017

- Entire Category -

Sign up today!
Banner
Banner
Banner
Banner
Banner
Banner
Banner
Banner
Banner

      
      
 
 
 
 
 
...