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on September 20, 2015
Abnett does an excellent job laying the seeds of corruption of the mighty Luna Wolves. For the most part this is very entertaining tail as we follow Horus and his top captains in the Mournival. Note, early on in the book there is a dreadfully boring digression with the rembrancers, but it seems like Games Workshop has insisted each book in this series include some sort information on standard humans. I wouldn't have minded so much if it wasnt an 80-100 page digression. I dislike like the remembrancers, since for the most part, they add very little to the actual story.
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This is my second trip into the Black Library and my first Horus Heresy novel. As a non player of the role playing games I got to admit I am becoming a huge fan of the novels. My first book (or collection) was the Ultramarines Omnibus volume 1 by Graham McNeill which was very good. Horus Rising is absolutely amazing. The story tells of the Luna Wolves expeditions during the Emperor of Man's crusade to travel the stars and reunite humanity under the banner of the Imperium of Man. Most of the story follows Captain Loken, a Luna Wolf recently promoted to be one of Warmaster Horus's council as he struggles with learning about chaos, the reasons for the crusade and it's ramifications. Along the way there is major battles, political intrigue, struggles of embedded reporters trying to remain objective, cover ups, plot twists, the struggles for identity, innocence lost and tragedy. I really enjoyed seeing the internal struggle that warriors who were created for war trying to find peace and come to terms with finding fault in the great Emperor's grand plans for the universe. The battle's were also well crafted and highly enjoyable. I recommend this book to sci/fi fantasy fans or fans of the series very highly.
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on July 5, 2014
Horus Rising is the first book in the Horus Heresy series. The Horus Heresy is the single most important piece of backstory in the Warhammer 40,000 universe, covering the Great Crusade led by the Emperor of Mankind to re-unite Earth with its lost colonies, the genetically engineered supermen who are the Primarchs and the first Space Marines, and Primarch Horus's promotion to the position of Warmaster to lead the crusade. I'll avoid any spoilers for anyone not familiar with the overall account of the Horus Heresy, but I will say that while I have read many books in the past, this is the first time in a long time that reading a book gave me an adrenaline rush on par with an action movie. Even if you are not familiar with the Warhammer 40,000 universe, if you love scifi and military books you will love the atmosphere given off by this story.
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The opening start of the Horus Rising trilogy (the first 3 any way), really shows the tragedy of the Imperium. The blind fear of anything not like them, the needless battle and losses of Murder and the failure with the interex.

It's remarkable watching as Chaos very slowly begins to seep into the Space Marines. Such destruction from such a small act.
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on April 26, 2012
I read this book about 3 years ago, had been a fan of warehammer when all the did was tabletop gaming, but though i'd read many Black library titles, I think this series really coaleses what Warhammer is about.

Its epic in its scale, the characters are beautifully drawn, the devotion of the luna wovles to their master is tastefully shown. I loved the main characters in this book but what I loved the most was how the reader is shown glimpses of the naivetiy of the Great Crusade, that despite their victories they had no idea of what else there was in the larger universe.
The powers of Chaos are hinted at and for the first time, you get a sense of how chaos works; not the brute force of a bolter but the subtle teasing that causes infatuation and ultimatly greed to take over. A thread here, a thread there... It showed how greater powers can move in very subtle ways.

Don't want to spoil the series but the buy the first 3 books as a set, you won't regret it. I have re-read mine already and am currently on the 9th or 10th book (I loose count).
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VINE VOICEon May 13, 2010
If you've read much Warhammer 40k, then this is the novel you've been waiting. Black Liberty sends out one of their best authors to make it count. Finally, you see the formation of the Imperium and the ultimate betrayal! Well, not really. The book picks up somewhere a couple centuries after the Crusade just started. Horus has already been made Warmaster.

At first this was disappointing, but I think they're leaving themselves some wiggle room to tell another precursor series of books down the road. There are quite a few mentions of the times before the Crusade started and events that took place between then and Horus' promotion. Seems like Black Liberty will have material for a good long time to come.

There are just too many great parts of this book to list them all. From the first battle where Horus kills the "Emperor" (not a spoiler, it's literally the 2nd sentence of the book!) to the battle vs the giant spider aliens on Murder everything is nicely polished. Even the slower parts in between battles are still compelling. and actually found the story of the mortal rememberers to be interesting. I did think there was just a little too much heavy handed foreshadowing being thrust upon the reader at times, but generally it was handled very subtly which I appreciate.

After all the bad things written about Horus, it was pretty interesting to see a time when he was the favored son. You'll find yourself thinking him very reasonable and likable. You can also see both why he was the perfect one to take over for the Emperor, both in battle prowess and in political savvy, but at the same time by giving someone so good at the job that level of power you can see how he was able to move so many against the Emperor. I've already purchased the other two books in the initial Horus trilogy and a couple later on in the series. I just hope the others are half as much fun as this one was.
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on January 30, 2017
Great book, which serves as a good starting point for the Warhammer 40k lore. The book is about the days before the Horus heresy, and the events that lead to the grand rebellion. It follows a group of Space Marines, and their trail of war across the galaxy. Including some very disturbing events which will have ramifications for the next 10.000 years...
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First Book in a Far Future Military Science Fiction series about elite foces of augmented and genetically-enhanced Space-faring conquering Imperial warrior castes, who are almost perpetually at war; the stories of the warriors battles and lives are occasionally tempered by the Remembrancers, who are basically field reporters brought along on the endless campaigns to document the warrirors acheivements.

Enjoyable so far, moving on to the second book in the series.
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on June 18, 2015
"Is there violence?"

Hahahaha oh amazon... Yes... yes there is...

As for sexual content there is a part where a conversation is had with a nude woman. If you're the type of person that considers the mention of naked women and the fact that they do have female anatomy to be "sexual", this book may not be for you.
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on August 27, 2007
Wow! What an awesome book! But first, my background: I am such a devout SF reader, that I have an Excel spreadsheet where I log my SF books in alpha order, and I grade each one after I read it. I have so many still unread in my garage, that I rarely buy new ones unless something catches my fancy.

One day two weeks ago, I was trawling through the Amazon SF books, reading about some other book, and down below it said that I might enjoy "Horus Rising". So I linked to it, and saw it was part of a games group known as Warhammer 40,000, and part of a sub-group called the Horus Heresy. Not being a game-player, I had never heard of either. Still, I read the reviews, and thought the book sounded interesting -- but probably doubtful -- since I was not a big space opera fan, and particularly not in the war genre.

Nevertheless I ordered it. Twenty pages into it I liked it so well that I ordered the rest of the (currently) five-book series the same day!

I came away from "Horus Rising" with these impressions: First, that the author Dan Abnett has a great gift of drawing the reader into the novel, giving the characters distinctive identities with enough depth that you care about them - and writing real dialogue that is in keeping with the respective personalities. Second, I expected about 70-80% blood, war, and gore, but was pleasantly surprised to discover that there are enough undercurrents and side-issues going on -- often handled using flash-backs and flash-forwards -- that the blood, war, and gore-meter only came up to a reasonable 25-30%. Third, it's hard for an author to come up with new ideas, words, and concepts that I haven't come across in my SF reading, but there are some intriguing ones here which add fascination and mystery to the reading process.
Fourth, another word about the characters: no pun intended, the characters are larger than life, and they need to be, because the dangers they face in the universe of 30,200 A.D. are very great. I'm glad the good guys are on my team. Although it becomes a little less clear as time goes on exactly who the good guys are...

Finally, even though I read the reviews of all five books so far in print -- and thus I know basically how it all turns out -- still, it didn't dampen my interest at all about book one. In a sense, it added intrigue to it by my wondering how everything was going to get resolved by the end of the series. So in this sense, the series is not only an "action adventure", but also a "mystery".

Hat's off to Dan Abnett, and soon I expect to say that for the authors of the other four books. (A different writer writes each successive book -- like a handoff from quarterback to halfback)

Oh. About that grade that I give each book after I read it. I rate the books from 0.0 to 10.0 in 0.5 step increments. The highest grade I had given to date, were three books at 9.0: Frank Herbert's "Dune", Jack McDevitt's "Chindi", and Alastair Reynolds' "Revelation Space". But now (ta da!) they are matched by the new "Horus Rising" rating of 9.0 on my spreadsheet.
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