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Mechanicum (The Horus Heresy) Mass Market Paperback – November 25, 2008
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About the Author
Hailing from Scotland, Graham McNeill narrowly escaped a career in Surveying to join Games Workshop, where he worked for six years as a games developer. As well as nine novels, Graham has written a host of sf and fantasy short stories. He lives in Nottingham, UK.
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I tried reading it again but this time slowly, allowing myself to really see everything that Graham is describing, and if you read it that way, it's cinematic. The world he creates is so vivid it's like you're there. The map that was provided in my edition (collector's hardback) hardly hints at the sheer immensity of everything. In this way the book reads like a painting. I recommend it, but you must savor it!
I'm not a big fan of the "sexy Red Priestess" idea, but I'm hoping the reason for that is that it shows her interest in learning, and not following by rote. At least she doesn't use her appearance, that I recall, to get her way.
Interesting info. on the Dragon of Mars.
Mechanicums story shifts between Dalia and Zeth, and the warfront between the various Mechanicum forges. Ties are strained as the schism between the Warmaster and the Emperor, and the die eventually cast before Mars goes to war with itself. the destruction of priceless knowledge and infrastructure, and well as lives lost, is far more heartbreaking in this incarnation, and you actually grow to care for the normally robotic and insular Mechanicus adepts. This story serves as a stark constrast to normal Mechanicus characters, and a touching reminder that they are still human.
The ending takes an unusual turn, and will send fluff fans into a frenzy, thanks to some painfully ambiguous scenes and dialogue, and can cut in many different directions. The story still includes several portions hat needed further explanation that was never provided, involving tech thats popped up in a few other places. This is only a hiccup in a otherwise fantastic piece, though detracts and distracts enough to stop it short of perfection.
"Mechanicum" starts off with a very tasty bang in the prologue, and continues with a very engaging first couple of chapters as one part of the main stage is set. There is a bit of a lull, depending on what you like, at that point that stretches for a good bit -- this lull, while not very action filled, does fill out the background for the story so you can understand what has been happening on Mars, and why. You do get the sense that Mars, while seemingly unified to the rest of the universe, is far from that. Individual Adepts, with their forges, reign in an almost feudal manner over their quietly contested territories. The leaders on Mars are all going their own directions. Religious arguments over the existence of the Omnissiah, grumblings about the perceived leashing of Mars to Terra, and the pursuit of knowledge taking Mars to darker places all play a significant role in this dynamic book.
I feel that "Mechanicum" delivers by filling out the Heresy even further with the dark betrayal of Mars which ultimately brings war to Terra's backyard. The reader gets to see glimpses into the technology that quite probably leads to the Golden Throne. We see the emergence of the Dark Mechanicum, and we get to see Titan combat on a larger scale. Lastly, "The Dragon of Mars" is an interesting thread which leaves to our imagination the implications of very ancient and epic designs.
This last bit really does revisit a reoccurring theme: Is the Emperor really a "good" guy? Yes, he stands against Chaos, but at what cost? What has he really done to humanity? For that matter, what is humanity to him, really? With this book you really do get a taste for how insignificant humanity itself is to the grand designs of the Emperor with his multi-millennial perspective.
In the end, "Mechanicum", is a great addition to the Horus Heresy series. I would highly recommend it.