The Talon of Horus, and an update!

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About a week ago, I finally finished reading this book, the first of the Black Legion series of novels by Aaron Dembski-Bowden. It took me what felt like an age to get through, and that was mainly because it felt like such a slog! I’m a fan of ADB’s work, with The First Heretic being right up there in my favourite 40k fiction, but there was something about this book that meant I just couldn’t get into it.

It is told in the first person, through the eyes of Iskandar Khayon, a sorcerer formerly of the Thousand Sons Legion, now of the Kha’Sherhan warband. He has been captured by the Inquisition, and the story unfolds as a narrative where Khayon is telling them how the Black Legion came to be formed. As a narrative device, the interrogation comes back every so often, though principally we’re treated to the account in the past tense. However, it is the interrogation scenes that reveal, I think, my main gripe about reading this novel.

Being told through the eyes of a sorcerer, ADB has taken a leisurely, almost archaic frame of speech that meanders through the tale as you would expect one to recount it around a camp fire, or something. It’s not like he goes off on tangents, or anything, but if you can imagine someone kinda waffling their way through a story, then this is it.

The Talon of Horus

The story begins with a kind of update of the situation since the end of the Heresy, with a lot of internecine conflict between the Legions since they have taken refuge in the Eye of Terror. It seems that the Emperor’s Children have been systematically attacking the Sons of Horus, and scored a particularly decisive victory when they defeated them at Lupercalios and stolen the body of the primarch Horus, which was being kept their in state.

The main impetus then for the book is to follow the disparate bands of legionaries, seeing a small group of World Eaters, Thousand Sons and Sons of Horus band together to defeat the Emperor’s Children (specifically, Fabius Bile). Along the way, we get glimpses into life for the traitor legionaries in the Eye, and it’s really quite fascinating to see what has been happening since the Siege of Terra.

However, the book tends to limp along – it’s not, I think, due to ADB’s writing, but more like a stylistic choice for the narration. While I feel as though this should be a book that grabbed my attention and never let go, instead the first 2/3 of the novel felt like a bit of a chore to get through…

That is, until Ezekyle Abaddon made his appearance.

One of the plot threads, much like it is some kind of RPG adventure, is for the legionaries to recover the Vengeful Spirit, the Gloriana-class cruiser that was Horus’ flagship during the Great Crusade and the Heresy. They gain intelligence from the Word Bearer Sargon Eregesh, and it all turns out to have been a plot from the mind of Abaddon, to help wage his war against Fabius Bile. The legionaries join with Abaddon, and destroy the Emperor’s Children stronghold at the Canticle City. There, they not only find Fabius Bile, but also his clone of Horus – and it takes Abaddon showing up in his terminator armour of the Justaerin, and kills him using the legendary lightning claw, the Talon of Horus.

As I say, it’s the sort of book that should have grabbed me while all the way, but it wasn’t until Abaddon showed up that I really began to enjoy it. Abaddon is every inch the commander his gene-father was, and this really comes through when we see him engage the troops that Khayon and the others bring to his banner. There is a real sense of charisma that comes out from him, in the same way that we see Horus Lupercal in Horus Rising.


So yeah, even if I didn’t enjoy the whole book as much as I perhaps wanted to, it did have one benefit…

After experiencing quite the hobby slump earlier this year, as I got towards the end of the novel, I found myself wanting more and more to start painting my Chaos Marines as Black Legion. And then I started work on the Helbrute!

It’s the model from the Dark Vengeance set which, in my opinion, has a lot more movement to it than the regular model – which is strongly modeled after the Space Marines Dreadnought. Don’t get me wrong, I do enjoy a Dreadnought model, but there’s something a bit more animalistic about the Helbrute, which I would have thought warrants a bit more verve to its pose. Ah well.

It’s been quite fun getting this guy painted, even though he’s still a work in progress right now! I’ve really enjoyed getting the skin to look so… sore, and think it really helps to set the armour off. All that trim, though… crikey! There are parts that still need touching up, for sure, but it’s coming along nicely.

I’d had some time off last week, and had been hoping to get him finished by then, but sadly I didn’t manage to get round to it. That said, who knows what’s round the corner? The UK has been ramping up efforts to curb the spread of coronavirus, of course, and as I’m writing this blog, we may be on the cusp of a nationwide lockdown, so maybe I’ll get a lot more time for hobbying! I guess we’ll have to see, though!

Whateer you’re up to, please stay safe out there, folks!

February Hobby Retrospective

Hey everybody!
It feels like the last couple of months have just flown by in a haze, and I hadn’t found much time to either hobby or come here and ramble about all manner of junk – I’m sure you’ve all missed that! I’ve been in a bit of a hobby slump of late, though, and haven’t been much in the mood to do anything. Feels like I’ve lost my hobby spark, and was struggling to get it back. Well, I recently took a major shift and decided to work on some Age of Sigmar stuff, as fantasy miniatures always feel like something of a breath of fresh air when I’ve been painting 40k for a long while, and I think my work on some Warcry stuff lately has begun to get me back in the saddle!

I mean, who couldn’t love that face, right?!

At the start of the year, I’d been thinking that I’d like to get a Slaves to Darkness army at last, and so had some vague ideas following my purchase of the battletome, mainly involving at least one Warcry warband, possibly two – the Cypher Lords, and maybe the Unmade. I had the idea of using a lot of rag-tag cultist-types, so also threw in the Godsworn Hunt, but the actual Chaos Marauders kit does put me off a little bit, so I had thought I might pick up some of the Bloodreavers as stand-ins, but I think that’ll be a long way off. I then thought about picking up some Wrathmongers to use as Chaos Chosen, as while I love the look of the kit, it is finecast, and so I doubt will stand up to the rest of the army now that the Warriors have been re-done. With that, though, I had begun to think that this could be the first time I look at creating a Chaos army with a distinctly Khorne feel! Normally I go Undivided or Slaanesh, but this could be interesting!

It definitely helps, having something I’m not normally into!

I’m still playing around with the Slaves to Darkness idea, as I’m not entirely sure how I want the army to look. I’ve got vaguely 900 points (or thereabouts) plotted out, with the units I’ve mentioned plus a Chaos Warshrine (because that model is just so iconic!)

But yeah, I’ve started now to really go heavy into Warcry, and I’m interested in getting a warband finished so that I can play a game. The Cypher Lords are probably the models I’m furthest along with, having done some experimentation with Contrast paints back in January, so that could be a plan. I think I have all of the monsters released so far, too, so could see myself adding in a Mindstealer Sphyranx at some point (more for the theme, than anything!) So it’s all definitely quite exciting!

I suppose I just need to look into the rules now, and see if I can get a game sorted!

However, it’s not been all fantasy-related this month!

I’ve been slowly chipping away at this gent for a week or so now, having gotten some of the silver done, as well as thinking about the overall scheme that I’d like to have for it. When I first painted a Triarch Stalker, the results were decidedly different!

I’m hoping to get the two of them painted up for the army soon (the older model has been stripped, and is ready for re-painting as soon as I get my act together!) I might even get a third, not sure yet. That targeting relay rule is just so good, I feel as though they should be staples of the army!

I think the Necrons are possibly going to be my 40k focus for a while, as I’d really like to get my army up to scratch now. They are my first love, and I definitely enjoy playing them when I get them to the table, so it makes sense that I should have more toys to field than just waves of infantry! As fun as waves of infantry can be, of course!

The old bĂȘte-noir of the Doomsday Ark has also been at the back of my mind, and I think I’d like to get that painted up sometime soon, too. Though that’s probably going to be a long project, as well, so I suppose we’ll have to see how I go with that one!

As much as I do still enjoy the hobby and the game, I think I’d like to break out of the Warhammer thing more, though, and play more of a variety of games. I’ve sold off so many of the old favourites that it’s a little bit scary to think about, but I do still have plenty to enjoy. Stuff like the Ghostbusters kickstarters, all of that Hellboy goodness, and the classics like Eldritch Horror and Lord of the Rings LCG – I’m hopeful that this year will see a resurgence in my non-Games Workshop gaming, anyway!

It’s always good to have a variety, after all!