The Horus Heresy: Eye of Terra

Eye of Terra

Last month, I made it to book 35 in the Horus Heresy series, the anthology Eye of Terra. It had been an unspoken goal for me to make it to this book before the end of 2022, but that wasn’t to be. Never mind! With this one behind me, there are now just 18 books left in the series, which is quite something really. At least after this point, there are more novels than anthologies for a bit – perhaps a reflection of the fact that the series initially exploded in popularity and therefore was catered to with all manner of shorts, but over time reader lethargy has led to fewer of these things needing to be collected up.

Anyway, let’s take a look through what’s inside here! 

The Wolf of Ash and Fire is a short story that involves Horus and the Emperor fighting side by side (as depicted on the cover), as told through the eyes of first captain Abaddon. I liked this story, I thought it was reminiscent of ADB’s Black Legion somehow. The Luna Wolves are going up against Orks and take the fight to them on a scrap-moon that itself is also highly reminiscent of The Beast Arises! Luna Wolves and Custodes fight side by side, and nobody is really a baddie, which was nice to see.

I think anybody reading this anthology would be principally interested in the novella Aurelian, however. This story seems to take place during The First Heretic, and deals with Lorgar’s wanderings within the Warp. The character development we get through this 130-page mini-epic is astounding, and I really enjoyed it. In all honesty, I was a bit confused by the timing of this story, because it deals with Lorgar’s wanderings which I thought happened before Isstvan V, though it begins with Lorgar realising that Fulgrim has been possessed, which of course happens after the dropsite massacre. To be fair though, the timeline at this point is an absolute shambles, with stuff seemingly taking place between paragraphs, let alone between chapters of the novels. Suffice it to say, though, as a character piece about Lorgar, this one is tremendous.

It’s a shame that this one comes so early within the anthology, because a lot of the stories after it have pretty much melded into insignificance, if I’m honest. There are a few about Iron Hands, and Iron Warriors, some about Ultramarines (I think), but none of them has really stood out for me. Another ADB short, The Long Night, was interesting for furthering the development of Sevatar during his imprisonment by the Dark Angels, that one was curious as it had him in psychic contact with one of the ship astropaths, and showed him to almost care about her. However, Sevatar has always been one of the more complex Night Lords characters on the books.

I think, overall, this book is pretty symptomatic of the majority of the later Horus Heresy books overall. There are a couple of stand-out moments, but everything else is just meandering nothingness that has almost been published “because”, and not due to any kind of actual story need. Yes, it’s fun to see the origins of the Sanguinor, but do we really need another throwaway story about it? Why not incorporate that into a Blood Angels novel and make that book all the richer? Rather, Black Library have stretched the narrative to the point where it is now lace-thin, and people like me have paid £7.99 for a book that only a quarter of which is any good. I don’t think this is the fault of the authors, as they’re doing the best they can, but it’s the general premise of “let’s do a story about World War II – we’ll start with the in-depth biography of Churchill’s nanny’s aunt’s window cleaner”.

For me, the Horus Heresy has been jerking along since book five. The opening five books is one continuous epic, but over the course of the next thirty, I would be pushing it to say that just eleven of them do anything to move the story along (I realise I get a lot of flak for my views on Mechanicum, so I suppose it should be a round dozen!) Recognising that we have eighteen legions of space marines, plus the Mechanicum, plus stuff like the Custodes, and the twists and turns with stuff like the Remembrancers and whatnot, there is a lot of ground to cover, but I really do feel like it’s a story that should have gone six feet wide, not sixteen feet.

Looking ahead to the next ten, we have some very intriguing titles coming up, and at least a couple of novels in there that I am very excited for. Praetorian of Dorn (I think) involves the Alpha Legion, we’ve got Master of Mankind and we have Garro, which I’m hoping will give us some very good storytelling. In the end, 2022 wasn’t too bad for getting back on track with the Heresy, so I do have high hopes that I can continue that, and maybe get through the next ten books before the end of 2023! You never know…

5 thoughts on “The Horus Heresy: Eye of Terra”

  1. Did not know you were this far in the HH yet. Was hoping we were not that far behind… Aurelian is in this anthology? If so then I am exited to get to 35 as I thought I was going to have to track the novella down itself, or did I scan the opening lines way too fast (only glanced at a few words as to not spoil this for myself). Ten books certainly looks doable if they are not total snooze fests like the last anthology: Mark of Calth.

    1. Yeah, I was very tempted to read Aurelian about ten books ago, I think it has more relevance there. Though that’s another problem with the series! I’m looking forward to seeing what you think of these books when you get there – I reckon Salty could have a thing or two to say about them 🤣

      1. I do not think Salty gets 40K to tell you the truth. I’d much rather rant about it myself. I am still waiting on his review for Jenn’s Surviving Hell…

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