The Emperor’s Legion

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Earlier this week, I finished reading The Emperor’s Legion by Chris Wraight, which I have to say now, was absolutely cracking!

The story is told from the point of view of three characters – a Custodian Guard, a Silent Sister, and the Chancellor of the High Lords of Terra. I don’t think I’ve ever read a book that has more than one point of view character where each chapter is in their own first person! It was really interesting to me, I must say!

The Emperor’s Legion takes place around the time of the Great Rift, which initially gave me some pause as I have read quite a lot of novels set during this time, and the coming of Guilliman etc. However, two-thirds of the book is set firmly on Terra, which gives the book a different flavour on it, as we’ve not yet seen what happens there. Turns out – quite a lot goes on!

The Chancellor of the High Lords, Tieron, is quite the interesting character, as we see something of the power behind the throne at first. This is, perhaps, where the advantage of telling the story in the first person comes to the fore, as we see Tieron’s attitude to his own position degrade as the novel progresses. We learn that Tieron has been attempting to reverse the decision that was taken to keep the Custodian Guard bound to the walls of the Imperial Palace. There is a lot going on in the politics of this decision, and I found it fascinating to learn about all of those goings-on, I suppose in part because of the way in which we learn about it.

From the Custodian Valerian, we see more of the Adeptus Custodes and their own attitudes towards their long vigil. Something I found quite intriguing was seeing the history of the Imperium from the golden boys, as they clearly know more of the history of the universe than we’ve seen from, say, the Space Marines of other novels. The story told from the point of view of the Silent Sister, however, is much more interesting to start with. Aleya is a very capable warrior, who dismantles a Chaos cult when we first meet her, only to return to her convent to find it has been decimated by the Black Legion. This drives her to return to Terra, wherein ensues a hectic race through the Warp as she attempts to defy the constant daemonic incursions through their failing Geller field.

It turns out that the Silent Sisters have been allowed to become forgotten over the thousands of years since the Heresy, as many cannot abide their anti-psyker presence. Aleya burns with the injustice of this, and the narrative from her perspective is really quite vicious at times as a result! Since the Silent Sisters were a part of the Burning of Prospero game back in 2016, it’s been a bit weird to me how GW would attempt to re-integrate them into the 40k game. We did see something back in 7th Edition, with the Talons of the Emperor box set, but it was really quite disappointing as it turned out. When the Custodes made their appearance in 8th Edition as a major force, and subsequently the Adepta Sororitas, I know there were plenty of folks who were a bit put-out by the fact the Sisters were left out of things.

At any rate, the book brings all three of the main characters together when the Great Rift has opened across the sky, when Cadia has fallen, and things are looking even worse for the Imperium than ever. Enter – the Grey Knights! Oh man, I was so excited when these guys turned up, not least because I’m currently back to working on these guys! I definitely had a bit of a tingle when they first mentioned turning to Titan for help, and when they arrived in force – oh, man!

The arrival of the Grey Knights poses an interesting insight into how the Custodes are meant to fight. I think both Aleya and Valerian talk of how the Sisters and the Custodians pair up, as there is no physical enemy the latter cannot defeat, but in the case of the Archenemy, they require the null-maidens to deny any demonic nonsense, anchoring them to the physical plane for the Custodes to then destroy. By contrast, the Grey Knights fight against the Ruinous Powers on their terms, making things that much more difficult. It’s really quite incredible when they Grey Knights win, because the odds are so stacked against them even before battle has been joined!

Another thing that I really like about this novel is how it seems to blend a lot of things that we’ve seen up until now – the attack on Fenris, the fall of Cadia, etc. We get something of the mechanics of news in the Imperium here, as the fall of Cadia might have happened months ago, or worse. It’s something that we’ve had hints of in other books, of course, seeing the perils of having an Imperium held together by telepathic thought-impressions or physical messages being sent.

The Emperor's Legion

The book culminates with a massive daemonic incursion on Terra itself, which brings all three of the protagonists together. Guilliman appears on Luna, and takes command of the Council of the High Lords, some of whom had suspected as much and attempted to prevent it – serving as a kind of metaphor for how stagnant the Imperium has become, really. Valerian and Aleya discover that the Ruinous Powers have been attempting to cut off Terra from the rest of the galaxy by using the Cadian pylons to essentially nullify the Warp at strategic points. They head off to the only remaining conduit through the Warp from Terra, and thwart the forces of the Black Legion before they can carry out their nefarious plot.

It really is a great book, giving a tremendous look at the Imperium at the time of the Great Rift. In many ways, it serves to sum up so much of my love of 40k right now, taking a look at the various aspects of the Imperium, predominantly the Adeptus Ministorum. They’ll never really make an army for these guys, of course, but it’s always fascinating to me seeing the inner workings of the Empire like this.

Wonderful stuff, definitely recommended!

A catch-up!

Hey everybody!
It feels like it’s been a while, doesn’t it? After celebrating my blog’s sixth birthday, it seems like other things have come into play, and I’ve not had a great deal of time for much else… well, let’s see, shall we?

To start with – check it out! I’m calling these chaps done for now – last weekend, there was a painting competition at my local Games Workshop (that is, a competition that was held via facebook, given the current climate). The brief was to paint an infantry unit at minimum squad size, and while there are perhaps a couple of details I could improve upon, I still like the fact that I’ve managed to get these done! The start of my Blood Angels – so let’s see what comes next, eh?

In the meantime, I’ve decided to resurrect this old project, and have been putting some details on to the chap in the middle there with the plasma gun. They’re real nice models, as you can see, and while the trim there is quite fiddly, it’s nevertheless really gratifying when these things start to come together like this! Of course, it’s going to make it difficult to keep going with the entire platoon, for sure, but it’ll be worth it!

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This week, I’ve started to read The Emperor’s Legion, the first book in the Watchers of the Throne series by Chris Wraight. I’m only about a third of the way through it, but already it’s gotten me really hooked! I’ve felt a little let-down with some of the 40k novels that I’ve read lately, so it’s really nice to finally be enjoying one again! The book has three point-of-view characters, one of whom is a Silent Sister, and one a Custodian Guard. I’ve been considering building up the Custodians that came with the Battle of Prospero box back in the day, and I’ve also thought about getting on with the Sisters of Silence that have been built since 2016!

Yet again, lovely models!

Let’s move away from plastic now, and instead take a look at some paper products! Arkham Horror LCG is something that I want to keep playing, but haven’t really had a great deal of time for since baby Phoebe came along last year! I did manage to get through the entire Dunwich Legacy campaign before her birth, though, and it’s certainly whetted my appetite, and while I’d been buying all of the cycles without playing, the most recent cycle, the Dream Weavers, was the first one that I didn’t get. I was actually thinking about calling it a day with the Circle Undone, but now that we’re off to Innsmouth, I’m thinking I may need to invest in this one, as well!

The expansion feels like it’s a bit of a return to some aspects from the classic board game, with blessings and curses, and flooding locations!

As the Lord of the Rings LCG appears to draw to a close with the Vengeance of Mordor cycle, the fourth pack of which arrived last week, I think it’s time to get back into this game above all, and get playing more once again. I’m hoping that I can persuade Jemma to join me on this venture, as well – husband and wife against the shadow of Sauron, what could be better?

I’ll be sure to update you all with progress, at any rate!

Magic the Gathering is something that I’ve definitely moved away from in the last year or so. I think War of the Spark was the last set I bought cards from, and haven’t actually played the game for a long time! However, Ikoria has caught my eye because (a) it has massive creatures, and (b) we’re seeing a return of the Tarkir shards! There’s a massive creature in the Mardu colours (red, white and black – my favourite!) that is a “dinosaur cat nightmare” – I mean, what’s not to like?!

The Shards also get Ultimatums, there are new tri-lands with the land types so that you can tutor for them; the Tarkir dual lands are back, and we even get a new Narset planeswalker card! There are a lot of nice cards in this set, and a lot of them would fit nicely into decks that I remember playing and enjoying from back in the day. I need to fight the impulse to get some of these cards!! But they’re so nice…

Oh, Ikoria is testing my resolve not to buy more cardboard crack!


Finally, let me go off-topic now, and fill you in on what I’ve been doing in the couple of weeks since my last blog. I’ve started work on another blog – though don’t worry, I’ll still be sharing my ramblings with you all here! I’ve been learning French once again, after having gone sixteen years since I did my A levels, and thought it’d get me into doing a lot more with it, as I try to put everything that I’m learning into practice! So I’ve started a blog as I try to make sense of it all, which can be found here, if you’re interested in that kind of thing!