Tuesday, 31 January 2017

Book Review - Master of Mankind

The Master of Mankind Book Review - Aaron Dembski-Bowden

The Master of Mankind - Aaron Dembski-Bowden

Well I've just finished this and it was everything I hoped it would be, top marks Aaron Demski-Bowden! Beware SPOILERS ahead...

Since the beginning of Games Workshops lore we have seen little of the mystical being, the Emperor. Rightly so I think. I always felt like getting a huge insight into the Big E himself would be like meeting your hero - something you shouldn't do we are told!

That said we do learn lots, enough to feel like there was a big 'reveal' in this novel and ADB does a fine job of balancing this whilst still retaining the Big E as a mystical and unreadable being. He has us thinking that he is a machine, a god, an immortal man from the beginning of recorded history all at once and we gain a real insight into what he had been doing this whole time.

There are plenty of insights in this book that I won't reveal, but one key theme is the webway and why the Big E has been absent from the war against Horus. You get a real sense that the war against Horus is actually a side show and that the real deal is the war in the webway which has been raging since Magnus arrived and ripped it open to the warp!

The webway had been connected to Terra by the Big E and the Mechanicum. It was supposed to allow mankind to travel the galaxy without the need to expose themselves to the warp via warp-travel. The Big E had it all hooked up and ready to go but doh! Magnus strikes and buggers it up! Leaving the Big E, his 10,000 Custodes, the Sisters and loads of poor humans fighting the entire warp as it tries to flow through into Terra. No wonder the Custodes look on the fight against Horus as not such a big deal!

The Custodes began the fight expecting to hold their ground, but over the five years they are battered by in a war of attrition that even sees Astartes and Traitor Titans and such coming through the warp at them in the closing battle. They obviously hope that the Big E will come up with a plan to push them back and seal the rift but to no avail and we join them as they desperately attempt to hold back the tide from reaching the Imperial Palace and unleashing the warp on Terra itself - a far worse blow than Horus would be capable of landing.

Along with this we learn more about how the Custodes are created and how they fight - they are not men who are altered like the Astartes. They are created anew by the Emporer and whilst falling short of Primarch status are probably closer to them than the Astartes in terms of their make-up and abilities (fluff not gamin rules!).

We get to see the Emperor speaking to them (usually in dream states) and they help us see how he may view the Primarch's as less than they would believe. Ie not his sons, but more like tools for a job. He is seen as both heartless and as the lonely leader, having to make tough choices for the future of mankind.

We also get to meet a very cool Blood Angel, known as the Bringer of Sorrow, who is kind of exiled from his legion after both arms and both legs we removed in battle but his augmetics wouldn't take and function properly - of course he comes good in the end in a spectacular way!

That is all I can say for now, ADB did a fantastic job and I feel like he moved our understanding of the Heresy and lore along in a brilliantly balanced way, go get the book and read it!

You can pick up this book from Amazon here: The Master of Mankind - Aaron Dembski-Bowden

fourdadsoftheapocalypse.blogspot.co.uk – A blog about Warhammer 40k and the Horus Heresy by four Dads

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