Home > 40 K & Horus Heresy, Book Review > Book Revew “Legion” by Dan Abnett

Book Revew “Legion” by Dan Abnett

Apha_Legion_PrimarchOne of the reasons why I love the Warhammer 40,000 universe that Games Workshop and the authors of their fiction imprint, the Black Library, have cooked up is it’s jam packed with fun and fascinating characters and concepts. In the Horus Heresy series, which chronicles the titular galactic civil war that sets up the status quo of the 40K universe, we get to meet many legendary figures and military units and watch them make them make monumental choices that echo throughout history. So far almost each one of the novels I’ve read have focused on a different Adeptus Astartes or Space Marine legion, genetically engineered super soldiers tasked with uniting the scattered remnants of humanity into a galactic empire.

Each of these legions have their own customs, legends, and heroic figures, but only one chapter is so shrouded in mystery that they actively cultivate multiple and contradictory legends about themselves and that’s the Alpha Legion. That enigmatic aura and their willingness to use whatever tools are necessary to get the job done make the Alpha Legion, a bad-ass, fascinating, and incredibly cool group. I imagine it also makes them pretty hard to write about since you want to include some insights into what makes the Sons of Alpharius [Alpharius is the primarch; a sort of demi-god and leader of the Alpha Legion] tick, but you don’t want to ruin their mystique.

So in the seventh Horus Heresy novel, “Legion” Dan Abnett was faced Dan-coolwith an incredibly difficult task; chronicle the choices and events that lead the Alpha Legion to side with the other traitor Space Marine legions during the Horus Heresy. Abnett rose to the challenge too. “Legion” is a fantastic novel packed with great characters and exciting action that not only fleshes out the Alpha Legion it makes them cooler and even more identifiable. This is a novel about characters who will come to be known as some the greatest villains in 40K history and I found myself cheering them on! That’s an amazing feat because while I think the traitor legions are great villains I almost never find myself agreeing with any of their point of views let alone cheering them on.

In “Legion” Abnett perfectly employs the Sons of Alpharius. This is a group that’s all about controlling the knowledge others have of them. Their members are known for telling outsiders that they are Alpharus and each Alpha cultivates an appearance similar to their primarch. So it’s fitting that in “Legion” most of the scenes Abnett gives us with his title characters comes via the perspective of outsider characters or operatives that are slowly being initiated into the Alpha Legion’s shadowy world. When we’re given a scene with just Alpha Legion Space Marines interacting it’s usually to let us know that what we just saw in the previous scene may not be the truth.

Doing something like that can be tough when your readers are coming to your book to meet and observe Space Marines, but Abnett makes it work by giving us a fascinating cast of human characters that are drawn into the Alpha Legion’s orbit. The bulk of them come from a storied Imperial Guard unit (The Imperium of Man’s human foot soldiers) that fought to help unite the warring nations of Earth. In “Legion” we join these soldiers in the middle of a disastrous campaign to bring a planet of resistant humans into the Imperium of Man. Because the campaign is not going well the Alpha Legion is asked to assist.

Early into the book we find out that the Alpha Legion were drawn to the planet thanks to machinations of a mysterious alien secret society called the Cabal, and their seemingly immortal psychic human agent, John Grammaticus, who has infiltrated the Imperial Guard unit. John is a pretty interesting and identifiable character. Abnett does a great job fleshing out his powers, cunning, and world weariness.

We meet many other interest members of the Imperial Guard unit, but my favorite that we follow in “Legion” is an idealistic and noble officer named Peto Soneka who gets drawn into the Alpha Legion’s world, and much to his chagrin finds himself helping the ruthless and pragmatic Space Marine Legion.

As I said, the Alpha Legion does spend a lot of time shrouded in secrecy, but we do get to spend enough time with them to understand who they are, how they work, and what drives them. These are some of the most exciting portions of “Legion.” It’s great seeing the Sons of Alpharius in action, and the sequences that reveal the reasons why the Alpha Legion chooses to side with Horus’ traitor legions are fantastic, mind blowing and powerful revelations.

So I’m only seven books into the Horus Heresy series, but for me “Legion” is one of the best books in the series so far. When I finished the book all I could do was say, “Wow!” It left me stunned and excited to spend more time with the Alpha Legion who I now find even more fascinating.

  1. No comments yet.
  1. No trackbacks yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: