The Horus Heresy, Primarchs: Sons of The Emperor
- Brand: Games Workshop
- Product Code: BL2639
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- Price in reward points: 1200
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First released at the Horus Heresy & Necromunda Weekender in February 2018, Sons of the Emperor is a Horus Heresy Primarchs anthology comprising eight brand new short stories, one each from Dan Abnett, Aaron Dembski-Bowden, John French, LJ Goulding, Guy Haley, Nick Kyme, Graham McNeill and Gav Thorpe. These tales range from the earliest days of the Great Crusade to long after the end of the Heresy, each taking a different approach to representing one (or more) of the primarchs and their legionary sons. Featuring eleven primarchs and even the Emperor, chances are there’s a story here for every Heresy fan.
Originally released as an event-only anthology, thankfully this has now had a wider release, allowing everyone the opportunity to enjoy eight short stories offering a really interesting, brave range of narratives, structures and characters. Taken collectively it’s an anthology which somewhat adjusts the parameters of the Primarchs series, which was billed as 18 books delving into the core aspects or key moments of these huge characters. Short stories like these are broadening the scope of that with different purposes, styles and approaches; they still revolve around the primarchs but it’s now more about the shadows they cast than necessarily having these characters front and centre.
What that means is that these stories might not suit a slavish adherence to the idea that Primarchs stories should always feature primarchs as the main protagonists – perhaps not everyone will be happy with that, but it’s an interesting choice from Black Library. Instead, they reward readers who want to explore the Heresy (and, arguably, the events before and after) and these characters in a wider sense; some of them do focus closely on individual primarchs (Sanguinius and Vulkan, specifically), but many of them are told from legionary or even human perspectives, looking at how the primarchs are viewed by others. It’s worth noting that some, although certainly not all, of these stories benefit from an up to date knowledge of the Heresy to date, so do beware minor spoilers if you haven’t read everything so far.
It’s a collection that doesn’t take too many risks stylistically – excepting Abnett’s unusually told Misbegotten – with stories that largely follow their authors’ usual approaches, but does stray a little from the norm in terms of the way in which some characters are portrayed. That might be by virtue of different perspectives (including some intriguing and well-developed human protagonists) or just seeing these characters at different stages in their lives. It might not please collectors anticipating 18 limited edition hardbacks, and some debate remains as to whether certain of these stories should be included in the Primarchs series or the main range. Forget about that, however, and enjoy eight interesting stories which do a great job of expanding the Heresy and digging deeper into some fascinating characters.