Tales of Heresy – Short Story Collection – Various Authors

Title: Tales of Heresy
Author: Various
Published by: Black Library
Edited by: Nick Kyme & Lindsey Priestley
Publication date: 23th Aug. 2014
Genre: Science Fiction
Pages: 412
Format: Paperback
Source: Private Collection

Content:
Blood Games by Dan Abnett
Wolf at the Door by Mike Lee
Scions of the Storm by Anthony Reynolds
The Voice by James Swallow
Call of the Lion by Gav Thorpe
The Last Church by Graham McNeill
After Desh’ea by Matthew Farrer

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Blurb/Synopsis

When Horus the Warmaster rebelled against the Emperor, the ensuing civil war nearly destroyed the Imperium. War raged across galaxy, pitting Astartes against their battle-brothers in a struggle where death was the only victor. But long before that, the Legions struggled with their identities and the demands of the Great Crusade. From battles with alien invaders to conflicts within a Legion, and even dealing with a wayward primarch, these stories show the battles fought as the Great Crusade draws to a close and the Horus Heresy begins…

Review

Rating: 5 out of 5.

I’ve just noticed that I can put in a star-rating on my reviews now. They shall appear from here on out and I might pit some in retrospectively too.


Tales of Heresy is the 10th book in the long running Horus Heresy series that I am buddy reading with Dave from Wordaholic Anonymous. As this is a short story collection I’ll do brief reviews on each story.

You can find Daves review of Tales of Heresy here.

Blood Games – Dan Abnett

A story giving a proper introduction to the Adeptus Custodes. This story gives a bit of insight into how the defence of Terra is both shaping up and actively achieved through the Blood Games that give the short story its title. It’s a great story to start the anthology with, strong characters and a solid plot that not only investigates the strengths and weaknesses of Terra but also gives enlightenment into the vast network of deception that is weaved throughout the heresy.

Wolf at the Door – Mike Lee

An entertaining and ironic tale of Compliance centred around the Space Wolves. Also, a much better account of Space Wolves than the dreadful Brynngar in Battle for the Abyss. This short story gave me some hope that the Space Wolf Legion isn’t as terrible as they’ve been previously been written. Wolf at the Door also starts showing the Imperiums true colours a bit more and then ending to this tale is tragic and eye-opening. Fantastic story in both action and pacing.

Scions of the Storm – Anthony Reynolds

A story about the Word Bearers that enlightens a bit about the Legion and their fall from the Emperors Light. Another fast-paced action filled short story that has some fantastic scenes involving Assault Marines. Another twisting revelation at the end that made the story thoroughly enjoyable and well rounded.

The Voice – James Swallow

For me, one of the more memorable stories in the anthology. Focused on the Sisters of Silence and returning to Amendera Kendel who was first introduced in Flight of the Eisenstein. I found that The Voice elaborated on the foundations set for the Sisters of Silence in the 4th book in the Horus Heresy. The ways in which the Sisters operate is fascinating which was well written and explained clearly – as they are a complex organisation insular to themselves. The plot of The Voice was well woven and held complexities all of its own. A compelling story that was inspiring and enlightening. I do hope that we get to see more of Amendera and the Sisters of Silence further in the Heresy series.

Call of the Lion – Gav Thorpe

Unfortunately, Call of the Lion was the weakest story in the anthology, but none-the-less a decent read. It showed the rivalries between Terran-Born Space Marines and the Recruits from Calliban. It has some good action scenes but overall felt a little lacklustre compared to the rest of the stories in Tales of Heresy.

The Last Church – Graham McNeill

If for no other reason, Tales of Heresy is worth reading for this short story. It’s an absolute pleasure to come across a novel like this in an anthology. If reminds the reader that Warhammer 30/40k isn’t all about War but is a political setting all wrapped up in itself. The Last Church deals with the remaining remnants of religion on Terra during the Unification Wars and sets the precedent to views on religion thereafter. It’s a philosophical debate that also elaborates on the history of Terra. While I do enjoy the war-fare in stories that the Warhammer novels focus on, its the human element that captivates me about the universe setting, how they deal with the life they’ve been given or not and how they adapt – it’s why I enjoyed Bloodlines as much as I did – throw theology into the mix of complexities and I am right at home. For me, the stand out novel in the anthology.

After Desh’ea – Matthew Farrer

After Desh’ea takes the reader to the time when Angron meets his Legion for the first time. Also known as Kharn get’s the pulp beaten out of him! It’s an interesting novel in itself and, in its own unfortunate way, rather humorous. While I didn’t connect with this novel as well as some of the others it has intrigued me to the World Eaters and their Primarchs origins – so I may look into more books involving them. I think that’s the sign of a successful story, giving the reader the thirst to know more and investigate further; especially for Warhammer where so much can tie in and lead to another.


Summary

Tales of Heresy is the best Warhammer/Horus Heresy book I have read in a while. Whilst reading the book I ‘started’ approximately three new armies, it was that inspiring. I can’t say too much of a bad word about any of the stories as they were all captivating in their own ways. There’s always going to be a degree of hit and miss in short-story collections, and I found Tales of Heresy to be much more of a hit.

  1. I loved this book. In fact, I much prefer the short stories to full novels. I can read one at a time and don’t feel the need to dedicate many hours if I’m struggling to stay interested. Last Church is in my top 5 favs of all the BL short stories. Kharn getting smacked around had me laughing.

    I cut my teeth on BL fiction woth several short stories anthologies from the late 90s. These took me back.

    Great review!

    Like

    1. I am inclined to agree with you. I stormed through this book and thoroughly enjoyed every moment of it.
      I agree with The Last Church, such an evocative story.
      My current read is an Age of Sigmar short story anthology and I am finding the same with that as well. They are easier to digest.

      Like

    2. Words of Blood (ed by Marc Gasciogne and Christian Dunn) Into the Maelstrom (ed by. Marc Gasciogne and Andy Jones) Dark Imperium (ed by Marc Gasciogne and Andy Jones ) and Death Wing (ed by Neil Jonesand David Pringle)

      Like

    1. Thanks a lot.

      I’ve not read it yet, but I think I have an ebook of it, so it’s on my list!
      It’s been recommended a couple of times now, so I’ll have to bump it up the list.

      Thanks for commenting
      Jenn

      Like

  2. Aren’t the star ratings fantastic? I have found the only problem is that those who use the wordpress app to view a post get some weird ghosting issues (users on my blog regularly see 10 stars AND whatever my rating is)

    I’m a big fan of short story collections. At least by authors I trust. Give me some random “Best SF/Fantasy of the World” kind of book and I’ll probably avoid it because of all the no-name filler authors they used to pump up the word count.

    Like

    1. I’ll bare that in mind with for the app-users. I think there’s always going to be a bit of funky translation between laptop and mobile.

      I’d certainly like to read more anthologies from Black Library, they’re nice to squeeze in between other books.
      That is a good thought though about filler-content. There is always going to be and element of ‘hit and miss’ with anthologies and maybe I got lucky with this one.

      Like

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