After the destruction of Monarchia and the Emperor’s reprimanding of the Word Bearers Legion, the primarch Lorgar spent many long years searching the stars for the universal truths of the cosmos – when he finally came to gaze deep into the Eye of Terror, with grim inevitability he found that the Eye stared back.
Now, guided by the daemon Ingethel, he undertakes a spiritual journey into the heart of Chaos itself and sees that the entire destiny of mankind and the Imperium could rest upon just a few nexus events. As the Great Crusade burns itself out in treachery and deceit, Lorgar weighs the cost of his ambitions and sets his course for eternal damnation.
After complaining in my previous review about a glaring hole in the plot that leaves the reader asking questions, I sought the answers. Thus I snuck in a read of Aurelian in order to get them.
Aurelian is one of a number of limited edition hardback novellas that accompany the Horus Heresy, officially a part of the story, but often not released until some time after the books they are meant to go alongside. Thankfully, this novella is still available as an eBook and I haven’t had to wait for years in order to get the answers that The First Heretic left unanswered.
Initially, I was somewhat disheartened that the content of Aurelian wasn’t in The First Heretic; why was such a critical element to the Word Bearers left out of the book that was meant to give us critical answers to their Legion? After reading Aurelian, the answer is quite simply, because it wouldn’t have worked. The heart of their Primarch Lorgars discovery needed a book on it’s own to detail what was missing in The First Heretic.
Aurelian reunites the reader with Lorgar, Primarch of the Word Bearers Legion, and his brethren after the Istvaan V massacre, where they are going about getting the next steps in their vast scheme in motion. During the meeting, Lorgar and one of his brothers come to blows, the meeting is postponed and we get to the heart of the novel when Magnus the Red asks Lorgar to explain himself.
The heart means being given all the answers that The First Heretic left needing to be answered. Why Lorgar chose the path he did? What did Lorgar see in the Eye of Terror and the events that transpired there? Aurelian takes these questions and answers them in a suitably Chaotic way; there are enigmas left to be solved, but it’s a very satisfactory novel in these respects. Admittedly it doesn’t give the answers in a straightforward way, but one that ends up making some sort of relative sense in the grand scheme of things! The nature of the Primordial Truth and the Chaos Gods isn’t a linear path and this is reflected in the questions that Lorgar has answered; there is a lot of room for his requirement for Faith and the Truth as well as interpretation of what is presented to him.
Aurelian also see’s Lorgar developing into a much stronger character; rather than the somewhat passive Primarch we witness in The First Heretic, we see Lorgar doing some pretty impressive things. Engaging in a fight with one of the Gods Chosen Warriors, for example. Rivalling Magnus’ psychic abilities, for another. He goes through some pretty impressive changes in this book that turns him from a pitiable sideline, to a much more impressive character that’s worthy of standing beside his brothers.
The foreshadowing toward the events that are to come in the Horus Heresy timeline give me hope that we’ll soon be leaving the flashbacks and rewinds behind and soon be progressing along the timeline.
I would say that Aurelian is vital reading in the Horus Heresy series and I’d urge anyone currently reading the series to pick it up soon after reading The First Heretic. As it gives a lot of insight into Lorgars chosen path and therefore the heresy as a whole.
A powerful novella detailing the events of Lorgars pilgrimage and his dedication to Chaos. An enlightening read that develops the Word Bearers Primarchs character in a new direction. With some very well written combat scenes as well as drama-conflict between some of the brother primarchs. I’d dare say this is a pivotal read within the Horus Heresy series and any readers of the series would be missing out if they skip it.