I very much enjoy anthologies, especially those focused on a single universe. The stories, while generally wholly autonomous, fit within the realities of a specific world, giving the viewer a chance to see it often from a different, but very intriguing side. Add a uniform story background and you get an explosive mix. This is exactly what happened with Tales of Heresy, published recently by the Copernicus Corporation.
The Horus Heresy is, without a doubt, one of the most important ages of the entire history of Warhammer 40,000. It’s when the schism happened, forever dividing the Space Marine Legions who now stand against each other in a brutal war for higher ideals. Apart from proper novels, the series also counts short stories into its ample number of publications. Tales of Heresy contains seven shorts, very different in both characters featured and narrative style, even though all of them discuss the beginnings of Luperkal’s treason. I won’t describe them one by one, there’s little point to that; what you really need to know is that individually, they’re of very high quality.
Stories and Tales of Heresy
While reading, you will learn of the customs of the mysterious Custodes, feel the bloodlust of the Space Wolves, delve into the twisted philosophy of the Word Bearers; go between the quiet Sisters of Silence, feel the wrath of the Dark Angels, consider the point of faith within the last church in humanity’s cradle and finally, almost physically sense the rage of Primarch Lorgar. Every story is very colorful and most importantly, does a great job of filling out the lore of Warhammer 40,000. Of course, those aware of the history of the Horus Heresy will quickly deduce the ending of some of the stories, but getting to know them intimately is very different from getting the general gist of the Chapters’ tales.
I especially remember two final stories – „The Last Church” and „After Desh’ea.” In the former, prolific writer Graham McNeill beautifully describes the conversation between Uriah Olathaire, who runs the Church of the Lightning Stone and a mysterious guest, who wants to be known as the Revelation. While the finale is predictable and you won’t find much of Warhammer 40,000’s brand of action here, the story itself is an interesting read. Tales of Heresy finishes off with the story of the lost Primarch of the World Eaters, Angron. If you know where the Legion ultimately stands, you’ll know the short’s ending even before you start reading; but the author does a good job of presenting the Legion’s transformation.
Tales of Heresy offers a solid dose of uncanny, but extremely different experiences. There are captivating battles, some horror, intrigue and even philosophy. In my opinion, the anthology under Nick Kyme and Lindsay Priestly looks very good when set next to proper novels in the Horus Heresy series. Of course, the authors behind these stories played a large role here. It’s exactly what you’d expect from veterans like Dan Abnett, Graham McNeill and James Swallow. Tales of Heresy deserves a spot next to other tomes in the series, so if you lack this book in your collection, you definitely want to rectify that. Wholeheartedly recommended reading!