Flight of the Eisenstein

Book 4 of the Horus Heresy

settings scifi warhammer

I'm re-reading the Horus Heresy, and this is my review of the fourth book in the series, Flight of the Eisenstein by James Swallow. There are spoilers in this review.

This is an important book in the Horus Heresy series, as it transitions us away from standing next to Gavriel Loken, and gets us used to witnessing the story from different perspectives. In fact, there's a part of the book that covers scenes we've already witnessed, but from a litreal different perspective. Instead of witnessing Saul Tarvitz steal a Thunderhawk and fly down to Isstvan III from Saul Tarvitz's perspective, we get to experience it from Nathaniel Garro's perspective aboard the Eisenstein. Really, the whole book is that scene, or at least it services that scene, but the additional context of what was going on aboard the Eisenstein tells a new story. And it's enough of a new story, even though it's a story about the same exact events we just read about in the previous book, that it fills up a whole novel with never a dull moment, including the moments that are reiterated.

That's my review, short though it may be. This book was good, with some outstanding characters. My favourite is probably Kaleb Arin, a tragic failure of a human who failed to qualify to become an Astartes and serves as a housecarl to Garro, but whose ardent faith in what would become the Imperial Creed leads Garro to find his own faith. There are lots of other fun characters, though. There's the obviously-evil Ignatius Grulgor, a Death Guard commander who follows the blueprint a any generic Death Guard. We get to meet Rogal Dorn, primarch of the Imperial Fists and Mortarion of the Death Guard (or maybe we'd already meat Mortarion? I forget), and of course Angron of the World Eaters.

All around good book, this one, and honestly not a bad representation of the story as it stands. In a way, this is the Horus Heresy neatly written into one book. If someone wanted to experience the Horus Heresy without reading all 50+ books, this is the one I'd recommend. It identifies the problem (some important guy named Horus has turned traitor). It identifies the solution (we gotta go tell the Emperor). And it shows the three struggles: the internal (does the Emperor really protect?), the external (the Eisenstein needs to break away from the fleet without getting shot out of the sky), and the functional (Grulgor and his traitors are aboard the ship, and also how do you go against orders to tell the Emperor of betrayal without being suspected a traitor yourself?). You get the whole story, from start to finish. The context is limited due to the book being mostly Garro's perspective, but the story gets told. Were anyone to attempt to make a movie out of the Horus Heresy, I think this would have to be the entry point.

All images in this post copyright Games Workshop.

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