This is as good as it gets. With all the lame aspects of the whole 40K mythos; with all the different writers, with different degrees of talent; with all the discrepancies and contradictions between the views of these writers - most 40K books don't rate with the world of literature outside of 40K. They're good or bad compared with each other, but not with the broader world of scifi/fantasy.
And then there's The Talon of Horus. Not merely a great 40K book. Not merely, dare I say, the best 40K book. But an amazing book.
Those who know me would have guessed I'd love it just for the psyker stuff. (Although none of you know me, and those who know me don't know what a psyker is. So nobody would've guessed. lol) ADB's uses of the Art are as varied and inventive as French's in Ahriman: Exile. I didn't know there would be any emphasis on psykers, and hadn't heard of Khayon, until a couple weeks ago. What a joy for me! The subtlety of things like Nefertari! The power of things like the Spear! I also love Khayon's explanations for how this and that aspect of the Eye and warp work. And that's just Khayon! There's also stuff like Sargon and the demon that has the Justaerin.
Psyker stuff aside, it's excellent! The feeling of scope and depth is remarkable. The size of the Eye and the amount of time it takes to travel around. The size of the Vengeful spirit. The amount of time Abaddon's been wandering, and the patience it took. The span of time Khayon talks about to his present-day captors.
Speaking of Khayon's present-day captors, the perspective the story is told from - his present day and situation, alternating with the beginning of the Black Legion - is seamlessly done.
Abaddon himself is better than I'd hoped. I read the first few Horus Heresy books before I knew much about the Horus Heresy or 40K. I was honestly surprised and heartbroken when Abaddon and Aximand went bad. I thought they'd turn back before it was too late. That was my only exposure to Abaddon until now. And here he is, this amazing personality and leader. Wise and patient. And trying to do what he things is, and what just might be, the right thing. Or at least trying to walk the best path he can find.
Where's The Clown? Well done, sir. Well done.