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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)


Well the latest Horus Heresy novel, titled Nemesis, was released two days ago on Black Library and I have finished it only a few minutes ago. The very first novel about the Officio Assassinorum has been a resounding success with an excellent story, with plenty of surprises, including one that made me stop in amazement for a few minutes.

The Assassinorum has been fleshed out very nicely. We have learned more about the secretive Venenum Temple that uses poisons to dispatch their foes, or Clade as they are called pre-heresy and the Vanus Temple of information-gatherers and cybernetic investigators have been added to the roster. And they are quite cool, even if they dont perform assassinations themselves.

The characters of the Assassins are also very cool and likeable. The Vindicare sniper Eristede Kell, the Callidus shade Koyne, the Eversor nihilator 'The Garantine', the Culexes protiphage Iota, the Venenum secluse Jennkier Soalm and the Vanus infocyte Fon Tariel. Each one is recruited in a mission of their own styling and we are shown how each of these Assassins operate, each very differently. And many older characters make their appearances like Erebus, Horus and Rogal Dorn, and one older character in particular will not be returning.

The story begins with another failed attempt on Horus Lupercal's life, foiled by Erebus, Luc Sedirae and Devram Korda before the Venenum Assassin can strike. Knowing that a tactic can be used by anyone Erebus decides to deploy his own Assassin to kill The Emperor, and without the Warmaster's knowledge. Meanwhile on Terra a meeting is hosted by the Master of Assassins and the Sires and Siresses of the Assassin Clades, and a special guest in the form of Constantin Valdor. They decide, with Valdor's advice, that no single Assassin can kill Horus but an entire group has a chance, and so an Execution Force is deployed with one operative from each Clade, in the hopes that they will succeed where others have failed.

Meanwhile a series of gruesome murders has struck the planet Iesta Veracrux where an investigator called Yosef Sabrat is given the case. The victims are mutilated and then displayed in a symbol that nobody can fathom the meaning of, an eight-pointed star. Soon Sabrat is drawn into a game of politics with the off-world Rogue Trader cartel, secretive organizations and cults and the plan of one of the deadliest beings to ever exist.

The pace of the story is very well-written and reflects the careful, methodical style of the Assassins very well. The nature and ethics of their work is brought into question quite a few times, querying whether or not subterfuge and shadow-work is the correct way to win the Horus Heresy.

High Point:


Low Point: Ive thought it over and I can't really think of a flaw, at least not any for me.

So for its memorable and imaginative characters, a unique and well thought-out narrative and background on the mysterious Imperial Assassins, and a look at the Horus Heresy away from the front lines and into the shadows of the war, I give Nemesis a 9/10. Thanks for a great novel Jim Swallow, I look forward to your next work.

And for those of you wondering about my line above hinting at a character's death I will not disappoint you with the line, read it and find out.

 

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Nice review Lord of the Night. I just finished my copy earlier today, and I won't heap as much praise on it as you did.

It was a valued addition to the Heresy series, and well written in my opinion. But some people may feel that parts of the book were wasted, for several chapters we could completely forget that we are in the 30k Galaxy as it endures the horrors of the Horus Heresy, instead we find ourselves for large parts of the book on a random backwater planet, following a police officer around trying to solve some murders. Now ultimately it is partly relavent, but I feel that a large amount of the book was wasted on the crime scenes of Iesta Veracrux, as well as the rounding up of the Execution Force from their various missions etc.

That being said however, this is the first glimpse we get into the post-Isstvan V Galaxy in the Heresy series, set two years following Isstvan, Nemesis does (if only briefly) give us some insight into the Galactic-Scene, with Horus slowly advancing across the Galaxy gaining momentum and allegiences as he goes, it is nice to see this fearful aspect from a civilian's view. Out in the far reaches of Ultima Segmentum who would you owe your allegience to? A distant Terra and an absent Emperor? Or the present and victorious Horus Lupercal? The decision carrying with it drastic consequences either way. This was something that I feel was not touched enough upon throughout the novel, the civil war on Dagonet and what it represented: the base civilian's outlook on the Heresy, their fears and hopes, and their ultimate purposes and value.

Essentially this is a novel about assassins and assassinations,

And little else. No real major revelations are revealed, but it is nice to see the storyline pass beyond Isstvan and find out at least some of what was happening during the Age of Darkness.

It was well written, and interesting, but it was just lacking something in my mind. Maybe its just because I personally would have rather had a story about the mainline Heresy rather than assassins in the shadows, or a mix of the two would have been nice - as I said this novel is about assassins and little else.

Overall I would give it 6.5-7/10. An interesting and enjoyable read, well written and thought out. But just something missing in my mind, and I feel that parts of the book were wasted. For the first novel that progressed the storyline beyond Isstvan V, we got next-to-no insight into the so-called Age of Darkness, nor the galactic goings on - apart from one mission of the Officio Assassinorum and one scheme (of ultimately many during the Heresy) of Erebus'. Maybe I would have enjoyed it more if it was released after the next few novels, when we actually have a decent insight into the Age of Darkness, and the difficult choice laid out before every human world. I may have appriciated the desperation of the Emperor's lackeys to assassinate Horus more then, if we had actually found out what was happening around the Galaxy.

 

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I agree with what alot of you guys said. I enjoyed the common man's perspective on the Heresy. Swallow's HH books have been very enjoyable but I don't care too much for his BA novels. I wonder why that is? Greatly enjoyed the scenes with Rogal Dorn, Malcador and Valdor.
 

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I'm half way through this at the moment, and one little tidbit took my fancy when the character of IIRC the callidus assassin. They mention her previous kills, including a Brother Captain who's name we don't learn as the speaker is cut off at that point. This raises the point that at least one marine captain and possibly his chapter/company may have gone rogue previous to the Heresy.
 

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i dare someone to convince me this is gonna be anything but another Battle for the Abyss. from what ive read of the first few chapters its gonna turn into nothing but aload assasins trying to figure out how to get to horus and the same with the one after the emperor. seeing as we know none of these lot succeed in their mission i cant see the point of this book whatsoever. personally im getting abit bored of the flow of these novels as its not getting anywhere fast. im not expecting the siege of terra anytime soon but it seems its always everything but the emperor and primarchs which dominate the novels and im not keen at all. :(
 

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i dare someone to convince me this is gonna be anything but another Battle for the Abyss. from what ive read of the first few chapters its gonna turn into nothing but aload assasins trying to figure out how to get to horus and the same with the one after the emperor. seeing as we know none of these lot succeed in their mission i cant see the point of this book whatsoever. personally im getting abit bored of the flow of these novels as its not getting anywhere fast. im not expecting the siege of terra anytime soon but it seems its always everything but the emperor and primarchs which dominate the novels and im not keen at all. :(
Ive almost finished readint this book and its been anything but dull, even those mentioned first chapters were quite goodon imo. This book is about assassins and how close they will make to their targets and sidestory about policework on planet. Point isnt wether assassins succeed or not, its about how close they will get and who they really are. After Thousand Sons its nice to see novel that is less on bolter&chainsword and more on mystery, stealth, plotting and little away from Astartes. HH affected so many people, that its good to see more normal people point of views. Too early to tell since last 100 pages until finish, but havent found nothing wrong with novel so far. Seems it could very easily made to my TOP5 HH novel list.
 

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I have been reading these HH novel's nonstop, and I find Like the Primarch and their Legions, fully half of the books do nothing to really breathe life into the Heresy.

I liked Nemesis, but to be honest, take out Horus and the Emp, and that could be a 40K book easily.

It's like they gave us Primarchs and Combat and the core of the Herasy, showing marines who were more than codex quoting killers, they showed them with emotions and motives and then they suddenly wheeled toward the periphery, and we get tales that while well told, do not expand our understanding of the Prime Movers in the Drama.
 

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yeah im not saying its gonna be a crap book, as none of the heresy books are, but it just seems another space filler instead of having some juicey storyline to it.
i think if anything they should have brought out a battle for calth novel by now so as to make battle for the abyss worthwhile bringing out. i liked that book but it needed something to make its admission to the series this early in make sense for the masses.
i mean by the time they do do calth people will have forgotten Abyss but wont want to reread it because of the slating it got. abyss should have been number 1 of a calth trilogy like horus rising was.
 

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Best books of the Horus Heresy series, in order:
1) Fallen Angels
2) Nemsis
3) A Thousand Sons

IMHO, of course. Nemsis had interesting characters and a damn good story. It's the first book by James Swallow I've read, and having finished it I think I'm going to look into other books by him.

On a side note, I think Iota was my favorite character. I got really super pissed at the end of the book because of what happened to her.
 

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I finally finished Nemesis last night, and I think it's definitely one of the better instalments to the series. It was cool to see the inside workings of the assassin temples. And at long last the Emperor gets a speaking role in a series dedicated to his cause. Dorn, Horus, Erebus, Malcador, Valdor and the Emperor? Possibly the most all star cast of the series so far. Swallow has taken a huge jump in my estimation.
 

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I wasn't too bothered by this book, spear irritated me and if Sawllow used vitae one more time i was going to have to rip his face off.

As a novel, the ending made it for me, thought Swallow captured the sure magnificence of the Emperor and Horus in a very short time, far better than any other writer including Abnett.

I loved the end as well, it made me laugh in surprise at the callousness.

I dont think Swallow could have done it much better if I'm honest. The scenes of investigation needed to introduce the menacing spear, yet he just well pissed me the hell off.

He was too lethal, too strong, whilst the assassins seemed so piss weak compared to him and the astartes.

I dont know I have mixed feelings, dont get me wrong I like it and I dont think Swallow could have done much better,though i felt the assassins characxtors could have been explored a fair bit more. It was good, but didn't stand out as a 9 out of 10
 

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I do not think that assassins were too weak compared to astartes. in my opinion that book very good shows us how really dangerous it is to face the astartes in battle even for members of clades. I prefer Nemesis's interpretation of assassins skills etc. over that seen in Soul Hunter where M'shen was in my opinion too powerfull.
 

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Ooooh ooh..I liked this book.

I didn't think I would. I mean, I knew that Horus would not die, so it kind of robs the suspense of 'what will happen' when assassins are dispatched. But the varied levels of cool surrounding each assassin made up for that. I thought each character was well developed, and while I didn't expect them all to survive, you never really knew who would die when.

I really enjoyed the end-end when Dorn showed up to pitch a fit, and The Emperor strolled in and got all philosophical. Cheesy in a way, but still, I enjoyed it :eek:k:

Very fun read.

Now, my only complaint:

Look, we KNOW that Horus will not die. They could have included that on the cover, in big bold green letters "No Warmasters were harmed in the composition of this novel".

But still..the way that Luc bought it was just plain PLEGH.

I'm sorry, the best sniper..better yet, a good sniper, would have waited for positive visual confirmation of the target before firing. Yes, I know, the bullet was solely meant to collapse the screen so the microwave laser could do its business. But surely if Kell had waited a few moments for 'Horus' to completely remove his helm, he would have realized that it was not the Warmaster up there.

Surely they knew what he looked like, and surely the idea of a 'proxy' would not be above suspicion to a sniper in his line of work.

Better that it had been written that Kell executed the attack without waiting for 'Horus' to remove the helmet (laser cuts through the helm..) as it would have been more believable.
 

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im just over half way through this novel now and while its good im really not liking how he has written the assassins. they speak too much like they imperial guard, not highly trained murderous one man armies. even the eversor just becomes abit of a meathead and that tariel guy is just ridiculous, the guy is a master assassin in his field and comes across like a remembrancer. plus i hate how the whole series sort of plays down custodes like they less than a astartes yet ive always thought of them as sort of more powerful than a astartes but a little less than a primarch. i always envisaged valdar being about on par with a primarch as im sure i read somewhere he bested horus sparring at one point.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Look, we KNOW that Horus will not die. They could have included that on the cover, in big bold green letters "No Warmasters were harmed in the composition of this novel".

But still..the way that Luc bought it was just plain PLEGH.

I'm sorry, the best sniper..better yet, a good sniper, would have waited for positive visual confirmation of the target before firing. Yes, I know, the bullet was solely meant to collapse the screen so the microwave laser could do its business. But surely if Kell had waited a few moments for 'Horus' to completely remove his helm, he would have realized that it was not the Warmaster up there.

Surely they knew what he looked like, and surely the idea of a 'proxy' would not be above suspicion to a sniper in his line of work.

Better that it had been written that Kell executed the attack without waiting for 'Horus' to remove the helmet (laser cuts through the helm..) as it would have been more believable.
True its obvious that Horus would not die but that doesn't harm the plot in anyway because it makes you wonder what will go wrong, what will happen and who will die instead.

Kell could not have waited because the assassins only had a short window of time before the Astartes detected them, thus they had to act quickly and not waste any chances. Plus all sources show that Horus led from the front, so using a proxy was an unforseen move by the Warmaster, that even the assassins could not have predicted it. Plus Sedirae had been dressed up to resemble Horus, the wolf-cloak and specially painted armour is similar, and the time window did not allow the assassins to note his height or bulk.

And whats wrong with the laser cutting through his helmet?, thats the kind of laser they use to destroy battle tanks. No helmet can stand up to that.

Im just over half way through this novel now and while its good im really not liking how he has written the assassins. they speak too much like they imperial guard, not highly trained murderous one man armies. even the eversor just becomes abit of a meathead and that tariel guy is just ridiculous, the guy is a master assassin in his field and comes across like a remembrancer. plus i hate how the whole series sort of plays down custodes like they less than a astartes yet ive always thought of them as sort of more powerful than a astartes but a little less than a primarch. i always envisaged valdar being about on par with a primarch as im sure i read somewhere he bested horus sparring at one point.
You've got to remember that this is 30k, the Assassins are not the ritualistic and secretive assassins we know from 40k. Right now they are granted more liberties and more freedoms to live as normal a life as some of them can. And Fon Tariel is not a combat assassin, he is a data assassin. The Vanus clade/temple does not fight, they gather information on targets for the other clades/temples. That is why they are looked down on.

And Custodes while powerful are nowhere near a Primarch in any way at all. Custodes are superior to Space Marines but are far harder to make. At least three in every hundred people can become a Space Marine, as for Custodes the exact numbers aren't specified but I wouldn't be surprised if only one out of every million could become one of them. And when has the series played them down?, its always reinforced their strength and superiority.
 

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And Custodes while powerful are nowhere near a Primarch in any way at all. Custodes are superior to Space Marines but are far harder to make. At least three in every hundred people can become a Space Marine, as for Custodes the exact numbers aren't specified but I wouldn't be surprised if only one out of every million could become one of them. And when has the series played them down?, its always reinforced their strength and superiority.
It's reinforced the fact that their superiority over Astartes is so miniscule as to be hard to judge in all but the most extreme of cases.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
In Horus Heresy Collected Visions it notes that a force of three hundred Custodes and The Emperor were able to slay 10,000 Orks and a Gargant, only suffering three casualties. It would take at least 6 to 8 thousand Space Marines to pull that feat off.

Plus the Custodians play the Blood Games, which take years to play even a single one. That takes skill and patience beyond anything a Space Marine has. In A Thousand Sons the Custodians were only bested by the psychic might of the Thousand Sons and their Daemonic allies, and they still reaped a fair tally amongst the Sons of Magnus.
 
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