Thursday, 18 July 2013

Book Review: Legion


Getting back the the Horus Heresy novels, I last read Legion. This takes place two years or so before the Heresy starts and dips into the Alpha Legion and an Imperial Guard force. You really get to understand the secretive nature of the Alpha Legion and you learn a little about the Primarch too.

There are lots of twists and turn in this book and yet another great piece or work by Dan Abnett. This really helps tie in the events that happen during the drop site massacre in Istvaan V.


What's it about:

A Great War is coming, and it will engulf the Imperium of Man. The Space Marines of the Alpha Legion, the last and most secretive of all the Astartes brotherhoods, arrive on a heathen world to support the Imperial Army in a pacification campaign against strange and uncanny forces. But what drives the Alpha Legion? Can they be trusted, and what side will they choose when the Great War begins? Loyalties are put to the test, and the cunning schemes of an alien intelligence revealed in this latest instalment of the ground-breaking SF series by Dan Abnett, as the fate of mankind hangs in the balance.

My Thoughts:

So many things go on in this novel, without writing an essay it will be hard to cover it, but I will attempt to give you my outline of the story. It is a great book and hard to put down as you will want to know what happens next.

The book starts off on the planet of Nurth about two years before the outbreak of the Horus Heresy. It follows several characters but mainly a strange individual called John Grammaticus whom after dying was reanimated and is now over a thousand years old and Peto Soneka an Imperial Guard Hetman (Captain).

The war on Nurth to bring the planet under compliance has turned into a stalemate and the Alpha Legion has been assigned to help the Imperial Guard. But being a very secretive legion, they were operating on the planet already and used the Imperial Guard as bait to kill the enemy.

Peto was a Captain of the Imperial Guard who survived the trap for the enemy that the Alpha Legion set, yet his surviving unit was again almost destroyed with only a couple surviving soldiers when they were ambushed by the enemy in an early morning raid.

John Grammaticus plays an interesting part throughout the book and it is revealed that he is a part of an alien organisation called the Cabal. They are playing the long game and have farseen the events of the heresy and have helped to orchestrate the arrival of the Alpha Legion on Nurth. However, thing start to go wrong with John’s plan and he starts to give up on his mission.

The Imperial Guard have their own issues, with an internal unit called the Lucifer Blacks, the Imperial Guard commanders elites  trying to purge any troublesome soldiers from the ranks. But the regiments are trying to clear out their own ranks and cover for themselves. Peto finally leaves his unit during the start of a major enemy assault taking John to see the Alpha Legion.

Peto and another captain are inducted as operatives into the ranks of the Alpha Legion and are requested to carry out special missions for them, one of the first was to capture and hand over a Beautiful women called Rukhsana Saiid, an officer of the command staff that had been in a love relationship with John, also known as Konig Heniker the intelligence officer, one of his many disguises.

After unsuccessfully completing his mission set by the Cabal, John prepares to leave the planet, but the leader of the cabal, an Eldar Autarch called Slau Dha visited John and basically told him that they have come too far to give up and forces him to continue his mission.

Peto takes John to the Alpha Legion leaving his new regiment in the middle of a war, while his captain friend was captured by the Lucifer Blacks to be interrogated, because the Imperial Guard commander thinks there is something suspicious going on.

The Alpha Legion throughout the book comes across as secretive and mysterious as they are portrayed. You never know who the real Primarch is either, as they all take on the identity of Alpharius. However you do start to put pieces together and later in the book realise that Alpharius and Omegon, who look identical in appearance are actually twins and they are both joint Primarchs of the Legion, but very few people know.

John finally meets with the Primarchs and tells them about the cabal and the imminent destruction of the planet they are on. The enemy have an ancient chaotic weapon known as Black Cube and by the slaughter of the Imperial Guard and enemy army will activate it. Created eons before the first intelligent races of the galaxy, it would consume all.

A planet wide evacuation is called and many manage to escape, but lots more don’t, including several Titans, which the rest of the Legio, after the loss of god machines decide to leave the expedition and return to Mars. The Expedition then travel to another planet to arrange a meeting with the mysterious Cabal.

The Imperial Guard make planet fall to a pre-arranged area and John escapes with Peto and rescue his beloved Rukhsana, they get to the planet in a drop pod and finally meet up with the Cabal. But the Alpha Legion teleport right into the midst and capture the Cabal members.

Peto and Rukhsana reveal to John that they were playing him all along and are actually agents of the Alpha Legion, secret operatives of their bidding.

The Cabal explained the events that have led them to this point in time and get Alpharius, Omegon, Peto and a Psyker to see what the Cabal have seen. Basically they have been asked to side with Horus so the rest of the galaxy can live, or side with the Emperor and what the galaxy doomed in a slow death as the ruinous powers win.

The Imperial Guard commander, who gets portrayed as the bad guy from the start gets ready to attack the planet because he was left out of the Alpha Legions plans. Then the Alpha Legions ship Beta changes course and starts attacking them and there other ship appears from behind the planet and attacks them as well.

The Primarchs and Marines board the Imperial Guard ship and start to slaughter everyone while Peto rescues his comrade from the clutches of the Lucifer Blacks. Form this part of the story you can see which side the Legion chose. They join the side of Chaos for the good of the galaxy. And there the story ends.

Parting Shot:

This was a very interesting read and I found it quite hard to review due to so many twists and turns. It is just another great example of Mr Abnett's writing skill. I am sure you will all enjoy it as much as I did. The only reason I did not rate it more, was I felt the end was cut a little short, but then it has kept me wanting more.

My star rating:


You're comments and thoughts on the book if you have read it, are most welcome.

Please remember that these are only my personal views and opinions. They are by no means intended to criticize the novel, author or the Black Library in any way.

~ Secrets and lies ~


  1. Such a good read and the art work inspired me to ry out my metallic alpha legion scheme to great success. The HH is full of hit or miss - this one was a hit to me.

    1. A very good read, with lots of twists and turns. I would say there are more hits than misses in the Horus Heresy.

      If you want to check out Zab's Metallic Alpha Legion, head on over to Almost Perftec, a great site with some awesome painting.