Monday, 25 June 2007

‘Fulgrim’ – Graham McNeill (Black Library)


The Horus Heresy is now developing into a full-scale civil war across the Imperium with the Warmaster gathering all forces loyal to him and culling those still loyal to the Emperor. The planet Istvaan III is a smoking ruin but a far greater betrayal waits on Istvaan V. Fulgrim is the Primarch of the Emperor’s Children Space Marines, a proud legion drawn down the path to treachery by a chance encounter in an alien temple. ‘Fulgrim’ tells the tale of the gradual corruption of the Primarch, and his Legion, culminating in the decisive battle of Istvaan V and its ramifications for the rest of the galaxy…
The Warhammer 40K game and background history is so well known that anyone reading the series will know the final outcome. While this may not go far towards selling the series, its saving grace lies in the authors being given free rein to fill in any gaps in the history and take creative liberties with characters who are only names in a games manual. ‘Fulgrim’ is no exception in this respect. Graham McNeill paints a vivid, and sometimes disturbing, picture of a once infallible Legion’s fall from grace. Given that the Legion’s new patron deity is the Lord of Pleasure (and Pain) McNeill does not spare the reader’s blushes in some of the more descriptive passages and this lends a real crescendo to proceedings. Betrayal is a core theme throughout the book and is none more apparent than in the Primarch’s perceived betrayal by their Emperor (and father). There is a real sense of a childlike innocence being suddenly lost in scenes that are intense and strangely touching at the same time (in particular the Warmaster’s meeting with Fulgrim and then Fulgrim’s meeting with Ferrus). This character analysis isn’t just limited to the Primarchs, each marine under their command must make a similar choice…
This is a Warhammer novel so it was never going to be just emotional and ‘touchy feely’. Fans of intergalactic combat between armies numbering in the hundreds of thousands (plus giant robots!) will be pleased to know that ‘Fulgrim’ delivers all this in the epic scale that Warhammer and the Black Library are known for. You may know how the story is going to end but you will have fun getting there! The only thing that detracted from the story, for me, was the need to go back to events already mentioned, in previous books, and tell them again. This has been a recurrent problem resulting from perhaps too many authors getting involved in one story. We know what has happened before, we don’t need it in detail again…
All in all though, a good read. I’m looking forward to the next chapter.

Seven out of Ten

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

This is an amazing book.whats more fun than watching an entire legion slowly turn insane before your own eyes? in my opinion this book deserves at least a 9/10 due to the awsome combat and the gripping emotional struggles of each character which almost equal the drama and horror of the combat. although be warned to read this book is to enter the minds insane.

Anonymous said...

This is easily the best book on the series so far. The intensity of the scenes is way ahead of the norm in the series. McNeill superbly captures the moral decaying process of a previously honourable group.

Even if you are not a fan of the genre this is a book you won't forget. 9/10.

Anonymous said...

Have to agree with the seven out of ten and that's if I'm generous its almost as disjointed as Horus' fall very quickly without much persuasion or reason. Sure fulcrum had a daemon sword corrupting him and the legion believed following the command structure to be close to perfection but it was just quick and strange. Surely fulgrim who was a master of perfection would have had moments of indecision or introspection but apparently not.I'm continually perplexed at how this book is on a pedestal sure what they keep up to seems slaaneshi and you know he had to tone it back but the supporting structure is honestly just bad. It's like housing your golden demon winning model ontop of a toilet

Resell said...

I would like to join the two previous speakers that this is one of the best books in the series. Knowing where the border between perfection and obsession is drawn seems to be if you ask me something that great artists and geniuses always seem to have a problem keeping an eye on =). I think the book succeeds to emphasize this fact in a very compelling and credible manner.

9/10

Normally I follow no blogs but Graeme you are the exception that proves rule. Continue with your wonderful contribution to mankind =).

Sorry for the spelling but English is not my native language as you might have figured out =)

trent jenkins said...

i loved it the relation ship between the brothers and how they really feel and what happens is sad but i loved it .