Deliverance Lost by Gav Thorpe – Advanced Review [Bane of Kings]
Bane of Kings Reviews Deliverance Lost, which sees Gav Thorpe write in the Horus Heresy for the first time. Black Library’s latest Horus Heresy novel is also the first to feature the Raven Guard, the sons of Corax in a full novel of their own.
“Thorpe at his best. I hope to see him return to the 31st Millennium soon.” ~The Founding Fields
Like Graham McNeill, Gav Thorpe is an author who I am rather, on the fence about. Sure, he’s had fantastic books like Path of the Warrior and Path of the Seer, but has also had not very good books like Purging of Kadillus, which was one of the poorer additions to the Space Marine Battles series, and I was wondering if Deliverance Lost would be a complete screw-up, or something that truly deserved its place in the Horus Heresy Series.
Four Hundred and Sixteen Pages later and I can say that Deliverance Lost has indeed deserved its place in the 31st Millennium, and Thorpe has done the first Raven Guard novel justice. Although I found it to be a slow-burner, Thorpe manages to tell a captivating story that will have you only wanting to see more from the author, and more from the Raven Guard.
Deliverance Lost is one of the few Horus Heresy novels that has a Primarch as a lead figure in the novel, and we get to learn a lot about Corax, that we haven’t learnt before. Especially as Corax is one of the Primarchs who we haven’t heard about before, and it’s in ‘fluffing-up’ the pre/mid-Heresy Raven Guard that Thorpe excels. We learn about Corax’s pre-Great Crusade past, and we also discover many revelations about the Raven Guard that haven’t been told before, for example – Corvus is Corax’s first name. This is also a nod to the 40k gamers, as we learn by reading the book that the Mark 6 “Corvus” Armour that Space Marines use in the tabletop game (Well, those that are customised with parts from Forge World), is named after the Raven Guard Primarch.
The latest Horus Heresy novel is set immediately following the Dropsite Massacre at Isstvan V. The Raven Guard, Salamanders and Iron Hands have been crushed by the traitors, lead by the Warmaster, who heavily outnumber the loyalist forces. All hope seems lost, but a rescue arrives from an unlikely source, and the Raven Guard are saved. Immediately, Corax heads to speak with the Emperor, unaware that his legion has been infiltrated by the Alpha Legion, who have a plan that will see about the destruction of the Raven Guard. However, the Emperor has plans of his own, concerning the rebuilding of the XIX Legion. Will they be enough to ensure that the Raven Guard survive the coming storm?
Well, of course, any fan of Warhammer lore will know what happens to the Raven Guard, which kind of ruins the overall predictability, but Thorpe manages to keep you hooked right until the very end, a skill that I found lacking with the novels Descent of Angels and Fallen Angels, where I struggled to reach a conclusion.
There are a few typos that I noticed but nothing major, and although they shouldn’t be there in the first place, they weren’t enough to throw me off the book completely.
The characters are not just restricted to those from the Raven Guard and the Alpha Legion, oh no. We get appearances from others, and there is a pretty nice scene between the Imperial Fists and the Raven Guard where they are discussing about which Primarch they think will slay Horus, in a nice, light-hearted manner, which I found to be rather entertaining. Ultimately, those who know what happens in the Horus Heresy will know who does end up killing who, but nonetheless, it was a nice scene and I think possibly my favourite out of the whole novel.
Thorpe does a fantastic job of portraying the way that the Raven Guard fight, as well as exploring a great deal about Corax’s sons that we haven’t seen before. Deliverance Lost is pretty awesome in that regard, as not only does it shed some light on how the Raven Guard operated pre-Heresy, we also learn more about the Alpha Legion, the novel’s main villains.
Both legions are portrayed (In my opinion at least) well, and we learn more about the Raven Guard than we possibly ever have before in Black Library novels. Sure, the Raven Guard get a brief cameo in The Chapter’s Due by Graham McNeill, but that novel revolves mainly around the Ultramarines. The Alpha Legion are slightly more expanded upon with Abnett’s Legion and Rob Sander’s short story in Victories of the Space Marines, and it’s nice to return to their secrets and lies once again.
In conclusion, Deliverance Lost is an awesome addition to the Horus Heresy novels and although not quite on the same level of novels like A Thousand Sons, Prospero Burns, The First Heretic, Fulgrim etc, which would probably rank as a 4.5 on the Rating scale, it is nonetheless a solid addition to the Horus Heresy and I am probably not the only one that wishes to see Thorpe return to this series soon. I will be looking forward to when he does.
More Horus Heresy: Horus Rising, False Gods, Galaxy in Flames, Flight of the Eisenstein, Fulgrim, Descent of Angels, Legion, Battle for the Abyss, Mechanium, Tales of Heresy, Fallen Angels, A Thousand Sons, Nemesis, The First Heretic, Prospero Burns, Age of Darkness, The Outcast Dead, Deliverance Lost, Know No Fear, The Primarchs, Fear To Tread, Promethean Sun, Aurelian, Raven’s Flight, Dark King, The Lightning Tower
More Gav Thorpe: The Crown of the Blood, The Crown of the Conqueror, Path of the Warrior, Path of the Seer, The Purging of Kadillus,