Horus Heresy: Deliverance Lost by Gav Thorpe – Advanced Review [Lord of the Night]
Lord of the Night reviews the latest in the critically acclaimed Horus Heresy series, the very first Raven Guard novel titled Deliverance Lost by Gav Thorpe, writer of the Path of the Eldar trilogy and The Last Chancers series.
“A novel that erupts from the shadows into a world of lies, betrayal and mysteries revealed! Thorpe has shot into the Horus Heresy and he’s here to stay.”~The Founding Fields
Gav Thorpe is an author that I have not read a great deal of. I’ve only read Path of the Warrior and I did enjoy it but it didn’t rank as one of my favourites. Deliverance Lost is the second novel he’s written that I have actually finished and I must say, this elevates him a good deal in my eyes. Corax and the Raven Guard were in good hands throughout this entire story with Thorpe working behind the scenes.
The Raven Guard have been broken. With over seventy-five thousand of their numbers perished in the fires of Istvaan, the survivors numb with shock at the horrors unleashed by Horus, and Corax desperate to rebuild his Legion and show Horus that the raven still has its claws, the weary Legion travels to Terra to beseech the Emperor to aid them in their darkest hour. Armed with the knowledge to create legends Corax prepares to return the Raven Guard to the forefront of the fight and prevent a quick victory for the traitors. But his work has attracted the eyes of the Hydra, and its sons walk amongst the raven’s nest completely hidden away, waiting for the right moment to strike. With infiltrators in his Legion, traitors massing for a strike, and elements of his past returning to haunt him, Corax faces his greatest challenge since his childhood.
Thorpe has made a hell of a wide cast for this novel, with characters from the Raven Guard, Alpha Legion, Imperial Army, Sons of Horus and even The Emperor himself making an appearance. Comamnder Branne and Praefector Marcus Valerius from Raven’s Flight reappear, and Branne’s wise-cracking brother Agapito joins them, and they are joined by a diverse range of characters from the Raven Guard. Sergeants Dor and Nestil serve as good background while we have the larger cast, primarily Corvus Corax. Corax’s situation is dire and it reflects in his choices, he must take more and more risks despite the warnings of the Custodian Arcatus Vindix Centurio in order to save his Legion from an ignoble demise.
And of course Alpharius makes his appearance, as does Alpharius, and Alpharius, and guess who… Alpharius. The Alpha Legion are classically portrayed with hidden identities and the black ops warfare we’ve come to love from them, but one character stands out amongst them, Omegon who finally gets to show what he can do. Plus we see just how dedicated an Alpha Legionnaire is to completing his mission, and the lengths they will go to in order to preserve the secrets of their Legion. And the illusive Cabal returns with their hidden motives and secret agendas, their envoy Athithirtir trying to steer the Legion into the Cabal’s directives.
Other Legions make an appearance with Captain Noriz of the Imperial Fists, Captain Hastan Luthris Armanitan of the Emperor’s Children, and what Heresy novel would be complete without a cameo by Erebus, that conniving magnificent bastard.
The action in the novel is striking, the Raven Guard do not wage war like most Astartes and it shows as they follow their singular creed into battle, “Attack, withdraw, and attack again.” This creed serves them well as they go up against Word Bearers, Alpha Legion and the Emperor’s Children in massive battles that really entertain the reader. Corax himself is great to read as he darts through the battle, tearing apart enemies before they even realise that their already dead. The Raven Guard forces named the Hawks, Talons, Falcons and the Raptors whose own battles are inspiring and satisfying, all take part in the battles and show just how dangerous an Astartes can be when you don’t see them coming.
Of course the Alpha Legion get just as much action and we see plenty of black operations warfare, secret strikes and manoeuvring that could put Imperial Assassins to shame. Omegon and the Effrit Stealth Squad stand out amongst the enemies that the Horus Heresy has faced for being one of the most dangerous, you never can tell where they are or what they are doing, and the worst part of it is… they may be right behind you and you can’t even realise it. The final moment with the Alpha Legion in battle had me amazed at just how skilled Omegon is, read the novel and you’ll see what I mean.
The pacing of the novel is very good, the novel keeps the reader invested by presenting mysteries that draw you in and then shock you with their answers. The Raven Guard are really explored in this novel and their survivor’s mentality adds layers to the novel, and makes them just as dangerous as the Blood Angels or the Space Wolves. And the machinations of the Alpha Legion are just absorbing, any scene with them you won’t want to put down just so you can see more of how they operate. This is a novel that’s tough to put down once you really get going.
On a personal note I enjoyed the references to the real world. Names like Egypt and London pop up in a solemn poem, and the legend of the Minotaur and the maze is given an amazing new twist. And the Emperor’s Hall of Victories that will surprise you with just what victories it holds inside, bonus points to anybody who recognizes just what is stored away. And Corax’s reaction to one of them was an interesting look into the mentality of a Primarch, or indeed the 31st millennium as a whole.
The ending is very encouraging and cheer-worthy, even to a traitor supporter like me. The Raven Guard will always endure, no matter what is thrown at them; no matter what treacheries both cowardly and daring, open and hidden are brought to bear against them; and no matter what the traitors may do, the Raven Guard will be at their backs with a blade ready to strike. Its not possible to not be impressed by the strength of Corax and his Ravens, and that strength is what will make them such a threat to Horus and his plans.
I give Deliverance Lost a grand score of 9.2/10, a very good score that the Horus Heresy continues to rack up with each successive novel. I imagine it won’t be long until we see Deliverance Lost and Gav Thorpe on the New York Times Best-seller list.
Should you buy this book? If your a Horus Heresy reader then you’ll obviously buy it, but can this novel attract new readers to the Heresy? I say it can. This is a very good novel that shows us two underused Legions and takes them into great places, a world of lies and deception that one is a master of and the other must learn to survive. Thorpe has not written as many books as some but this is definitely one of his best, if not the best. If your a fan of the Raven Guard you’ll enjoy this book; and if your not give it a read anyway, it might just make you into a fan. Yes, you should consider buying Deliverance Lost.
That’s it for this review. On a personal note to the author if he should perchance to read this, such a thing would make me very happy indeed, this is a great novel and I look forward to seeing more from you in the Horus Heresy. And if you should write the 3rd Dark Angels novel in the future, i’m confident you’ll do it justice. Until next time,
AVE DOMINUS NOX!