The First Heretic by Aaron Dembski-Bowden – Review [djinn24]


djinn24 reviews The First Heretic of the Horus Heresy series by Aaron Dembski-Bowden in this awesome series, published by The Black Library

ADB does a spectacular job of opening the Pandora’s box of the heresy, writing one of the most informative books into how chaos was brought to the human race ~ The Founding Fields

In the passing millenia the light that the Word Bearers brought to worlds was deemed a success in their eyes, bringing the holy word of the God-Emperor to world they brought to compliance.  In swift moments all of this changed as the XIII legion, the Utlramarines swept into the perfect city Monarchia, the capital city of Khur, and forced the population to leave, before destroying everything in it with an orbital bombardment.  After hearing of this treacherous action Lorgar brings the entire World Bearers legion to Khur in an attempt to find out what is going on.  Upon landing he finds his brother, the Primarch of the Ultramarines Roboute Guilliman waiting with a message from his father, the God-Emperor.

The story itself spans a period of over 40 years and tells how the World Bearers, the most loyal legion to the Emperor is slighted and goes on a holy crusade to find the truth.  Dozens of planets are brought into compliance or utterly destroyed under the watchful eye of Lorgar’s father’s personal guard the Legio Custodes.  Eventually Lorgar discovers what he has truly been searching for, in an area which will eventually be known as the Eye of Terror, the ruinious powers of chaos.  The Word Bearers bring this truth back and share with the other legions that are trustworthy of this knowledge, seeding the heresy of the most loved son, Horus.  Aaron paints an awesome story of the Word Bearers and how they fell from the light of the Emperor, and how close they came to sharing the fate of the two missing legions and learned the truth of what really happened with the births of the Primarchs.

The plot of the story flows along well, taking a story that we know the end of and writing the beginning that was a pleasure to read.  It truly shows how Lorgar is so driven to worship something that he risks not only his legion but himself to try and find  the truth which in turn curses their existence.  It also shows that he is truly not worthy of the title Primarch, and is simply a puppet, first to Kor Phaeron and Erebus and then finally to the powers of chaos.  My personal opinion is that this book should have been earlier in the series as it would have shown more of why things where happening they way they did.  As far as adding to the overall Heresy series I would say this rates towards the top if not the top books since it leads into how and why Erebus was able to gain Horus Lupercal ears to spread the word of Chaos.

Overall I would give this book a 8.5 out of 10.  The plot and story line are really well done but I am not too keen on how ADB wrote some of the book.  This is not a book I would recommend reading as a night time book because certain parts are a bit confusing when you are somewhat tired.  Also the over use of This. Type. Of. Speech. was interesting the first several times but got old and boring with overuse.  If you are a fan the HH series then this a MUST read and if this is the level of story weaving we can expect to see from ADB then I am looking forward to reading more of his work.

djinn24 is a professional miniatures painter, with an equally strong love of books. His reviews are concise and critical. He’s definitely good at what he does.


  • Anonymous

    Nice Review, I mentioned on Heresy that this was my second favourite HH novel, I believe. Great Job :), especially on picking.up.this.type.of.speech, which I must have overlooked. I’ll have to give it a re-read.