The Great Crusade is in full swing as the armies of the Imperium of Mankind spread slowly across the galaxy. Led by the Adeptas Astartes legions, genetically altered superhuman soldiers, humanity has become the dominant race in the galaxy, welcoming compliant human worlds into the Imperial fold, and destroying all those who would refuse submission or have been tainted by the hated xenos. The Astartes legions, themselves led by their genetic gene-sires, known as primarchs, are humanity's champions, though they are far from human themselves. It is a Golden Age, a time of enlightenment and progress. In reality it is the calm before the storm. Soon, Chaos will make its move in a bid to control humanity's future, in the cataclysmic galactic civil war known as the Horus Heresy.
For decades the Word Bearers have fought in the Great Crusade, bringing worlds to compliance and destroying others in cleansing fires. Along with their primarch, Lorgar, the Word Bearers show almost religious devotion to the Emperor. All that changes when they receive a call from the planet Khur, a world brought to compliance many years ago. Upon arriving the Legion is astounded to find the planet in ruins and that the Emperor of Mankind himself called for the destruction of the planet as punishment. The crime: the Word Bearers worship the Emperor as a god, going against Imperial doctrine denying the existence of all things divine. Reeling from their loss of Imperial favor, and more importantly their faith, the Word Bearers embark on the Pilgrimage, referred to by many different religions throughout history as a journey to the place where gods and mortals meet. Seeking the Primordial Truth, the great truth behind existence, the Word Bearers have no idea that the answer they will find is none other than Chaos itself. As they get closer to discovering the truth, they will question not only their faith, but their loyalties as well.
The Horus Heresy is a prestigious group, its authorship usually by invite only. Those lucky enough to be invited bear such vaunted names as Abnett, Thorpe, Swallow, McNeill, and Counter. Those are some big shoes to fill, yet I am confidant in saying that Mr. Demski-Bowden is well up to the challenge. This is a novel of war and politics, faith and betrayal. Demski-Bowden brings the Pre-Heresy Imperium to colorful life with believable characters and awesomely descriptive battles. In addition, as with any good Horus Heresy novel, there is a healthy dose of tragedy. Heroes fall, or find that they are merely pawns in a larger game beyond comprehension. One thing is clear: Aaron Dembski-Bowden is a master of his craft and his legacy amongst the great names of the Black Library is assured.