Betrayer

On the train back from Portland I read another Horus Heresy book, the 24th to be published It’s remarkable to me that Games Workshop would be able to diversify like this. I suppose there have been Star Wars novels and many other corporate land grabs, but somehow the Games Workshop effort has made something much bigger, a monster of interstellar warfare that won’t stop. Does it sell more toy soldiers?

There’s a character called Kharn The Betrayer, who is famous for being Very Angry and betraying everyone else. Well, Kharn betrays everyone by chopping them to bits with his giant chainsaw-cum-axe, but Kharn the Umpteenth Bloke With A Giant Chainsaw Axe doesn’t trip off the tongue so we’ll.

Betrayer isn’t really about Kharn, or at least, he doesn’t do much betraying. Instead, that utter tool Lothar, and his bad influence Erebus are out and about doing dixkish things like usual. They’ve dragged the World Eaters along with them, pathologically angry Space Marines who lobotomised themselves to make themselves more angry… Writing it down like that really does make it sound ridiculous. And that’s before we mention the plasma guns, the psychic powers or the daemons named after a thousand people coughing up phlegm simultaneously.

There are battles, which the Bad Guys win again and again. Since the main Bad Guys are just despicably evil, and everyone else dies, there’s not much to sympathise with in this story. I suppose if you’re thinking about a Lovecraftian universe with incomprehensible evil forces just behind our reality, but the evil things really love human pain, then you might get to this, but it’s a grind. Oh, for the existentialists of The Lords Of Silence, or the awesome Space Vikings of Prospero Burns…

… And I like the idea of giant chainsaw axes. My wife would probably fling this one at my head. Next up: Space Mongol Hordes, with flamethrowers. I wonder what book 26 will be like…

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