Hot on the heels of the 30th Horus Heresy book’s official release comes the latest limited edition novella – The Purge, by Anthony Reynolds. It’s the author’s first Heresy book, following on from a couple of short stories and an audio drama, and is a welcome return to his beloved Word Bearers. Some will undoubtedly wish for a non-limited release, but once again Black Library have produced a beautiful object complete with blood-stained cover and silver page edges. Is it worth the asking price? Irrelevant really, as for collectors and completionists it’s another piece of the Heresy puzzle.
This time round we see through the eyes of Sor Talgron, Captain of the Word Bearers’ 34th Company. The narrative is split between his time on Terra as a still-trusted (more or less) brother to the sentinel Imperial Fists and his involvement in the Word Bearers’ actions in the Shadow Crusade against the Ultramarines, and we see for the first time a Word Bearer who’s much more of a solid, grounded soldier than his zealot brothers. This is the core of the book as we get to understand Sor Talgron’s feelings about his legion while he goes about the work demanded of him by his legion and Primarch. He may not be the most faith-obsessed member of his legion but his loyalty to the cause certainly isn’t up for questioning. Along the way we see more of the cameo-friendly Rogal Dorn and get a few nice little links to the wider Heresy and indeed 40k story arcs.
For those questioning the worth of the shorter form Heresy stories, this book should really show them why it’s all valid as work like this allows authors to explore parts of this vast conflict that simply couldn’t be covered in full novels without the series going on forever. Here we have a well-written, neatly-structured tale that gives a great balance of character development alongside genuinely brutal action and provides a wonderful opportunity to see a totally different side to a legion that most readers probably feel they know pretty well. Not only that, but Sor Talgron’s arc within this story is essentially the Word Bearers in microcosm – read on and enjoy.