Chris Wraight’s Brotherhood of the Storm is a Horus Heresy novella which gave us our first proper look at the Heresy-era White Scars. It was originally released as a standalone novella, first a posh limited edition version but now available on the Black Library website in print, ebook and audio formats, but it also comprises the first story within Legacies of Betrayal, the 31st full book in the Horus Heresy series. That does mean that completists may well end up owning it twice, but it also means that fans who don’t want to fork out for the hardback novellas can now get their hands on it in a more palatable format.
For the early part of the series, the White Scars were very much on the periphery, only glimpsed briefly as parts of other stories, and while that meant they didn’t get much ‘screen time’ it did somehow fit with the overall ethos of the legion. After all they are supposed to be the wild, reckless legion who rely on speed over everything else as they wage their wars, happy to keep to the fringes and let others take the spotlight. With Brotherhood of the Storm, very much the prequel to Scars, the first proper White Scars novel, Chris Wraight brings them right to the fore, shining a light on both how they fight and how they see themselves, and adding much-needed flesh to what was very much the bare bones of a legion we knew very little about. He splits the story into multiple strands, in one of which we see through the eyes of Shiban Khan, captain of the titular Brotherhood of the Storm, as he leads his men in battle against the orks on Chondax, revelling in the fight in a way that no other space marines would do. For the other strands we see a Stormseer remember the day he discovered his powers and reflect on what it is to be a White Scar, and look at the White Scars from the perspective of an outsider, sent to impose order on the chaotic logistics of the legion.
It must have been a tall order for Wraight to to take this novella on, given how many things it needed to do well in order for it to be a success. What he has managed to do is take a poetic eye for detail and a deep insight into what would make this peculiar legion tick, and use them to give us a story which acts as a clever, fascinating introduction to the legion as a whole as well as introducing both characters and wider themes which will carry on into Scars and hopefully the remainder of the Horus Heresy series. It’s a must-read story for White Scars fans and counts as probably the most relevant and important of all of the novellas so far to the wider Heresy story.