QUICK REVIEW – Ahriman : King of Ashes – John French

The third and final part of Voices of Fate (within Ahriman: Exodus), and the last of the accompanying short stories in the Ahriman series, King of Ashes sees John French take a look through the eyes of Magnus the Red, Primarch of the Thousand Sons and father to Ahriman. He relives his first steps into the warp and the first fateful meeting with the two powers that will shape his life, and he also recalls the moment of Ahriman’s failure, the fateful results of the Rubric and the damage done to his sons. The parallels are clear, he sees his own pride reflected in Ahriman, his own flaws inherited by his greatest son.

This time the story sits chronologically during the events of Unchanged, and while it could perhaps be read either before or after that novel, the full relevance is only really clear when considered in light of what the novel reveals. Either way this is typical of French’s writing, full of metaphor and ambiguous imagery, and tinged with sadness like the rest of the Ahriman series at the inevitability of the whole thing. It’s interesting to get Magnus’ perspective, complex and fragmentary though it might be, and French gives him a remarkably similar tone of voice to that of Ahriman, reflecting once more their similarities. Even less action-packed than Hand of Dust, it’s nonetheless a powerful, evocative story that complements the rest of the series.

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