Children of Sicarus – Anthony Reynolds

A Horus Heresy audio drama from Anthony Reynolds, Children of Sicarus follows on from the end of the graphic novel Macragge’s Honour to show a little of what happened when Kor Phaeron led his surviving followers to the daemon world of Sicarus. Surrounded by enemies and with ever-dwindling numbers, the Word Bearers find strange allies who promise to aid them against the malicious attentions of one of Sicarus’ daemonic warlords, the ‘Kairic Adept’ Larazzar. Along the way Kor Phaeron encounters a reincarnating priest, an ancient and worryingly precise prophecy, and a tangible link to his distant primarch Lorgar.

It’s been two (or three if you got the Limited Edition version) years since Macragge’s Honour was published, so you’d be forgiven for having forgotten that Kor Phaeron was even on Sicarus, never mind been wondering what he’d got up to. If however you’ve been dying to find out, this is as good a way as any, with Reynolds returning to the legion that he handled so well in the excellent novella The Purge. Here the Word Bearers are decidedly more corrupted compared to the loyal but untainted Sor Talgron – there’s not many of them left, but those that remain include a single member of the Gal Vorbak as well as a name who’ll be familiar to fans of Reynolds’ 40k Word Bearers fiction.

At a little under 40 minutes there’s enough space here for Reynolds to have some fun with the story, which focuses on Kor Phaeron and his ego – this is a man who’s fully prepared to make use of the chaos gods, but isn’t quite ready to sacrifice himself for them. Word Bearers fans may already know what will happen to and on Sicarus, but here we get to see the choices Kor Phaeron makes which will shape his and the legion’s fates for millennia to come. Some might argue that this is all a little bit tangential to the overarching story of the Heresy, but then audio dramas are the perfect format for stories which dwell on and explore those tangents and the interesting little plot threads that don’t require longer stories.

Production-wise this is business as usual, continuing the high standard for Heresy audio dramas, although while some of the more eccentric voices and sounds suit the warp-twisted Kor Phaeron and his daemonic surroundings, occasionally things do stray a little too far into the realm of weird voices and processed sounds. That notwithstanding, this is a typically enjoyable audio drama which continues to demonstrate Reynolds’ suitability for the Heresy series, and his ability to make some of the most appalling characters (like Kor Phaeron – he’s definitely not a nice man!) relatable. It’s unlikely to prove an absolutely essential listen (or read, when it gets a prose release) but it’s worth a look whether you’re a fan of the Word Bearers or not.

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