If you’ve been keeping an eye on recent releases, it won’t have escaped your notice that John French is working on a new series for Black Library – the Horusian Wars. I’m a massive fan of John’s writing, so I’ve been really looking forward to learning more about this series, and what it’s going to involve. I thought it might be useful for anyone else who’s interested in this series if I gathered together all of the information that’s available into a single place – so that’s what this article is for.
Back in August 2016 I did a bit of research and came up with some early speculation regarding the series, including snippets of background text from the Inquisitor rulebook and a couple of the Dark Heresy roleplaying books. Here’s a link to that article, but bear in mind it was written WAY before a lot of the subsequent information came to light:
For something a bit more official, try this great post from John’s own blog where he talks a little about what the series is, and what it will be:
You might also check out this post on the Warhammer Community site:
Lastly, here’s an interview I did with John about this series, his inspirations, how it compares to/is influenced by his Ahriman series, and lots more: John French Talks The Horusian Wars.
Here’s a list of everything in the series that’s been published or confirmed so far, in publication order, along with links to my reviews where appropriate and either a snippet of each review, or a little bit of the blurb:
The Purity of Ignorance (short story)
“Leading his warband in an airborne insertion, Covenant is joined by Lieutenant Ianthe of the Agathian Sky Sharks, seconded to Inquisitorial duty.”
The Maiden of the Dream (short story)
“Mylasa is a powerful psyker who, as one of Inquisitor Covenant’s acolytes, uses her gifts to interrogate prisoners of the Inquisition and purge their memories.”
The Absolution of Swords (short story)
“…continues to build familiarisation with Covenant’s warband, introducing new characters and particularly focusing on the Rogue Trader Cleander, but this time it also sets the narrative up for the novel, Resurrection.”
The Horusian Wars: Resurrection
“Complex and uncompromising, this isn’t your usual easy Black Library read, although it nails the fundamental tone and vibe of 40k in a way that few others do.”
The Blessing of Saints (short story – included in the limited edition of Resurrection)
“…a simple premise, set out in the opening line with a reference to “the three saint-hunters”, but deceptively complex.”
Agent of the Throne: Blood and Lies (audio drama)
“…if you’re interested in the Inquisition and fancy a look at a ‘peripheral mission’, not quite important enough for a full inquisitor but dangerous enough that it needs an Inquisitorial presence, this really hits the spot.”
I asked John if there was a recommended reading/listening order for the stories so far, but it looks like things are a little more complicated than just a simple linear order, with John describing things as “a patchwork, or lattice”. Certain stories feed into each other but aren’t necessarily directly linked to others, while characters crop up in multiple stories even if they’re not the main protagonists…
For example, while The Absolution of Swords is a pretty direct prequel to the novel Resurrection, The Purity of Ignorance relates more to Agent of the Throne: Blood and Lies.
That being said, while there’s no problem reading/listening to these stories in ‘any order’, here’s what John suggested if you want something a bit more concrete:
- The Absolution of Swords
- The Horusian Wars: Resurrection
- The Blessing of Saints
- The Maiden of the Dream
- The Purity of Ignorance
- Agent of the Throne: Blood and Lies
That’s everything so far, but there’s definitely going to be more to this series. As soon as anything is announced I’ll add it to this page, and I will of course review everything that’s released. Drop me a line if I’ve missed anything!
If you’ve got any questions or comments, do let me know.