The latest Horus Heresy quick read from Black Library, John French’s Black Oculus is a prequel of sorts to his excellent novella Tallarn : Executioner, which was a limited edition release in 2013 and is sadly still not yet generally available. After the events at the climax of Angel Exterminatus, Perturabo ordered his fleet into the heart of a black hole, deep within the Eye of Terror. Here we get a glimpse of the terrible effects that decision had upon the Navigators who guided the Iron Warriors fleet on that fateful journey that led to their arrival at Tallarn.
Bleak. That’s the overriding tone of this story, as the Navigator Prime of Perturabo’s flagship the Iron Blood tells of the sights he saw and the truths they revealed. It’s John French’s writing in microcosm, all dark and twisted imagery, ominous and foreboding, wrapped up in tight and concise prose that manages to cram a lot into a short space. As usual with the quick reads it fleshes out a small corner of the Heresy universe while leaving the reader with just as many unanswered questions, whetting the appetite in advance of the next longer-form release. Creepy, but really interesting.