2016’s first Limited Edition release in the Horus Heresy series isn’t a novella but a plush art book, in the shape of The Horus Heresy Cover Art Collection, a landscape-format hardback showcasing original cover art from the Heresy series so far. Featuring covers for novels up to Deathfire, novellas up to Garro : Vow of Faith and audios up to Raptor, all but one of the pieces are from the hand of Neil Roberts, the one exception being False Gods by Phil Sibbering. It’s testament to both Roberts’ work rate and the phenomenal success of the Horus Heresy series that there’s a massive seventy-six pieces included here.
Each piece is displayed in its original book- or CD-sized format alongside a gorgeous full-page image that shows off the full artwork in all its glory. It’s all listed chronologically in terms of the events depicted in each image, opening with the Triumph at Ullanor in The Primarchs and leading all the way to the final duel between the Emperor and Horus in Visions of Heresy. The only covers missing from the collection are those for the earliest couple of audio dramas, which were taken from existing artwork as opposed to being originals, the plain covers for the e-shorts, and the latest cover art from Pharos onwards.
This is another beautiful art book, following on from Visions of Heresy and Visions of War, and a great way to spend some time really poring over these great pieces of cover art. It’s fascinating to see the change in Roberts’ style from Horus Rising to the more recent covers, as well as the occasional deliberate stylistic choice like Mark of Calth’s muted, downbeat tone. Not only that but it’s a chance to take in all the tiny little details that might be missed on the cover of a book, from the troubled expressions of the Imperial Fists in the background of The Purge, to the ghoulish, half-dissolved corpse in the corner of Tallarn : Ironclad.
It’s a shame there’s no accompanying text from Roberts to give a little of his perspective to each piece, as that would have elevated this from a purely visual experience to something that could have added value and insight and really made it something special. Critics may also point to Visions of Heresy containing many of these pieces already, but this is the most thorough collection of Horus Heresy covers yet, and is undoubtedly a high-quality collection that fans of the Horus Heresy series and Neil Roberts’ work will enjoy.