Following on from events of The Master of Mankind [SPOILER WARNING], Chris Wraight’s Horus Heresy short story Magisterium tackles the Adeptus Custodes as they regroup following the appalling losses incurred in the Webway War. It follows one of the few survivors, Samonas, as he comes to terms with the changed status of the Custodes, watching on while Constantin Valdor clashes with Rogal Dorn over their place in the war to come. Interspersed with recollections of the fighting on Prospero, it’s a powerful story of the differences between the Custodes and the Legiones Astartes, and the preparations taking place on Terra.
Given the subject matter and when it’s set – things are really ramping up on the Throneworld – it’s an unsurprisingly bleak story, although it’s written with Wraight’s usual deft touch, full of well-drawn characters and great dialogue. Despite being told from Samonas’ perspective, it’s arguably Valdor’s story. Alongside the stunned readjustment the Custodes are having to make, we see Valdor’s clenched-jaw interactions with two very different primarchs, which provide a fascinating glimpse into a unique perspective on the war taking place and those responsible for it. Overall it’s more contemplative than action-packed, but it’s powerful and hard-hitting despite relatively little in the way of fighting.