Nick Kyme’s Horus Heresy story Dreams of Unity shines a bleak light on some forgotten heroes of the Imperium. In the poverty-stricken underbelly of the Imperial Palace, a handful of surviving Thunder Warriors – the tattered remnants of the proto-Astartes legions with whose help the Emperor unified Terra – eke out a brutal existence as gladiators despite their ageing bodies and troubled minds, forever defined by their loyalty to an old notion. As Horus nears the Throneworld, even these abandoned warriors are affected by the approaching conflict.
Fans have wanted more Thunder Warriors since The Outcast Dead, and while this focuses on a character named Heruk rather than Arik Taranis it should go some way to scratching that itch. It’s the sort of story that the Heresy suits so well, grounded in a familiar universe but providing an unusual angle, in this case tackling characters who remember pre-Unity Terra but know they’ll never regain their past glory. Kyme deftly portrays how, for Heruk at least, pragmatic survival instincts hide the pain of living longer than he was meant to, in a bleak tale that’s both action-packed and powerfully, poignantly characterful. It’s only a brief glimpse into these characters’ lives, but it’s fascinating nonetheless.