Book forty-three in Black Library’s epic Horus Heresy series, Shattered Legions is an anthology collecting together stories which have all been available before in one format or another, but not in the numbered series. Featuring Graham McNeill’s novella The Seventh Serpent as well as all the stories from the previously released Meduson collection, this is as close to a definitive picture of the Shattered Legions as we’re going to get. All three of the loyal Legions broken at Isstvan V are featured, as are various others – traitor and loyal – but it largely focuses on the Iron Hands, leaderless and damaged.
Of all the ‘exclusive’ products Black Library have released, perhaps the one most likely to rouse the anger of fans is Meduson – a venue-specific Horus Heresy anthology that can only be purchased in person from Games Workshop’s headquarters in Nottingham. Released to celebrate the re-opening of Warhammer World and the dedicated Black Library shop within, it’s a move designed to draw out the diehard fans and encourage visitors, but is bound to annoy those fans not willing or able to make it to Nottingham. Exclusivity aside, any new Heresy release is always going to be of great interest to fans of the series, and this is no exception. With a selection of brand new stories from some of Black Library’s most respected authors, this review is a little longer than usual in order to give as clear a picture as possible of the anthology.
The Horus Heresy series grinds ever onwards with the release of the eleventh (!) limited-edition novella, The Seventh Serpent, the first such novella from Graham McNeill. Black Library kept this one nice and quiet and sprung it as a surprise for those attending the Black Library Weekender III event, prior to its general release. The typically brilliant Neil Roberts cover art appears to show Alpha Legion fighting each other, with a handful of Iron Hands thrown in for good measure, though as ever with the XXth Legion things are possibly not quite what they seem. Underneath the dust jacket the book’s cover shows an Iron Hands legion symbol, cracked and shattered, while the back cover sees a scrawled message of ‘For the Emperor’.
The clue is in the title really – ‘Damnation of Pythos’. Not salvation, damnation. Given David Annandale’s love of horror films and monsters it should come as no surprise to find that his first novel in the Horus Heresy series is somewhat on the bleak side. For the 30th novel in this every-growing series we find ourselves back with the Iron Hands in the aftermath of Isstvan V and the Dropsite Massacre, with the loss of Ferrus Manus still fresh and raw in their minds.