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Battle for the Abyss by Ben Counter

August 22, 2008

I read pulp fiction. It’s something I do every so often. I don’t watch CSI: Miami or what have you, I do this.

In retrospect, reading pulp fiction like this straight after going through the four books of A Song of Ice and Fire was a mistake. This book was always going to look bad in comparison with what I’d just read.

Sadly, this book is the second weakest of the 8 so-far published in the Horus Heresy series. The other books, especially the first five, did a good job of re-creating an alternative Imperium, in it’s formative years, 10,000 years before the “present day”. That all falls down in Battle for the Abyss.

In previous books, it’s made clear that the Imperium has no idea of the true nature of the ‘immaterium’ that they travel through, and any thought of chaos gods is met is atheistic disbelief. Other books also managed to create organisations unknown to us, such as the Remembrancers of the early books, and the secret cabal served by John Grammaticus in Legion.

In this book the marines seem suddenly fully aware of the nature of the warp, of the existence of daemons and chaos gods. This makes some of the conversation jarring. It’s jarring already since much of the dialogue here is woeful, but the ‘out of time’ knowledge implicit among the various characters does not help.

Battle for the Abyss forms a weak link in the series. It’s not ‘bad’ like Descent of Angels, the story is actually advanced here, but this book is simply not as good as the others as it does not remain to its supposed time period.

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  1. January 7, 2009 at 11:45 pm
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