By Andrew Charlton
Galaxy in Flames by Ben Counter is the third book and final book in the opening trilogy of Horus Heresy. By far my favorite Horus Heresy title so far, this book blew me away with it’s mix of covert action and balls to the wall mad combat.
Focusing upon Loken, the protagonist of the opening trilogy, we see him desperate for any kind of respite. By now most of the legion has turned against the emperor, and him, for he’s one of the few remaining loyalists within Horus’s armies.
Loken is in a struggle against his own heart and all those he considered his friends and brothers, but he isn’t the only protagonist.
Three stories run concurrent to his own, and all four combined are what shape our view of these opening acts in Horus’s betrayal of the imperium.
Kyril Sindermann, the old iterator continues to be a favorite of mine, a man who can inspire and control others with his voice and wit alone, and I’m very happy with the route his story takes when given to Ben Counter.
Saul Tarvitz, a captain of the Emperor’s Children is a fantastic analogue to Loken in another legion, and in many ways, he is more the driving force of this story than Loken. It’s a shame he isn’t given the same protection Loken gets by being the protagonist.
Finally we have Cassius, and the rest of the crew of Dies Irae, a story of civil war within the confines of the god-machine titan. Conflicting ideals and ambitions make for a tragic tale of friends torn apart. The Dies Irae feels oddly disconnected from the rest of the story, but in a way I really like that.
The Dies Irae is a microcosm, it’s the entire of the Son’s of Horus, all of Loken’s issues reduced to three men, rather than three great factions.
You can see Loken in Cassius, you can see Aximand, the unwilling traitor in Aruken, and you can see Horus in their princeps and commander Turnet.
The Dies Irae sums up the rest of the story so magnificently by reducing it to three men, you can see all the pain and emotional struggle everyone is going through by the decisions these three men make, live or die.
Just like the Space Marines warring around their feet during the massacre of IIstvan III the crew are just human, and each is only doing what they think is right.
Image from Lexicanum