Begun in Dan Abnett’s Horus Rising, and continued in Graham McNeill’s False Gods, the Horus Heresy’s opening trilogy comes to a conclusion in Galaxy in Flames, by Ben Counter. This trilogy is the beginning of the Horus Heresy series, a saga of the epic civil war that created the Warhammer 40,000 universe.
Galaxy in Flames wraps up the trilogy following Garviel Loken, captain in the Sons of Horus legion, and space marine, future fighter for the Imperium of Man. His legion is led by the Warmaster Horus, who has, over the first couple novels, begun his path from favored son of the Emperor to traitor. In Counter’s first contribution to the series, Horus attacks the rebelling world of Isstvan III, but it is all a set up. Horus uses bombs of horrible effectiveness to destroy life on Isstvan III, including thousands upon thousands of space marines. In a huge move, Horus tries to eradicate those warriors who would remain loyal to the Emperor during his great betrayal. After a warning gets out, a few soldiers, including Loken, begin an impossible battle against Horus’ overwhelming forces, knowing that they can’t win, but wanting to do some damage and avenge their fallen brothers.
Counter does a wonderful job of wrapping up the initial set that tells of Horus’ fall from grace and eventual heresy, as he turns his face from the Emperor and embraces the gods of Chaos. This novel ties up everything from the first two books, with many of the characters finally having their face-to-face confrontations, and many major players, both heroic and villainous, perish. While the book does a great job of ending the story begun in Horus Rising, it at the same time sets up the next novel, Flight of the Eisenstein by James Swallow, very well. I look forward to the continuation of this wonderful series, as well as my new copy of Grey Knights, written by Ben Counter just like this novel.