So, I’m a big fan of the Thousand Sons, and of their chief librarian Ahzek Ahriman, and John French’s trilogy was something a long time coming for me. Of course I’d read the two Horus Heresy novels ( thousand sons and Prospero burns) enjoying them a lot, though of course the space wolves account was a little anger inducing. Then came the battle of the fang, a loosely linked follow up to the destruction of Prospero as the Thousand Sons launch an assault on the Space Wolf home world Fenris. This one I enjoyed less; there was no Ahriman – him being exiled following the Rubric- and although the story was quite good and the ending left me in no doubt the Wolves were the bad guys, the actual climax ruined it for me. Even if it was funny to see Bjorn the Fell-handed in a dreadnought for the last time (him of course suggesting he’d rather be dead than entombed that way during the heresy).
This left me a little uncertain, and from an unknown author too (actually upon checking it turns out I’ve read a lot of John french’s short stories).
Ahriman: Exile was a good start to a trilogy, Ahriman is in exile -surprise surprise- and has abandoned his powers whilst hiding amongst a host of chaos space marine sorcerors. An encounter with a Thousand Sons sorcerer outs Ahriman who then embraces his powers again and seeks to reclaim his position amongst the thousand sons. I won’t provide any further spoilers, except to say the only problem I had with the book was the number of times Ahriman ‘died’ yet repaired himself using his psychic powers. Whilst it allowed for Ahriman to be injured, the reparations were a little too frequent and quick.
The second book, which I have finished just moments ago, was an even better story than the first. There were far less instances of Ahriman getting hurt and repairing, and in fact some of his injuries (physical and mental) are/will have long term effects. The style of this book was different enough that I had to check it was the same author (it was) and it made some good progress in expanding the scale from an individual with a small entourage in exile, to a fleet in sorcerer. The scaling up of the betrayals and politics of a chaos fleet were well handled also, as well as the larger scale sacrificed (of others) that Ahriman had to make.
Another interesting aspect was the flexibility of time within the Warp. This has always been referred to but never really exploited, however here if was used to allow for big changes in a comparatively short amount of time.
So overall, an improvement on the first one – which was also good- and after some major events towards the end I’m very much looking forward to the final book in the trilogy.
Not so keen on the probable wait until September/October release date though