Following my previous post announcing that Black Library was now on Audible with a small initial offering of Warhammer 40,000 audiobooks. The range of titles available has been vastly expanded on Amazon’s audiobook platform, most notably including a large selection of the Horus Heresy series.
For someone like me this is great news! As having a very busy personal life, I tend to find that I have less and less time to sit down with a good book these days and struggle to keep up on my reading. This coming from someone with a collection of over 150 Warhammer 40k novels at home and plenty books still on the “to read” shelf, of which I’m sure I’m not alone.
This is why I love anything I can listen to while carrying out household chores or commuting back and forth to work, something that is fast becoming the highlight of my day! It’s never a bad thing to get some Grimdark in your ear holes!
Getting into the Horus Heresy Book Series
The Horus Heresy Series currently spans a staggering 46 books, and still isn’t finished! Add to that a large number of satellite stories, novellas and the accompanying Primarch series of books, there is still a lot going on in the Heresy. Indeed there is talk that Black Library are now treating the “Heresy” as more of a setting than a series of books. Which makes sense as there is so many stories that can be told during one of the most interesting periods of the Imperium of Man’s history, with Horus’ civil war setting the galaxy aflame.
Although I am an avid Heresy fan, like many others I’ve waned in keeping up with the plot recently. After 30+ books you’re bound to hit some Heresy fatigue no matter how deeply immersed in the lore you are. It was also around this time that Black Library started releasing a number books made up of multiple short stories. Although some were enjoyable, they weren’t long enough to really get invested in. They also tended to be a bit all over the place in terms of narrative and time line and became an additional speed bump in my reading progression.
The release of the Horus Heresy series on Audible does make keeping up to date with developments in the overarching Heresy plot a lot easier, as you can just pop it on in the background. A good point is that it makes for some great listening material when you’re doing some hobby progress!
If you’re new to the World of Warhammer 40,000 I would advise avoiding the Heresy for now. As there is a lot going on in the Horus Heresy books with many places, characters and events from 40k myth and legend appearing, the importance and significance of which may be lost on newcomers to 40k for now.
To have an appreciation of the Horus Heresy it’s my belief that you need to have an understanding of how the Imperium currently is in the 41st millennium before venturing into 31st. Although it is essentially the same xenophobic entity at heart, a whole lot has changed over the course of 10,000 years and at the core the Imperium is quite different in 30k to its 40k incarnation.
Where to Begin
I’ll echo the same advice as many others, in that the best place to begin is with the original trilogy. That is Horus Rising, False Gods and Galaxy in Flames. These three books contain the story of Horus’ fall and do well to set the scene for the rest of the Heresy.
Horus Rising: Horus Heresy Book #1
The first book in the Horus Heresy, as the Emperor of Mankind’s Great Crusade stretches across the galaxy, uniting humanity under one rule and bringing the Imperial Truth. The Warmaster, Horus has been tasked with commanding his father’s armies as the Emperor returns to Terra, retiring from the crusade.
False Gods: Horus Heresy Book #2
Following the events of the first book, Horus and his newly renamed legion, the Sons of Horus are summoned to the planet of Davin by High Chaplain Erebus of the Word Bearers. Where he discovers that the planetary governor, Eugan Temba has turned against the Imperium.
Galaxy in Flames: Horus Heresy Book #3
Horus has fallen to Chaos, convincing the World Eaters, Death Guard and Emperor’s Children to join him. Not yet in open revolt, the traitors gather under the pretence of crushing a rebellion in the Isstvan system, although in truth it is nothing more than a smoke screen for purging the loyalist elements from their forces.
What Should you Read Next
Black Library have also put together a much needed reading order. Although not everything in it is really required reading as there are so many different stories being told. I generally try to follow the numbered books, skipping the anthologies unless I am 100% sure I’ve not read any of the short stories before (which can sometimes be hard to tell).
I don’t believe that you need to read every book in the Horus Heresy series. There are some key ones such as The Flight of the Eisenstein, Fulgrim, A Thousand Sons, The First Heretic and Prospero Burns, which are all very good.
Although ask anyone what books you should read and you’ll get different answers. My suggestion would be to follow the books in a fairly close to chronological order, only jumping ahead a few at most and missing out any that don’t sound interesting to you. I sometimes tend to follow along in an almost chronological path, occasionally jumping forward or back a few.
As for my own progress, being a fair way into the Heresy series and currently half way through Praetorian of Dorn. I decided to jump in and pick up Master of Mankind as it was the next book in line. Since completing that I’ve also listened to Tallarn, Angels of Caliban and Ruinstorm with The Crimson King lined up next. I also plan on going back to the start and working my way through the series again after catching up with the current releases.
Getting the most from Audible
Audible offer a free month trial, where you are given a free credit to spend on any book you like. This book then belongs to you, even if you don’t continue with a subscription with the ability to access it when ever you like. There’s honestly no reason not to try it out.
A subscription is only £7.99 a month. This gives you one credit that can be used to get an audiobook that costs up to £29.99 from Black Library. That’s a pretty good deal if you like your Warhammer fiction.
A great thing Audible does is that if you didn’t enjoy a book you can return it and swap it for something else, even if you have already listened to it in full! Making you feel a bit safer to try out new books. I’ve tried this myself and was very happy with the outcome.
Spending Those Audible Credits
The best advice I can give is to spend a little time reviewing the monetary price and duration of each audio book before spending your well earned credits on them. As a 1 hour short story or 14 hour novel can both be bought for a single credit, I know which of those I’d rather have! I wouldn’t bother spending credits on anything under 8-9 hours in length or that would normally cost under £15. Unless it’s something that you just have to own! Just keep in mind that in some instances your better spending cash to buy the audio books.
After 3 months of having an Audible subscription they will give you the odd offer, allowing you to buy 3 additional credits for £18 on top of your subscription. Grab these when you see them! As it can translate to getting three 10+ Hour Horus Heresy novels, which works out at a retail value of almost £90 for just over half the price of one audio book from Black Library!
Audible also do a daily deal, where a novel will be substantially discounted, usually to about £1.99. Warhammer novels don’t appear very often on it, although I managed to get the fantastic Hellsreach for £1.99. So it’s worth keeping an eye on.
Time to Get Some Heresy in your Ear Holes!
That’s all from me, I hope that you found this article useful, let us know in the comments below what Horus Heresy or Warhammer audio books you would recommend.