This is a rather original title for it presents Magnus the Red, Primarch of the Thousand Sons before the Horus Heresy and portrays him as a powerful, compassionate, self-confident and even arrogant idealist during the Great Crusade, as he tries to save the population of Morningstar, a planet that largely escaped the horrors brought by “Old Night”.
A second original feature is to present his brother and friend Perturabo, the Primarch of the Iron Warriors and master of sieges, fortresses, buildings and logistics. The latter’s talents are very much on display as the two Primarchs and their legions strive to evacuate the population of a formally compliant planet that is about to be destroyed.
A related feature is the friendship that develops between Ahriman – before he becomes the most powerful and the most dangerous sorcerer of the Thousand Sons bar Magnus himself – and Forrix of the Iron Warriors.
The characterisation of all of these and of a few others (such as Atharva) is rather good and so are the action scenes, with some rather spectacular terror attacks on the remnants of the planet’s population as it desperately tries to escape its doom. The book had an interesting story to tell, one of belayed vengeance. There is, unfortunately, a bit of glitch because the second half of the book increasingly concentrates on apocalyptic descriptions and destructions to the extent that it affects the plot. Four stars as a result.