The Horus Heresy series continues in Graham McNeill’s epic Mechanicum. Graham McNeill is one of the Black Library’s “dream team” writers. The other members of the trio include the hyper-prolific Dan Abnett and Ben Counter. The trio wrote the first three novels of the Horus Heresy series.
The first three novels functioned like a self-contained trilogy, chronicling the Warmaster Horus and his descent into heresy and madness. James Swallow’s Flight of the Eisenstein (Book Four) was a taut thriller with crisp writing and wonderfully orchestrated space battles. Since then, the Horus Heresy has had its ups (Legion by Dan Abnett) and downs (Descent of Angels by Mitchel Scanlon). This reviewer happily reports that Mechanicum brings the series back up to fighting trim.
In the novel, the readers encounter the adepts and forge masters of Mars. Centuries ago, the Emperor and the Fabricator-General created a union between Terra and Mars. The Mechanicum is one of the pillars of the Imperium of Man. The novel functions as an institutional history, similar to earlier volumes that chronicled the origins of a specific Space Marine legion. Only Graham McNeill could pen a compelling narrative based on supply chain logistics and portraits of the mechanically modified denizens of Mars that humanize them.
The novel includes many competing plots (and competing plotters). Adept Koriel Zeth wants to build the Akashic Reader, a device capable of giving someone unlimited knowledge. Fabricator-Generator Kelbor-Hal wants to open the Moravec caverns, sealed by the Emperor’s command. Finally, Dalia Cythera, a lowly transcriber drafted by Adept Zeth to construct the Akashic Reader, deals with her visions of a dragon and a secret long buried in legend and deception. During this historical period of the Imperium, there is no single interpretation of the Omnissiah, the so-called Machine-God worshipped by the Mechanicum.