Graham McNeill takes the reader to the 31st millennium, when humanity is at the peak of its powers. As the Great Crusade, led by Warmaster Horus, continues to conquer the galaxy, Fulgrim, the god-like Primarch of the Emperor’s Children Space Marine Legion, leads his warriors into battle against a vile alien foe.
From the blood of this campaign the seeds are sown that will lead this proud legion to treachery, taking them down the darkest of paths to corruption. Leading up to the carnage of the Dropsite Massacre on Isstvan V, this is the tale of Fulgrim’s tragic fall from grace.
Fulgrim is one action packed book with everything that you could possibly want in a Warhammer 40k novel. Primarchs, Xenos, Chaos Daemons and big battles. For me, this was an excellent book only slightly let down by not having a character that I can connect to.
McNeill does a good job describing the changes in Fulgrim as he is slowly corrupted by Chaos but due to the immense plot, not enough time is spent exploring the struggles that the Primarch goes through during his transformation. There are a few characters in the story that are not touched by Chaos but once again not enough focus was spent on them, so I could care less when they died.
What worked exceptionally well for me were the epic battles. McNeill pens with loving details the brutality and horrors of war. The book opens with the raid on Laeran temple where scores of Emperor’s Children are killed but Fulgrim pressed on just to prove that his legion has what it takes to complete the impossible.
Next we have the joint attack with the Iron Hands on the Diasporex, a nomadic group consisting of humans and Xenos. This part makes me realise what a bunch of arses the Space Marines are. All the Diasporex wanted was to be left alone but both Primarchs decided to make an example out of them just to show what happens when humans decide to live with aliens.
After this, Fulgrim is sent to explore the Perdus Region. There he meets with the Eldar Farseer, Eldrad Ulthran who tries to warn Fulgrim about Horus’s betrayal to the Emperor. However the Eldar realises it was already too late, for Fulgrim is already under the corruption of Chaos. Here we have another great scene where Fulgrim gets dirty and do some hand-to-hand combat with an Eldar Wraithlord and Avatar.
At the final battle on Isstvan V we see the final corrupted transformation of the Emperor’s Children and they no longer resemble the proud legion they once were. In their pursuit of perfection, they have allowed themselves to be experimented and changed into an army that lusts for newer and higher stimulations. Fulgrim realises too late what he has done and when he seeks for release, his body is overtaken by a Chaos Daemon who uses the new body to deal a deathblow to Ferrus Manus, Primarch of the Iron Hands.
This book contains plenty of disturbing imagery of Chaos and gives you a really good feel of what Chaos is truly like. Despite the lack of character progress, this book makes it up plenty by the amount of action packed into the story that can satisfy any 40k fan.