Reading the Horus Heresy, Book 19: “Know No Fear” by Dan Abnett

I know I’m late to the party, but I finally decided to start reading the “Horus Heresy,” a huge series of novels set in the universe of Warhammer 40,000 (though it is set much earlier than the year 40,000). I thought it would be awesome to blog the series as I go. With more than 50 novels and many, many short stories, there will be a lot of posts in this series (I doubt I’ll get to all the short stories). I’m reading the series in publication order unless otherwise noted. There will be SPOILERS from the books discussed as well as previous books in the series. Please DO NOT SPOIL later books in the series.

Know No Fear by Dan Abnett

Dan Abnett wrote a little bit after the end of the book in the edition I have. Basically, he says that after some reader complaints about Prospero Burns, he felt cathartic burning everything in Know No Fear with an epic slugfest of battle that is largely unrelenting through the whole book. I mean, yes, this is exactly it. My problems with Prospero Burns wasn’t that it didn’t have enough action; rather, as I point out in my review, it’s that the book is advertised as something it manifestly is not. Anyway, all of that said, it was actually quite nice to read Know No Fear, which is basically a lengthy, massive battle with pieces of plot intermixed in it.

Here we have the Ultramarines caught unaware. They don’t know about the heresy spreading across various parts of the Empire, and the Word Bearers launch an unprovoked pre-emptive attack on Calth, one of the worlds of the Ultramarines. The scenes are utter chaos start to finish, with massive spaceships blasting apart, daemons being fought in corridors, brother turning against brother, and almost relentless destruction being waged across the planet and above it.

The novel does have character development and plot throughout the story. Whether it’s from members of the Ultramarines bonding as they fight daemonic forces or looks into the Word Bearers’ side of the conflict, there is quite a bit going on here. Ultimately, though, the draw of the novel is to read about some serious, powerful fighting between space marines and heretics.

The battles are truly epic to behold. Whether it’s visions of massive spaceships slugging it out and being boarded or action on the ground, each scene is pulse-thumping action throughout. Abnett is masterful and writing these kinds of scenes and it’s nice to see him apply himself with such vigor to it.

Know No Fear is an action-packed entry in the Horus Heresy that moves the story forward in impactful ways.

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