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The Outcast Dead (The Horus Heresy #17)

3.69 of 5 stars 3.69  ·  rating details  ·  1,115 ratings  ·  50 reviews
The galaxy is burning. The Emperor’s loyal primarchs prepare to do battle with Warmaster Horus and his turncoat Legions on the black sand of Isstvan. Such dark times herald new and yet more terrible things still to come, and when Astropath Kai Zulane unwittingly learns a secret that threatens to tip the balance of the war, he is forced to flee for his life. Alongside a mys ...more
Paperback, 416 pages
Published October 25th 2011 by Games Workshop (first published October 21st 2011)
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Horus Rising by Dan AbnettThe First Heretic by Aaron Dembski-BowdenA Thousand Sons by Graham McNeillFulgrim by Graham McNeillFalse Gods by Graham McNeill
Horus Heresy Collection
19th out of 95 books — 39 voters
Horus Rising by Dan AbnettProspero Burns by Dan AbnettFalse Gods by Graham McNeillGalaxy in Flames by Ben CounterThe Flight of the Eisenstein by James Swallow
Top Warhammer 40,000 Books
14th out of 29 books — 3 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,809)
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Andrew Ziegler
McNeill is one of my favorite authors in the BL stable. I like his HH stuff, and I also enjoy his current timeline works, especially the Ultramarines' series. That being said, looking back, every entry of his into the HH has been a great book. False Gods rocked my world because it was in that first amazing trilogy and it involved the tragic fall of Horus. Fulgrim, Mechanicum, and Thousand Sons were all detailed introductions into Legions and parts of the Imperium that were really never delved in ...more
The Outcast Dead tells the story of the Heresy again. But this time as seen from Terra.

The story is divided in two parts: the first part is mainly reiterating all the events from Isstvaan, and the horror from realization it provokes in the Imperial Palace. Also in the first part we get a view on how things work in the City of Astropaths.

The breaking point between the two parts is actually a temporal contradiction toward other books of McNeill. It works for this story, but it can be seen as a ser
I admit, I struggled to finish this book. Not that the concept of the book or the story is bad. Quite the opposite. It is refreshing to see a side of the Imperium that we don't normally see, especially during the Horus Heresy. Here we have the normal people (for the most part) that aren't space marines trying to come to gribs with the changes in the Imperium.

But where the book struggles is the amount of head jumping that goes on, and the amount of characters that exist within the story. I found
Robert Mccarthy
Does an excellent job of detailing how the Horus Heresy was viewed from the standpoint of those living on Terra (the canon name of the Earth in the Warhammer 40k universe). I found the cast of characters to be very well rounded. My favorite being Babu Dhakal the living legend and relic of the Emperor's ascent and attempt to unify the people of Terra prior to the Great Crusade. A good historical and canonical overview of the times. Next to the god of Warhammer lore William King Graham McNeil is a ...more
Dylan Murphy
The Outcast Dead started out extremely slowly. Though it was really interesting getting to see how the Heresy was effecting the Astropaths of the Imperium. It was painfully slow at first, compared to the fast paced novels I am used to reading in the series, but despite that it was still an interesting read. Switching from Roxanne, to Kai, to the Outcast Dead themselves kept the novel interesting.
The novel really picked up after Magnus's event on Terra. Though the time-frame of it is confusing,
This was a disappointing book. The premise is gangbusters: An astropath - the psychics who can touch minds and are the only way of communicating faster than light over long distances - receives a vision about the end of the Heresy, and a dirty dozen of space marines who were trapped on Earth when their legions went traitor have to bust him out of a Legio Custodes prison.

In execution, though, McNeil wastes a lot of time with two ancillary plotlines that - spoiler alert - have snot-all to do with
Robert McCarroll
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
I really look forward to each Horus Heresy book I can get to and this one really did not disappoint. Granted, the Heresy really took off with the first 3 books, then there's been stories pertaining to this first trilogy since then, but this one was a very interesting "side" story that has huge implications for the galactic civil war portrayed in this saga. Kai Zulane, astropath, has been entrusted with an extremely important piece of information concerning Horus Lupercal's treachery against the ...more
Alex Kennard
The Outcast Dead is a good book despite itself. It seems like it needed a more thorough edit, parts of the story mentioning events that hadn't yet happened, & some odd subplot pacing issues (such as one subplot being threaded tightly through the first quarter of the book then being abandoned until it was needed again).

Despite this & McNeill's apparently characteristic habit of creating characters that are plainly created to be killed later on, this book manages to end on an incredible &
Dirk Heinz
Time to get the plot moving forward...we are still dealing with events (from different points of view) that happened in book 4.

Some good ideas - and a move away from Space Marine-centric fiction and a closer look at what exactly is happening on Terra during the 'Heresy' are two of the best ones - but the execution is less than accomplished. The stodgy opening third (in which not a great deal happens and none of the characters are particularly likeable) and the quite frankly tedious middle third (in which, amongst other things, Space Marines inflict cartoon violence on a number of cardboard cut-out targets, one o
"The Outcast Dead is the first novel-length story in the Series to take place almost entirely on Terra. It covers a relatively short period, starting several months before Magnus' catastrophic psychic visit at the Imperial Palace (Book 12), and concluding several months after this event. The unauthorised visit is central to the story, as apart from damaging the Emperor's top secret project and the planet's defence, it massively disrupts Terra's long-range communications infrastructure. The ensui ...more
It took a bit to get used to the pacing in this book; after the first dozen or so novels in the Horus Heresy series, one grows accustomed to the fighting and intrigue out in the wider galaxy (with a couple of notable exceptions, obviously, but even those involve superhuman beings like the Legio Custodes). This was a marked change, since not only does it take place on Earth, but the main protagonist is in fact human. Not completely human, granted, but an astropath is much closer to a normal human ...more
Sean Wallace
The Outcast Dead takes quite a while to get going, starting with two seemingly unrelated preludes before the main character is even introduced. It isn't until about a third of the way through, when we see the calamity of Magnus' psychic journey to Earth, that the story really gets going, and then it downs tools for a few months.

The stop-start nature interrupts and hampers a very interesting take on the events of the Heresy. I think it could have improved without the prison break, with Atharva in
Adrian Gabura
The book is impressive, for it explores the mysterious life of the astropaths. Its a story of guilt, duty and treachery. This isn't a book about grand victories and clearly defined heroes or villains. Every character gains a will of its own and transcends the boundaries of good and evil. I really liked this book, its a HH gem.

P.S. I nearly forgot the rage about the supposed timeline inconsistency. Oh, what a bad Graham, how he dared to do such horrible lore mistakes!!!!!!!! I am going to tell to
I'm not all that certain there was a story that needed to be told here. There had better be a book that justifies 460 pages of not a lot happening.

Of interest, we get some Astartes from the traitor legions banding together, but not knowing if their legion has turned or not.

We get a look inside the City of Sight, the home of the psychers on Terra.

After that, there's not much that couldn't have been done in an aside in another book. The non-obvious revelations (Kai's secret is pretty obvious, and
Another great look into the Heresy. The secret carried by Zulane wasn't really a secret to the reader but it definitely was to the characters around him.

Edit: I've reconsidered my review and have chosen to give The Outcast Dead 5 stars. The reason? The last 19 pages of the book. I've reread them 4 or 5 times now and I finally realized that the story told was never about the secret. It was about consequences of that secret being revealed to the galaxy.

A Thousand Sons was a tragedy to it's very c
Tim Cusmano
If you haven't read any other Horus Heresy books or are not a Warhammer 40,000 fan, I don't know why you are reading this. Let's assume the obvious and say you've read the rest of the books preceding this one. This is definitely one of the better books, as lengthy battles are kept to a minimum and all of the action takes place on Terra. Saying much would spoil it, but I'll tease with the prospect of references to The Age of Strife. I'm not aware of any books that touch on this, so that fact alon ...more
M.R. Shields
I thoroughly enjoyed this book and its insight to terra. My favourite legion,the thousand sons, were also involved in this story which made it all the more enjoyable.
I did feel though that there were a few continuity errors especially with the time line of events but overall the book left me smiling at the end.
Also the last chapter has opened up the potential for a whole new line of stories regarding certain characters presumed extinct
Ben Arispe
one of the best in The Horus Heresy so far! Even though we don't see much in the way of furthering the plot of the hersy itself, we don't even see Horus in this one. It all occurs on Terra, in the shadow of the Imperial palace no less! Far too much happens in the story to go into details, but we do see the effect of the treachery of Horus has on the citizens of the Imperium. It starts out a little slow in comparison to the other novels, but most of that is due to the setup we need to see for the ...more
Rey Mysterioso
One of my favorite Horus Heresy novels.

Following an adept who learns too much about the galaxy and the future, and some cast-offs from traitor legions.

You really, really do end up enjoying and caring for these guys though.

Fitting in a world so choked in ritual and regimen that you really end up enjoying the lives of people exiled and adrift in it.
a surprisingly enjoyable read that fits into the series better as a whole than as an individual book. The symbolism was intense but not over the top and it provides further insight to anyone who may have had a few questions left over from a thousand sons. The filler got a little tedious at times but there's solid pieces of gold hidden in these pages for mythos lovers.
Michael Alexander Henke
Another entertaining entry in the Horus Heresy series. Like many of the books in the series, this one covers events that have already happened, but from a different perspective. It was cool to see the reaction to the Isstvan Massacre back on Terra. Also pretty cool to see a story from an Astropath's perspective. Finally, I really enjoyed how Graham McNeill brought in some of the concepts he used in his fantastic Thousand Sons novel with the character of Atharva.
I was expecting so much more from Mr. McNeill. He's probably my favorite author of this series, but this installment was quite a drag. The first half of the story slogged its way ponderously through waves of boringness. Halfway through, when the book became a jailbreak, then things started to get pretty good. I found myself wanting to give this book a higher rating by the end, but thinking back on how much I loathed the beginning, I had to settle on 3 stars.
Interesting in that it provides insight into how astropathic communication might work. The part about the Thunder Warrior was very interesting too, but I fear that this won't be expanded upon. A shame really, because I am really intrigued about how the Imperium came to be.

The book also gives ideas about how the enlightened Imperium of Man slowly degrades into the Orwellian dystopia that we came to know in the "future" of 40K.
Jul 19, 2012 Tom rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: sci-fi
The Horus Heresy books have been a mixed bag so far and I was quite ready to dismiss this one by the half way mark but then it really turned around. The cast and setting is much more minimal than most of the other Heresy books but this just serves to make the story more personal and the insights it gives into darker side of Emperor's history and the unification of Terra rank as some of the best moments of the series.
It was actually pretty good!
I was worried that the multiple threads of this story wouldn't come together satisfyingly, luckily I was wrong. Graham did a great job with this especially as some of the main characters aren't really that likeable. He managed to keep me reading and enjoying myself. The book really picks up towards the end and uses some clever devices. There's some nice plot development with the Emperor too which is always welcome.
Pretty slow start, but it eventually came together. Includes more interesting encounters with the Legio Custodes but that's nothing compared to the reaches this work makes into the even further past before the time of Earth's planetary unification. More is hinted about the Emperor as well. A good entry to the series which has been uneven at times and a strong conclusion.
A very good book about guilt, redemption and truth. All the superhuman aspects are in the background and contrast to actually accentuate the fragility and beauty of being simply human. In a few ways, this reminded me of elements of In Search of Lost Time. This is a very introspective work that if it wasn't regulated by genre and format could be even better.
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  • Deliverance Lost
  • Nemesis
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  • Fallen Angels
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Hailing from Scotland, Graham McNeill narrowly escaped a career in surveying to work for Games Workshop as a games designer. He has a strong following with his novels Nightbringer, Warriors of Ultramar, Dead Sky, Black Sun and Storm of Iron.
More about Graham McNeill...

Other Books in the Series

The Horus Heresy (1 - 10 of 129 books)
  • Horus Rising
  • False Gods
  • Galaxy in Flames
  • The Flight of the Eisenstein
  • Fulgrim
  • Descent of Angels
  • Legion
  • Battle for the Abyss
  • Mechanicum
  • Tales of Heresy
False Gods Fulgrim A Thousand Sons Mechanicum The Ultramarines Omnibus

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