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The Outcast Dead (The Horus Heresy #17)

3.7  ·  Rating Details ·  1,501 Ratings  ·  64 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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Andrew Ziegler
Feb 02, 2012 Andrew Ziegler rated it really liked it
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
Robert McCarroll
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 03, 2017 Brian rated it really liked it
Shelves: sci-fi, warhammer-40k
I'd probably give it 4.5. The story was interesting and many of the characters were really well developed. There were a lot of editing issues that took me out of the book hence the deduction.
Nov 01, 2011 Tim rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviewed
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
Mar 02, 2017 Jean-Luc rated it really liked it
In the opening trilogy of the Horus Heresy, the III (Emperor's Children), XII (World Eaters), XIV (Death Guard), and XVI (Luna Wolves) legions enacted exterminatus upon the rebellious world of Isstvan III. The 4 legions were declared traitoris excommunicatus, and 8 legions were dispatched to Isstvan V, which the traitors had fortified. But the legions weren't concentrated in one location! Some legionnaires were scattered throughout the galaxy... and some resided on Holy Terra itself! The few cap ...more
Robert Mccarthy
Sep 09, 2012 Robert Mccarthy rated it it was amazing
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
May 31, 2015 Jacob rated it it was amazing
The Outcast Dead by Graham McNeil is the 17th book of the Horus Heresy and is a worthy addition to its ranks! A view of the Heresy from the center of the Imperium? A glimpse into the mind of an Astropath? A chance to see one of the Thousand Sons standing tall? A close look at World Eaters? This book offers all of this and more. I enjoyed this volume from start to finish.
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.
Mar 08, 2016 Dennis rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Outcast Dead, written by Graham McNeil, is the seventeenth instalment in the Warhammer 40,000: Horus Heresy series. The novel focuses on the industrial underbelly of the Imperium, particularly on the caste of Astropaths, individuals gifted with the ability to send messages and military communication across the galaxies. Shunned and feared by the common folk, they live in restricted, city-like towers and guilds, serving the Emperor until their atrophied bodies finally give away.
Kai Zulane, t
Ludivco Street
A fun but fumbling attempt by mcneil. Too slow and draws away from the main arc that we which to see. This book, for me, is the one that opened the door for all the backward looking moments the series and the contest retelling of the same events. Non essential. For the hardcore fan only.
Michael T Bradley
Jan 15, 2014 Michael T Bradley rated it it was ok
I think this would have worked WAY better as a novella. Here's the thing: I really like how the Horus Heresy books have almost always included very prominent human characters, so as to contrast with the Space Marines (SM), and, in my opinion, show how in the pre-/during-Heresy days the links between human & SM were stronger. But this book, ABOUT escaped SM from Traitor Legions who're housed on Terra, should NOT be like over a third about/from the POV of a human! Similar to Abnett's misstep w ...more
Mar 24, 2012 Tarl rated it liked it
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
Feb 04, 2014 Jeremy rated it it was ok

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
Lee Herridge
Oct 16, 2015 Lee Herridge rated it it was amazing
The Outcast Dead has been one of my favourite HH novels so far - a well-executed mystery, set on Terra, that gives insight into how the Adeptus Astra Telepathica operates in the 30k universe. I really loved the uncertain background of Kai, the protagonist, and his tale of redemption, and I thought it was a clever way of approaching the story. Graham McNeill isn't quite as adept in writing gorgeous prose as Dan Abnett but this is McNeill's most Abnett-like so far in the HH books. It was also cool ...more
Jan 10, 2012 Derek rated it really liked it
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
Oct 15, 2014 Andy rated it really liked it
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
Nov 02, 2012 Martin rated it it was amazing
"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
Dylan Murphy
Apr 21, 2014 Dylan Murphy rated it really liked it
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,
Jul 08, 2015 Hon rated it it was amazing
"'I hear it' says Nagasena, 'and the sadness of it almost breaks my heart.'"

I enjoyed this story very much.

I think it is rather apt to say this is a story of men, due to fortune of fate, forced on to paths that were not of their choosing.

When I finished the last page and closed the book, the story left me with a sense of sorrow, because of the injustice suffered by the characters and the resignation that came with the acceptance of their fate. And yet these characters, despite that, some still
Adrian Gabura
Jan 21, 2013 Adrian Gabura rated it really liked it
Shelves: warhammer
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
Sep 27, 2014 Nick rated it it was ok
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
Mar 26, 2012 Joseph rated it liked it
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
Alex Kennard
Jul 21, 2014 Alex Kennard rated it really liked it
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 &
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
Ben Arispe
Nov 18, 2012 Ben Arispe rated it it was amazing
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
Jan 26, 2012 Jared rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
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
May 15, 2014 Tim Cusmano rated it really liked it
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
Jan 09, 2012 James rated it liked it
Shelves: sci-fi
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.
Mar 05, 2012 Tom rated it liked it
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.
Dec 13, 2015 Wulfburk rated it really liked it
Shelves: horus-heresy
Was very pleasantly surprised by this book! The last 100 pages or so are really great, but i wont spoil anything here. The pace is perfect in my opinion, and in the end you feel very compassionate to the main character, Kai Zulane, as well as to a host of other characters independent of their allegiance. This novel gives a major glimpse on Terra, starting just before Isstvan 5 and going through it.

The revelation in the end was outstanding!
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  • Deliverance Lost
  • Know No Fear
  • Age of Darkness
  • Nemesis
  • The First Heretic
  • Tales of Heresy
  • Fallen Angels
  • Battle for the Abyss
  • Mark of Calth
  • Descent of Angels
  • Scars
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 85 books)
  • Horus Rising (The Horus Heresy, #1)
  • False Gods
  • Galaxy in Flames
  • The Flight of the Eisenstein
  • Fulgrim
  • Descent of Angels
  • Legion
  • Battle for the Abyss
  • Mechanicum
  • Tales of Heresy

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