Abhinav's Reviews > Butcher's Nails

Butcher's Nails by Aaron Dembski-Bowden
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's review
May 22, 2012

it was amazing
bookshelves: black-library, science-fiction
Read in May, 2012

Shadowhawk reviews the latest Horus Heresy audio drama, Butcher’s Nails, a tale written by Aaron Dembski-Bowden that explores the psyche of Primarch Angron and his relationship with his brother, Lorgar Aurelian.

“This is a fantastic example of that which is Aaron Dembski-Bowden’s strength: exploring the relationships between Primarchs. A must have for any Horus Heresy/Warhammer 40,000 fan.” ~The Founding Fields

My experience with Aaron’s previous audio drama, Night Lords: Throne of Lies, was infamously bad. Infamously bad in that I really didn’t enjoy it on any level and found very, very few things to like about it. The review somehow went viral in a sense and resulted in a fair bit of hate mail and negative commentary directed towards me. That was the closest I’ve ever come to being depressed by reviewing, which I do as a hobby and I was almost put off reviewing any of Aaron’s work. It seemed that people had entirely neglected to take into account my thoughts on Soul Hunter which I ranked quite highly. Ah well. So it was with a LOT of trepidation that I plugged in Butcher’s Nails a few days ago and began listening. My expectations weird towards the negative and try as I might, I couldn’t bring myself to be even neutral for it.

This is definitely the one time I’m glad to have been proven entirely wrong.

Butcher’s Nails is Aaron’s first Horus Heresy audio drama, and his fourth published story for the setting. What’s one of the things going for him here is that he has stuck to variety because this time he’s tackled an entirely different Primarch and legion: Angron of the World Eaters. The other thing is that he has stuck entirely to his strength and delved into the psychology of a Primarch and his relationship with his sons, his servants and his brothers. That strength was the defining aspect of The First Heretic, Aurelian and Savage Weapons. It holds true here and consequently, Butcher’s Nails became a top-of-the-mark audio drama for me.

To be honest, Angron has never interested me, although his legion of crazed Khorne-loving killers has. So it was always going to be interesting for him to get any amount of page-time in the Horus Heresy novels. His portrayal so far has been rather neutral in that it has stuck to his typical characterisation. One of the questions I had going in was if Aaron was going to challenge my perception of the Red Angel or not and whether he would bring something new to the table where he is concerned. The question was answered from the very first moments of the audio drama when Angron is contemplating destroying the Word Bearers fleet and Lorgar with it. Talk about a momentous, shocking beginning. I was hooked from thereon.

Full review up on The Founding Fields at:


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