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The Outcast Dead

(The Horus Heresy #17)

3.70  ·  Rating details ·  1,925 ratings  ·  79 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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Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
3.70  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,925 ratings  ·  79 reviews

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Andrew Ziegler
Feb 02, 2012 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 rated it really liked it
Shelves: warhammer-40k, sci-fi
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.
Jun 29, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: science-fiction
I thought a book that looked into the world of Warhammer 30/40k Astropaths and Navigators would be fascinating. It could have been. I wanted it to be. But this installment to the Horus Heresy series was a mess. Some of the characters in this book were just inexplicable, or had backstories which really didn’t make much sense. The escape from the most secure prison on Terra.... don’t even get me started on a what a dumb joke The was. I think this book was only slightly better than Battle for the A ...more
Matthew Hipsher
Feb 04, 2019 rated it liked it
This book was ok, but there were so many plot lines to follow, sometimes it felt like this book was searching for a one true story to tell and it couldn't make up it's mind.

It was interesting to see the role the Emperor himself played in the events of the Heresy unfolding and how the psychic abilities and the Warp remain the underlying causes, bringing Magus's actions even more into focus.

An ok book, a necessity for continuing the series, but could have been better.
Jan 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Man this had a lot of very cool elements and was just such a good read.
Nov 01, 2011 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
Dylan Murphy
Apr 21, 2014 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,
Robert Mccarthy
Sep 09, 2012 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 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 02, 2017 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
F.D Helwintr
Dec 16, 2018 rated it liked it
Lo cierto es que empieza de manera bastante lenta y me parecía notar que la saga en sí estaba perdiendo la calidad acostumbrada de los primeros libros. Las historias de Kai y Roxane son difíciles de conectar al principio y eso me hizo pensar que no estaba todo bien estructurado, la fuga de la prisión y la presentación de los muertos exiliados da un punto de vista totalmente fresco a la novela, hace que todo sea más emocionante, cada página es más interesante que la anterior, es una escalera haci ...more
Brendan Davis
As always this is the rating for licensed fiction so if you're not a fan of 40k then don't take this for a recommendation.

But as far as the Horus Heresy novels are concerned, this is among the best. The book covers the effects of the Heresy on the Astra Telepathica, so we get to go back to Terra for a little bit and away from Legion Ships and assaults on enemy planets. But that's not to say it's dull. The first half is slow but it's essential for the story and the second half more than makes up
Miles Drake
Feb 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I know this book received some bashing for not being about Space Marines, but that's what made me enjoy it. I was very pleased to be reading something from a non-astartes perspective, and the Outcast Dead certainly delivered, showing a down-to-Terra approach to life within the crumbling Imperium. The characters were all pretty memorable, and I felt the action scenes were intense (made moreso by most of the participants being unarmed civilians). All in all, I wish there was more along this line i ...more
May 08, 2017 rated it it was ok
I got through this one quicker than most McNeill books! That being said, it's still not great. The opening is fantastic, absolutely loved it. The last two chapters are alright. The rest of it is just long, terribly worded descriptions of things. It feels like a filler episode; nothing really happens. Usually I can identify the point of a Horus Heresy book, but all this was was drawn out descriptions of Terra. Kind of like crappy fan service, to be honest. Just didn't do it for me.
Jonathan Strugnell
May 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
One of my favourite Heresy books. It is great to have a story set on Terra where the characters are reacting to the Heresy. An interesting look at what is happening from the point of view on an Astropath. Space marines get involved but not in the way that you think they do. There are some bits that are a stretch based on the rest of the lore but overall I enjoyed it.
Lemuel CyroN Salubo
Sep 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A very enthralling novel amidst the usual blood and gore style of writing seen through a lot of the HH novels. So much sacrifice, so much pain experienced by the charcters in it.

Page 427 - Atharva and a psyker organ?
Aug 31, 2017 rated it it was ok
It was meh, the only positive thing I have is the fact that it shed some light on the Thunder Warriors.
Eric Smith
Feb 06, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: warhammer-40k
Not badly written really but damn that massive continuity order just screwed it all up. Couldn’t get past it.
Mr. Yuk
Feb 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A very cool and very different Horus Heresy novel. Takes place in the seedy back alleys of Terra. Story, characters are great, loved it!
Mar 08, 2016 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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
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  • Deliverance Lost
  • Age of Darkness
  • Know No Fear
  • Nemesis
  • Tales of Heresy
  • The First Heretic
  • Fallen Angels
  • Mark of Calth
  • Galaxy in Flames
  • Descent of Angels
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.

Other books in the series

The Horus Heresy (1 - 10 of 80 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