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Vulkan Lives

(The Horus Heresy #26)

3.64  ·  Rating details ·  1,346 ratings  ·  93 reviews
The latest title in Black Library's bestselling series, the Horus Heresy.In the wake of the Dropsite Massacre at Isstvan V, the survivors of the Salamanders Legion searched long and hard for their fallen primarch, but to no avail. Little did they know that while Vulkan might have wished himself dead, he lives still. As the war continues without him, all eyes turn to Ultram ...more
Paperback, 416 pages
Published August 2013 by Games Workshop
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Average rating 3.64  · 
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 ·  1,346 ratings  ·  93 reviews

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Callum Shephard
Jul 26, 2013 rated it it was ok
It goes without saying that the Horus Heresy has had a turbulent history. For every Fulgrim we have had a Nemesis, for every Betrayer we have had a Descent of Angels, and for every glowing success a sub-par instalment. It’s unfortunate then that coming off two of the series’ best, Vulkan Lives is easily one of the weakest books of the Horus Heresy.

Divided between the events of the Great Crusade, Drop Site Massacres and a time of the legion’s shattering; the tome explores the nature of the Salama
Nov 29, 2013 rated it did not like it
Shelves: reviews
This book is bad. It's bad as a novel, it's bad as a piece of genre fiction, it's bad as the 26th book in an increasingly bloated series of books, and it's bad as a glorified advert for toy soldiers.

Vulkan Lives, I can safely say, is a bad book.

It is a bad book for a multitude of reasons. Let me count the ways.

Firstly, it's book 26 in a series. This suggests to the casual reader that the author would have a grasp of the series' (are we into saga yet?) characters. That he'd understand the lore. T
The Review:

An entertaining novel with a brilliant premise that, whilst not quite delivering its full potential, offers a great look into two principal characters – Vulkan himself, and Konrad Curze, the Primarch of the Night Lords.” ~Bane of Kings, The Founding Fields

"In the wake of the Dropsite Massacre at Isstvan V, the survivors of the Salamanders Legion searched long and hard for their fallen primarch, but to no avail. Little did they know that wh
Sarah Davis
Aug 25, 2013 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Steven Foot
Apr 13, 2018 rated it it was ok
Vulkan Lives - a misleading title that does an otherwise decent book a disservice.

As something of a fair weather Warhammer fan in the past I had left many of the Horus Heresy books alone. Warhammer was very much a part of my childhood and had influenced my early passion for fantasy/sci-fi that also came with some very hard and painful memories from a somewhat turbulent childhood. For me Warhammer had been for many years the source of equal amounts of pain and pleasure; there was so much of the
Lee Rawnsley
Mar 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed the book nick has done a great job of bringing two primarchs together that reveals a bit more about them and their mindsets also the other story shows how the survivors from react to the loss of their primarchs and forge a new direction from the betrayal at isstvan V ,
Nov 04, 2014 rated it it was ok
I wonder how long the Heresy will be stretched out until the "final showdown" with Horus and the Emperor? I think the answer is simple, as long as people keep buying the books.

What I think would be fairer to readers is to have concluded the Heresy in 4 or 5 books then all these other titles could be still offered as filler and back-story for the "super-fan".

With that in mind, I quite enjoyed this tale...It was ok. It didn't have any ground-breaking revelations nor does it really give you anythin
Nov 14, 2013 rated it liked it
Okay I've noticed a lot of negative reviews on this one, but I thought it was quite good. Definitely on the mid level though, it's main failing is that it takes so long for anything to resolve, and with very little action (well action we care about, i.e not reading yet more accounts of bloody Isstvan)
It was nice to get some proper face time with Vulkan, and also Curze, who I only really remember from the dark angels theater of operations. I liked the resolution to the Vulkan perspective storylin
Alberto Federighi
Feb 10, 2017 rated it did not like it
I love the Horus Heresy saga.
If there's one author that almost makes me throw the whole thing out of the window, is Nick Kyme; if there's a novel that makes me cringe, it's this way-too-long, way-too-meh novel.
Too self absorbed and self important.
Badly written.
A cast of cardboard one-dimensional characters.
Contrived and nonsensical plotpoints.
The narration from the first person p.o.v. of a primarch? A gutsy choice that blows up in its face.
Definitely one of the weakest links in the series.
Again with the downsizing of previously demigod-like Primarchs :-( Now they can be injured (and killed) by just a sword strike, see the fate of Ferrus Manus on Istvaan...

Both Vulkan and Cruze feel like cardboard characters, both the over-the-top villainy of Cruze (which doesn't hold a candle to the Imperial Inquisition 10.000 years later) and the back-to-the-smithy dreams of Vulkan. And don't get me started on the "normal" Marines. Actually, I'm happy that I read Unremembered Empire first, else
Nov 13, 2013 rated it did not like it
Found this a stuttering, painful experience totally without pacing or consistency. A huge come down from Fear to Tread, Angel Exterminatus and Betrayer. I had being so looking forward to a closer look at Vulkan and the Salamandars, was especially excited at the chance to get another look at Istvaan V but was sorely disappointed. I mean, who screws up an epic free for all between Astartes?!!
Dec 20, 2013 rated it did not like it
This book does not advance the Horus Herery storyline appreciably. The center of the book should have been Vulkan and then the subplot rather than the reverse way Kyme did it. Even the sections with Vulkan grew tedious. The fact that the author, to me, implies that Vulkan's story is being made up as they go badly reminds me of the X-Files.
Stefan Fergus
Aug 02, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Probably err slightly closer to 4.5*, but some awesome revelations. If BL don't ask Kyme to write a sequel, I may storm their head office...

Full review here:
Matthew Hipsher
May 20, 2019 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 14, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2014-read
You can read the full review over on my blog:

The Horus Heresy is the one part of the Warhammer 40,000 lore that has had the most impact on the 41st millennium, the specific time of this far-future space opera/science fantasy setting that we are all most familiar with. The events of that era have influenced everything has happened since, and when Black Library began exploring this age of wonders, it was like a dream come true for countless fans of Warhammer
Oct 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
Excellent pacing! And featuring one of my favorite characters! This one really keeps you reading.
Maria Spalding
Jun 10, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites
Definitely an unexpected turn, and not one I particularly cared for but great to read more about Vulkan and the Salamanders!
Sep 21, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: horus-heresy
"In the wake of the Dropsite Massacre at Istvaan V, the survivors of the Salamanders Legion searched long and hard for their fallen primarch, but to no avail. Little did they know that while Vulkan might have wished himself dead, he lives still... languishing in a hidden cell for the entertainment of a cruel goaler, his brother Konrad Curze. Enduring a series of hellish torturers designed to break his body and spirit, Vulkan witnesses the depths of the Night Haunter's depravity, but also discove ...more
Dylan Murphy
Sep 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing
By the gods this book was something that, I think, the Horus Heresy really needed.
Though originally I was a little less than happy that we were STILL AT ISTVAAN V, after over 20 books since it started in the finale of Fulgrim, I must say, that it was extremely well done here. The novel followed a few different casts of characters, all of which were interesting, and it kept the novel going at a nice pace. The highlight for me was Vulkan and Curze, both their past at Kharaatan and their present in
Jan 09, 2014 rated it it was ok
About all I can say is "it was okay". Doesn't hold up to the true greats of the series like "The First Heretic" or "Prospero Burns". Nick Kyme is a very hit-and-miss author, though, and I'm quite thankful this book wasn't a dull grind the way "Feat of Iron" was. It did however suffer from numerous gigantic plot-holes and a climax that was so daft it was actively detrimental to the story. Kyme also seems to have developed an unfortunate habit of interrupting himself mid-sentence to add completely ...more
Sep 23, 2014 rated it did not like it
I really hated this book. It's nominally about Vulkan, leader of the Salamanders, one of the neglected groups of characters in W40k. I assumed this would be his chance to finally get some time in the spotlight; instead this book is more about annoying Gary Stu named John Grammaticus, who has already derailed two other books in this series. The result is a boring, annoying disappointment. I'm at the point now where when I see the name John Grammaticus I might just put the book down, because there ...more
Oct 20, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Very slow, very deliberate. Except for a little wobble at the ending and perhaps a little more 'mundane'/dry take on the Marines than usual, this was a lovely, grim, well delivered book. I'm personally biased on this, of course.

Still, I loved the... intimacy of it, the sedate pacing. For ostensibly the biggest 'face time' with Primarchs in any one HH novel so far, I think it was wonderfully measured. Not ludicrous, not undervaluing, yet still possessing a really impressive and legendary streak.
Graham Bennett
Aug 06, 2013 rated it liked it
Nice to see some recurring characters from earlier books, but it does require a near eidetic memory of their background to not feel a little lost when they appear. The jumping around is also a little confusing, and a long walk to the ending... which feels more like the setup for a joke at the reader's expense.
The interaction between Vulkan and Curze however was fantastic, I would love more Curze stories like this.
Oct 12, 2018 rated it did not like it
What an unrepentant slog of a book. This was, by far, the weakest instalment to date - and Vulkan is among my favourite primarchs! I only stuck with it as long as I did because I’m invested in the Heresy as a whole. First-person perspective, when it comes to a primarch, is clearly not something Kyme can execute well.
David Earle
Aug 09, 2013 rated it it was amazing
The book starts off at four stars, but once you get your bearings it becomes a very strong addition to the Horus Heresy series.
May 31, 2018 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Russell Tassicker
Jan 17, 2019 rated it it was ok
My enjoyment of the Horus Heresy novels varies wildly between individual books and authors. This is my first Nick Kyme entry in the series, and I suspect I will be prioritising other authors' entries from this point. I was excited to read 'Vulkan Lives' as I was keen to learn more about Vulkan and the Salamanders. Unfortunately I found the several story threads in the book to feel disconnected - which ruined the pacing - and generally bland. I don't feel like I got a good idea of the character o ...more
Paul Finch
There's not really a lot to say about one of these that can't also be said about all the others.

By book 26 in a series you pretty much know what you're going to get in terms of content, if not necessarily the craft with which the content is presented. This was one of the better entries in that respect, focussing on the mythology rather than boring people chut's off with endless descriptions of different kinds of armor and guns and tanks and rivets and... I know, I'm arguing in bad faith because
Ross Falcone
This book is about 400 pages of nonsense. My first complaint is that it is written in a nonlinear format for no reason. It does nothing to add to the story, plot, character development, etc. Second problem is this book does nothing to move the overall story line of the Horus Heresy forward. It just raises more questions and possibilities for the future. As the reader, I am wondering if all of these subplots and alternative story arcs are ever going to be concluded. Finally, the last chapter is t ...more
Richard Stuart
Well, it ain't literature... it's Warhammer baby!

I really liked this book though I am not sure it deserves it. As far as I am concerned, the entire novel could have just been Curze and Vulkan and the incredible mental instability wrought on both of them through the horrible course and curse of torture games inside of Perturabo's maddening labyrinth . The subplots of Grammaticus and Numeon, of Elias and Narek were standard fare and served to move us closer to the beginnings of Imperium Secundus.
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Nick Kyme (b. 1977) writes mostly for Black Library. His credits include the popular Salamanders series and several audio dramas.

Other books in the series

The Horus Heresy (1 - 10 of 98 books)
  • Horus Rising (Horus Heresy #1)
  • False Gods (Horus Heresy #2)
  • Galaxy in Flames (The Horus Heresy #3)
  • The Flight of the Eisenstein (The Horus Heresy #4)
  • Fulgrim (The Horus Heresy #5)
  • Descent of Angels (The Horus Heresy #6)
  • Legion (The Horus Heresy #7)
  • Battle for the Abyss (The Horus Heresy #8)
  • Mechanicum (The Horus Heresy #9)
  • Tales of Heresy (The Horus Heresy #10)

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