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Descent of Angels (The Horus Heresy #6)

3.48  ·  Rating details ·  4,104 Ratings  ·  187 Reviews
The next novel in the ground-breaking, bestselling series that tells the story of the Horus Heresy – the civil war that nearly tore the human Imperium apart, ten thousand years ago. This novel explores the early history of the Dark Angels Legion and their Primarch Lion El'Johnson. When news of Horus's treachery reaches Caliban, the loyalties of this proud and mysterious Le ...more
Paperback, 416 pages
Published October 30th 2007 by Games Workshop (first published October 2007)
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Nov 04, 2010 rated it it was amazing
After reading some very harsh critiques of this book I decided to give it a try - and I am very glad I did.

I have to agree that book does not follow events already set in previous books concerning Horus' betrayal.

Here author tries to give a look at the isolated society, one that has its values, its code of conduct and one constantly fighting for their freedom from the horrors surrounding them.

He shows warrior cast (very similar in almost anything to the Space Marines), people protecting the very
Jun 14, 2015 rated it did not like it
Amateurish. Long stretches of exposition dumps told through lazy dialogue between the hero and his incompetent sidekick. Seriously, its on par with Baby Darth Vader asking Qui Gon about midichlorians. Its painfully fake.

Despite the mountains of exposition, no real insights are given into the chapter. Mysterious characters stay mysterious, things not already known are not explored. The only real depth is in the pre-Terran life on Caliban. Unfortunately, that life is rather bland fantasy stuff wit
Jan 21, 2008 rated it did not like it
Disappointing book in a great series. I would not bother reading it as it has no bearing on the rest of the series.
Oct 27, 2014 rated it liked it
Not great....but not bad.....didn't like the start so much it was slow and boring but towards the last quarter it picked up.
Thomas Edmund
Jan 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
Descent of Angels was an odd tale in the Horus Heresy series. After exploring Horus Rising and a couple of side tales, the story jumps to the origins of the Dark Angel legions. At first I was a little frustrated to jump into a flashback to the Heresy storyline, but I did feel like a good effort was made to keep the story a little fresher than the more formulaic earlier books.

Overall I liked how the story portrayed the emperor's crusade from the perspective of a discovered planet it raised politi
Andy Blake
Aug 07, 2012 rated it it was ok
Poorly written unfortunately. Either Mr Scanlon didn't care, or he genuinely doesn't know how to write. It avoids a 1 star as I am quite the fan of the Dark Angels and it was good to read of the inhabitants of Caliban during its 'death world' phase, before the coming of the Emperor.

The disjointed prose spoils anything that is of promise in this book. Where a character might have been developed; where a plotline may have been followed; where some purpose and literary energy might have been in ord
John Back
Mar 12, 2014 rated it did not like it
I really wanted to enjoy this book - I have a fledgling DA Army and I was genuinely interested in their origins. In summary, the only parts of this book worth reading are the two battles, the one between Zachariel and the Caliban Lion and the battle on the planet of the damned at the end. I don't think I've ever had to endure so much filler. Scanlon literally repeats almost every single passage in the book .. but not further ahead in the book - oh no... he just rephrases and re-presents the same ...more
Waterstones Peterborough
May 24, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ben
A wonderful introduction into the history of the Dark Angels, a great read for any fan of Warhammer 40k lore, especially those interested in the origins of the Imperium as we know it.

Unlike the other novels in the Horus Heresy series so far, this book is based entirely in the years before the Heresy, giving a hitherto unseen glimpse into the world of 40k. The story follows the life of a young boy on Caliban, a death world untouched by the rest of the universe. Part fantasy, part science-fiction
Apr 19, 2018 rated it it was ok
This entry occupies a strange place in the series.

If the series had started with this entry, or one like it, I think I'd have rated this much higher. It's actually pretty interesting seeing where one of the legions began, and getting a glimpse at the earliest stages of the Great Crusade. While I wouldn't want to read a book for the origin of each legion (18 origin stories in total), starting at the beginning makes some sense.

But jumping this far back, chronologically, raises the question "Why bo
Jul 30, 2015 rated it liked it

When you read novels in a series of books you start to expect certain things. So it can be a little frustrating and off putting when you come across an entry in a series that doesn't deliver what you've come to expect right away. If you have patience with these books though they can sometimes surprise you and take you places you don't expect while still delivering what you've come to love from the series later on.

That's just what happened to me while reading “Descent of Angels” by Mitchel Scanlo
Mihai Dan
Nov 29, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Best in the series so far. It can be picked up by anyone with or without any 40k background as it can easily stand up on its own. The mix of postapocalyptic punk questlike story that nicely transforms in a heresy novel gives it a different feel from the general bolterporn books in the universe. I also enjoyed the writer style and I will pay close attention to his works in the future.
Profundus Librum
May 15, 2016 rated it really liked it
Igaz, hogy a regény négy nagyobb egységre tagolódik, mégis elég – de azt kell is – kettőt vizsgálni, nevezetesen az első felét, az Impérium (a Császár) megjelenése előtti és utáni részeket. Értelemszerűen az eleje az Impérium előtti rész, ami szinte teljesen fantasy, sőt majdhogynem egyenesen a klasszikus epikus vonal, csak a működésképtelen energiapáncélok és a ritkán felbukkanó lőfegyverek miatt nem lehet rásütni ezt a bélyeget. Lovagok, a fiatal jelöltek halálosan komoly kiképzése, kalandok, ...more
Dylan Murphy
So, the first time I read this, some two years ago, I hated it.
Nothing against the writing or characters or anything, just that it didn't really fit into the Horus Heresy. Especially following the opening 5 books, and my favourite novel of all time "Fulgrim".
Upon reading it this time, I enjoyed it immeasurably more. The first 1/2-3/4 of the novel were effectively a kinda sci-fi-y fantasy novel featuring Lion El'Jonson, and I really did enjoy it. Most of the characters were very strong, and read
Mar 18, 2009 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: no one
This is by far the worst book in the Horus Heresy series thus far.

It has nothing to do with the overall plot of the series and could almost be a stand alone novel. Hell, it doesn't even have to fit into the 40k universe. You could just replace all the Astartes stuff with something else you made up and it would be fine.

The beginning parts with the knights was pretty interesting. After that, this novel threw itself under the bus.
Jan 26, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: novels, scifi
The book introduces the Dark Angels legion ( The Lion's legion) before the Horus Heresy.
If you like Warhammer 40k it's a decent novel ( not great, just decent), if not I would stay away from it as you will not enjoy it without a good knowledge of the universe.
For those that discover the Warhammer 40k universe, it is military SF in a very futuristic universe with all the usual races of fantasy changed into alien races ( elves, chaos, orks,...).
Warhammer 40k in itself is a wargame.
Mar 04, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Dark Angels fans,
If you are a Dark Angels fanatic you will either hate it or love it. If you want a progression of the Horus Heresy events you will be dissappointed. This book is more of personal history of the Dark Angels. I enjoyed it for that but wish it would go further.

Sep 28, 2008 rated it it was ok
This book had nothing to do with the series and it kinda sucks. I don't like the thought of publishing companies putting a tittle of a crappy book to make me buy it. For shame Black Library... Lousy Limies.
Dec 18, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: warhammer-40-000
I enjoyed this (and my favorite Chapter is the Dark Angels so come'on).
Nov 19, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Feels like a set-up book, but doesn't really go anywhere. Meandering about in silliness.
Jun 11, 2007 rated it really liked it
Shelves: warhammer
...Could have been so much better.... but still not too bad....


ps. ............
Jul 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: horus-heresy
I am not sure why this book gets so much dislike from fans of 40k, perhaps they read the game guides and it did not match up or something.

Personally this is just what the doctor ordered for me. The journey of an Astartes who turns out to be a special type of Astartes from the time before the Imperium as a child on Caliban to the formation of the Dark Angels. Yes there was not much on Lion or Luther but the parts that were there spoke of their struggle. The knighthood system of honor and questing
Nick Papadakis
Aug 03, 2017 rated it it was ok
I only finished Descent of Angels because I am a completionist, but if you are working your way through the HH series, you could skip this one as it has zero influence on the unfolding of Horus' treachery. Overall - it's not a very well written book. The plot is interesting, but done a disservice by what seems to be lazy writing.

After reading the first 4-5 chapters of this book, I could tell it wasn't going to even come close to the previous Horus Heracy instalments. Being a supposed back story
Apr 05, 2018 rated it liked it
I was a little taken aback by the break in sequence with this book. I struggled to understand when this took place but mostly why. After understanding the premise I began to enjoy the story and especially the setting. It takes place in a pre-empire world dealing with their own problems before and during the coming of the empire.

The issues I had with this book had to do with the characters. Many of the relationships felt overexposed and forced. The author felt necessary to mention the friendship,
Eric Smith
Set mostly on the planet Caliban this novel takes place, for the majority of its length, long before the heresy happens and tell the history of Lion'el Johnson Primarch of the First Legion, The Dark Angels.
The description of the planet and the people of that planet is fascinating and the life and culture of them equally so. At first I was disappointed that none of the narration was from the point of view of the Primarch like in Fulgrim but after finishing the story I see that this was an excell
Craig Little
As ever, the caveat "good for gaming tie in fiction" applies.

This particular Horus Heresy novel is very episodic in structure, with the first two thirds being an enjoyable story of chilvaric knights competing on heroic quests. I'd say this is the stronger element to the tale because it's so unexpected in the universe of Warhammer 40,000 as established in the series so far.

Consequently, the final third, which is a much more conventional narrative in the worlds built so far can't help but feel w
Daniel Pereira
Jun 08, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: hh
OK, let me just start by saying that I love the Dark Angels, I find them the best chapter (or legion for the purpose of this book) with much more personality than the rest, I love their dark side and their relationship with the Fallen.
This book had so much potential, we could have seen the start of it all.
And we actually see it, but it's soooooooooo boring, and it drags and drags and drags.......
It's not a long book at all but it felt like it was a 5000 pages (nothing against long books, obviou
Derek Donahue
Jun 26, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: read-in-2018
If this book was on its own I might have enjoyed it more. Its place in the Horus Heresy is odd. I don't get the reason for creating a microcosm of the galactic crusade of the Emperor on a single isolated planet. On top of that the world is unbelievable, having power-ish armor but no cars or other machines? It took too long trying to sell me on this world, and failing at that.

The last chunk of the book was better but I didn't care for the ending. I have to say that I would recommend skipping thi
H.G. Howell
Jan 20, 2018 rated it liked it
An entertaining book, though there are large inconsistencies in terms of character voice. For the large part of the novel the protagonist we follow is a young adult/teenager and yet his voice is that of all the adult characters of the book. This issue is present with all the other adepts of his age - none speak as though they are the youth they are meant to be.

Also, the ending is rather odd and disconcerting.
Ian Fisher
Sep 21, 2017 rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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  • Fallen Angels
  • Tales of Heresy
  • Nemesis
  • Battle for the Abyss
  • Mechanicum
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  • Prospero Burns
  • Deliverance Lost
  • The First Heretic
  • Space Wolf: The First Omnibus
Mitchel Scanlon is a British writer of science fiction novels and comics. He wrote novels for the Warhammer 40,000 franchise, and novels featuring 2000 AD character Judge Anderson. He also writes a comic series called Tales of Hellbrandt Grimm.
More about Mitchel Scanlon

Other books in the series

The Horus Heresy (1 - 10 of 67 books)
  • Horus Rising
  • False Gods
  • Galaxy in Flames
  • The Flight of the Eisenstein
  • Fulgrim
  • Legion
  • Battle for the Abyss
  • Mechanicum
  • Tales of Heresy
  • Fallen Angels

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