Deliverance Lost – Gav Thorpe

Title: Deliverance Lost
Author: Gav Thorpe
Published byBlack Library
Publication date: 27th December 2011
Genre: Science Fiction/War
Pages: 469
Format: Paperback
Source: Personal Collection

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The story As the Horus Heresy divides the Imperium, Corax and his few remaining Raven Guard escape the massacre at Isstvan V. Tending to their wounds, the bloodied Space Marines endeavour to replenish their numbers and return to the fray, taking the fight to the traitor Warmaster. Distraught at the crippling blow dealt to his Legion, Corax returns to Terra to seek the aid of his father – the Emperor of Mankind. Granted access to ancient secrets, Corax begins to rebuild the Raven Guard, planning his revenge against his treacherous brother primarchs. But not all his remaining warriors are who they appear to be… the mysterious Alpha Legion have infiltrated the survivors and plan to destroy the Raven Guard before they can rebuild and threaten Horus’s plans.


Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

The next exciting instalment in the Wordaholic Anonymous and Inquisitor Jenn Horus Heresy buddy read! I shall link Daves review here, when he has written it up.

Powering through to the 18th book in the Horus Heresy series, Deliverance Lost features Corvus Corax and his Legion of Raven Guard. After the Raven Guards shattering defeat at the Dropsite Massacre, Corax takes his Legion back to Terra to seek the advice of his father; The Emperor of Mankind. Tensions fly between Corax and Dorn, where expectations to not meet reality and disappointment takes hold as, like with all the Primarchs, Corax does things his own way and set out to rebuild his ailing Legion.

I feel like I can finally breathe a sign of relief with this series/ Don’t get me wrong some of the previous books have been good, enjoyable reads, but they have also been a bit sidetracked in terms of giving us a solid chunk of Horus Heresy ploy. Deliverance Lost feels like it has picked up the main thread of the Heresy saga again and given the reader something to properly consider.

Which brings me round to say that I appreciated the questions answered and raised within Deliverance Lost. At it’s heart, the novel is about the Raven Guard having to deal with the trauma of the Dropsite Massacre and how they cope and come to terms with Horus’ betrayal. There is scant few of them left to have any true impact upon what is to come and they feel helpless and divided by those who were present and survived and those who weren’t at the event itself. Corax seems intent on his revenge upon Horus, to reckless extremes. However, another solution is offered by The Emperor of Mankind and Corax sets about rebuilding his Legion.

After reading Deliverance Lost I found Corvus Corax, Primarch of the Raven Guard to be one of the more sympathetic leaders of Space Marine Astartes; while motivated by revenge upon those who betrayed him and using all manner of means possible to get it, there was more to him than just a single minded fury. The way he treated his sons felt more in the realms of a normal father-son relationship – a feeling that feels like it has been lost in recent Horus Heresy novels – and the way he apprached the Raptor problem that developed in the book came across as more humanistic; although I do wonder how this development will play out for the Legion in future instalments of the series.

Thrown in amongst the Raven Guard are members of the Alpha Legion; that have infiltrated the Raven Guard during events at the Dropsite Massacre – just to keep things interesting and difficult for the protagonists. As the story gains in pace and tension there is a real sense of foreboding. At the back of your mind, you just know that with the Alpha Legion involved events aren’t going to end as well for the Raven Guard and the loyalists as you might hope. Their presence adds a further complication to an already tragic set of circumstances for the Raven Guard and through the sympathetic approach to their plight the reader is left with a real sense of forlorn hope.

While I found myself enjoying many of the interactions involving Corax and better known characters, I did struggle with some of the other characters in the story – having no particular attachments to the Astartes Legions involved. I found having the main infiltrator from the Alpha Legion being referred to as Alpharius (I know this is an Alpha Legion trope) made him feel distant and unrelatedable; he had no defined character of his own other than knowing that he was distinctly not a Raven Guard and made mistakes to mark him out as such. So too did I find myself disconnected from some of the Raven Guard themselves, they just came across as a little bit like cardboard cut-outs. An exception to this was recruit Nevar Hef, who arrives on the scene a bit late in the book, but whose miniature story I took particular delight in reading.

Although there are other threads throughout the book, essentially, Deliverance Lost is about Corax. Throughout the book there are flashbacks to Coraxs arrival on Deliverance and about the liberation of its people from their slave-labour origins, these added a deeper understanding of Corax and his Legions preferred battle tactics and what sets them apart from other Legions. Also detailed within Deliverance Lost is some shenanigans with Gene-Tech – Corax is given some technical information that could help him rebuild his Legion in a much more efficient manner than the slow-crawl is should be. This feeds into the obsessive and compulsive nature that Corax has already shown throughout the book; his reckless need for revenge twinned with an easy solution. Corax is a multi-levelled character and it was a pleasure reading about him and finding out what drove him forwards.

Deliverance Lost took me a long time to get through, it’s not a bad book, but I started it over a month ago and, I think because of this, it felt a bit disjointed and hard to keep track of. It’s certainly one of the books in the Heresy series that I’d go back to at a later date and re-read for a better sense of clarity and understanding. I’m also taking this as a message from the universe to not read multiple books at the same time!


A great in-depth look at the Raven Guard and their Primarch. Some great action scenes and more than enough going on to get the Horus Heresy back on track. The side-characters felt a little one-dimensional compared to the main character; Corax. Nice to have a bit of back-story thrown in too.

10 responses to “Deliverance Lost – Gav Thorpe”

  1. 4 1/2 stars for a WH40K book and a HH one at that?
    Where am I? What world is this? WHO AM I?!?!

    Ok, that’s a bit much, I admit 😀 I am glad this was so good though. While you and Dave seem to have occasional good reads, my overall “sense” is that the HH is draggy and mediocre.


    • I know, it feels a bit surreal, but I really liked the developments in this one.
      Good characterisations too and it just felt a bit more developed than a lot of the other chaff in the series.
      Just goes to show what a decent author can do!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. By the end of this I wanted all the rest of the Loyalists to hunt the Alpha Legion into extinction. You will hate them more and mkre as the series goes. And get tired of the “the are better than all the other marines even though they practically clones” trope that is used and abused. Corax is an intersting character. More relatable than many of the Primarchs.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, the Alpha Legion and their arrogant, insufferable know it all nature is annoying already!
      I’ll be on the look out for that trope, cause the one in this just seemed like a waste of space when it came to hiding as a Raven Guard.

      He sure is. I found him a bit more akin to Vulkan in those respects. I’m looking forward to seeing if/how he develops further down the line.


  3. Great review Jenn, your arguments and views on this one are so close to mine i dont even think i need to review it at all.🙈.

    The only difference being that I somehow found the Alpha legioniare an interesting addition to the story telling… It still seems like Alpa’s are fighting a two sided battle the whole time, that thread being set up from the Legion novel, then again, by the end and that airlock scene i was starting to scratch my head again.


  4. I think you nailed a generic review of the whole series (or at least where I’m up to). At times it felt unnecessarily bloated with a number of books added in for the sake of sales rather than really adding anything to the overarching plot/story. I’m still enjoying the series though.

    Liked by 1 person

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