[Book Review] Shadows of Treachery – Short Story Anthology edited by Christian Dunn and Nick Kyme

Title: Shadows of Treachery
Author: Short story Anthology
Published by: Black Library
Publication date:
Genre: Sci-Fi
Format: Paperback
Source: Private Collection
Series: Horus Heresy

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From the battlefields of Phall and Isstvan, to the haunted shadows of Terra itself – the greatest war in the history of mankind rages on. While the traitor Legions continue their campaign of terror across the galaxy, preparations are made for the defence of the Imperial Palace and the final, inevitable reckoning that must yet come between Horus and the Emperor… This anthology spans the entire Horus Heresy, with short stories from Dan Abnett, Graham McNeill and Gav Thorpe, as well as two brand new novella-length tales. Learn the fate of Rogal Dorn’s fleet originally sent to Isstvan III in ‘The Crimson Fist’ by John French, and descend deeper into the darkness of the Night Lords Legion in ‘Prince of Crows’ by Aaron Dembski-Bowden.


Rating: 4 out of 5.

Trying to force myself out of the book-reviewing slump and catch up with a couple of outstanding ones from Black Library. Shadows of Treachery being one of the Horus Heresy buddy reads with Dave over at Wordaholic Anonymous

Shadows of Treachery is a short story anthology in the long-running Horus Heresy series, book number 22. It brings together a handful of the ‘big names’ amongst Black Libraries authors, such as Dan Abnett, Aaron Dembski-Bowden, Gav Thorpe and Graham McNeill. All together, there is a bit of an Imperial Fist and Night Lord focus in this anthology, both of which seem to have skimmed on content in previous books in the series so it felt good picking up these particular Legions.

The Crimson Fist – John French

The first of the short stories in the collection features the Imperial Fists, Sigismund returned to Terra bringing much needed reinforcements while other members of the Imperial Fists remain behind fighting against the Iron Warriors – bringing that whole castle building/destroying rivalry to the fore. It’s a great story to kick off the whole book. Also brings enlightenment to some of the attitudes addressed in Sigismund. I never really liked Dorn as a Primarch, and this story just rammed that thought home. There were sections of this story that were presented in first person; fully admit, I am not such a fan of this point of view and I don’t know if it was entirely successful in this story. Can we truly get into the head and understand a transhuman Astartes Warrior?

The Dark King – Graham McNeill

The story in which Curze goes mad and killed Space Marines left, right and centre, despite this being pre-heresy. I found the actions of Curze in this novel diminished a lot of the impact/horror of Space Marine civil war. Really, it highlights just how mad Konrad Curze is and gives a decent insight into the Primarch of the Night Lords and their particular, brutal, art of warfare and control of compliant worlds. Its insightful, and we also get to see Dorn and Curze have a face off.

The Lightning Tower – Dan Abnett

Rogal Dorn features in this story and faces the reality that Horus is making his way to Terra and its up to him to defend the Palace; by covering it in the most impressive castle walls that anyone has ever seen! This was a short introspective story that also features Malcador. Dorn is a bit of a rigid character and it was good to read about his thoughts and emotions in this short story; especially compared to the impression he left in the previous stories.

The Kaban Project – Graham McNeill

I struggled with this particular short story. It features the emerging civil war on Mars and discusses the use of AI. Overall, I’m not really sure what it added that Mechanicum hadn’t already covered? It was an interesting insight into why Abominable Intelligence is banned in the 40k universe though.

Raven’s Flight – Gav Thorpe

Raven’s Flight takes place after the drop site massacre on Isstvan and the remaining members of the Legion are trying to survive in the caverns and mountains. It shows Corax fighting alongside his Legion in some very bad-ass ways. If I recall correctly, it’s also the first time that Horus openly declares he’s going to go kill The Emperor? Alongside the fighting one of the Imperial Army officers starts having odd visions that Corax is in deep trouble and betrays direct orders to go to the rescue. This was an epic short story that was fast paced and a thrill ride of events.

Death of a Silversmith – Graham McNeill

One of the shortest stories in the anthology, but one of my favourites. This one takes us back to pre-heresy with an anonymous commissioner asks a silversmith to create tokens. They’re a simple design but the remembrancer works tirelessly on them; only for him to meet his doom. This one offers an insight into the character Hastur Sejanus, who is mentioned in the earlier novels of the Horus Heresy series but isn’t alive to take part! He’s mentioned to be a kinder-hearted Space Marine and this short story informs that aspect of him.

Prince of Crows – Aaron Dembski-Bowden

This story introduces us properly to the Night Lords’ character Sevatus. A highly entertaining story with a lot of wacky action and character-related drama as Sevatus tries to manipulate things to his own ends while Curze is doing things behind the scenes (can’t remember if he was injured or just being mad) It’s a highly entertaining read as Sevatar does some pretty mental stuff!


Honestly, this review is why you shouldn’t leave it a month or more between reading a book and writing the review for it. I had to have a flick through my copy of the book in order to remind myself what a lot of these stories were about.

I remember this being a decent collection where all of the stories are pretty good. I just can’t remember enough to put into the review to express my enthusiasm. Whoops

5 responses to “[Book Review] Shadows of Treachery – Short Story Anthology edited by Christian Dunn and Nick Kyme”

  1. At times I prefer the anthology books. You get to jump around and each story has a sense of completion. And if I’m not into he story, I can skip it. Thanks for tye reminder of this book.


    • Yeah, I’ve been preferring the anthologies as well to be honest.
      Some stories don’t need to be long or they start to feel drawn out.

      Thanks for commenting. 😀


    • I’d be lying if I said I’d read any more of it. 😬
      I just don’t know what it is about it, I’m just not enthused by the idea of picking it up.
      I’ll try and push myself with it today, see if I can get anywhere.

      Thanks for the compliments, hope you’re having/had a good time in SA.

      Liked by 1 person

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