Galaxy In Flames – Ben Counter

Publish Date: 10 October 2006
Publisher: Black Library
Page Total: 416
Series: Book 3 of The Horus Heresy
Format read: Physical Copy (Owned)


Having recovered from his grievous injuries, Warmaster Horus leads the triumphant Imperial forces against the rebel world of Isstvan III. Though the rebels are swiftly crushed, Horus’s treachery is finally revealed when the planet is razed by virus bombs and Space Marines turn on their battle-brothers in the most bitter struggle imaginable…


At the end of this book I felt a bit disappointed. Do not get me wrong, Galaxy In Flames was a well written book. It is just that I felt that I had missed something crucial in the previous two books; Horus Rising and False Gods. Ben Counter had to tie up story arcs that were started by two other authors before him. This I can imagine as being a momentous job. Things to me just did not add up. I think you will forgive me if I tread a bit into spoiler territory, yeah?

G.I.F (thats funny as the abbreviation of this book’s title in Afrikaans means Poison… We get to read of how Horus virus bombed more than half of the armies of four different Primarch legions…) takes place after the events of False Gods. Horus was lead to believe that his Father, the Emperor went to Terra in preparation of becoming a deity. At the outset of the Great Crusade it was the Emperor’s sole mission to wipe out all religion of humans all across the galaxy to bring them to serve under one banner, that of the Imperium (thats the Imperium folks not to be confused with the Emperor…). It was never mentioned that The Emperor wanted to be revered as a god, but certain stuff happened and humans being human got things mixed up and started a church in the name of The Emperor. Following the events of False Gods, Horus was lead to believe exactly that that was the Emperor’s plan all along. This was the seed sown by a guy called Erebus of the Word Bearers Legion. Horus saw through his treachery in False Gods though and this is where I got confused…

In G.I.F, Horus has formed a plan to rid himself and his three other brothers, the Primarchs of the Death Gaurd, The Emperor’s Children and The World Eaters of those loyal to The Emperor within their ranks. How it was found out so quickly, who served who, was never mentioned as well as how Erebus became Horus’ prime adviser  even after he caught him out in False Gods and told him he would make him pay. See my confusion? Horus also goes and sacrifices his main Astropath so Erebus can call up a demon so Horus can make a pact with it. What did I miss? Is there some one out there that can lay all this out for me sometime or is Erebus just that good with swindling Primarchs’ decisions?

Getting back to the book, as I have said I was disappointed by it as it did not contain the answers I was seeking in regards to how exactly the Heresy started (I might have to give these a re-read sometime). It ended up giving me even more questions. I am afraid that the books further up in this series might give me the same problems. Maybe that was my initial reason for putting of from starting this series, but it had to happen sometime. I read the first three books now and finally have some form of idea about the things that went down, albeit being a bit confused. I also read these in preparation for Angron as well as the first book in the new series called Siege of Terra, which I got from NetGalley. I have just read a Q&A by fellow blogger TrackofWords that has brought to my attention that this will conclude the Horus Heresy series starting with Solar War, I hope he doesn’t mind that I linked his interview with this review please go check it out if this is your type of thing. I find his interviews to always be well thought out as well as informative.

I gave Galaxy in Flames a 3 out of 5 on GR. This is quite low for a 40K novel, but as I have said before in my reviews of the previous two books, this will need a re-read sometime. As far as the prose goes, I think it was well done and I take my hat of to Counter for attempting this monster task of ending some plots as well as ensuring another author had other plots to work on. His writing was easy to follow, I just think my gripes with the previous books have crossed over. I hope that some answers might be given when I dive into Solar War.


I have read previous books by Ben Counter, you are welcome to check them out here:
Seventh Retribution

Previous Horus Heresy Reviews can be found here:
Horus Rising (H.H # 1)
False Gods (H.H # 2)

See you all at my next review…



10 thoughts on “Galaxy In Flames – Ben Counter

    1. nearly 80 books, counting the short stories and other stand alones in between i think. I respect that you tried it out at least and understand totally now why you left it at book 2. I am exited to hear your thoughts on Gaunt tho…

      Liked by 1 person

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