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Summary

Audiobook 3 of the Dark Imperium trilogy. 

The destinies of primarch and Imperial Regent Roboute Guilliman and his traitorous brother Mortarion come together for the climactic battle of the Plague Wars.

Listen to It Because

It's the throwdown you've been waiting for, as Guilliman and Mortarion work out 10,000 years of pent-up resentment in a clash for the ages.

The Story

The paths of Roboute Guilliman and his fallen brother Mortarion bring them inexorably together on Iax. Once a jewel of the Imperium, the garden world is dying as the plans of the Lord of Death to use it as a fulcrum to drag the stellar realm of Ultramar into the warp come to deadly fruition.

While Guilliman attempts to prevent the destruction of his kingdom, Mortarion schemes to bring his brother low with the Godblight, a disease created in the Cauldron of Nurgle itself, made with the power to destroy a son of the Emperor.

Primarchs clash on the ravaged landscapes of Iax. The gods go to war and the wider galaxy balances on a knife-edge of destruction. As something powerful stirs in the sea of souls, only one thing is certain – no matter who wins the last great clash of the Plague War, the repercussions of victory will echo through eternity.... 

Written by Guy Haley. Narrated by John Banks.

©2021 Games Workshop Limited (P)2021 Games Workshop Limited

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A disappointing ending to a disappointing trilogy

After reading Belisarius Cawl: The Great Work, Haley had really elevated himself in my eyes. The book was an absolute breath of fresh air. Characterization was fantastic. Creativity positively oozed from it. The lore developments that it brought to the table, while relatively minor, were fascinating,

So despite my (somewhat minor) misgivings with the two previous books of the Dark Imperium trilogy, I decided to pick up book three as well.

What a mistake that was.

The novel is bad. Really bad.

And that's a by-product of Haley's general fatigue, I'd imagine. He had to rewrite two books on top of Godblight (Plague War and Dark Imperium) to better fit them in the timeline and it shows.

The book is flat. It's nonsensical. It's filled with cookie cutter characters that might as well be from a Saturday morning cartoon. Even Guilliman himself, who was one of the strong points in the previous entries to this series was dry, flat and uninteresting. That's not even getting into his out of character decisions that completely contradict previous Heresy-era books.

The most egregious mischaracterization in this novel comes in the form of Mortarion, however. There's absolutely no sign of the primarch we saw in books like Scars or the Buried Dagger. Hell, even his short appearance in the Lords of Silence oozed (no pun intended) with more characterization than he got in this entire trilogy. Instead that grim, intimidating, layered figure - we get a parody of him. For any scene where Mortarion appears, you might as well slap a "Poison man bad. Nurgle primarch hypocritical" sticker on it and call it a day. There's no depth or nuance whatsoever. Nor does Haley even attempt to give him any. For a series that's nominally about a Death Guard vs Ultramarine conflict, the latter receives the lion's share of the spotlight. Mortarion essentially acts as a cardboard cut out for Guilliman and his amazing Ultramarines to Worf. That and as a verbal punching bag for other Nurglite characters.

Another casualty of Godblight is its dialogue, excluding one or two scenes that I'll mention at the end of the review. Rather than dynamic or involved conversations that take Guilliman's status and stature into account , people just talk at him like he's a blue-coloured wall. Hell, there's parts of Godblight that are just pure exposition. Rotigus is a huge offender. Mathieu is another.

Although this book does offer some interesting lore developments, they're executed in such a God-awful way that's it's almost impossible to swallow them without laughing. The ideas presented could have been absolutely brilliant but their sloppy, lazy, non-sensical introduction really leaves a sour taste in the mouth of anyone who isn't the most rampant fan of the Imperium. Any book that has to rely on a (literal, in this case) Deus Ex Machina has some serious fundamental flaws in the story it was trying to build and execute. The only thing that redeems this even slightly is the sheer scale of what was revealed and how it might impact the larger setting as a whole.

The only reason that this isn't getting a one star review is because of Banks' performance and a few scenes that were the novel's saving grace. An example would be a conversation about Godhood that Guilliman has with a few choice characters very early in the novel. Another would be the daemons. Although I'm not really a fan of Haley's humorous approach to the Nurglite characters, you could tell he still had passion while writing their scenes and plot lines.

I really couldn't recommend this book unless you're really interested in the lore developments it brings. If you're anyways interested in Chaos (or good writing) be prepared to grit your teeth and groan your way through each page.

Personally, I sincerely hope that Haley takes the time he needs to reset before moving into a new work. That or he moves onto a project he's truly passionate about or where he isn't constrained by a pre-ordained outcome. He's capable of producing some truly awesome books. This however, certainly isn't one of them.

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READ AND SUPPORT

Magnificent. This book levers open the new emerging world of 40k read it if you want to know what’s going on

Many thanks

Duncan

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Excellent

Fantastic listen. Massive well done to Guy Haley and also John Banks. Probably the best 40K book to date

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Fantastic and Game-Changing

A well-wriiten and entertaining book that gets the characterisation right.

Make sure that you pay attention and read between the lines. If you don't, the ending can seem to come out of left field.

Those final chapters set up a whole new paradigm for 40k.

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So much to look forward to!

I was annoyed I had to purchase the first 2 Dark Imperium books to get the retcon but this book closed the Plague Wars in a way that provided closure (as much as can be expected in WH) and also opened so many possibilities going forward, the return of the emperor… the unremembered empire, so much to look forward to, i personally hope for a Tattleslug novella sometime soon 😉

1 person found this helpful

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Excellent conclusion to the Plague Wars

Great finish to the trilogy and so many paths to upcoming stories in the WH40K. Tantalising.

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wow

READ THIS BOOK IMMEDIATELY! ! like seriously read this book I'm not even joking thanks me later

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It's absolutely great! Just not a perfect end.

This is the third or 4th time i have listened to this trilogy but the 1 time i finished this last book in the Dark Imperium trilogy.
I don't know what i expected or rather what i wanted to be possible.
The first 2 books are BRILLIANT and give the pure essense of WH40k while clearly marking that WH40k is evolving inte something completely new, ending what everyone had grown accustomed to.
Ending the stagnation of the lore and giving us a fair amount of prophetic hints of the future of the WH40k story line.
If you're open minded, perceptive, wise to the lore and have a bit of fantasy you can even see a few hints of how the author teases that there might be plans for the great conclusion, to what? That remains to see.
But apart from that i expected more of a climactic, EPIC resolution to a duel/war that has been a long time coming!
But it is AMAZING and WONDERFUL even if it didn't live up to what i wanted.
But if the story leads into what the trilogy hints, then a lit of AWESOME EVENTS are about to happen in the near future.
which would make me extremely happy to see one day!

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  • Skegg
  • 07-06-21

Fell asleep in the story

Lore and heavy foreshadowing is the only reason to read/listen poor discombobulated story. Sad end to trilogy

3 people found this helpful

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  • Ralph
  • 08-06-21

The Emperor is not a god but...

it certainly sucks to be Guilliman when you constantly insist that the Emperor isn't a god to a galaxy that overwhelmingly believes he is complete with even the demons of chaos refer to him as such.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Cody
  • 18-06-21

fantastic ending to a great trilogy

Ku'gath stole the show! my favorite character and Haley makes the plague guard so endearing!

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  • Jacob Raun
  • 18-06-21

it's all good all around!

it's all good all around! The story was great as well as the narration! Plenty of Guilliman to satisfy my appetite.

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  • Kandere
  • 15-06-21

A very fine book

I really enjoyed this. A good rollicking story. Glad they changed the timeline. It works much better. More of the same please BL!

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  • Xavier Virsu
  • 15-06-21

Wonderful

Great story that moves the universe ahead. Some awesome scenes and full of action. The performance was top notch.

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  • S. Henry
  • 13-06-21

Wow!

What a great finish to the trilogy. I am very impressed and can’t wait for more.

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  • TJ
  • 11-06-21

GW does it again!

Poor Guy had to rewrite his trilogy as a hype piece, and I sincerely hope Dawn of Fire gets better treatment.
That being said, Godblight is... okay. Guy can get a little messy. Transitions between characters and events get jarring, especially at the "climax". Some characters serve as fluff with no clear arc or consequence. Fits well with Watchers of the Throne, and segways to Great Work and Devestation of Baal nicely. John Banks sounds a little subdued and characters aren't as distinct as some other works, but it's a good reading by a talented reader.

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  • David Maple
  • 11-06-21

A gripping conclusion

Just what I'd expect from a good Gulliman novel and conclusion to a story ark. Action packed, mystery, universe building and character development. He really got the treatment he deserved and so did the Ultramarines. Kind of a let down that the previous books were retconned but let's see how they can build upon this!

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  • snozek
  • 09-06-21

Another great Guy Haley book for Dark Imperium

Being underrated is usually a function of somebody having no sort of acclaim. In Guy Haley's case, he has acclaim, just not nearly as much as he merits.

This is the 3rd book of this particular trilogy, focusing on the return of the primarch Roboute Guilliman. Unlike most series conclusions, it is a solid capstone with consistent character development, seeds planted for future books, and culminating in a worthy climax that was built over multiple books.

There are 3 general story arcs: Guilliman on Iax, Fabian on Macragge, and the Nurgle perspective.

Haley usually treats characters as rational, realistic, relatable people, not shallow or venir. This sets him apart from writers like ADB.

John Banks has only polished his excellent work as the reader, no problems to be found with him.