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Valdor: Birth of the Imperium

The Horus Heresy
Length: 6 hrs and 16 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (29 ratings)

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Summary

A Horus Heresy character novel.

Constantin Valdor is the chief of the Emperor's Custodian Guard and is among the closest of His companions. As the wars of Unity come to their end, Constantin faces his greatest challenge, as dark deeds are required to pave Mankind's road to the stars.

Listen to It Because:

Delve into the era of the Unification Wars and discover Constantin Valdor's role in bringing about the Imperium of Mankind in an unmissable novel by Chris Wraight!

The Story:

Constantin Valdor. It is a name that brings forth images of heroism, honour and peerless duty. For it is he who commands the will of the Legio Custodes that most esteemed and dedicated cadre of elite warriors. He is the Emperor’s sword, His shield, His banner and he knows no equal. Clad in shining auramite, his fist clenched around the haft of his Guardian Spear, he is the bulwark against all enemies of the throne, within or without. Nearing the end of the wars of Unity, Valdor’s courage and purpose is put to the test as never before. The petty warlords and tyrants of Old Earth have been all but vanquished, and the Emperor’s armies are triumphant. What now for the nascent Imperium and what fate for its forgotten soldiers, its Thunder Warriors and armies of Unity? A new force is rising, one which shall eclipse all others and open the way to the stars. But change on Terra is seldom bloodless, and for progress to be ensured darker deeds are necessary. 

Written by Chris Wraight. Narrated by Steven Pacey, Jonathon Keeble, Katy Maw and Toby Longworth.

©2019 Games Workshop Limited (P)2019 Games Workshop Limited

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Past Is The Future

Valdor: Birth of the Imperium is a very difficult book to review and to describe. It is certainly one of the more important 40k books of late. To sum up, this is a an important history book that will read like gold to the mature lore-fans while it disappoints the bolter porn. If you want lots of action, don't get this book as it is much more!

To start off, the book is very unconventional in topic, delivery and format. I am pleased to say that it does all these successfully.

First, the book covers very early Imperium history and as such is a true rarity that has been much anticipated and perhaps much needed. The early history of 40k is truly fascinating and at this stage probably far richer than the current setting. The book truly hums of mystery - early Terra is a place that is utterly fascinating and very strange. There is so much amazing lore that I don't know where to begin. All I can say is that at this point, the best content of 40k might well reside in the past and is certainly worth more exploration (Black Library, please). For lore-nerds, the book does not per se offer anything radical but is a very compact history anthology that brings clarity into the nebulous past. Even more strangely, the book is rather short. Personally, I found this a good thing because +10 hour books rarely remain dynamic but this will inevitably be divisive. However, given its current price at the time of review, it is quite expensive considering its length while of course 99% use Audible Credit over money. The length is an issue and there is so much that it could have contained but it covers one historical event quite dynamically.

Second, the book format is equally very peculiar, because it truly reads like a history report. This is something that will make lore fans jump for joy but those who want to read endless fantastical battle depictions will not find this 'entertaining'. Considering myself as a more mature 40k fan, I am pleased with the format of the book. Chris Wraight was certainly the right man for the job and overall his writing cannot be criticized although his delivery is surprisingly formal and way less lyrical than on his many other books. This is understandable, because this is essentially an in-universe history book (which very few fantasy settings could ever pull off).

Third, the delivery is also very peculiar because as can be noticed, the book is narrated by several actors. For most, the book reads like a conventional audio book with a single reader (Steven Pacey) while on many parts, it is essentially a small drama production with multiple readers, sound effects and filters. The delivery is very peculiar but it works; the drama parts are done with taste and moderation. They don't steal the show but contribute to it. At first, I was actually going to give the Performance less stars because the delivery felt a bit strange and I found Pacey's delivery too official, almost downright boring. Then I realized that the book truly is an epic account of fictional history and he with his relatively formal delivery honors this idea.

Overall, Valdor: Birth of the Imperium is a peculiar book with a possibly monumental prediction. 40k lore is massively rich in its nebulous past and hopefully more books will be focused on that with Valdor being the wave-breaker. The book is also peculiar in its format and delivery but somehow it all works! It is possible that I will still update this review one way or the other as this was just my initial feeling.

5 people found this helpful

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Too short, too good.

Every 40k fanboy wanted a little love shown to the emperor's most loyal companion, his infallible protector and one of his few true confidants. Frankly he deserves a full book series to himself. Alas he had not been shown the love he is entitled to imo.

Now down to the actual book itself. Do not think this book will be filled with epic lore filled conversations between the big 3. Both the sigilite and the emperor make some tantalising yet all too brief appearances, their conversations with our man are very interesting but this book is about Valdor and his legion. My guess is that the author didn't want anything to over shadow our main protagonist, so this is very much a story of Valdor and an insight into his and the early custodians own role in the creation of the empire, and to that the book does it very well indeed.

But By the emperor it's not enough! Even though the story is well rounded and the combat is epic and satisfying, I still want a deeper insight into one of the most enigmatic of characters in our 40k universe. Let's hope he and the other 2 get more love in the near future.

As usual the voice acting is fantastic, I expected nothing less from the black library, not much else needs saying, anyone thinking of giving this book a listen will already be well versed in the whole black library team and their frankly, unmatched quality and consistency.

Get this book but temper your expectations.

3 people found this helpful

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Nice

Not bad but quite a short story. Enjoyable but not a deep story should have been half a credit not one.

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Short but sweet

100% agree with the indepth review thats up on audible, only wanted to add the welcome new addition of Steven Pacey (THE BLOODY NINE) to Black Library already great narrators. More of both please

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  • Christopher Bruner
  • 01-04-20

Well done. I was hoping for more lore.

I was hoping for more Lore about the old battles, a discription of the battle between the thunder warrior and the custodes. I didn't learn anything I didn't already know. I wish more artistic licence was used towards the character development. The only real character with a story were ultimately inconsequential.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Raymundo
  • 02-04-20

FIGHTING while Constipated!

That was an EXCELLENTLY performed story to listen too,well done🤙👌👏👏👏👏👏👏👏👏👏👏👏👏 Not just the oration but the writing is damn good as well. thank you

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  • Anonymous User
  • 02-04-20

Great, but not what I expected.

Not quite what I hoped for. It left me with more questions than answers. I hoped for more insight into Valdors own creation, creation of the Custodes and behind the scenes of the early Thunder Warriors/Primarchs/Astartes etc.

There was some of that sure. But most of it was still from the perspective of a mortal, of an outsider.

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  • Sam Breitenbauch
  • 01-04-20

wooow! Amazed and I want more!

Excellent narration and performance. As is the norm for black library works. The story was great. Very enlightening. I would advise not to introduce some to the grim dark with this however. A great book though for fans and players of 40k 30k and any one who loves the lore especially.

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 31-03-20

Loved it.

I've always found Valdor to be very bland during my readings of the Horus Heresy but this book really make me both like and understand him better. Very good book.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 31-03-20

I am amazed

Loved it, amazing revelation on the birth of the Imperium :) a must read for every 30k and 40k fan. Don't be a heretik-traitor, read it NOW :)

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  • snozek
  • 29-03-20

great lore

If you have ever wondered what the young imperium of man looked like, this is your book.

From the closing out of the Thunder Warriors to the change over from human administrations to the administratum of the imperium of man, this answers those questions.