Book Review: The Flight of the Eisenstein by James Swallow

The Horus Heresy books are a pretty large series (54 books, WTF!) and so, being perfectly honest, I haven’t read all of them. I doubt many people have! Despite being one of the earlier books in the series, (the fourth, in fact) I hadn’t read The Flight of the Eisenstein – but I wish I had earlier. It is, I think, one of my favourite ones in the series!

The Flight of the Eisenstein centres around the trials of Battle-Captain Nathanial Garro of the Death Guard legion as he battles to survive the initial salvoes of the galaxy spanning civil war that would become known as the Horus Heresy. A loyal servant to the Imperium of Man, Garro and a small number of marines under his command refuse to join the rest of his legion and his Primarch commander in their betrayal, and it will take every ounce of his courage, faith and ability to escape and bring warning of the traitors to Terra.

As with almost all the Horus Heresy and Black Library books I have read, the writing style is very easy to fall into. It is fast and simple but very effective. Sure, it isn’t a literary master piece and that is okay. They’re fun books to jump into, especially as someone who grew up with and loves Warhammer lore. They entertain you and what more can you want?

One thing that really jumps out to me about The Flight of the Eisenstein is the closeness and intimacy of the story. The Horus Heresy is full to the brim with demi-god Primarchs, massive titans, towering daemons and huge legions having epic battles as they fight for the soul of humanity. This story doesn’t have all that, except the part of fighting for the soul of humanity. The core of the story is Garro, a small crew of humans and the remainder of his Space Marines/Adeptus Astartes (genetically engineered super soldiers) escaping and the moral dilemmas this unleashes within them. Who should they be loyal to: their Emperor? Their brother marines? Their Primarch? How can they piece together the horrors of the Warp they encounter with the scientific Imperial Truth that is at the core of the Imperium of Man.

The other thing that jumps out for me here is that, as a rule, Space Marines can often punch their way out of most problems. But not in this book. Garro comes against forces far greater and stronger than him and he must rely on his wits and courage and faith in humanity to see him through. That’s not to say he doesn’t fight against things here, it is a Warhammer 40k book, but it isn’t all epic battles that some books seem to be. Ironically, earlier in the year I said that I really enjoyed The Crimson Fist because it was basically a huge space battle. But I’m human and I demand the right to not be consistent!

Overall, I’d definitely recommend this book. As I said earlier, it might now be one of my favourite books in the series that I have read as it is a bit different. But despite this, it still maintains the fun, fast-paced feel that you expect from a Black Library book.


5 thoughts on “Book Review: The Flight of the Eisenstein by James Swallow

  1. Ollie

    Ooh, cheers! I’m going through them in order actually, very slowly (aside from skipping ahead to The First Heretic because I had it, and it’s Aaron Dembski-Bowden so had to be done). Descent of Angels is up next, it’s sat on my shelf ready!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: A Beginner’s Guide to the Horus Heresy Novels – Book Reviews | Jack's Bedtime Reading

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