The Black Library have a plethora of novels for you to read, whether you are interested in the Realms of Age of Sigmar or the never ending war of the 41st Millenium. However, probably their most documented period of history, or should it be future, is the Horus Heresy series. I'm about 35 books into this series, and even though doubters may say that its really being dragged out, I have really enjoyed the majority of these releases.
Although I continue to enjoy this series, I have just finished reading another collection, which I found to be an excellent story from start to finish.
The Beast Arises. (Look down there, those are my copies, all sat nicely on my shelf)
A word of warning, there may be spoilers ahead, but I will aim to be as spoiler free as I can whilst reviewing this series of novels, you have been warned.
Set 1500 years after the Horus Heresy, most of the Imperial ran galaxy has returned to normal, but as politics between the High Lords of Terra turns to self serving agendas, a new threat approaches. It wont be a surprise to many of you to learn this is the Orks.
The series kicks off with 'I am Slaughter' written by Dan Abnett, and he kicks things off in excellent style, engaging you from the outset, where you will stay engaged for all twelve books.
The Imperial Fists and their successors are introduced as the main Space Marine focus in this novel, and they are prominent all the way through the series. We follow their highs and very low lows as they struggle against the greenskins, who pose the biggest threat to humanity since Horus turned his back on his father. (oops Horus Heresy spoiler there, but if you didn't know that, where have you been?)
Where as the Horus Heresy novels focus more on the front line fighters in the war, as you move through the Beast Arises novels it becomes clearer that the puppet masters in this war against the Orks are the High Lords of Terra. Each of the High Lords oversees a different part of the Imperium, be it the Forge Worlds of Mars, the Astra Militarum or the Administratum. Each of these Lords, wants to help the war effort of the Imperium, but will only commit if it results in the best outcome for their personal office.
Early on whilst reading this series my favourite character was Drakan Vangorich, the Grand Master of the Assassins, and as I went from book to book, I was not disappointed to find he has a major part to play in the series as a whole.
The Beast Arises series is a rollercoaster from start to finish, revealing shocks and surprises, that does not only open up story avenues for the future but also links to lore you thought you knew everything about. All 6 authors, (Dan Abnett, Rob Sanders, Gav Thorpe, David Annandale, Guy Haley and David Guymer), even though they have different writing styles, keep the series tight, and there are no continuity errors to ruin your experience. No, this isn't a series that engages in war from cover to cover, but the action that is present is brutal. Its the politics, infighting and personal agendas that really bring these books to life, and this is where my favourite character really comes into his own!
So in conclusion, and sorry that I've been a little vague in my descriptions, but I didn't want to spoil anything. This series is brilliant, full of all the action you could need and while you get your breathe back it has an abundance of 'behind the scenes' looks at how the High Lords of Terra plot the Imperium's dominance, whilst doing everything in their power to do whats best for them.
Go buy/borow/rent these books and then go and paint yourself some Primaris Imperial Fists, they'll need the new recruits ;o)
Right I'm off to play my first game of Warhammer 40,000 8th edition tonight, I'll try and remember to take some pictures and let you know what I think.