Omnibus containing all three novels in the Ahriman trilogy - Ahriman: Exile, Ahriman: Sorcerer and Ahriman: Unchanged - as well as eight additional short stories.
The name Ahriman has lived in infamy ever since the galactic war of the Horus Heresy. The greatest sorcerer of the Thousand Sons, and protege to the primarch Magnus the Red, Ahriman's deepest flaw is hubris. His mistaken belief in casting the Rubric to cure his Legion of their curse has seen him exiled. Though spurned by his kin, Ahriman has not given up on his quest to restore his brothers from the fleshless husks they have become, and he will brave the worst horrors of the galaxy, and the Eye of Terror itself, to obtain the knowledge to achieve it. For to bring about salvation, Ahriman must risk his own further damnation and the wrath of his primarch.
John French is a writer and freelance game designer from Nottingham, England. His novels include the Ahriman series from Black Library, and The Lord of Nightmares trilogy for Fantasy Flight. The rest of his work can be seen scattered through a number of other books, including the New York Times bestselling anthology Age of Darkness. When he is not thinking of ways that dark and corrupting beings could destroy reality and space, John enjoys talking about why it would be a good idea... that and drinking good wine.
The story of the Thousand Sons is a tragic one. A Legion that was branded traitor during the Great Crusade due to their use of psyker powers. The Emperor, infuriated that the Thousand Son's Primarch Magnus had breached his psychic wards to warn of Horus' treachery, had dispatched the Space Wolves to discipline the Thousand Sons. But Horus gives Lemann Russ, the Space Wolves Primarch, false information and the Space Wolves enact exterminatus on the home-planet of the Thousand Sons. The survivors, led by Magnus, fled into the Eye of Terror and became a traitor legion. In the hierarchy of the Thousand Sons, a Legion gifted with psykers, the most powerful sorcerer, after Magnus, is Ahriman. In time, due to the changes of the Warp, Ahriman cast a powerful spell that tried to cure the curse. Instead the spell caused him to turn many of the battle brothers into empty plates of armor that only obey direct commands-the Rubricrae. Due to the failure of his spell, Magnus exiles Ahriman and his cabal. This omnibus details the events that take place several thousand years later-as Ahriman continues to try to reverse the effects of the Rubric. Meanwhile various rogue chapters of former Thousand Sons are trying to find Ahriman for revenge or for power.
It is a collection of several short novellas that combine into one massive tale. I will not spoil any of this excellent tale. From the first tale to the last-Ahriman is an excellent character. Brilliant, powerful and one of the most potent psykers in the known galaxy. There is far more "magic" that is used in this tale than the usual. While they have all the advantages of Space Marines, once the psyker powers are added it is a truly intimidating combination.
From various rogue Thousand Sons, to Space Wolves and even the Inquisition and the Grey Knights-all make an appearance in this tale. The stakes are exceedingly high and the wiles of Tzeentch, the Chaos God of Change and Magic, make for a truly complex story.One of the most mysterious traitor Legions makes a strong impression in this excellent book detailing the events of Ahriman's epic quest to reverse the Rubric he cast.
I liked Ahriman after reading about him in the Horus Heresy books, but this made me really like him as a character. Truly torn between doing the right thing and just living out his life. It is also crazy to think he is one of the longest living Space Marines. Great read 800+ pages went by without pain also the interlude stories about Ctesias added a lot of depth to him and the mission they were on.
Everybody loves a “bad guy.” Even people like myself who generally read more about the more heroic defenders of Games Workshop/Black Library's Warhammer 40,000 universe. In fact I'm a big fan of the Imperium of Mankind and the Loyalist Space Marine legions that protect it, but some of Black Library's best novels have been about the traitorous Space Marine Legions. Horus Heresy books like Legion by Dan Abnett, A Thousand Sons by Graham McNeill, and 40K books like Aaron Dembski-Bowden's Night Lords Omnibus have been some of the most exciting, powerful, and even poignant 40K fiction I've ever read. And now having become fascinated by the Thousand Son's thanks to McNeill's Horus Heresy novel I can add another set of stories to that list; the ones featured in John French's Ahriman: The Omnibus, which I just finished and was absolutely blown away by.
You don't have to have read A Thousand Sons to appreciate or understand the stories in Ahriman: The Omnibus, but I'm glad I did. I feel like they heightened my appreciation of the book because I already knew the tragic story of the Thousand Sons Space Marine Legion and loved many of their members, especially Ahriman, their chief sorcerer. McNeill introduced me to Ahriman back when he was still a loyal servant of the Imperium. I got to know him and became fascinated by him there, but French made me love him.
In Ahriman: The Omnibus, which contains three novels and several short stories, French picks up with Ahriman several hundreds of years later when his title character is firmly entrenched in the forces of chaos and wracked with guilt over the spell he cast to try and solve the mutation problems that plagued his Legion, but only made it worst by transforming many of his Space Marine brothers into zombie like Ruricae. Essentially they're semi sentient dust trapped in power armor that can be commanded by other sorcerer/psychic members of the Thousand Sons. In the Omnibus, we go on a journey with Ahriman as he seeks to rectify that mistake.
As I traveled with Ahriman and the fascinating characters he drew into his orbit I couldn't help but be reminded of something. I'm a life long fan of comics, particularly Marvel ones. Part of my living comes from writing feature interviews with the creators of their books. One of Marvel's best villains is the character of Thanos, created by Jim Starlin, and after I finished Ahriman: The Omnibus I couldn't help, but compare Ahriman to Thanos. He's that fascinating of a character. I think the comparison is especially apt because both are driven by very human qualities in Thanos' case a love for the physical embodiment death, and in Ahriman's a need to atone for what his Rubric spell did to his brothers in the Thousand Sons.
Those needs push the characters forward against seemingly unstoppable odds. So Ahriman is a genetically altered human driven by an indomitable will. It allows him to challenge Empires and even cosmic forces like demons and gods. That makes him a fascinating and even, dare I say, kind of an inspiring protagonist.
Ahriman isn't the only intriguing character in French's stories. There's a whole host of them especially Space Marines like Ahriman's fellow Thousand Sons; the swordsman Sanakht, the mathematically minded Ignis who's protected by a faithful robotic bodyguard, and Ctesias a sorcerer who specializes in summoning and trapping demons. French also includes some fascinating human characters as well. My favorite of those is the Inquisitor Iobel, who has dedicated herself to thwarting and destroying the legacy of the Thousand Sons.
I don't want to say much about the plot of the three novels and short stories that make up Ahriman: The Omnibus because in a way the entire book is one long story, and each novel and short story builds upon what's come before. So by the time I arrived at the the third and final novel in the trilogy Ahriman Unchanged I was utterly hooked.
The journey to that book and the journey in it was pretty fascinating and fun too. During it French takes readers to some legendary 40K locales and brings his characters face to face to with famous 40K faces, including one entity I had never seen brought to life in a novel before. French did a fantastic job with it too.
The stories are action packed and often have a fun horrific feel to them. Best of all though is there are plenty of organic twists and turns that unfold along the way. So, in a lot of ways, the Ahriman stories felt like great heist and caper tales. That may sound weird, but when you think about it it's pretty fitting because the Thousand Sons are tied to Chaos God known as Tzeentch, which is the god of change, fate, and conspiracies.
So if you love Chaos or consider yourself a loyalist of the Imperium you really need to check out John French's Ahriman: The Omnibus. It's a fun, epic tale featuring one of the most fascinating characters in the Warhammer 40,000 universe.
Ариман - фигура интересная. Величайший колдун Тысячи сынов, не принявший реальность Ока Ужаса, в котором был вынужден поселиться легион, и отважившийся бросить вызов самому примарху Магнусу Красному. Его смелый эксперимент по возрождению легиона оказался большой ошибкой, ценой которого стало изгнание Аримана с Планеты Чернокнижников. На этом этапе мы и встречаем главного героя. Ариман зовется Хоркосом и служит он кхорнитской банде "Терзание". Вскоре оказывается, что за ним объявлена охота бывших товарищей. Так потихоньку колдун возвращается к прежнему самому себе, ведь прежние ошибки и обиды не забыты, а мысли давно уже крутятся вокруг Рубрики номер 2. У подобных толстых книг про культовых личностей, как правило, 2 варианта сюжета - становление, расцвет и героический уход на пенсию, либо безуспешная попытка зла свергнуть другое зло. Зная, что Ариман вряд ли вдруг резко признается в любви к Императору, вряд ли стоило ожидать того, что он аки Феникс переродиться в новом свете и предстанет перед нами героем-ангелом во плоти. В сборник входят три романа, которые следует читать вместе, как единый роман. И поначалу не очень понятно, что же движет Ариманом и каковы его планы. Более того, это непонятно даже тем, кого Ариман вербует в свою армию. Не раз и не два у него спрашивали другие воины, какова наша цель, зачем нам все это? Но Ариман либо молчал, либо играл в философии. И псевдофилософии тут, признаюсь, просто выше крыши. Практически все герои любят заковыристо высказаться по любому поводу. Никто не хочет сказать прямо, как есть. "Скажи мне, зачем ты явился сюда? - Ну как же, круг солнца вышел за горизонт, и вот поэтому я здесь". Но почему "он здесь" так и не стало понятней. И зачем эти пустые фразы, тоже не понятно. Второй бич романов - постоянная рефлексия Аримана. Джон Френч уж очень любит нам рассказать о том, как в очередной раз Ариман "загрузился" по поводу ошибок молодости. Возможно, этим самым автор хотел показать, насколько ранимый главный герой? Что он не просто злая мстительная тварь? Не всем хаоситам чуждо сочувствие. Я очень старался проникнуться интересом к сюжету. У книги довольно неплохие, если даже не сказать высокие, оценки, а значит то, что проблема, видимо, во мне. На мой взгляд, основной минус этой тройки романов с рассказами в том, что по факту Френч растянул сюжет обычной книги на 350 страниц до 900 страниц. Я подумал, что если бы это была стандартная книга по Вахе, в которой сюжет разворачивается стремительно и не дает уснуть, она бы мне понравилась больше. Здесь же мы видим стандартные потуги "плохого" по канонам героя посягнуть на нечто большее, от чего Магнус так смеялся, что у того чуть единственный глаз не выпал. Скучноватый автор, скучноватый цикл, уж простите. Ожидал совсем другого. 6/10.
sigh the thousand sons, what a bunch of overthinking self absorbed madmen. To me this trilogy failed on three fronts; First I did not really learn anything new lore wise other than Ahriman was depressed but snapped out if it and Magnus is an ever bigger clusterf*ck of a character then I had realized until now. Then we have the Athaneum, don't get me started on that; at first I was intrigued as it is revealed the thoughts and pondering of Magnus are still being transcribed and a segment of the inquisition was dedicated to analyse it's content. So I was really invested to discover it's potential, but after Ahriman acquires this oh so powerful tool, it is basically useless and it's sole purpose seems to be adding more nonsense world garbles to the story that everyone over analyses (of which we have plenty already in the book). I must confess Half the time I struggled to keep up with every move made, most of the events in the book barge in and are over before you could grasp what was going on or more importantly why it mattered . I guess it is supped to be this big "just as planned" attitude but I got little more then a frown and wonder "now why the hell did they make that so complicated" instead of a "wow never saw that coming" reaction. Considering there are also a lot of dead end side stories and plots that literally lead to nowhere made it hard to be all that invested half the time.
Secondly I could not identify with any of the characters, Ahriman to me is such an overly complicated character and needlessly so for a large part this is due to the role of the inquisitor in his memories whose parts only seem to be to raise questions followed up by other questions that are answered by earlier questions ( it got real old very fast). Then we have his fellow thousand sons who are ok I guess but several of them made me ask serious lore questions, for instance Sanakth and Ignis displayed very low to little amount of warp based powers yet this perplexed me as it was lore that the rubic ritual made all thousand sons who were not warp tuned into rubicmarines and made all others into powerful sorceress yet the two mentioned seemed not to be any stronger then your average loyalist librarian. Then we have the non astartes characters, I loved the changeling who was sinister and ominous but the navigator, the broken king, the rogue mechanicus priestess only served to add more lines of musing and pondering that matters little to nothing to the story. But my personal biggest dislike goes for the surviving marines from the destroyed for no reason chapter, they were boring and undevelopped whose vague objectives and motives (which they ponder upon and on and on and on ...) made me want to turn the page whenever they arrived on the scene.
Thirdly if did not please me lore wise or character wise, I always give a nod of appreciation for warhammer books that are guilty pleasure gun and gore novels with lot of action and again we get very little wit no battles that will truly stick to mind. I was along for the ride but at some point I just wanted to arrive at the plot and couldn't be bothered that much with the journey. I guess that what it really comes down to, is that I simply don't like the thousand sons, this book is made to reflect their never ceasing brooding and obsessive researching their eternal internal struggles between accepting that the universal currents are to vast for an individual to change and the burning desire to prove themselves wrong. I get that was what John French was going for and the role of humans in this story was to show how impossible it is to keep up as a mortal whit these kinds of super human altered minds at work. That may very well be, but in the end I could not stand the continuous question asking with more questions to end up with doubts that lead to more questions. Give me the obsessive compulsive disorders of the other traitor legions or the self righteousness attitude of any loyalist chapter any day over these guys that is all I have to say as a conclusion.
It's important when writing a book with an anti-hero lead to make said anti-hero interesting— interesting enough to hold the reader through the character's evil or unpleasant deeds. Ahriman, however, is little more than notes for a character. And when other characters step in to cover for Ahriman's smaller and smaller on-page role, they are equally as poorly sketched. Typically a Warhammer 40K book can survive weak characters with a strong sense of environment, but this omnibus hasn't got that either. Thumbs down on this book.
Awesome space marine psyker action! The thousand sons being one of the more interesting legions in 30k/40k; The story of Ahriman and his attempt at the 2nd Rubric, the journey from being utterly resigned at his lowest point and the highs of assembling a warband with his brothers to try and reverse what the first rubric has done to them. Interesting to see how they work out The Crimson King in spite of what will happen here.
Another good collection. Ahriman and his primarch are amongst my favourite characters in the 40k universe. Nicely paced and packed full of explosive action while also exploring the rubric and the protagonists motives. Excellent
The greatest sin of humanity is Pride. The next is hope. Both of with are personified to their extremes in the titular Ahzek Ahriman, Sorcerer of the Thousand Sons and their murderer.
Forming a mixture of fantasy and Sci Fi Ahriman the Omnibus is the complete combination of the three books of the same name. As it is three books in one it can appear to be a daunting read at over eight and a half hundred pages, but every sentence will have you wanting more, from jaw dropping landscapes, outrageous displays of fever dream magic and mind twisting plots within plots and conspiracies.
The series takes place in the far, far future to a time when humanity had spread itself throughout and conquered the stars. The novel takes place in settings such as the claustrophobic hallways of starships, the cold twists of the Labyrinth and even to the silver spires and nine suns of the Planet of the Sorcerers. The series is a mix of pseudo realistic Sci Fi and fantasy, where technology and Daemons mingle freely. The book holds time as unimportant and dabbles in "magic" without restraint. John French paints an incredibly vivid picture in his descriptions, never shying away from making every scene as imaginative as possible.
The story follows the titular Ahriman, formerly one of the greatest of a band of Warrior-Scholars known as the Thousand Sons, until he cast his greatest and most terrible spell, the Rubric, which saw all but the most powerful of his brothers turned into nothing more but memories haunting dust filled suits of armor. The regret of this, and those of his brothers who seek vengeance haunt him even in his self imposed exile, constantly chased by the nightmares of a past he cannot escape- he refuses to allow himself to die because he still holds onto hope. Other characters include characters such as the ever interesting Ctesias, who binds Daemons to his will by splitting apart the means of controlling them and sectioning them off in "boxes" of his mind, or the near Robotic Ignis whose mind is made of calculation and geometry, to Iobel, whose hunt of the Thousand Sons drags her across the Galaxy in search of the truth. The main cast are for all their faults and triumphs not human- or at least not anymore. Genetically engineered in the image of their sire, Magnus the Red, the Thousand Sons make up a warrior caste once made to protect Humanity, but made inherently apart from it. The greatest conflict faced in the novel is the search Ahriman faces to reverse the casting of the Rubric, and setting his cursed brothers free. The trials these characters face, even with their inhumanity, somehow managed to still come across as relatable and human people struggling in the age of constant war they face and were literally made for. The cast is connected by their ties of literal and metaphorical brotherhood, as they are in a real sense brothers what with Magnus' blood flowing through all of their veins, but also to their sense of loyalty to one another and their quest to save their legion and Father.
I believe other readers will greatly enjoy the series because of the incredible journey of self re-discovery and finding forgiveness in those around you, but also for the incredible action scenes and heart pumping conflicts. A few scenes in the book I can recall had me laughing well, and several were emotional in different ways, whether sadness or anger at a betrayal. The writing style may not be up to some readers expectations, as this is largely written as an incredibly dark near tragedy of a story and there are few happy endings. All in all I firmly believe John French succeeded in his mission of bringing the story to life, and I may even end up re-reading the series some day. The book's ending felt like a beginning, like the start of something greater. Loose ends were tied nicely, and no plot points were left unsettled. The series compares as one of the best I've read, and cannot recommend enough.
To end things out, Ahriman the Omnibus is an excellent choice for those looking for both action and plot. I rate this five stars for leaving me nothing but satisfied and yearning for more.
I really enjoyed these, all of them, but some more than others. The third Unchanged is the best of the novels by far, but overall my favourite is the novella revolving around Ctesias set between the 1st and 2nd novels. He's a great character, and I enjoyed his snark. His story is the most well written in terms of prose. That was one of the major gripes I have with the trilogy, especially the first two novels. The prose seems a bit inconsistent. At times John French would launch into beautiful descriptions of places and things so much that it can become pretentious sometimes. Still, then he'd write something too telling, especially emotions such as 'Ahriman was angry'. In my creative writing course, my teacher said, 'Show don't tell emotion, as people don't recognise what emotional state they're in at the time' which I disagreed with; I can recognise the labels on my emotional state, so it really depends on 'the voice' of the character. I think it needs to be shown as well '; rage burst through him like an exploding furnace (sorry about the cliche). It's the same as stating someone being 'handsome' or 'beautiful' as long as the character is described as to why the POV character finds them that way it works. I think merely by doing that; the prose would be stronger and more consistent. But the story itself is great, complex and interweaving without becoming convoluted. It fits so well with the themes of Chaos and Tzeentch and Ahriman's character as a whole; everyone and everything is being manipulated in some shape or form by everyone and everything. The vistas of the warp and time and how psychic powers work are perfectly well done; John French makes it so alien and interesting. I think of all the 40k authors; he makes the hell dimension of the warp so much more to the fluff the time dilation. He paints mind-blasting vistas, especially of the infamous Planet of the Sorcerors of the Thousand Sons and the nightmarish dreamscapes within the mind of Ahriman. Brilliant, I think these books are a great reference and inspiration for writers wishing to write eldritch places. One of the best things about the books is the fight/battle scenes; whether they be physical or mental, they are described well but not too much, and they seem to last exactly as long as they should, while the things between the battles and fights the pacing aren't too great, the pacing is perfect in the action scenes.
One last complaint I have is that the books (and I said this in my review of Ahriman: Sorceror on here) are that they take themselves a little too seriously; I know Ahriman and the Thousand Sons are meant to be Melancholic, but a little more levity would've made the novels a lot better, I think there's like one scene that made me smile, that was one of the reasons why I liked Cestias' story so much, his inner monologue of almost constant snark was entertaining as hell.
Great story, though, highly recommended for 40k fans who are interested in the more Chaos side and people who enjoy something above the 'Bolter Porn' genre.
This omnibus is a good starting point if you want to read about the thousand sons or space marines overall for the first time. I was a great and an epic read, but I kinda regret that Ahriman does not appear that much in later pages so we don't really see him as a character - even though it's his story. It also felt a little bit futile, since the outcome of a bunch of stories is given in advance (for example you see a story is told by a character, so I know he survives). Finally I felt like the stories all weave into each other and in the end there is so much stuff to cover and think about and a few of these stories feel futile. Other than that though the story was interesting and exciting. Lots of big stuff happening, lots of epic moments, and pretty interesting characters - at least those who were introduced. All in all it was a decent read. This book did not cost me much and it really is a bang for your buck - It's 1,5x the price of a normal book, but it contains 3 books and really interesting short stories. It's a great and affordable start with space marine stories.
I like the Black Library Omnibus editions as they do a great job of adding the extra novellas and short stories. Overall I was very pleased by this series and the only real issue I have was the occasional story subplot that just went nowhere after a very promising start. I don't like spoilers so I will not go into specifics but when a character that we have followed for many many many pages just.....ends...with no real impact to the plot or the emotional impact it is a let down. I would say that happened twice in this series and overall in Black library books an awful lot. These are easy reads despite the size and overall if you like the 40K world you won't be disappointed at all.
As an introduction to the Thousand Sons and Ahriman, this was a fantastic trilogy.
The characters were great and well-rounded, however, you learn early on not to get close to... well... anyone. I loved the descriptions of the places and things but sometimes the author tends to get repetitive and some sentences are short and clipped.
These stories were intense and action-packed. It kept me on the edge of my seat and made me want to keep reading just so I could find out what the heck was going on. While Necrons are still my favorite faction, I have come to respect and understand Ahriman and the Thousand Sons a bit more :)
Pour situer : Ahzek Ahriman était le Maître Archiviste de la XVème Légion des Thousand Sons. Les Thousand Sons sont une Légion Space Marine créée par l'Empereur et commandée par Magnus. Ils trahissent l'Empereur pendant l'Hérésie d'Horus et se vouent au Dieu du Chaos Tzeentch. Après son échec lors de l’Effacement, il est banni et, en soif de connaissance, il erre pour trouver une solution à l'Effacement de ses camarades.
Je me suis sentie plus à l’aise à la lecture de ce volume, retrouvant des repères, pas vraiment temporels, mais au moins d’événements ou de personnages.
Embarqué sous un faux nom, Ahriman cache sa nature de sorcier, mais un démon le démasque et prend conscience qu’il est recherché sans savoir pourquoi ni par qui !
Beaucoup de morts, si l’on peut qualifier de “morte” une chose qui n’est pas vivante ! Beaucoup d’annihilations mais Ahriman sait aussi épargner, surtout quand il peut utiliser les êtres !
Tout pour me plaire, avec juste ce qu’il faut d’humanité dans le personnage pour donner envie de savoir ce qu’il fait et va devenir et prendre fait et cause pour sa quête !
Pour avoir déjà lu John French et pour peu que la traduction tienne la route, je sais que j’apprécie beaucoup son style et sa façon de développer le Chaos ! A suivre, il y a 3 autres volumes.
The book brilliantly follows she story oh Ahriman. It sheds a lot of light on his story and past. The plot twists in this book take place in the form of Ahriman's manipulations of friends and trusted ones. Often he sets characters on a journey that serve his goals. Said characters will try to defy him and better themselves in order to defeat him but what they gain was Ahriman's goal all along. The book then takes the lore forward with the return of Magnus the Red, an even more mysterious character than he was during the HH .