Fabius Bile: Primogenitor by Josh Reynolds is a masterpiece and a must read for Emperor's Children fans. Although the story is set in the current 40K timeline, numerous references are made to previous events that occurred before, during and after the Horus Heresy.
The plot centers around a previous protegee of Fabius named Oleander who is a former III legion apothecary. Oleander is now in the service of a Slaaneshi chaos warlord called The Radiant. He seeks to draw his former master into an epic undertaking that could reshape the future of the Emperor's Children.
The book is notable for giving rare insight into many aspects of Chemosian and III legion culture, practice and history. The novel also does an admirable job of spinning a patchwork of different source materials into a seamless whole. Josh Reynolds has obviously done his homework, and also does not hesitate to add creative flourishes of his own to advance the lore of the story. While he does echo certain well worn chaos tropes from Aaron Dembski-Bowden and Graham McNeil, when he does so it helps mesh this story as part of the overall narrative.
No less masterful is the author's sensitive handling of the reader's sensibilities. Portrayals of the fallen Emperor's Children can easily slide into lurid depictions of senseless hedonism, body horror and cartoon villainy without greater purpose. Fabius Bile is foremost a scientist and a pragmatist, and one finds oneself surprisingly sympathetic to his motivations and perspective, if not even identifying with him as an antihero.
A very impressive journey and one well worth the effort.
I give Fabius Bile: Primogenitor **** out of five.
- ▼ December (6)