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A Thousand Sons

The Horus Heresy, Book 12
Narrated by: Martyn Ellis
Series: The Horus Heresy, Book 12
Length: 15 hrs and 51 mins
5 out of 5 stars (136 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Censured at the Council of Nikaea for his flagrant use of sorcery, Magnus the Red and his Thousand Sons Legion retreat to their homeworld of Prospero to continue their use of the arcane arts in secret.

But when the ill-fated primarch forsees the treachery of Warmaster Horus and warns the Emperor with the very powers he was forbidden to use, the Master of Mankind dispatches fellow primarch Leman Russ to attack Prospero itself. But Magnus has seen more than the betrayal of Horus and the witnessed revelations will change the fate of his fallen Legion, and its primarch, forever.

©2010 Games Workshop Limited (P)2010 Games Workshop Limited

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Damn good book but..

This book is so great, the story was well thought off and executed brilliantly. I loved every chapter in this book and I loved finding out about Magnus and his legion and even about the legion of the wolves.

My only issue is with the narrator. I wish there was an alternative performer I could listen to as this book deserves the best to bring the characters to life.

5 people found this helpful

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An amazing story about a great tragedy.

Excellent book. I found the narration let it down a bit, not for lack of effort just an unsuitable voice for big boi space marines and a beastly Primarch.

2 people found this helpful

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Shame

Great story and a good addition to a fascinating series. Unfortunately ruined by a poor performance thag utterly fails to bring any characters or personality to the story. Couldn't get through it all due to monotonous tone and the lack or distinction in character voice.

2 people found this helpful

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Listen to the sample first

The story is interesting, but I’d recommend anyone thinking about purchasing to first listen to the sample to gauge whether or not they can bear a dozen or so hours of this narrator’s voice. You might not have a problem with him; I’m personally not too bothered, but I can see how others might be.

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Chur

Narrator was a bit too enthusiastic in parts that didn't have that sort of tone but good story regardless

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All is dust

Sounded like they recorded this off a stereo from 1995, have to get used to another narrator. I still got a warhammer hardon tho.

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This does the Thousand Sons Justice

A very well written and narrated Audiobook, most of which I thoroughly enjoyed. A few times things got a little slow but overall this was very much overshadowed by the rest of this great book. I couldn't stop listening to it. Definitely worth the purchase!

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excellent story, over zealous narrating

I found the story engaging but the narrator spoke with too much excitement which was tiring and detracted from comprehending what was said in a meaningful way

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fucking fantastic

Fuckimg fantastic, one of the most interesting books from the horus heresy book series ive had the pleasure to listen to so far.

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  • Nick
  • 16-02-2018

Horrible narrator made me stop listening

What did you like best about A Thousand Sons? What did you like least?

A book about the Burning of Prospero and the Thousand Sons!

What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

I couldn't make it to the ending because the mewling, nasally voice of the narrator made me abandon the book after 2.5 chapters. He makes every character, men and women alike, sound like simpering, whiny children after they've been scolded.

How could the performance have been better?

Get a different narrator, preferably Toby Longworth who can actually capture the spirit and mood of the 41st Millennium.

Was A Thousand Sons worth the listening time?

Considering I couldn't make it through the book, I really can't say.

15 people found this helpful

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  • Tracey
  • 07-04-2019

Couldn't even finish it

I've heard that this was a good book, but the narrator did such a terrible job that it couldn't hold my attention past the first couple of chapters.
This is one that should be redone with a real professional narrator who can capture the essence of the 30k/40k verse. Toby Longworth, Jonathan Keeble, John Banks, Gareth Armstrong or David Timson are all much better narrators, far superior to Martyn Ellis.

6 people found this helpful

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  • Lambert2191
  • 28-05-2018

Looks like I'll be getting the kindle version

Got about 5 chapters in before giving up. I can't really comment on how the book is yet, but the narrator really isn't very good.

Compared to the likes of Toby Longworth, David Timson and Gareth Armstrong, Martyn Ellis just doesn't shape up.

I'm sure there are books where his particular way of speaking is perfectly acceptable, but it is not here. I will be refunding this one and urge anyone that wants to read Thousand Sons to just get it on kindle instead.

6 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Brett Casey
  • 24-01-2018

get a better narrator!

So out of all the 40k books ive listened to or read this one took the longest. the names of characters were too complex that they did not even seem human and this made following certain events confusing. but what reallky made it difficult to finish this Audio book was the narrator. the only change of voice he used for different characters was an increase in his volume, so it sometimes leaves you wondering as to whos talking.

12 people found this helpful

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  • Peter
  • 27-03-2019

Painful

I've tried to listen to this multiple times, but it's just too awful I can't

4 people found this helpful

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  • Callum
  • 18-03-2019

Narrator doesn't do it justice

I've been going through the Horus heresy series, and it was tough to listen to this. I think as the rest of the series the narrator is slower in pace and has a more baritone pitch this throws you off.

4 people found this helpful

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  • SYLOH
  • 15-02-2019

Bad Narrator, Good Book

The narrator sounds like he has a lisp and is talking through a phone. it almost drags down one of the better HH books.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Stacey McGovern
  • 11-03-2019

Good story. Bad narrator.

The narrator reads to fast, and with little emotion. Listening at 90% speed made it more tolerable.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Michael
  • 24-10-2018

Narration made this impossible to listen to.

The narration was simply abysmal.
I don't blame the narrator 100%. This was poorly directed and produced. The pacing of his narration was so rapid and poorly done that is was impossible to tell sometime when a new scene had started. I don't understand how this was allowed to happen.
The accents everyone has were far too similar and added to the mess that the pacing started.

This is a shame because I love this story, having read the book, previously. The Thousand Sons are my favorite chapter, and their story is awesome, but this attempt at an Audible book is a complete failure.

Skip this one. Either read it yourself, or get the story notes from the Wiki.

7 people found this helpful

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  • G$
  • 16-08-2019

One of the best written but saddest of the series

I loved everything about the book, the narrator, in my opinion is actually very good, I can understand why it's not for everyone but I liked it.
The overall tone of the book is hopeful, innocent and arrogant but it fits how my favorite legion acted. The whole time the legion is so close to showing their worth but to get shot down at every turn, and when things are at their worst, their actions were greater than anyone elses under their circumstance but it's just so sad how Horus pushed them into betrayal. They were so close to being the good guys, it's so sad...

2 people found this helpful

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  • Mr. Sp Howley
  • 27-03-2018

Good story, mumbling narration

I think this was probably one of the best Horus Heresy books, but the narrator mumble his way through it with very odd changes of timbre. He sounds like Patrick Moore much of the time. I found it unsettling.

6 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 12-03-2018

Get a new narrator

The narrator (Martyn Ellis) is lacking in capturing the audience unlike some of the horus heresy narrators.

he reads it to quick and doesn't act out the voices.
So I'm very disappointed with the audio book.

7 people found this helpful

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  • roy mcintyre
  • 22-10-2019

Difficult to follow due to the narrator

The story is important to the overall progression in my eyes, but is let down by the narrator not being as good as a lot of the other books in the series.

2 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Mr D R D Cooke
  • 28-09-2019

A good story impacted by an abrasive performance.

A great story I struggled to enjoy due to the voice acting. Read the book, it's a much more pleasant experience.

2 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • JC Denton
  • 04-09-2018

Excellent story, average narration except battles.

This story shouldn't be missed despite the mostly sub par narration. The battle scenes are quite epic and it's those moments that I felt the narration was pretty solid. I recommend reading the ebook if the overall narration puts you off. But whatever you do, this novel must be read/heard! May you find enlightenment within the ether!

2 people found this helpful

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  • Richard H.
  • 31-07-2018

Terrible narration

This is the first book in the series I didn't binge listen to, the rest I finished in 2-3 days, the narrator mumbles a lot, and made it a chore to listen to.

Other than that a great story.

2 people found this helpful

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  • matthew
  • 04-03-2018

couldn't stand the narration

I'd heard how great this book was just felt the narrator ruined it I couldn't follow who was talking all characters sound the same and his cadence made it impossible to follow

4 people found this helpful

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  • Steven blackwood
  • 04-03-2019

Magnus's fall

Ever since diving into the wall I always wondered what happened to Magnus and now I do know it was satisfactory. As always Graham Mcneils beautiful a descriptive writing shines with every read. Sadly yet again Martin Ellis being used to voice a Astartes Warriors just does not quite work for me. I feel his voice is more suited to project such as the island of Dr Monroe possibly Shakespeare or anything where the protagonist is remembering his past life. Good voice actor sadly miscast.

1 person found this helpful

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  • NifD
  • 01-05-2020

Cracking.

Loved it, one of the best so far - early on I wasn't the biggest fan of the narrator but by the end I have to admit my mind was changed.

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  • Nephrite
  • 21-04-2020

The Imperium as it could have been

A Thousand Sons by Graham McNeil – Warhammer: The Horus Heresy Book 12

Nephrite’s Month Of Heresies

“All is dust.”

So here we are at our final destination within the Warp. For the present at least. We have arrived on Prospero the home planet of the 15th Legion – The Thousand Sons – and their Primarch Magnus The Red otherwise known as The Crimson King.

We shall end this series of visits to the time of the greatest heresy of all with a discussion of the fall of the legion of sorcerers. Shall we begin my companion?

*Ah yes, let us watch the greatest tragedy of the heresy. How the bright future of mankind through knowledge was brought down by savagery and hypocrisy. Behold the name of mankind’s ultimate doom. Leman Russ.*

I wouldn’t quite go that far. Even Leman did what he did for what he saw as good reasons. Malcador and quite a few others shared his views. And quite a few more didn’t want…what occurred…to happen the way it did.

The plot of A Thousand Sons in simple terms is as follows: The Thousand Sons and their assigned cadre of remembrancers are currently stationed on the planet of Aghoru where they are tasked with rendering the population compliant to the Imperium. This has taken an unexpectedly long stretch of time partially due to the actions of Magnus The Red and partially due to unforeseen complications. Just as things are approaching their end, a representative of the 6th Legion – The Space Wolves – arrives and demands that Magnus and his Astartes join Leman Russ the leader of the Space Wolves and Lorgar and his legion – the 17th Legion Word Bearers from The First Heretic – for a group assault on another world.

Magnus declines due to the complications on Aghoru and eventually The Thousand Sons and The Space Wolves work together begrudgingly to deal with these issues. This results in the Space Wolves and The Thousand Sons – two very psychically gifted albeit somewhat ‘cursed’ legions – developing very negative views of the other. A council or tribunal known as the Council Of Nikaea is gathered due to these events and this council shall have great consequences up to and including the current Imperium of the 42nd Millennium.

Much like The First Heretic A Thousand Sons is also a book which takes place primarily before the events of The Horus Heresy. I can’t judge how much prior to the Heresy but certainly a good number of years.

However Magnus is not the only main character in the book. This particular novel actually contains quite the number of prominent characters. First of all we have a very young Ahzek Ahriman who readers of my reviews may remember from my review of The First Prince some time ago. Ahriman has the good fortune to be considered Magnus’s protégé and something of a surrogate son among sons. He is also one of a very few characters to openly question Magnus from within his own legion as well as the ‘in-universe’ writer of the text which is only really relevant at the very beginning and very end. It would not surprise me if my Chaotic companion here had something to say regarding Ahriman?

*Indeed we know this name very well. Remember he was the one you talked about when we first met? But here we see him long before that point. Here we see the bright spark. A warrior who fought faithfully alongside the Emperor himself on Terra. And the first seeds of doubt between himself and his Primarch which would lead to his greatest achievement and greatest failure.*

As well as numerous figures from within the Thousand Sons, the other main point of view characters are a trio of friendly remembrancers. We have Kallista Eris a historian of some renown, Camille Shivani an archaeologist and Lemuel Gaumon a Social Behaviourist. These three individuals are our way to see The Thousand Sons from the perspective of non-Astartes. Your average everyday member of the Imperium. All three of them have different views regarding the 15th Legion and The Crimson King and it is interesting to watch them become both closer and further apart as the story progresses.

Regarding characterisation this story is beautifully told. Magnus himself is a Primarch who is truly loyal to the Emperor just as his legion is loyal to him but despite his noble goals – the road to hell is paved with good intentions after all – Magnus does suffer from the sin of hubris. Prospero the home world of the Thousand Sons is a truly wonderful place…and yet how many lines must be crossed?

Ahriman is very intelligent as well as interesting. Regardless of the reader’s opinion of him in modern 40K be it positive or negative in the period of the Horus Heresy he is still an eager and enthusiastic student. Namely of the Thousand Sons’s psychic abilities and is attempting to learn all he can whilst also teaching others in the legion not to rely too heavily on their powers and to avoid certain dangers.

I won’t discuss all three of the remembrancer characters I mentioned previously because if I do I’d be here until the end of May although I will state in passing that they are all extremely likeable and to a degree quite relatable. Their closeness makes it easier to feel both the positive and negative emotions of the characters and in certain ways you end up rooting for them just like you root for the 15th.

The writing by Mr Graham McNeil of False Gods and The Last Church is utterly glorious. There is so much coming to Prospero. So much seen and yet not acted upon. So much unseen and yet foretold. And so much more that comes from Nikaea. I won’t go into specifics regarding Nikaea – be it Council, Tribunal, Betrayal, Retribution – although I will say that upon my first experience of the book I had to drop it for quite an extended period of time. Several months in fact. Chiefly due to the incredibly intense emotions Nikaea gathered in me as a listener. You know the book is doing something right when you are actively furious because of the actions or inactions of characters who don’t actually exist! Although to be fair another book I may discuss one day shows the…opposite side to the coin. If I WAS to discuss Nikaea in more detail or perhaps its impact on the future…I think I would leave that to my Warpspawn travelling companion. Do you have anything to say?

*If I recall, upon first finding out about it…or experiencing it…you were so disgusted you refused to look on for quite some time? It must be difficult seeing the sheer ignorance and hypocrisy the Imperium is built upon. Brought down by those so deluded they fail to understand they too are practitioners of it. And thus continued to use what they themselves forbid…or perhaps it is those who did know what they banned and still used it? We already know that the Emperor and Malcador are both powerful psychers. I laughed when I heard that even Gulliman acknowledged that Magnus was right about the knowledge of psychic powers. Those fools with their flawed plans to destroy us, built upon lies and ignorance, and to perpetuate that plan they doomed not only themselves but so many others. How much of the heresy could have been stopped if not for the council? How much could have been prevented if not for Russ?*

You are accurate in that I had quite the strong reaction initially. But I still wouldn’t put the blame solely at Leman’s feet. The Sons can’t be absolved fully. Magnus was rather over-endowed with hubris. There is always someone better after all. He had some chances to prevent what occurred. Not to mention that there were quite a few figures moving the chess pieces. Including your masters.

On the other hand I can’t become too distracted. I am an audiobook reviewer after all. The audio version of A Thousand Sons is narrated by someone whose work I haven’t mentioned previously. A Mr Martyn Ellis who has done narration work for several Black Library audio dramas. Personally I am somewhat torn on his narration as I feel that he is an excellent narrator when it comes to performing certain characters whilst his performances for others I find rather grating to listen to.

My favourite performances of his are for Ahzek Ahriman and Lemuel Gaumon. His voice for Ahriman makes his nature as a truly intelligent and respectful student who has the bravery to question their teacher and teachings when required apparent along with displaying his emotions well be it adoration, fear, patience or curiosity among others. When it comes to Lemuel he is also excellent at portraying Lemuel’s comedian personality – be it genuine or staged – and his feelings for others along with his fascination regarding the Sons.

He is also rather good when it comes to his voices for the Space Wolves and the narration for battles but whenever there are scenes with several Thousand Sons characters together outside of battle…unfortunately for myself his voice often has the ability to make me as a listener tune him out on a few occasions. This can result in problems regarding the narrative. Such as the last scene I remember being the three Remembrancers together in a restaurant and now suddenly a small group of Thousand Sons are complaining about the Space Wolves with the Remembrancers clearly not being in the scene. I freely admit this problem is more of a personal issue on my end but as a result although I LOVE A Thousand Sons and consider it one of my favourite Black Library books I highly recommend listening to the audio sample provided. Although I certainly wouldn’t call Mr Ellis a bad narrator he is definitely not one of my personal favourites. If you think he’s a great narrator? Buy the audiobook. The story is amazing! If you are simply curious what happened in the Heresy to the Thousand Sons? Buy the audiobook! But if you think you’d find it easier? Buy either the physical edition or the digital ebook for preference. (All physical book orders are currently on hold because of…the situation. Although audio and ebook sales are still ongoing.)

I can safely say that my visit to Prospero has been…enlightening. I hope myself and my Tzeentchian herald may persuade you to take a visit to the Imperium as it once was. As it could have been. If it weren’t for the best of intentions. So…I assume you shall be leaving me shortly? After all your masters have many interests and many intentions do they not?

*Indeed the time of this meeting is at an end. But I would be lying if I didn’t enjoy the unveiling of these pieces of knowledge, all the lies, all the deceits, the heresies and hypocrisies of the Imperium. How this man they worship as a god is in many ways more flawed and foolish than they are. Who knows when we shall next meet, perhaps it shall be something more ‘recent’ or maybe it will not be until next year. And who knows what it shall be, there are those ‘other’ creatures in the galaxy as well. I personally look at Mars with curiosity. But I am a very busy being until then.*

I shall see you when I see you then. Goodbye for now. But what should I cover next? Perhaps my return from the Warp is the perfect chance to discuss Ibn Fadlan? Or the Eaters Of The Dead?


Sayonara!


Nephrite & Sgathiach