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Descent of Angels

The Horus Heresy, Book 6
Narrated by: Gareth Armstrong
Length: 10 hrs and 32 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (87 ratings)
Non-member price: $44.94
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Publisher's Summary

The planet of Caliban exists much as it has for thousands of years - the knightly orders protect the common people, fighting back the beasts that lurk in the depths of the seemingly endless forests.

Young Zahariel and Nemiel aspire to join the greatest of the orders, led by the example of mighty Lion El'Jonson and his vision of a peaceful and unified world. But the coming of the Imperium brings new concerns and a new destiny for the Lion as part of the Great Crusade, and the sons of Caliban must decide if they will follow him to glory among the stars.

©2007 Games Workshop Limited (P)2013 Games Workshop Limited

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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Great Horus Heresy book about the Dark Angels with an interesting insight into Calibans past and induction into an Astarties legion.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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for the Lion

good story, wish they had more dialog from the Lion and less between the cousin's.

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  • Michael S. Labrow
  • 01-01-2018

Great if you like Dark Angels

What did you love best about Descent of Angels?

I loved getting additional lore and backstory about the Dark Angels.

How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

The story was about the coming of the Emperor and the creation of the First Legion. It has almost no tie in to the actual Horus Heresy. So as a tale about HOW the Dark Angels end up the Dark Angels of the 41st Millennium it's not bad. As a story of the Hersey it fails utterly.

Have you listened to any of Gareth Armstrong’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

I have listened to Gareth Armstrong on several other Black Library books, and he does a very good job telling this story. You always have a feel for who is talking due to the inflection of the character's 'voice' and he is very clear and brings a lot to the tale.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Not really. The story felt kind of disjointed and at times it was hard to tell the passage of time. Some events were told as if they took mere hours or days but took weeks. Other events happened concurrently or behind other events in the book. The story itself could be tighter and better told.

Any additional comments?

I am glad I have listened to it. I'm not necessarily thrilled with the story itself. But then I'm not the biggest fan of the Dark Angels, so there is that.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 27-09-2018

Fantastic seemingly unrelated story.

Great book that im assuming was only written to inroduce the primarch of the first legion the dark angels and give a full backstory. otherwise this book is mostly unrelated to everything that has happened in the rest of the series so far. that being said it was a great book maybe my favorite in the series yet and a needed break from the main storyline, i cant wait to see how they tie this together once the lion enters the war with horus. The one glaring flaw in this book is the abrubt ending, epilogue really wasnt enough either. Narrator was amazing!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Elvis Dominguez
  • 19-11-2018

Great & Awful

Great story, however Gareth’s delivery when voicing Zahariel & Nemial is terrible.

He kept the same pitch and tone of them from their child & teen years into their adult Astartes years, very cringeworthy & immersion breaking thibking of a full grown Astartes that sounds like my 9 year old nephew, and thats just my take on these 2 characters mind you.

Still, Mitchel Scanlon wrote a really good novel & it is worth reading/listening to.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Brian Zohner
  • 04-04-2019

A Surprisingly Good Story

This book shocked me. I've heard many fans of the series say that this is one to skip, but I beg to differ. While it isn't much like a Horus Heresy book (the characters are not space marines for the majority of the story) it is the first story that gives true insight about the nature of the homeworlds and the people that come from them. We learn about how Lion El'Johnson tries to come to terms with his utterly different nature. How a legion homeworld is transformed by the arrival of the Imperium. And how the people who ascend to become Space Marines cope with the transition from their old life to their new one.

The characters are rich and interesting, though I would say that they fit into established archetypes and we already know who the characters are shortly after they are introduced. While the story is used to develop Lion El'Johnson and Luther, the story still takes time to develop the rank and file trooper, a precedent that was set by Abnett in Horus Rising, but not followed by most of the Heresy's authors. The narrative shift mid-book is shocking, but does an excellent job showing the culture shock that the knights experience in the transition.

Gareth Armstrong captures the mood of the story well, and, while he's not my favorite Black Library reader, he fits this story's telling. It's easy to tell the characters apart, and he captures the imposing personalities of the Lion and Luther very well.

Who is this story for? I would recommend it for sci-fi and fantasy fans alike, even with no prior knowledge of Warhammer 40,000 or the Horus Heresy. It is far enough removed from the story to be an excellent stand alone, though it will feel somewhat incomplete at the end. Horus Heresy and 40,000 fans might be taken off guard, because it does not read like a typical Warhammer novel, and they should be aware the nature and focus of the book is fundamentally different. But, much like the Ciaphus Cain novels, I think that this change of tone is an excellent move for Black Library to give its readers a breath of fresh air, and to help contextualize the world that the stories take place in.

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  • mtrask
  • 11-03-2019

An epic fantasy adventure

This is a great break in stride of the Horus Heresy series. It has great character development, a good story that instead of delving into the grim dark of the 30th millennium starts us off on Calaban, a almost feudal age world. More then 60% of the book is based here, this gives us time to flush out characters and personalities. This is a drama filled book with adventure, action, mystery and a ending that will leave you a little sad, wanting to know more.

If you are a fan of Sci-fi, you will probably like this book, if you are a fan of fantasy, you will probably like this book. If you are a fan of both, you will love this book, this is not a book to be skipped over in the Horus Heresy series.

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  • William
  • 11-03-2019

it was a very interesting story it's a good shift

A very good piece on the beginning of the Dark Angels and the Knights of Caliban

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 09-03-2019

Must-have Dark Angel Origin Story

Engaging story and performance from beginning to end - a must have for your 40k and Dark Angel library.

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  • Alex
  • 24-02-2019

a bit slow but good 40k fluff

the book is sloooow at first. it doesnt pick up till the 20th or so chapters.
good DA fluff tho

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  • Amy
  • 18-02-2019

Wonderful backstory

I enjoyed the experience of hearing the backstory to one of the greatest legions in the series, at times the story had long breaks from action though and I wished for more story, can't wait to hear more stories of the lion and dark angels.

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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Johnnie Miller
  • 05-02-2019

love them as always

i don't see how it ties into the hores heresy just yet, but it is a very interesting origin story for the dark angels.

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  • R Fletcher
  • 27-06-2018

A tale of knights and monsters?

This Horus Heresy novel takes a different angle to the preceding books of the series and heavily focuses on the origins of the Dark Angels on Caliban and features a relatively small amount of story set around the Great Crusade.

The story is interesting and paints a picture of the Lion and The Order on their home world. It does lack the high stakes events of the prior stories in the series and is noticeably less well written, particularly the scenes involving combat where the prose is ponderous to say the least.

Overall an average novel that will probably appeal to Dark Angels fans but it sadly falls short of the standard set by the earlier novels.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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  • David C.
  • 09-02-2018

disappointed

Voice acting was good but the story was terrible. ..i have been listening to the horus heresy in order and this book has been the only one that i wont listen to again. Perhaps I am being harsh but the story seems to pick and choose when details are relavent, for instance it goes into great detail to explain the particulars of Calaban and the great beasts and the Orders endevoures, and then just says oh ye and they found a guy in the woods who is taller and stronger and faster and more capable than any other man who has ever lived on this planet. The book dosent explore any back story of THE LION. Instead it chooses to focus on some boy who turns out later to be a psycher and is literally incapable of failing anything. I mean this kid is so good at everything that its boring and i bet he has zero friends. Later the book goes on to just say here are the white scars the only other space marine chapter. We done here anythibg of the Emporers talks with his 1st son to be rediscovered or the second and nothing about any of the training it takes to be Astartes. The book ends pathetically by saying 1st war of the great crusade is over in i think 6 hours and The Lion get rid of some of battle brothers and this needs no further explanation. The only part that really got me interested was the shadow people in the woods. Maybe they were eldar although i think that is unlikley and of course there is zero explanation. I fully intend to listen to the heresy books again and when i do i will be skipping this one. The books leading up to this one have been amazing i just really hope the actual book is far better than this adaptation.

7 of 8 people found this review helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 12-02-2019

Unless you love the Dark Angels, skip it.

Not a poorly written book to say, its just focus is not where it should be. it focuses on one child warrior of great skill and psychic potential, of how this warrior grew from a youth in the wilds of Caliban to a mighty being who would slay even a Calibanite Lion and other great beasts. Which is a shame since this warrior IS NOT LION EL JOHNSON!! We hear the tail of the dark angels not from the perspective of there leader or its founder or even some one who was integral to it. instead we hear it through rumer and hearsay of learning kids who don't have the perspective of bigger name characters. and to top it all off nothing of worth or note happens until the last 2 hours of the book which make the first three quarters of the book a slog 3 possibly the most mundane characters life in all the Horus heresy books that I've read this far. in short save yourself your audible credits, save yourself your time, save yourself some money and just go and read the wiki.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Tommy
  • 10-12-2018

Nothing to do with horus heresy

If this was a standalone book, it would be a slightly average tale of the dark angel's origins. The problem is that for some reason i cannot understand, its part of the horus heresy series.

If you've been going through the series, you arrive at this book from 5 books about epic events, legendary 40k astartes characters and huge battles. You're now primed for horus and the traitor legions (now corrupted by chaos) to start moving to attack Terra...

Instead you get a fairly dull book set before astartes even exist, from the POV of a not very interesting trainee knight. Such a random thibg to do and it completely derails the momentum of the series in a very frustrating way.

I wish i skipped this honestly. As a dark angels origin story is passable, but not very interesting. Best thing i can say is the narration is decent.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • JGS
  • 05-12-2018

Not as good as other books in series

The story is frankly a bit boring and doesn’t really add that much to series - a shame. The story is simply not as good as previous books in the series.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Daniel Ross
  • 24-04-2019

Descent of interest

I was curious to see what would be contributed when concerning a loyalist legion in the heresy: I’m still waiting, as this has little to do with the heresy. The bulk of the plot takes place on Caliban, with very few details distinguishing the novel from straight fantasy. This wouldn’t be so bad if the plot was halfway interesting, but it seems the writer was unsure what plot he wanted to write. The imperium does not arrive until near the end of the novel, the last few chapters being the best, but it all feels very disjointed.
The narration could be worse, yet has a fatal flaw; the two main characters sound like school boys even when they’re Astartes, which makes them difficult to take seriously.
I expect that these characters will return in Fallen Angels, but even then, this book is only worth reading for die-hard fans.

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  • Elmertron
  • 03-04-2019

irrelevant - nothing to do with horus heresy

if you are reading the Horus heresy series, do not get this book. nothing happens in this book that has anything to do with the heresy. it is set many years before the events in all the other books, and most of what happens occurs on a planet that has not yet been reunited with the human race on The emperor's great crusade. this book is completely irrelevant and can be skipped if you are interested in this series of books.

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  • William
  • 31-03-2019

If you like the Horus Heresy so far, skip this one

This is possibly the worst book of any genre I have stuck with all the way through, and I only did that because I didn't want to miss any Horus Heresy plot points. The good news is, there aren't any! So save your credit and my sacrifice won't have been in vain.

The quality of the preceding books in the Horus Heresy is so good that I was shocked at how bad this was. The writing itself is terrible, it almost sounds as if it wasn't proof read. You'll hear the words "Great Beasts" so many times that the phrase will lose all meaning to you. The story has none of the intertwining threads of the previous books and focuses entirely on one boring 'Knight Aspirant' who easily overcomes every challenge he faces first time, every time.

What I was really looking forward to was reading about the discovery of a Primarch, seeing them on their home planet before they know what they are, and then seeing them meet the emperor and learning their true identity. Sadly we get none of that. Lion-El Johnson doesn't come into the book at all in any meaningful way, and he isn't portrayed the same as the other Primarchs we've met so far. He's portrayed pretty much just a normal man (albeit a high-achiever) who happens to be a bit taller than everyone else with a nice, deep voice. His origin story is basically skipped over and he doesn't do anything particularly remarkable. We never even get to see him meet the Emperor!

Do yourself a favour and give this one a miss!

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  • gareth
  • 02-01-2019

Probably my favourite so far

This coming of age story is excellent and gripping. Starting in an almost mediaeval society you know the Emperor is coming but it doesn't steal from the glory of the arrival of the imperium. The typical world to be made compliant is dripping with intrigue and cunning all leading to a satisfying boss fight with the forces of chaos. Well worth a listen.

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  • Samuel Grant
  • 18-12-2018

High Fantasy with Chainswords!

A breath of fresh air from the pace of the previous books. Feeling more like a high fantasy novel for the most of it. Only complaint I have is that Armstrong keeps Zahariel and Nemiel's voices too consistent throughout. Which is an issue as we're introduced to the duo at the age of 7...