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  • Priests of Mars

  • Forge of Mars: Warhammer 40,000, Book 1
  • By: Graham McNeill
  • Narrated by: Joe Jameson
  • Length: 12 hrs and 22 mins
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars (94 ratings)

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Priests of Mars

By: Graham McNeill
Narrated by: Joe Jameson
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Publisher's Summary

Book one in the Forges of Mars series.

An Adeptus Mechanicus Explorator fleet ventures beyond the borders of the Imperium in pursuit of arcane technology. Who knows what perils may lie outside the dominion of mankind?

Listen to it because: it's a novel like nothing else from Black Library. Graham McNeill crafts a tale that only he could tell, beginning a mind-bending saga of the Adeptus Mechanicus, Chaos and more besides.

The story: legend tells of a foolhardy expedition, led by the radical Magos Telok, that ventured out into the unknown space beyond the Halo Worlds in search of the 'Breath of the Gods' - an arcane device with the power to unmake and reshape the very stars themselves. Thousands of years later, the ambitious Lexell Kotov musters his Adeptus Mechanicus Explorator fleet and sets out to follow in mad old Telok's footsteps. With the might of the Imperial Guard and the Space Marines to augment his own forces, he searches for the hidden clues that will lead him to greatest power that the galaxy has ever known. But who knows what ancient perils may yet lie outside the Imperium and the dominion of mankind?

Written by Graham McNeill. Narrated by Joe Jameson.

©2021 Games Workshop Limited (P)2021 Games Workshop Limited

What listeners say about Priests of Mars

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Decent book, but incomplete on its own

This is obviously the first book in a series; the ending is definitely not a conclusion to the story arc. The story itself was decent. It uses many of the same tropes we expect from WH40K, but the politics with the Ad Mech, and the interplay between the Ad Mech priests, the Skitarii, the Astra Militarum, the Adeptus Astartes, and even between the overseers and ship ratings were interesting to see played out.

I won't give spoilers. It's a fairly typical plot line, though with some interesting additions. It's a basic quest style tale set in space. Our protagonists leave home, they have a purpose to their journey to find 'The Holy Grail / The Eldar Scrolls' and along the way they have setbacks to be overcome. There's some foreshadowing as you would expect, interference from outsiders, etc. The plot itself is pretty generic but the characters and setting make it interesting to fans of WH40K. It's a solid if somewhat forgettable story; it's no Storm of Iron.

Speaking of which, the character of Hawke is somewhat disappointing after his previous exploits, but I guess it's perhaps realistic given his stated behavior before becoming an accidental hero on Hydra Cordatus and what he's likely endured since then.

As for the performance, I have no complaints about it. I think that perhaps it lacked a certain depth or soul, but the performance was otherwise of an adequate standard.

There were two small parts that were clearly edits/corrections which were accidentally left in this final published work: a repeated phrase and something else soon after. Both were very minor, and neither detracted overall from the story.

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Disney's 'Atlantis' meets 40k

The plot is fantastic. Lots of humorous moments, action is great. The first story I've "read" that has a decent amount of lore about the Golden Age of Technology (or Dark age if you're feeling edgy).
Joe's done a good job narrating, the first one who does a good impression of women in the universe. Space marines, however, I'm sure don't sound like they've been lobotomised.

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

good work

lovely work. voice acting is quite good given the vast number of characters the poor man had to voice

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Kal
  • 10-04-2022

Brilliant!

I’ve read over 50 w40k works now and several 30k. This far exceeds almost all of them, in scope, style and execution.
The Spacemarines although present and typically momentous, take a backseat and a true space opera emerges.
A few minor editing issues and confused voices do not mar an excellent narration as well.
If you want to understand just how different in every way the cult mechanicus is to the rest of the Imperium, read this one.
I can’t wait to see the main protagonists develop and new (ancient) mysteries be revealed.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • K
  • 22-11-2021

One of the better 40k books

If you liked the books Mechanicum and Eisenhorn then I would say you will like this book. The story has a good mixture of Mechanicus and non-Mecanicus characters and factions who all have a good back story and interact well. The narrator does a great job, but there are occasional editing errors. I've listened to a lot of 40k books and this is the first book I've been hooked on in a long time. The story is clearly building to be a series of books so this book doesn't feel like it goes far, but where it takes you - You WILL enjoy it.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Gripping story different to most 40K

Loved the story the change it was from the usual 40K books. Especially the expansion of the perspective from the tech priests. As well as the thrilling story of the Bonded.
However I didn’t love that the narrator’s voice for the space marines was like dumb and dumber instead of deep and awesome might.

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

stories decent

stories decent and the narrator does really well with female voices but just isn't believable when it comes to anyone else. the base male humans sound labotomised as do the space marines and mechanicus characters just sound like regular humans

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Interesting story but slow pacing

Having come over from the action and pace of the gaunts ghosts novels, this book felt slow and ponderous. Once it got going I was intrigued and found myself genuinely interested in the various character plot lines which was good. However a lot of time is giving over to describing, over and over again, how wonderous machine code looks or the detail of some muscle movements or someone's mind. like several minutes of detail. I really just wanted to tell the author to get on with it.

The narration I didn't enjoy that much. Joe is a fine orator but I don't think he fits into the 40k setting. His delivery was too melodic and pleasant and it would take me out of the setting. That being said, some of his voices really added to the characters.

Overall it was worth listening to but won't make my favourites list.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Awesome story, not just for Ad Mech fans.

Huge Ad Mech fan and player, was seeking books featuring them and bought this on a recommendation. Absolutely loved it. Well acted and the book has an amazing cast of interesting characters and interwoven sub-plots. Story was easy to follow and without some of the confusing Ad Mech discourse often used. Recommend for any 40K fans.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

extremely interesting primary and secondary plots

valuable insight into ancient human technology and how powerful humanity once was. Other examples of ancient human tech are Adrathic weapons, which are on par (if not more powerful) with necrons gauss weaponry if anyone is interested

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