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The First Wall

The Horus Heresy: Siege of Terra Book 3
Narrated by: Jonathan Keeble
Length: 12 hrs and 44 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (51 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Siege of Terra Book 3.

The outer defences have fallen, and the walls of the Imperial Palace await the Traitors. Perturabo is determined to tear down the mighty edifices his brother and bitter rival Rogal Dorn has built - but first he must take the Lion's Gate Spaceport, so that his heaviest weapons can land.

Listen to it because:

It's time for Rogal Dorn's defences get their real test - the attention of Perturabo and the Iron Warriors. The irresistible force meets the immovable object - and carnage ensues.

The story:

The war for the fate of mankind blazes on. Though the outer defences have fallen, the walls of the Palace itself remain inviolate as Rogal Dorn, the Praetorian of Terra himself, uses every known stratagem and ploy to keep Horus' vast armies at bay. In Perturabo, the Traitor siegebreaker, Dorn faces an adversary worthy of his skill. A terrible, grinding attrition ensues. The crucial battle for the Lion's Gate spaceport is at the heart of this conflict. With it in their possession, the Traitors can land their most devastating weapons on Terran soil. Dorn knows it must not fall. But with enemies attacking from within as well as without and the stirrings of the neverborn drawn to the slaughter, can the Imperial defenders possibly prevail? 

Written by Gav Thorpe

Running time 12 hours 49 minutes. Narrated by Jonathan Keeble.

©2020 Games Workshop Limited (P)2020 Games Workshop Limited

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Brilliantly narrated let down by story

I've listened to every Siege of Terra audiobook so far and they're all very good and worth picking up, so my criticisms here should be seen in light of that.

Firstly, The First Wall is brilliantly narrated. The action scenes in particular convey a sense of pace and urgency that draws you into the moment. Voices are generally excellent, although I wish space marines had a wider range of accents than "standard British" and "cockney British". Overall, though, another superlative narration.

The story, however, is not equal to the task. That's not to say it's not good, it certainly is, and there are moments of excellence. But it lacks the sense of scale that the previous book, The Lost and the Damned, conveyed so brilliantly.

Switching between the viewpoints of Dorn, Abaddon, Perturabo, Keeler, the Custodes, various human soldiers (including a too brief appearance by Katsuhiro from the last novel), traitor marines, Imperial Fists, Sigismund, Layak and others means that you never get to spend enough time with any one character to really get invested in what they're doing.

I actually enjoyed the story of the Addaba Free Corps which others seemed to dislike, but even then I think it could have been removed in favour of returning to Katsuhiro. Zenobi was a decent character and I liked seeing the"war"from her point of view. I use air quotes here because her story is about her and her fellow soldiers getting to the battle, rather than actually taking part in the fighting. This results in lots of "When will we get there?" and "I wonder what the battle will be like" moments. This is in contrast to the story of Katsuhiro from the last novel which managed to convey the same sense of foreboding, but also threw in the chaos of experiencing battle for the first time and developed him from a terrified, ignorant draftee to a terrified, relatively experienced soldier. I would have greatly preferred to see him return. He does make an appearance, but it's so brief that it feels disjointed.

But my greatest criticism is the treatment of the conflict between Dorn and Perturabo. It could visually be summed up as the two titans impotently shaking their fists at each other. I don't want to spoil anything, but suffice to say that the anticipated conflict between the masters of siege warfare was disappointing in the extreme.

This review no doubt makes it seem as though I hated the book, which I didn't. I enjoyed parts of it immensely while grinding through others. Other reviews have said that about two thirds of the story is disappointing and tough to get through and I'd agree with that. Grab it if you have to have every chapter of the Siege storyline, but you could comfortably skip this one and be none the worse for it.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Amazing

This book series only improves in quality as it goes, The voicing was perfect! and the story is so damn compelling, I have been online for the past half hour trying to find out when book 4 comes out because I need more. Buy this series if you like 40k,

1 person found this helpful

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great

a bit slow on parts but overall very informative and well presented. loved kharns character.

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Decent.

Slow to start, better second half. can't help but to feel it was a filler story for what's to come.

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Behind the emperor’s curtain

Wow as the series goes on you get a deeper look into what and who the emperor is.what opposing primarchs Dorn and Perturabo make moves against each other in a never ending chess match

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Greater battle

It’s getting more intense and more destructive. The battle for Terra eases the bar.

I’m left waiting for the next step at each stage. It’s highly compelling. A huge overwhelming story voiced in a personal way

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  • Paul
  • 04-03-2020

Half good, half boring.

I've never felt compelled to right a review for a HH audiobook as Ive enjoyed every book Ive listened to thus far. When this book is focused on Primarchs and Astartes.. its amazing. When from the perspective of a 17 yr old conscript, its really boring. Unfortunately, that takes up about half of the book. Id say skip unless youre a diehard fan.

12 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 09-03-2020

a waste of time for the most part light spoiler

so let me start by saying i loved the second book and liked the first this book was honestly somewhat awful. a 3rd of the book was spent talking about an imperial guard company that was on their way to the palace. They never really had any good moments aside from the very last moment. They were really obvious filler that stretched the story along. the story had plenty of great heroes but none of them really did anything. except for an imperial fist who told a joke with no punch line it was awful. I dont recommend this book if you are a fan of good imperial guard writing like from legion and guants ghosts. it is not here and the space marine writing isnt that action packed this is almost like the mersaide oilton crap where its a lot of filler for 1 good moment.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 26-04-2020

The plot armor is strong with this one...

This novel is too much of too much and it’s attempts to tie in a variety of storylines ultimately saps all of them of vitality.

****Spoilers Ahead***
Three major critiques: story structure, plot armor, and dramatic focus.

This novel has three major storylines and perhaps two or three novels crammed into one It shows. Lion’s Gate, Adaba, and Lectitio Divinitatus: each of these could easily make a novella, if not a novel, their own right and by putting them together the author has had to water down three really enticing and engaging storylines into vaguely coherent mediocrity. We go from Rann to Kharn to Adaba to Forrix to Kharn (what has Rann been doing this whole time? What is the bigger picture?) to Ammon to Forrix to Adaba to Rann to Forrix to Abaddon (It’s been 4 days since we saw Kharn, what is Kharn doing? I can’t really focus on the story because I’m waiting for Kharn to jump out like it’s “The Shining.”) to Ammon to Rann to Forrix to Kroger (where’s Adaba??).... This is all complicated by the a-synchronous structure of events which makes it harder to understand how events in one strand of the novel relates to those in another.

Adding to this chaos is the fact that there are too many of our hero characters out there and nothing is really going to happen to them. Anybody keeping score knows that Rann, all three members of the Trident, Abaddon, Sigismund, Kharn, and others are going to survive the siege. This means that whenever they show up, all drama gets sucked out of the room. We only lose one hero character in this novel and they honestly deserved a better exit than that they got. The author clearly tried to make it meaningful for character development, but the brevity and suddenness of it makes that feel ham fisted and half hearted.

Finally, the author misses the dramatic center of the novel, though this is perhaps more a critique of what GW seems to be doing than what the author composed. There was a tension in the Hours Heresy novels between moving the story forward and fleshing our the universe. That said, the scope of the series and the breadth of details involved meant that even works which barely moved the plot forward and focused mainly on fleshing things out could still be excellent in their own right. However, GW appears to want each novel in this series to grind the story on relentlessly and thus comes at the expense of the ambiance. This novel centers on the brawl at the spaceport. It’s a grind and we get that grind in abundance, even if it’s not always clear how all the pieces fit together. Because we have so much plot armor running around on the backs of our heroes, there isn’t any suspense here and there are so many heroes to follow that we make little forward progress. Instead, the most exciting pieces are those following Ammon “Holmes” Taurmachian and the Adaba Free-corps. Despite a hideous cliffhanger for Adaba, these are both well done but got scant attention compared to the spaceport. This is unfortunate because these are actually the dramatic heart of the novel. The characters involved actually develop! Yes, Abaddon is becoming the Abaddon we know from “The Talon of Horus” but it’s ham fisted in this book. His development in “The Solar War” was deft, clear, and compelling. Yet, immortals change on a longer timeframe than this novel, or in some ways even this siege, can allow. Instead, it’s the mortal, human experience that shows growth - and not necessarily for the better. We get to see the men and women Adaba Free-corps struggle with this new imperium, though they ultimately make nonsensical decisions that are given no explanation. We see the first buds of the new, stagnant police state that the imperium is becoming and we see it through the eyes and choices of individuals. This is also the core of the Ammon/Keeler story and the birth of the imperial church. As said, each of these deserve and could have used a novel in its own right but instead we get them muddled in with the rest.

Overall, I don’t fault the author. Thorpe has demonstrated multiple times that he can create better stories than this one and that he knows how to write all angles of this conflict. His portrayal of the imperial navy in the War of the Beast series is still some of my favorite writing on “normal humans” in the 40k universe. Instead, I blame GW for taking multiple, excellent story lines and forcing the author to shove them all into one novel. After the precision, focus, and depth we got in “The Lost and the Damned,” I was hopeful that the series would not sacrifice coherence and quality when moving the plot forward in this novel. Instead, we got another go at “The Solar War” as too many characters crowd the stage on story lines that make sense on their own but, together, are badly choreographed. Let’s see what comes next.

2 people found this helpful

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  • gabriel s.
  • 15-03-2020

Luck luster

hate to say anything bad about it, but this definitely was not one of my favorites. Story jumped around too much and they added in too much filler. I found myself skipping certain parts. There were some accents Keeble should not do. Overall book was ok and not what I expected.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Thaipugg
  • 10-03-2020

Great book!

This was a great book, and a good continue from the first two of the Siege of Terra!

1 person found this helpful

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  • Arjun Prakash
  • 10-03-2020

Best So Far

Enjoyed this one so much. All the side stories of the normal people that make up Terra makes the world so rich. Some times when it is just all Uber space marines it's gets a little dry. Can't wait for the next one.

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  • Rwoinlgceonxe15
  • 19-05-2020

Great book

Can't wait for the next one to come out. I love this series Can't wait for Horus Vs the Emperor

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  • Anonymous User
  • 16-05-2020

Great except for one storyline

The story-arcs about the “Plague of Belief” and the siege of the Lions Gate are great, but the story-arc about a guardsman getting shipped to war was a bit boring. The character is interesting but the pacing slows the book at makes it boring at times

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  • Benjamin Garwood
  • 14-05-2020

Great great great

Yet another great chapter in such a richly detailed universe. Highly recommend for a good listen

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 12-05-2020

awesome

the voice acting was awesome and the story build up was great. had a lot of characters finally coming together

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  • james johnson
  • 07-03-2020

Meh<br />

the worsed of the series,jumps all over the place,useless and non important side story,
avoid.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 03-04-2020

incredible!

the sige of terra series just keeps delivering! So many characters finally coming together! can't wait for more!

1 person found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • conal
  • 30-03-2020

kuri

The lowest I've ever rated a black library book, the plot line for the actual siege is great but half the book is filler with characters we've never seen before or care about in any way. the whole addaba plot could have been done with 4 lines of dialog instead it takes up almost half the book, a poor effort from the author. One positive however is Keebles performance is outstanding as always

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  • Anonymous User
  • 21-03-2020

Nowhere near the best but ok

It was OK... But I did get rather fed up of the constant khorne mentions. Yes Gav we get it... Kharn has turned to Khorne. The fighting scenes without me spoiling it could have been better and longer, there as no thought behind them. The fights seemed to be there for the sake of it, rather than used to progress the story. I also got confused because of the constant chopping and changing from tons of characters who had no bearing whatsoever on the actual storyline. In actual fact, I have no idea what the storyline even was. The last book was miles better. The narration was well and truly over the top too. Too "40k" to be classed as a grimdark novel and performance.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Ben Crosse
  • 16-03-2020

Fine

Some good bits with the Iron Warriors, but felt very wheel spinny. It was fine overall but the principal B plot kind of peters out and doesn't integrate well with the A plot. After the thrill of The Lost and the Damned this felt like playing for time. If we didn't have this book, what would we have lost?

Keeble his usual outstanding self though. He elevates everything he reads.

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  • Ross
  • 09-03-2020

7/10

adds to the over all story of the siege; interesting to hear about the attack on the lions gate spaceport.

but my god does it go on in the middle part, ending brilliant can see where the next one picks up

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  • Anna
  • 03-05-2020

Really good book, not the best in the series 8/10*

Narrator fantastic as always, story fairly good with lots of battle and surprises. Very good book

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Shades of Blue Q
  • 01-05-2020

It's good but it's not 'Carling'

Gav Thorpe delivers another heartpounding story which I thoroughly enjoyed, and I'm glad the Primarchs are getting involved as it all adds to the flavour, but I think it was slightly diluted by the Abbada involvement. Shakespeare always liked to have a story within a story and this is what Abbada proved to be, so I think I was sidelined for a bit. Yet Jonathan Keeble is still at his best which makes it worth listening to all the same. Seeing that the Siege of Terror is going to be eight books, I think we can expect as few stories within stories.

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  • Carl Hodgson
  • 04-04-2020

Confusing.

Overall ok but seems very complicated and difficult to follow, I don’t feel like the story has progressed as of this book, it jumped around too much to stories and characters that don’t seem to matter nowhere near as good as the first two siege books.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Dougie & Lee
  • 02-04-2020

brilliant listen

really enjoyed this book, the drama and level of voice acting was superb. well done