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The Master of Mankind

The Horus Heresy, Book 41
Written by: Aaron Dembski-Bowden
Narrated by: Jonathan Keeble
Series: The Horus Heresy, Book 41
Length: 12 hrs and 34 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (73 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

While Horus' rebellion burns across the galaxy, a very different kind of war rages beneath the Imperial Palace.

The 'Ten Thousand' Custodian Guard, along with the Sisters of Silence and the Mechanicum forces of Fabricator General Kane, fight to control the nexus points of the ancient eldar webway that lie closest to Terra, infested by daemonic entities after Magnus the Red's intrusion. But with traitor legionaries and corrupted Battle Titans now counted among the forces of Chaos, the noose around the Throneworld is tightening, and none but the Emperor Himself can hope to prevail.

©2016 Games Workshop Limited (P)2016 Games Workshop Limited

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    5 out of 5 stars

Very enlightening, extremely sad for humanity

This book explains so much, gives you a real look into what the Emperor is really like, and how the adeptus custodes and sisters of silence view the adeptus astartes after the Horus heresy. It explains why the Emperor chose Horus, why he could not foresee the heresy. It gives you insight into the difficult choices the Emperor had to make, sacrificing the few for the good of the many. It's just incredible.

As I consume more audible content I realize how important the narrator is in making an audio book worth listening too. An average or below par narrator can really ruin a good book. Jonathan Keeble's narration is a masterclass in narration, the Emperor sounds exactly like he should sound, the difference between custodians are distinct, to the point where you know who is speaking without the author telling you.

Incredible book, I recommend it to all of you who want to know more about the origins of the Emperor, his grand plan for mankind, and those final days before Horus came to Terra.

1 person found this helpful

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30,000 stars!

Such a good book, so many little nuggets of awesomeness wrapped in a tight bundle of a solid, compelling story.

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Good but slow book

Overall the book was quiet good. Some slow parts which dragged but all in all it was good. The narrator is great. Definitely recommended! #Audible1

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a bit too long but the finish is worth the wait

it sags a bit too much in the middle but the ending is epic Hearing the emporer speak I have to admit the author nailed it. Also the performance was very well done!

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • James Neal
  • 2018-12-24

Nice while it lasted, but won't re-listen.

Master of Mankind is to my mind, peak Aaron Demski-Bowden, with regards to strengths as an author and style of writing. There's a LOT of good in this book and a lot that's just fascinating, but be sure that you don't take anything that The Emperor says at face value, otherwise you might find yourself confused. Without wishing to spoil, suffice it to say that The Emperor's interactions are specifically crafted in such a way as to maximize His charismatic appeal to the person or party with whom He is speaking. As a rule of thumb, His statements throughout the Horus Heresy series should rarely be taken as a representation of His own opinions, but rather as a tool for Him to exercise His will; So far in the series, the only exceptions are in His interactions with Malcador, Constantin Valdor, and a very select few of His sons. If you are still a bit new to the lore, be sure to keep this in mind throughout the story, or you may well find yourself lost.

It should also be said that while ADB's strengths as a writer are evident, so too are his biases. It's difficult to pinpoint or provide any examples without giving spoilers, but for those who don't know, the author is well known for being something of a cheerleader for the Chaos faction, and his own personal daddy issues are a poorly kept secret within the 40K community. I mention this not as a jab at the author, but to provide context; If you find yourself scratching your head at moments in the story that just seem a bit off, knowing the above might be helpful. At least it was for me. I can only speak for myself here, so take this for what you will, but I can honestly say that my story experience would have been negatively impacted had I not been aware of some of the author's personal leanings beforehand, and I hope that this context might similarly help the experience of others, particularly those invested in the Horus Heresy series.

Overall, I'd ultimately really only recommend Master of Mankind to those invested in the Horus Heresy series or 40K as a whole. It's certainly no Horus Rising or Wolfsbane, but there's enough to keep your interest if you're waiting for other new releases in the series. For those who are still learning about the franchise, it's far from inaccessible, but bear in mind the points of context above. If you're freshly new to the lore however, steer clear, Master of Mankind requires a mild-to-moderate amount of background knowledge; If you're interested in the franchise and want to learn more, you'd probably find Horus Rising, Flight Of The Eisenstein, Legion, or The First Heretic more approachable.

11 people found this helpful

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  • Korben Dallas
  • 2019-02-28

Makes the Emperor Sympathetic

I liked how the Emperor is portrayed here. He’s a man who has an aura of authority. But still a man. And even though people see him as all powerful he still has limits. Not his own, but those imposed by how psychic power and everyone else work.

It’s great insight into his personal feelings with the Primarchs and how everything is pushing him to one goal. And how getting to that goal requires relying on unreliable tools such as the Primarchs and mankind itself.

The narrator is great and provides a good mouthpiece to all the characters.

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  • James S
  • 2019-01-21

Ave Imperator

Your reading a 40k review, it's doubtless what brought you here. Love him or hate him the Emperor is one of the driving forces of the War Hammer universe. This book puts in better perspective his life, reasons, and why the 40k is how it is. Great story, brilliantly presented, and worth it even if you don't care for the factions involved, there is something for all. including a lurking horror that may bring a new player to this universe's horizon.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Jason Heady
  • 2019-09-27

How many Custodes does it take to close a door?

I enjoyed this book a great deal. It contains some of the rare glimpses into the direct actions of The Emperor as well as insight into his life across human history. You also get to see more instances of The Big E being an epic-level bastard and showing that despite being incredibly intelligent and possessing remarkable psychic abilities, he is still oblivious to much of what goes on in the minds of those around him.

Aside from The Emperor exhibiting some remarkable callous and narcissistic behavior, and at times inconsistent behavior, the novel introduces several Custodes and Silent Sisterhood characters. The novel catches up on what has been happening since Magnus' Folly. Spoiler: it is both a lot and not much at once.

The novel also brings some Mechanicum characters back onto the stage. One of my personal favorite things was the inclusion of a particular Techno-Archaeologist from way back in the 40k fluff.

As usual, Aaron Dembski-Bowden crafts an enjoyable and entertaining tale. it is not as depressing as his Night Lords stories but there absolutely some grimdark moments. Jonathan Keeble does an admirable job narrating the novel.

One last note, the audio in this reading was one of the most consistent that I have noticed from Black Library. There were a couple of scenes where I turned the volume up a notch but that was all. I often feel I am adjusting the volume too often in BL audio productions so this was a very welcome change.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 2019-03-16

A masterpiece

Aaron Demski-Bowden, Keeble and the War in the Webway... Perfect. I binged this book, left me utterly devastated and joyfull at the same time.

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  • Brittany
  • 2020-02-23

Spectacular

I literally cried listening to this book. Spectacularly written. For the Emperor! Purge the Heretic!

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  • Anonymous User
  • 2020-02-17

Required Horus Heresry reading.

The single best and most important book in the series. A must read. Thank you Mr Dembski-Bowden for an amazing book.

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  • Preston Hamilton
  • 2020-02-10

simply the best

listened and read this book several times.
Aaron Dembski-Bowden is the best. matched with Jonathan Keeble... there is no better story

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  • B. Davidson
  • 2019-10-06

Best book in the series.

This is by far the best and most important book in the series. Lots of insight into all the major players. Insight into the Emporer’s thought process. Amazing listen and read.

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  • Andrew G.
  • 2019-10-03

Best Warhammer 40k book

I loved it. ADB is my favorite Black library writer and I especially enjoyed this one.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 2019-10-17

Best thing ever.

He did everything perfectly. From the Emperor's voice to Diocletian and the child.
Simply amazing.