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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 listeners say about Descent of Angels

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

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.

8 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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Waste of a credit

Worst in the series up until this point - it feels half finished. The characters’ dialogue is so whiny it’s hardly bearable - and it’s made worse by the narrator’s performance. The story is meandering and feels mostly irrelevant by the end. Actually considering quitting the series due to this one but I think I’ll try the next one hoping that this dud is an outlier.

6 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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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!

4 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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Merely okay

The main characters are one dimensional. Story felt rushed and left out good development. It felt more like a really long fan fiction rather than a black library book.

3 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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couldn't finish.

not for me, maybe if more things actually happened, I was not taken in hearing about a boy who would become a space marine.

2 people found this helpful

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adds no value to the Horus heresy series

this has nothing to do with the Horus heresy provides little to no information regarding the character for which it is named after .

1 person found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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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 person found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Annoyingly mediocre

In a universe filled with fungal space goblins, fascist murder angels, and robots the size of skyscrapers I found the most unbelievable thing to be the main character of this story. Zahariel is a character completely without flaw. A fifteen year old with the wisdom of an old man, the love of every person that sets eyes upon him, and the ability to best anything thrown against him. Even the Emperor himself takes a special moment to psychically ruffle the boy's hair at one point. Which all had the effect of making it a very boring read. I was never once concerned for Zahariel nor was I ever curious about what he might do next. He just floated along from success to next, always being perfect and dutiful. I swear, if you identify with Zahariel you would have to be so lacking in self awareness that I bet you think your reflection is another person entirely.

However, I will say that at least the other characters seemed to have a bit more depth. Well... at least enough ro get your ankles wet. Even if they still don't feel like real people, there is still a bit of drama to be rung out of these larger than life characters. At a few moments I even felt the strange emotion some call 'interest' quickly flit through me. But even then, most characters were really just there to admire Zahariel.

I would say that the strongest parts of this book were the world building and the action scenes. But even these were just passable at best. I'd say for anyone interested in the Horus Heresy and wanting to read about the events surrounding it and its characters to skip this book and move on.

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Gareth Armstrong delivered a beautiful read!

I really enjoyed this story, I am not the biggest fan of the Dark Angels, but the Pre-Imperium story of Zahariel El'Zurias and his cousin Nemiel was really interesting. This book gave me a whole new appreciation for Lion El'Johnson and the Dark Angels Legion.

The Story as it was on Caliban before the coming of the Imperium was really really fun! I am excited for more Zahariel stories in the future of this series and for more of The Lion and Luther.

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good story but very tangential to main story

A lot of people recommend skipping this book, presumably because it is very little to do with the overall storyline of the Horus heresy. it's a good story but the majority of it is not the space Opera that the rest of the Horus heresy is, it's akin to a sword and sorcery novel that's been kind of shoehorned in. again pretty decent story but very much a digression from the main storyline.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 02-12-19

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.

8 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • R Fletcher
  • 06-27-18

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.

13 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Junaii
  • 12-10-18

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.

5 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • David C.
  • 02-09-18

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.

11 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Creag
  • 07-05-19

Out of place

I had heard many MANY people complain about this book and how bad it was so I went into it purely for completions sake of the heresy series. HOWEVER, I think at least some of the bad reviews are unfair. The story itself takes a LONG time to get going and to resemble something even vaguely relating to the Warhammer universe. The odd reference here and there about weapons and armour feel very tacked on and out of place. But if you remove those and take the story out of the 40k universe you're actually left with quite a good fantasy novel set in a medival realm. The part of the story at the end however was far to short and rushed and kind of felt tacked on to justify this being a 30k/Warhammer novel. it would have been better served with the ratio reversed and having that as the main part as anyone that doesnt already know some of the lore of the Dark angels will find it quite hard to follow Overall not bad story, slow to get into but I've read worse books

3 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • JGS
  • 12-05-18

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.

3 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Luke
  • 04-17-21

Unexpected in the series but enjoyable nonetheless

As most have said, I don't see how it connects to the Horus heresy story but it certainly provides some context on one of the Primarks, his origins and the origins of the death Angels. It may play a part further down the line

1 person found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • N
  • 06-29-19

Poor compared to the rest so far

An underwhelming story and very basic writing. Doesn’t feel up to the same quality as the previous books in the series.

1 person found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • S. Bell
  • 06-09-19

Don’t bother

Descent body to the story, however the ending is terrible and nonsensical. Skip this one.

1 person found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • john jackson
  • 05-08-21

only okay

not one of the best stories in the series so far.
it is one of the books that really didn't have to be in the Horus heresy serious. the story I just finished was only ok

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Jared
  • 01-23-21

Why is this in the Horus Heresy series?

This review is hard to write because I actually loved the story until the end. The book focuses really heavily on Caliban, and at first I had just assumed it was because it was going to provide some foreshadowing on future events. But as it turns out, it literally contributes nothing to the grander scheme of the Horus Heresy.

This should NOT be in the Horus Heresy series at all. Its a good standalone 30k story but it shouldn't be apart of the HH.

1 person found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 10-13-20

why is this in the horus heresy

Very bad book had nothing to do with the Horus Heresy at all. The writer would forget what they said earlier and contradicted themselves all the way through the book. The pointless small talk was pathetic.
The reader maid then sound like children and nothing like what you would think of us Space Marines.

1 person found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 06-26-20

GW are corporate whorea

facile, ludicrous and second only to starwars in plotholes, yet we buy it because we are fanboys and will come back for more. So bad...

1 person found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • wayne kerr
  • 01-08-20

A change of pace

if you have come straight from Fulgrim i'd recomond skiping it and coming back to it later if take things back quite a bit and if you still high on the momentum of the previous books i'd recommend going to legion or mechanicum and come to this one at a later date

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 04-23-20

amazing book.

black library always writes amazing books. it didn't disappoint with this one. great story's, always.

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 02-14-20

first book of the series that was a let down.

so boring such a let down compared to the other books. such a snore. pass this one up. whole book comes down to one chapter.

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 08-13-19

Total wast of time!!!!!

wanted to continue the STORY line of the Horus Heresy... this book adds nothing new?!?! this is a history of the Dark Angel's... why is this book even in the Horus Herisy series, it's a book on it's own, so disappointing to waste 10 hours on this!!!

3 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • SpasticGremlin
  • 06-10-19

Thrilling from start to finish

The Lions presence feels just as awe inspiring for the reader as it is for the characters in the story.
a perfect change of pace for the loyalists side of the story.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 11-02-18

.

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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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 06-11-18

for the Lion

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