• Descent of Angels

  • The Horus Heresy, Book 6
  • By: Mitchel Scanlon
  • Narrated by: Gareth Armstrong
  • Length: 10 hrs and 32 mins
  • 4.6 out of 5 stars (3,626 ratings)

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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

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  • Overall
    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.

10 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.

7 people found this helpful

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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!

6 people found this helpful

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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.

4 people found this helpful

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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.

3 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 .

2 people found this helpful

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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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One of the worst written book I've ever experience

Show don't tell. It's hard for a book to mess that up, but this book managed it. It constantly clobbers you with unrelenting exposition. Warhammer codexes are more subtle, and they're there to sell plastic. In the rare instances where it isn't expositing, what passes for tension is just you wondering when the characters are going to do the obvious thing you figured out 15 minutes earlier or if they're going to get Deus Ex Machinaed. The narrator did ok, but he can't save this wreck.

1 person found this helpful

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Glad I didn't skip it.

Honestly this book should be 1st in the series and give you some back ground. Originally I was told to skip this as it doesn't add a lot to the Horus Heresy. But I found out about the Dark Angels and I am So, So glad I didn't skip it. So far this is my favorite book in the series and made me a real fan of the Dark Angels.

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well told and well read

while disconnected from much of the microcosm and macrocosm of the Horus heresy, its great, as a story, giving you an intricate and detailed understanding of the dark angels before the heresy.

Gareth Armstrong did a fine job, though sometimes voices blended and fell away, making some conversations confusing, his gusto was infectious.

Mitchel Scanlon did a fantastic job of bringing the dark angel's homeworld to life and telling the story of a people subjugated by their own volition, and the complexity therein.

Excited to see where Zahariel goes later in the series that ending was great.

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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.

11 people found this helpful

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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.

8 people found this helpful

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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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  • 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.

13 people found this helpful

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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

4 people found this helpful

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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.

3 people found this helpful

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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.

3 people found this helpful

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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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  • 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

2 people found this helpful

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  • Tristan Hardy
  • 10-16-21

Drenched in knightly honour-ism to inspire

Flawless in every aspect but one! I will mention that at end of review due to its miniscule nature.

As with all the books so far, this book continued to capture the imagination and further draws the reader into the book.

I found this particular book the most compelling in part because I have an inclination to books regarding knights of any realm and their secret traditions and ceremony.

This book also gives a greater depth of history and plot to the start of the emperor's rise on Terra, the number of Primarks he created among other nuggets of enlightenment which brought greater clarity to the readership / listeners.

My favourite book so far. As always I recommend this to all.

The only criticism is the one word used mid way through the book which may have simply been a miss read error of the narrator although read with such conviction believed to be on the page he read from. The word "Earth" used... As in this fantasy collection "Earth" is only referred to and known as "Terra".

Thank you for yet another aw inspiring piece of literature.

1 person found this helpful

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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.

3 people found this helpful

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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.

2 people found this helpful

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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...

2 people found this helpful

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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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  • Chris Hill
  • 05-07-22

Don't skip it!

I almost skipped this book in the HH series based on other reviews but don't.

it's not tied integrally to the HH plot where Fulfrim left off, but it's a great book and sets up the Dark Angels really well for their next appearance (from someone who know nothing about them)

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  • Mick
  • 04-03-22

Not bad

Well written and well read I think this is a beneficial addition to the Games Workshop line of stories.

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  • Bryce Jones
  • 03-28-22

Not quite Horus Heresy.. but

It seems to be set before the Horus Heresy. For well over half of the book, you may be confused, not thinking that it is set in the 40k/30k universe. It comes around to it eventually.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 03-17-22

More of a pre heresy chapter building story

I did enjoy listening to this book, however I had expected a very different story after the previous entries in the series.
A large portion of the book takes place on the feudal home world prior to the arrival of the imperial fleet. It gave some insight into the culture that influenced the chapter and the dramatic shifts that occur when a planet becomes part of the imperium of man . I feel like it’s an interesting precursor to the bigger dark angels story.
If you are expecting a huge explosive heresy novel you’ll be dissatisfied, but if you’re interested in more of an origin story for the chapter that plants seeds for future events between the lion Luther you might enjoy it .

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  • Loretta.
  • 02-07-22

Descent of Angel's by Mitchel Scanlon

I struggled at first but it's an okay book Thank you Mitchel for writing it thank you Gareth Armstrong for reading to me much appreciated 💜💜

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  • Anonymous User
  • 10-04-21

the best so far

so I have always been a Russ man myself but this book has me looking at the glory of the 1st
I loved that the story focused on a small group and showed their lives and youth before the Legion. absolutely great read 👍
bit disappointed in the end but that's the same when any great story comes to an end