The Master of Mankind

The Horus Heresy, Book 41
Narrated by: Jonathan Keeble
Series: The Horus Heresy, Book 41
Length: 12 hrs and 34 mins
5 out of 5 stars (1,007 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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    3 out of 5 stars

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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    5 out of 5 stars
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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.

2 people found this helpful

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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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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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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.

1 person found this helpful

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Spectacular

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

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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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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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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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Best Warhammer 40k book

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

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  • Craigie
  • 01-14-18

Superb Insight into the Custodies & The Emperor!

Riveting and insightful. Here we learn of the exact nature of the catastrophe that Magnus the Red wrought upon the work the Emperor was attempting to carry out on a human webway.
Told from several viewpoints, a Custodian Guard, an augmented Blood Angel whom could no longer fight as his bionics are glitchy and more including a tech priest from mars who was responsible for the creation of one of warhammer 4000's most iconic vehicles, the mighty Land Raider ( bet you thought it was called that because it could raid over land! ? Not the case at all.
Master of Mankind is amongst my top five in the Horus Heresy series.
Jonathan Keeble performamce is as always at the top of his game.
Highly entertaining from start to finish.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Atte
  • 07-22-19

Commander's review

Im commander Shepard and this is my favourite book on the citadel.

Citadel council approves.

2 people found this helpful

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  • MR C EARL
  • 07-18-18

A good book for fans interested in 30/40k

If you are a fan of the setting I would heartily recommend this book, the story and information contained within is a gold mine for those interested in what was happening on terra during the horus heresy. The characters/story are interesting enough and the narration is of the high standard I would expect from Black Library.

One of the few gripes I have is that most of the fights in the book are the typical hordes and hordes of folk on both side just fighting apocalyptic battles that are present in most black library novels. For those that like bland-ish heroic romps of violence with little real feeling of being in a battle and not just a massive vague brawl then I don't think this will bother you, I didn't until recently but the more black library books I read the more I notice this is a reoccurring theme.

Overall, a good listen that will appeal to fans of the setting but one that newbies to black library or those who like their battles to be a bit more gritty should avoid.

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  • Ian Fortune
  • 07-12-19

Coming back again and again

So I don't usually write reviews but I need to do this one

I've listened to most of the Heresy series, and the Black Legion series by ADB.

Whenever I am waiting for a new Horus Heresy book to come out, this is the book I return to and listen again and again. It still evokes the same enjoyment and emotion.

If you listen to one Warhammer book, or one Horus Hersey book, make it this one.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Gabriel Saether
  • 11-10-17

The Emperor of all mankind! gets some screen time.

finally we get some insight in to the man that forged the imperium, and his custodians. a must listen for any fans, Don't recommend starting here. One of the best in the series.

2 people found this helpful

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  • paul sparks
  • 03-05-20

The best Horus heresy book

Far and away this is the best HH book I have listened to so far, lore and myths abound

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  • James Vanieris
  • 02-16-20

Slow.

Found this one Very hard to get into, lot's of good info, but not for me

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 01-07-20

Exelent continuation of the horus heresy

It left me wanting more and feeling for the emperor of man and how humanity is doomed by one man's mistake, the crimson king

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Shades of Blue Q
  • 11-15-19

Total Understanding informative.

If I could only take one book then this would be the one. Loved it from start to finish. Considering my army is made up of the Thousand Sons and Magnus the Redi wish I could have read it earlier. It explains so much and I loved the info on the Landraider that is a gem. And AD-B has surpassed himself and JK is without doubt the master of narration. Is one have any written books on the Heresy all mine are audio books, but I intend to buy the written as well so has to always have this book wherever I go. Brilliant, loved it. If you need information ! Then this is the book.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • beefeb
  • 11-07-19

great insight into the big E. Enjoyable

AS HEADER LINE, GREAT INSIGHTS, GREAT STORY, great narration. im very interested to see the development of Ra and of Dyocletian.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 11-02-18

.

Definitely one of my top 5 HH books with interesting look into the sister of silence and the custodians with well written battles. Jonathan Keeble as always makes the characters memorable and brings them to life.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 07-26-18

A fantastic listen

Every minute of this novel was awesome. It was read supremely well and kept me hooked.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 02-10-20

The fall of all to come. *Minor spoilers*

The Master of Mankind is the the type of book that doesn't have a happy ending. So if your looking for a glorious triumph over the forces of Chaos in the caverns of the webway, you won't be happy with this book.

It DOSE however, give you an insight into what the Emperor has to deal with. And the trials and tribulations of the 10,000 and Silent Maidens. deffinitely worth a read if you want to understand the deeper workings of the Imperium.

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  • takanzwa
  • 01-25-20

Outstanding

What is there to say really it is amazing it totally captured the tragedy of the destruction of all the Emperor hoped to leave for Humanity and the collapse of his dreams. Yet inspite of this I still found myself grinning at the humour and sarcasm of some all to human characters.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 09-01-19

A work for the thoughtful sci-fi reader.

The Emperor is one of the most compelling characters in modern science fiction, and this book is a wonderful exploration of his deeper persona. Reading it will entertain you, and then make you question the very nature of humanity itself.

9/10

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  • Anonymous User
  • 12-20-18

Enjoyed this story immensely

I enjoyed it immensely! This is probably the most I've heard of the Emperor and I wish there were more books of him. It also shows us a lot of the Custodians and Sisters of Silence.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 05-26-18

fantastic in all senses

great book and well performed by the reader. definitely a must read for 40k fans