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Publisher's Summary

A Horus Heresy character novel.

Constantin Valdor is the chief of the Emperor's Custodian Guard and is among the closest of His companions. As the wars of Unity come to their end, Constantin faces his greatest challenge, as dark deeds are required to pave Mankind's road to the stars.

Listen to It Because:

Delve into the era of the Unification Wars and discover Constantin Valdor's role in bringing about the Imperium of Mankind in an unmissable novel by Chris Wraight!

The Story:

Constantin Valdor. It is a name that brings forth images of heroism, honour and peerless duty. For it is he who commands the will of the Legio Custodes that most esteemed and dedicated cadre of elite warriors. He is the Emperor’s sword, His shield, His banner and he knows no equal. Clad in shining auramite, his fist clenched around the haft of his Guardian Spear, he is the bulwark against all enemies of the throne, within or without. Nearing the end of the wars of Unity, Valdor’s courage and purpose is put to the test as never before. The petty warlords and tyrants of Old Earth have been all but vanquished, and the Emperor’s armies are triumphant. What now for the nascent Imperium and what fate for its forgotten soldiers, its Thunder Warriors and armies of Unity? A new force is rising, one which shall eclipse all others and open the way to the stars. But change on Terra is seldom bloodless, and for progress to be ensured darker deeds are necessary. 

Written by Chris Wraight. Narrated by Steven Pacey, Jonathon Keeble, Katy Maw and Toby Longworth.

©2019 Games Workshop Limited (P)2019 Games Workshop Limited

What listeners say about Valdor: Birth of the Imperium

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    3 out of 5 stars

Can Chris Wraight please have a team of lore nerds

I get very conflicted with Chris Wraights books because they are well written by themselves but the are not consistent with the greater 30k/40k lore. In this book we get a lot of good lore but then suddenly we’re told that the legions had their icons before finding their primarchs? Also apparently the emperor thought of the primarchs as sons? Those two things not only are out of character but they have books that address those issues. I get wanting to hint at the dark angels helping with the conflict but anyone who knows 30k will know that a Roman numeral 1 on the pauldron would be more of a name drop than the legion heraldry. Overall kinda annoyed/ disappointed because it was good up until the last 2-3 chapters where all this happened.

11 people found this helpful

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No revelations, just an awesome story

While most of us already know the beginning of the Imperium proper: end of the Thunder Warriors, the Primarch project, the Legions it's nice to have a character perspective about these events in finer detail, especially through Constantine Valdor.

3 people found this helpful

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It was okay

Honestly was hoping for more about Valdor and have the book actually be about him instead of the slew of other characters who got far more attention I feel. I honestly feel the title is somewhat misleading to those wanting to know more about the man, rather than whats given in this one.

2 people found this helpful

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Well done. I was hoping for more lore.

I was hoping for more Lore about the old battles, a discription of the battle between the thunder warrior and the custodes. I didn't learn anything I didn't already know. I wish more artistic licence was used towards the character development. The only real character with a story were ultimately inconsequential.

2 people found this helpful

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excellent.

I loved it because one of the most hated characters in all of 40K is finally cast down from her Summit and portrayed as the villain she rightly is.

1 person found this helpful

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wooow! Amazed and I want more!

Excellent narration and performance. As is the norm for black library works. The story was great. Very enlightening. I would advise not to introduce some to the grim dark with this however. A great book though for fans and players of 40k 30k and any one who loves the lore especially.

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Very illuminating

This was a great 40k book. I prefer 40k books that are lighter on the bolter action and provide more perspective on the characters and their motivations. This book did a great job of showing the motivarions behind Valdor and his work. A few morsels of new lore as well. You really get a feel for who Valdor is. If you like 30k books, this is a great one.

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Not a lot of Valdor for a book called Valdor

This book has the same problem that some of the Primarch novels do, where it features the title character but is mainly focused on someone else. Wraight is a good author and this is not exception, but the story is mainly centered around a High Lord, a gene scientist and then another Custode. While Valdor is in it, and does have some good moments, I would be prepared for the majority of this book to not have Valdor in it. If the book was just titled "Birth of the Imperium" it would remove my complaint, but having Valdors name in the title is a little deceptive and doesn't help manage expectations going into it

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40K Never Disappoints

I always love a good history lesson and the Black Library consistently delivers. For the Emperor!

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what A good book keep it up

it is as of most books of the Horus Heresy .I enjoyed it. The Horus Heresy is A great read and the Audible is A fantastic way to start getting to know the Warhammer world. Love It

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  • Sprgsmal
  • 03-29-20

Past Is The Future

Valdor: Birth of the Imperium is a very difficult book to review and to describe. It is certainly one of the more important 40k books of late. To sum up, this is a an important history book that will read like gold to the mature lore-fans while it disappoints the bolter porn audience. If you want lots of action, don't get this book as it is much more!



To start off, the book is very unconventional in topic, delivery and format. I am pleased to say that it does all these successfully.



First, the book covers very early Imperium history and as such is a true rarity that has been much anticipated and perhaps much needed. The early history of 40k is truly fascinating and at this stage probably far richer than the current setting. The book truly hums of mystery - early Terra is a place that is utterly fascinating and very strange. There is so much amazing lore that I don't know where to begin. All I can say is that at this point, the best content of 40k might well reside in the past and is certainly worth more exploration (Black Library, please). For lore-nerds, the book does not per se offer anything radical but is a very compact history anthology that brings clarity into the nebulous past. Even more strangely, the book is rather short. Personally, I found this a good thing because +10 hour books rarely remain dynamic but this will inevitably be divisive. However, given its current price at the time of review, it is quite expensive considering its length while of course 99% use Audible Credit over money. The length is an issue and there is so much that it could have contained but it covers one historical event quite dynamically.



Second, the book format is equally very peculiar, because it truly reads like a history report. This is something that will make lore fans jump for joy but those who want to read endless fantastical battle depictions will not find this 'entertaining'. Considering myself as a more mature 40k fan, I am pleased with the format of the book. Chris Wraight was certainly the right man for the job and overall his writing cannot be criticized although his delivery is surprisingly formal and way less lyrical than on his many other books. This is understandable, because this is essentially an in-universe history book (which very few fantasy settings could ever pull off).



Third, the delivery is also very peculiar because as can be noticed, the book is narrated by several actors. For most, the book reads like a conventional audio book with a single reader (Steven Pacey) while on many parts, it is essentially a small drama production with multiple readers, sound effects and filters. The delivery is very peculiar but it works; the drama parts are done with taste and moderation. They don't steal the show but contribute to it. At first, I was actually going to give the Performance less stars because the delivery felt a bit strange and I found Pacey's delivery too official, almost downright boring. Then I realized that the book truly is an epic account of fictional history and he with his relatively formal delivery honors this idea.



Overall, Valdor: Birth of the Imperium is a peculiar book with a possibly monumental prediction. 40k lore is massively rich in its nebulous past and hopefully more books will be focused on that with Valdor being the wave-breaker. The book is also peculiar in its format and delivery but somehow it all works! It is possible that I will still update this review one way or the other as this was just my initial feeling.

24 people found this helpful

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  • LegendaryWarrior
  • 07-11-20

An interesting addition to the lore

Sadly though, GW seems to increasingly be forcing questionable radical leftwing ideology into it's lore. While this is not the most egregious example of this unfortunate trend, it's still jarring and negatively effects the story. All the most intelligent and powerful people, not previously unchangeably written as male (eg. the Emperor and Valdor himself) are female... I mean the odd one here and there is forgivable but ALL of them!? It just comes off as an attempt to force feminist ideology into the story, and definitely doesn't add to the tale.

13 people found this helpful

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  • Gareth L.
  • 03-29-20

Too short, too good.

Every 40k fanboy wanted a little love shown to the emperor's most loyal companion, his infallible protector and one of his few true confidants. Frankly he deserves a full book series to himself. Alas he had not been shown the love he is entitled to imo.

Now down to the actual book itself. Do not think this book will be filled with epic lore filled conversations between the big 3. Both the sigilite and the emperor make some tantalising yet all too brief appearances, their conversations with our man are very interesting but this book is about Valdor and his legion. My guess is that the author didn't want anything to over shadow our main protagonist, so this is very much a story of Valdor and an insight into his and the early custodians own role in the creation of the empire, and to that the book does it very well indeed.

But By the emperor it's not enough! Even though the story is well rounded and the combat is epic and satisfying, I still want a deeper insight into one of the most enigmatic of characters in our 40k universe. Let's hope he and the other 2 get more love in the near future.

As usual the voice acting is fantastic, I expected nothing less from the black library, not much else needs saying, anyone thinking of giving this book a listen will already be well versed in the whole black library team and their frankly, unmatched quality and consistency.

Get this book but temper your expectations.

5 people found this helpful

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  • C. Holden
  • 07-31-20

Very well written. Exceptionally well narrated.

This is extremely well written. Add Pacey as narrator, and something magical happens. He is perfect for the 40k universe. There's something about him. He brings something that matches the 40k tone. Sardonic, witty, intelligent. I'm not sure. But it's perfect, really. I pray to the Emperor that they keep him on.

2 people found this helpful

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  • paul
  • 07-29-20

Fantastic

Absolutely loved every second of this book, as soon as it was finished I looked to see if there had been any related stories yet that follow on from it. I wont spoil it for anyone but it offers a glimps into some of the more obscure characters in the imperiums history. I cannot wait for any follow up novels. The story telling was great and the actual story itself was amazing and really sucked you into itself.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 06-12-20

More Lore Than Story

If you're a lore junkie like me, then this audio is one delectable morsel. It's no full-length Horus Heresy novel, but it gives a fascinating insight into a period of the 40K timeline fans rarely get to see. The voice-acting us superb, the SFX are atmospheric without being distracting, and the story is short enough to go through in one day, but is far, FAR from simple or boring.

2 people found this helpful

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  • papapownall
  • 04-06-20

Will make more sense to those already familiar

I wanted to listen to something that would take me into a different world to take my mind off current world events for a while. I thought that a fantasy novel would do the trick and chose this on the back of reviews of other works by Chris Wraight who is highly regarded in the genre. Whilst I appreciated the mythical world of Valdor and the Birth of the Imperium I could not help think that this would have made more sense to someone who is already familiar with other works in the series as, reading other reviews, it is clear that this is actually a prequel other works and there are various references in this book that explain other story lines. I expect that much of this was wasted on me having not read or listened to any of the other stories and I was left thinking that, although this is an impressive work and is well told, it is a bit like trying to watch a soap opera for the first time and not knowing the backstory to the characters involved.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Mr M G Black
  • 04-02-20

Short but sweet

100% agree with the indepth review thats up on audible, only wanted to add the welcome new addition of Steven Pacey (THE BLOODY NINE) to Black Library already great narrators. More of both please

2 people found this helpful

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  • Kwok T.
  • 01-05-21

We need more Valdor!

A glimpse of the early Imperium, the Astartes program and Constantin Valdor. Hopefully we see more of him in the Siege of Terra series.

1 person found this helpful

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  • ratpk87
  • 11-22-20

A must for lore-heads

We don't often get to hear about the early days of the Imperium, the time before the crusade and the Astartes - this is not to passed over if you always wanted a little more insight. Great story, fantastic performance. We need more like this!

1 person found this helpful

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  • Ashley P Felton
  • 06-13-20

For the 40K lore buffs

For a fan of 40K lore, this story delivers in spades. Unless you are a fan of that universe with a good knowledge of the background, I'm not sure that I could recommend this one, though. If you are: it's an absolute treat.

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  • JR
  • 05-25-20

Amazing

Great exploration of Unifcation era, really grips you and great characters, great insight into what the imperium is/was meant to be.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 05-07-20

man so many bombshells!

so many bombshells guys! no spoilers though!! I really like the amount of further information on the thunder warriors and life before the crusades

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  • Alex
  • 04-12-20

WOW - This is a Gem of Pre-Imperium lore!

Fantastic book that tells you a lot about the first Astartes and even Astarte herself!

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Tenma13
  • 04-11-20

Had the potential for new insight and a deep story

Wanted to like it and there were a few insights into pre heresy era for us lore fiends. Felt the author played it safe and the story was quite predictable from very early on, especially in terms of the Custodians indestructibility which made every thing seem by the numbers. Cut scenes for the interviews with valdor were an nice touch though.