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A Thousand Sons (Novel)

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2drones.gif This article is about the novel by Graham McNeill, for the Space Marine Legion see Thousand Sons
A Thousand Sons
Cover illustration by Neil Roberts
Author Graham McNeill
Performed by Martyn Ellis
Publisher Black Library
Series Horus Heresy Series
Preceded by Fallen Angels
Followed by Nemesis
Released March 2010
Pages 416
Length: 16 hours
Editions 2010 softcover:
ISBN 9781844168088

2010 ebook:
ISBN 9780857870513

2010 audiobook:
ISBN 9780857871183

2012 audio CD:
ISBN 9781849702218

2014 hardcover:
ISBN 9781849707749

A Thousand Sons by Graham McNeill is the twelfth novel in the Horus Heresy Series. It tells of the Burning of Prospero, and so acts as a mini-duology with Prospero Burns by Dan Abnett, describing the same battle from the perspective of the other side, the Space Wolves.

A Thousand Sons was published in March 2010, and charted at number 22 on the New York Times best-seller list for mass-market fiction. This was the first time a Black Library novel had ever ranked on the New York Times best-seller charts.[1] It was later included in "The Novels: Volume 3" eBook collection, and it was included as part of The Razing of Prospero omnibus, released in paperback on July 12, 2016.

Cover Description

Censured at the Council of Nikaea for his flagrant use of sorcery, Magnus the Red and his Thousand Sons Legion retreat to their homeworld of Prospero to continue their use of the arcane arts in secret. But when the ill–fated primarch foresees the treachery of Warmaster Horus and warns the Emperor with the very powers he was forbidden to use, the Master of Mankind dispatches fellow primarch Leman Russ to attack Prospero itself. But Magnus has seen more than the betrayal of Horus and the witnessed revelations will change the fate of his fallen Legion, and its primarch, forever.



In his tower on the Planet of the Sorcerers, Ahzek Ahriman waits for his father to arrive and kill him. Ahriman welcomes his death, knowing it is no more than he deserves, and any kind of explanation or excuse for his actions would be in vain. Nevertheless, he feels determined to set down some kind of account of the truth, which the Imperium he once served will never know, or believe. He decides that Aghoru is as good a place as any to start the tale...

Book One: In the Kingdom of the Blind

The 28th Expedition Fleet, led by Magnus and the Thousand Sons legion, is on Aghoru. Compliance has been effected, but the Expedition is lingering on the planet, though no one can guess why. The planet is dry and barren, its inhabitants are primitive and superstitious, and there is seemingly nothing of interest except "the Mountain", an enormous construct left by the mysterious xenos race that once inhabited Aghoru millennia ago. Yet Magnus insists on staying, even ignoring urgent calls for reinforcement from his brother, Leman Russ in the nearby Ark Reach Cluster. Wolf Lord Amlodhi Skarssen Skarssensson arrives to deliver the demand in person, but Magnus silences him with a small exercise of his awesome psychic power.

The Aghoru believe that the Mountain is the prison or refuge for dark spirits; the Thousand Sons dismiss this as mere superstition, until the local tribe's chieftain begins wailing that the Thousand Sons' presence has stirred the evil ones from their slumber. The massive statues at the entry to the valley before the Mountain turn out to be ancient Titans, and turn on the Space Marines. The Thousand Sons are soon fighting for their lives, joined by the Space Wolves, who see that the only way to shift the Sons off Aghoru is to help them conclude their business, whatever it is.

After destroying the titans, Magnus leads the combined force into the heart of the Mountain, where the chieftan and his elders attempt to placate the evil ones by sacrificing themselves. However, this has the opposite effect, and the chieftan is possessed by a "daemon." Magnus disappears, alone, into the center of a vortex of swirling energies, while its dark tentacles attack the Space Marines.

Within the vortex, Magnus glimpses a passageway into a vast network that he previously only suspected existed, and seals it again, defeating a minor daemon that taunts him with a vision of Prospero burning. Magnus scorns this as a cheap scare tactic, but the daemon chuckles that it is only the inevitable future.

Magnus emerges from the battle victorious, assuring Ahriman and Skarssen that their business on Aghoru is finished, and Magnus has sealed the portal that allowed the malevolent entities to escape. Aside, he confides to Ahriman that he has made a momentous discovery - one that Magnus privately hopes will please the Emperor enough to excuse Magnus's past dabbling with some "questionable" practices, while trying to reverse his Sons' accelerating mutations.

Book Two: Mutatis Mutandis

With Aghoru finished, the Thousand Sons join the Space Wolves and the Word Bearers in effecting compliance in the Ark Reach Cluster.

Book Three: Prospero's Lament

Notable Characters


Thousand Sons

Space Wolves



Imperial Army

Other Non-Astartes Imperials


The Pnakotic Manuscrips and the 'mad Scholar Alhazred' are references to Howard Phillips Lovecraft