Praetorian of Dorn (Novel)
Praetorian of Dorn by John French is book 39 of The Horus Heresy series. It was released on 20 August 2016 in hardcover, e-book, and MP3 audiobook formats. It was released during the 2016 "Summer of Reading" event along with 5 "Secrets of the Solar War," short descriptions of the Solar System during the Horus Heresy. The audiobook has a running time of 12 hours and 57 minutes, and it is narrated by Jonathan Keeble. It was included as part of the "Nine Loyal Primarchs" set for 2016 12 Days of Christmas: Day 9.
Recalled from the Great Crusade after Ullanor, Rogal Dorn and the VIIth Legion were appointed as the Emperor's praetorians but only after the Warmasters treachery was revealed did the full extent of that sacred duty become apparent. Now, the Solar System comes under attack for the first time since the war began, and many of the seemingly impregnable defences wrought by the Imperial Fists prove inadequate. With all eyes fixed firmly upon this new threat beyond the gates of Terra, who will protect Dorn from the enemy within?
The VII Legion 'Imperial Fists'
- Rogal Dorn, Primarch of the Imperial Fists, Praetorian of Terra
- Archamus, Master of the Huscarls, 'The Last of the First'
- Sigismund, Lord Castellan of the First Sphere, First Captain, Marshal of the Templars
- Fafnir Rann, Lord Seneschal, Captain of the First Assault Cadre
- Boreas, Sergeant, First Company
- Halbrecht, Lord Castellan of the Second Sphere, Fleet Master
- Effried, Lord Castellan of the Third Sphere, Seneschal
- Camba Diaz, Lord Castellan of the Fourth Sphere, Siege Master
- Demetrius Katafalque, Captain, 344th Company
- Kestros, Sergeant, 65th Squad, 344th Company
The XX Legion 'Alpha Legion'
- Alpharius, Primarch of the Alpha Legion
- Ingo Pech, Captain
- Mathias Herzog, Captain
- Phocron, Headhunter Prime
- Kalix, Headhunter
- Hekaron, Headhunter
- Myzmadra, Operative
- Ashul, Operative
- Incarnus, Aventian progression savant
- Sork, Agent, captain of the scavenger vessel Wealth of Kings
- Malcador, Regent of the Imperium
- Su-Kassen, Solar Command Staff, former Admiral of the Jovian Fleets
- Morhan, Strategos, 56th Veletaris Tercio, SEcond Solar Auxilia Cohort (the 'Saturnyne Rams')
- Chayo, Magos, Primary Voice on the Unbreakable Truth
- Armina Fel, Astropath-adjutant to Rogal Dorn
- Heliosa-78, Cult Matriarch of the Selenar
- Andromeda-17, Personified-scion of the Selenar
Secrets of the Solar War
Five "Secrets of the Solar War" were released on the Black Library website leading up to the publication of Praetorian of Dorn.
Day 1: "Terra has been made a fortress but it is a fortress with two walls: the wall within, and the wall without. The wall within is the gate from the Imperial Dungeon to the Emperor’s mysterious Great Project. Here stands the Master of Mankind himself, at the head of the Custodians and the Sisters of Silence. The wall without is the spheres of defence that extend from the literal walls of the Imperial Palace to the darkness beyond the edge of the Solar System. On this outer wall stands the Praetorian of Terra, Rogal Dorn, and his Imperial Fists. If either wall falls then everything is lost."
Day 2: "The Imperial Fists’ defence of the Solar System is divided into Spheres. All the defences and forces within each Sphere are commanded by a senior Imperial Fist raised to the rank of Lord Castellan by Rogal Dorn. The First Sphere is the outermost, and comes under the command of Sigismund. The Second is commanded by Halbrecht, while the Third, under Efried, encloses the Martian battle sphere and has the traitorous tech-priests fully bottled in. Terra is marshalled by Dorn himself. The Imperial Fists forces in the Solar System are divided between each of these commands, along with thousands more ships, void defences and millions of mortal troops. Separated by millions of kilometres, signals sent between the forces assigned to each sphere take hours to reach each other. When the invasion finally comes word will pass by a single astropathic flare, a psychic message passed as fast as thought that says that the traitors have come to the walls of Solar: 'Fire on the mountains'."
Day 3: "Alpha Legion units placed into enemy territory are trained and conditioned to pursue broad mission objectives in whatever way they think best. The scope of these objectives are called mission parameters. An Alpha Legion force or warrior might have been given a series of potential mission parameters before its infiltration, some of which might be radically different in shape: killing or protecting the same individual, for example. Each parameter will have a single activation word or phrase that will set an infiltrator off towards a set of objectives. A word spoken down a vox or scrawled on a slip of parchment is enough to change the direction of their action from one parameter to another. And it is not uncommon for members of the same force to be following different mission parameters..."
Day 4: "Archamus is Master of Dorn's Huscarls, but also bears the honour of being the Last of the First. This First were those Imperial Fists created after Rogal Dorn was reunited with the Emperor and given command of the VII Legion. They were also the first to make their oaths to Rogal Dorn, and their names were the first to be etched on the walls of the Temple of Oaths aboard the Phalanx. By the time of Praetorian of Dorn, Archamus is the last of this honoured brotherhood."
Day 5: "The Solar System is the graveyard of countless civilisations that rose and fell long before the Emperor unified Terra and sent the Great Crusade into the stars. Artefacts and wreckage fill the gulf between planets and moons. Labyrinths of crushed ruins sit beneath the cities of Terra and the stones of the Imperial Palace. The people who live and toil in the system that birthed humanity have cultures, traditions and rivalries that existed before the rise of the Imperium, and persist even under its unity. The Jovian void clans, the gene-cults of Luna, the smugglers and pirates that hide within the debris reefs, are just a few of the hundreds of ancient factions clinging to the bones of those that came before that make up the 'unity' of the Solar System."
After an astropath was used as a sorcerous conduit for Horus Lupercal to contact Alpharius, Maloghurst questioned the Alpha Legion's loyalty to the Warmaster. Horus explained that they could never trust them but their nature to serve their own ends. Their forces would serve to weaken those of Terra before the final battle could take place, but it would take time before the actions show their results.