Extinction is a short story by Aaron Dembski-Bowden is set just after the end of the Horus Heresy and the death of the Warmaster. It tells us a series of vignettes about how the Traitor Legions have turned on the Sons of Horus and sets up the events that take place in the Talon of Horus and the other Black Legion novels. It’s worth reading as a precursor to those events but the way it frames the once-mighty 16th Legion as a pariah to their former allies foreshadows the rise of Abaddon and the coming of the Black Legion.
Throughout Extinction, we see members of the Sons of Horus trying to escape death as marines from the World Eaters, Thousand Sons and other legions chase them down. If you’ve read even a few of The Horus Heresy novels, then you know how proud and revered they were. Seeing them become this shadow of their former selves as they are scattered throughout the Eye of Terror living second by second trying to survive. Each mini-story within this short story centres around different Legion hunting for a member of the Sons of Horus before building to the moment Abaddon is revealed.
While we don’t spend a lot of time with the First Captain, the events of Extinction and the framing of the Sons of Horus set up the story of the Talon of Horus nicely. That book centres around a search for Abaddon and the forging of the Black Legion and Extinction gives you an insight into why that’s an uphill battle.
Extinction one of the short stories included in Crusade and Other Stories and while I came down hard on that book as an introduction to the 40k setting, this is one of the standout stories. It is short, punchy and sets up an excellent full-length novel. You don’t need to read it to enjoy Talon of Horus and you don’t need to read Talon of Horus to enjoy it either. However, read both because they are superb.
Thanks for reading. If you want to know what happened in the lead up to this short story, check out our reviews of The Horus Hersey series. Alternatively, if you want more 40k why not check out our review of Space Hulk: Tactics.
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