Nemesis has been brewing on my book shelf for a long time. Staring at me with evil eyes. I can’t really explain why I was reluctant to read it. It may be the lack of huge names in the Dramatis Personae listing. Oh, you got Rogal Dorn, Malcador the Sigillite, Erebus and Valdor. But as you look at the huge cast of people you’ve never heard of, you just know that this story isn’t really about the big names. It also slows my roll that we all know that Horus didn’t meet his end with a bullet ventilating his skull. So part of me wondered, what’s the point of this book?
The first half of the book dives into Imperial politics, highlighting the Officio Assassinorium’s bickering and the usual mission to take the best and brightest from each of the six major houses to go after Horus. All of this is changes back and forth between the growing roster of the Execution Force and a murder investigation that is occurring on a distant planet. The book was getting boring around page 200 as Swallow took his time, giving each assassin a long introduction that allowed the reader to find out a little bit about each of the Execution and what their powers were.
On one hand, this really slowed down the pace of the book, even if it these scenes were laced with action. But on the other hand, I suddenly realized that there really hasn’t been that much writing on the various assassins of the Imperium. Execution forces are extremely, extremely rare occurrences. Daemonic incursions seem to happen more often. This was a prime chance to write about the Officio Assassinorium as a whole.
Although the book’s pace slowed, it suddenly redeemed itself half way through, just out of the blue. And began to move towards the overall purpose, building itself towards a climax laced with the theme that needed to be told in order to put some elements of the overall Horus Heresy in perspective. Much like the first three books, Horus Rising, False Gods and Galaxy in Flames, it turned out that there was an underlying theme within the Nemesis. It just waited until towards the end to really address it.
Nemesis proved to be a rewarding piece despite how open and closed it is. Sure, we all know that the mission posed is a failure, but it does reveal some crucial insights into the thinking within the Imperium and Horus. You could skip it, but you may miss something. If you haven’t already, check it out.
And now for the unofficial theme song to Nemesis. Complete with puppies.