Angels of darkness 40k

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Warhammer 40K - Codex Supplement - Dark Angels

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None fight with more grim determination than the battle-brothers of the Dark Angels, and their renowned specialised companies – the Deathwing and the Ravenwing – are held in awe by their allies and enemies alike. Working in concert, the formations of the Dark Angels are devastating in battle. Yet behind their devotion to the Imperium lies a shadowy obsession. Haunted by their past, the Dark Angels and their successors – known collectively as the Unforgiven – wage a secret war for redemption, a millennia-long crusade of vengeance that will either lead to their final atonement… or eternal damnation.

Inside this 80-page hardback codex supplement, you'll find everything you need to hunt the Fallen with your Dark Angels, plus thrilling lore and art to inspire your own collection.

- The history of the Dark Angles, exploring their glorious rise and tragic fall, and the secretive hunt that has driven them for 10,000 years- A detailed description of Chapter organizations and iconography
- A Dark Angels bestiary with background details for every unit and Character featured
- A showcase of stunningly painted Citadel miniatures
- Rules for units that are only available to the Dark Angels Chapter and their successors - including 23 datasheets
- Stratagems, the Interromancy psychic discipline, Relics, and optional secondary objectives that define the way that the Dark Angels wage war
- Bespoke Crusade rules providing new Agendas, Requisitions, Battle Traits, Honorifics, and Crusade Relics for the Dark Angels, as well as rules for huntin the Fallen
- And more! 

Format: Hardcover
Language: English

You will need a copy of Codex: Space Marines and the Warhammer 40,000 rulebook to use the rules included in this codex supplement.



Warhammer 40k‘s Dark Angels are one of the most popular, intriguing, and downright coolSpace Marine Chapters around. Taking medieval chivalric style and combining it with ceramite-clad warriors in the far future is already a winning combination; throw in a hefty dose of secrecy and hidden Warp-powered mystery, and you’ve got a recipe for sheer success. Many Warhammer players’ first Space Marines are Dark Angels – they’ve been a fan favourite since their inception, and, with each passing novel or update hinting at their backstory, that fervour for the dark-green boys grows.

It doesn’t just begin and end at their lore and courtly style, however, as they perform exceptionally well on the tabletop battlefield too. They’re a flexible force that moves with devastatingly powerful speed, able to take out targets and score points with breathtaking ease.

So, with mysterious lore full of dark secrets, a cool space-monk-esque look that’s unlike anything else in Warhammer 40,000, and the ability to bring overwhelming power to the battlefield, the Dark Angels might just be your next favourite army.

Here’s everything you need to know about these grim warriors from the far future.

Warhammer Community artwork showing The Rock and Dark Angels ships exiting the warp


From their first founding, the Dark Angels have been a proud sect of warrior monks. Whilst many other Space Marine Chapters have their own plaudits and reasons to be proud, only one gets to be first and that honour goes to the Dark Angels – originally styled the First Legion Astartes.

Dark Angels share their Primarch’s martial prowess - and arrogance

Spawned from the gene-Seed of their genetic father, Lion El’Jonson, they inherited many of his traits. These include a passion for victory, an overwhelming desire for martial perfection, and – unfortunately for their story – a certain arrogance and tendency to keep secrets. The Lion’s sons had to fight without him at first, however, as their gene-sire was scattered across the galaxy by the machinations of Chaos, landing on a terrifying planet named Caliban. There he grew into his full form with unnatural speed, raised by his surrogate father and best friend, Luther. As he grew, his martial prowess grew with him, leading him to eventually take control over the knightly orders which inhabited the forested world.

Games Workshop artwork showing Dark Angels Space Marines fighting Chaos

In a dark mirror to the grander crusade taking place in the Emperor’s burgeoning Imperium, Lion El’Jonson led his knights on a war against the Chaos-twisted creatures prevalent in the darkness of Caliban’s many woods. His victory was complete, a new age of peace and prosperity descended over Caliban – though, as with all things Dark Angels, it was peace with a hidden core of corruption.

Without Lion El’Jonson, the First Legion fought across the galaxy at the Emperor’s side, becoming grim angels synonymous with death, until the chance discovery of their Primarch on Caliban. As they descended to the planet’s surface, they tested him to prove his worth, then raised him to lead them into battle in the distant regions of the universe.

Loyal servants: These are Warhammer 40K’s Imperium factions

The coming of the Imperium saw the Lion help Luther and the Caliban knights to gain new technology, raising them almost to a Space Marine’s prowess. It’s there, however, that he made a crucial error. He left Luther and his former friends to guard Caliban, disappearing into the Warp with his new legions, in a devastating snub to those who considered him one of their own.

It’s possible that things could’ve ended there with some disgruntled proto-Space Marines on a former death world. Unfortunately for everyone, however, the Horus Heresy happened, shattering humanity’s unity into shards.

Warhammer Community artwork showing Horus and the Emperor about to duel aboard the Vengeful Spirit, with Sanguinius corpse nearby

There are many questions about what happened next, with the final truth yet to be unearthed by Games Workshop or the Black Library, but the current known version of events goes a little like this:

Caliban was smashed to rubble by the Chaos gods

After Horus’s defeat on Terra, Lion El’Jonson returned home to Caliban, only to find the planetary defences active. Luther, in the Lion’s absence, had betrayed the Imperium and his Primarch, firing upon the fleet in an effort to destroy the Dark Angels once and for all. The Lion wasn’t so easily defeated, however, leading a force to kill Luther and end this insurrection.

The final battle between adopted father and Primarch demi-god son was colossal, leading to the mortal wounding of El’Jonson, and the capture of Luther. Thwarted yet again, the Chaos gods opened a rift in the Warp, scattering the disloyal sons of the Lion across both time and space, shattering the planet Caliban into a field of debris.

Warhammer Community photo showing models of a warband of fallen dark angels fighting loyal Deathwing Knights

Now, ten thousand years later, the Dark Angels hunt their traitorous brethren – The Fallen – across the galaxy, desperate to wipe clean their name in their own eyes and that of the Emperor.

Sons of Macragge: Our guide to the Ultramarines chapter

Meanwhile, at the heart of the Rock, the floating space monastery that serves as the Dark Angels’ home, three hearts still beat. One belongs to Luther, now insane and held in a stasis field. The other two belong to a recovered Lion El’Jonson, also in stasis, waiting for the time he’ll be called to fight once again.

Games Workshop artwork showing a Dark Angels space marine and banners

Who are the Dark Angels Characters?

More than almost any other Space Marines Chapter in Warhammer 40K (except perhaps the Ultramarines), the Dark Angels have a cavalcade of special characters and named individuals that also have miniature counterparts on the tabletop. Let’s meet the Dark Angels gang, and get to know some of the friendly faces you might encounter if you start collecting a Dark Angels army.

Azrael, Supreme Grand Master

The current head of the Dark Angels, Azrael serves as the Supreme Grand Master and Keeper of the Truth. This lofty position means he’s aware of many of the Dark Angels’ secrets, including the existence of Luther, locked in his eternal prison.

He’s armed with the Sword of Secrets, his armour is known as The Protector, and he’s followed everywhere by one of Caliban’s mysterious creatures, known as a Watcher in the Dark, who carries his venerable helm, the Lion Helm.

Ezekiel, Grand Master of Librarians

The leader of the Dark Angels’ Librarius, Ezekiel is renowned as one of the most powerful psykers the force has fielded since Lion El’Jonson’s time. When not at war, you will find Ezekiel working to maintain the Dark Angels’ history, ensuring that what has passed is never forgotten.


Belial is the Grand Master of the Deathwing, those bone-coloured Terminators who stalk the battlefield as stalwart masters of destruction. Clad in ancient Terminator armour, Belial is one of the most fearsome warriors the Dark Angels have ever seen, with a loyalty unmatched among even his sturdy brethren.


The Master of the Ravenwing, Sammael leads the Dark Angels’ jetbike-equipped mobile strike force into battle with a reckless abandon that borders on foolhardiness. Known for his ability to put armed forces into combat with shocking speed, Sammael is one of the most deadly Dark Angels you’ll meet on the battlefield.

Master Lazarus

If you encounter Master Lazarus, you’ll be most struck by how calm and collected he is, even in the midst of battle. If, however, you happen to be a sorcerer, one wielding the dark arts of the Warp, then you’ll see his fury unleash itself on you, along with his blade, Enmity’s Edge.

Brother Asmodai

There are many things to fear about the Dark Angels, but, in some ways, Brother Asmodai is the most fearsome of them all. Acting as their Master Interrogator-Chaplain, he is responsible for rooting out heresy or deviation, no matter what form it takes. Zealous and cold-hearted, Asmodai is a terror on the battlefield – but so much scarier if you meet him in an interrogation chamber.

Primaris Lieutenant Zakariah

Zakariah is one of those new breeds of Space Marine, the Primaris. Despite being one of the newer warriors in the Dark Angels, Zakariah has proved his worth many times over, earning the robe and cowl of a Lieutenant with ease.


Finally, we come to Cypher. You won’t be fielding Cypher with the other Dark Angels, but he’s utterly entwined with them. The leader of The Fallen, he is the most hunted person in the entire galaxy; even a whisper of his passing will cause a full crusade to spill out from the Rock.

His goals are unknown, and it’s not even known if this is the same Cypher seen during the Horus Heresy. All we know is that his movements seem to centre on Terra – and he’s getting closer each passing day.

Games Workshop of a Dark Angels Space Marine army on display with painted models

Dark Angels in 9th Edition

Now you know the backstory, and a bit of the lore surrounding the Dark Angels, but how do they play on the battlefield? Thankfully, Warhammer 40,000 9th edition has been quite kind to the Dark Angels, with many benefits that see them play in a flexible, but unique manner.

Dark Angels’ talents as a mobile army of mixed elements come to the fore in 9th edition 40k

If you’re playing as a Dark Angels force, it’s likely that you’ll have a highly mobile army, including Ravenwing bikes, jetbikes, jetfighters, and land speeders. This focus on mobility is brought to the fore in 9th Edition 40K, as the smaller general board size means you can get into the action even more quickly, and tie up enemy forces with ease. In addition, Games Workshop has recognised that Dark Angels can be a mixed force, giving Ravenwing units a movement buff while the Devastator Doctrine is active (primarily at the beginning of the game) – which can be very nasty to face indeed.

This approach to flexibility carries across to the rest of the rules, which support your Dark Angels force. The Dark Angels are often thought of as three armies in one, as they have a core of regular Space Marines, surrounded by fast-moving Ravenwing units, and ultra-resilient Terminator Deathwing units. As the battle proceeds, and your Space Marine Combat Doctrines rotate, you’ll find your non-Deathwing infantry units receive a buff to their shooting with the Tactical Doctrine, and the Deathwing Terminators gain re-rolls in melee with the Assault Doctrine.

Games Workshop photo of Dark Angels Space Marines Deathwing Knights models

In addition, despite having a very powerful psyker in the form of Ezekiel, the need to bring a psyker is less pressing with a Dark Angels army. This is because they bring many of their own survivability buffs: HQ units such as Azrael and Lazarus can provide a bubble of toughness, seeing your primary units survive any onslaught.

That said, Dark Angels Librarians received a powerful boost with the release of the Dark Angels 9th Edition Codex. The Interromancy Psychic Discipline is currently being widely lauded as potentially the best in the game.

Traitors all: Our guide to Warhammer 40K’s Chaos factions

Mind Wipe, Aversion, Mind Worm, and Engulfing Fear can offer powerful debuffs to your foe, with Righteous Repugnance offering key survivability for your crucial units (some of whom are /already/ tough as nails to kill, due to the Inner Circle special rule preventing them from being wounded on a roll of less than a four).

The best psyker power, however, is Trephination. Consider this an upgraded Smite, if you want to send some mortal wounds into your enemy, then Trephination is going to be your favourite tool to do so.

Games Workshop artwork showing a Dark Angels primaris space marine charging

On the downside of things, the Dark Angels can be a points-expensive force to field, meaning you won’t have many bodies to throw at things. This won’t always be an issue, but can make control of the board more difficult than for some other armies.

Dark Angels armies often rely heavily on characters - so positioning is important

Dark Angels can also be reliant on character models – and 9th Edition rules for targeting characters make it much easier to be caught out and lose a critical model just when you need it, meaning caution and careful positioning is required ( at odds though it is with much of the Dark Angels ethos). Overall, however, the Dark Angels remain a flexible and highly manoeuvrable force, able to take the fight to your foe quickly, backed by powerful debuffs and characters who can help keep your force alive until they’re needed. They can be difficult to get your head around, due to their triune nature (that’s right, triune – google it), but once you get the hang of them you’ll be whipping your opponents in no time.

Photo of the models from a Dark Angels combat patrol box

Building a Beginner Dark Angels Army

When building a Dark Angels force, you’ll only need a few extra models in order to turn a generic Space Marines army into the core of a gang of winged angels of death.

The first port of call for a Dark Angels army is, of course, the Dark Angels Combat Patrol box set. This is a flexible box, containing a Primaris Chaplain, three Interceptors, a Redemptor Dreadnought, and five Primaris Intercessors.

Starter boxes: Our guide to Warhammer 40K combat patrols

From there, it’s definitely worth picking up the Codex Supplement: Dark Angels book, as it’ll give you the essential lore, rules, and details you’ll need to confidently plan your army.

Now you’ll want to make your Dark Angels force a little more Dark Angels-y. We’d recommend some HQ characters in order to do that, which will also give you plenty of extra buffs and options on the battlefield. Lazarus and Azrael will help your army stay alive long enough to do some damage, and if you’re looking to fling some psychic powers around then Librarian Ezekiel simply cannot be bested.

Warhammer Community photo of painted models for Dark Angels Ravenwing bikes

Then it’s time to sprinkle in some extra flexibility into your force, focusing on all three pillars that the Dark Angels specialise in. For the core of your army, you can’t beat an extra squad of Primaris Intercessors; for speed and pure hitting power, you’ll want to look at a wing of Ravenwing bikes, and, to add a hardy element to your army, it’s worth taking a peek at a Deathwing Knights Terminator squad.

Rule the galaxy: Read our guide to 40K 9th edition codexes

Now, you should be able to field a Dark Angels army with pride, adding to it as you see fit, and evolving it into a force that can take on anything the galaxy can throw at you.

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The Dark Angels: Warhammer

A Warhammer 40,000 audio drama collection

The Dark Angels are among the most steadfast and noble of the Space Marines - but their dark secret, the Fallen they relentlessly hunt, always threatens to bring an end to their legacy of honour....

Listen to it because:

The sons of the Lion take centre stage in six audio dramas that reveal the great deeds and dark moments of some of their most prominent heroes.


No matter the foe, regardless of the odds, the proud warriors of the Dark Angels stubbornly refuse to accept defeat. Descendants of the First Legion, they stand foremost amongst the Chapters of the Space Marines, mankind’s mightiest defenders. None fight with more grim determination than the Dark Angels, and their renowned special companies - the Deathwing and the Ravenwing - are held in awe by allies and enemies alike. Yet behind their devotion to the Imperium lies a dark obsession....

This audio drama anthology contains six tales of the Dark Angels, their missions to defend mankind and their relentless hunt for the mysterious Fallen. Within these tales, you'll be introduced to some of the greatest heroes of the Dark Angels - Chapter Master Azrael, Chief Librarian Ezekiel, Interrogator-Chaplain Asmodai, Deathwing Master Belial and Company Master Balthasar – as they face their greatest trials and darkest moments. You'll also see the Dark Angels through the eyes of mortal warriors who face the Space Marines' wrath after an encounter with the arch-Fallen, Cypher. 


'The Rage of Asmodai' by C Z Dunn 

'Holder of the Keys' by Gav Thorpe 

'Accept No Failure' by Gav Thorpe 

'Trials of Azrael' by C Z Dunn 

'The Ascension of Balthasar' by C Z Dunn 

'Malediction' by C Z Dunn

Performed by John Banks, Toby Longworth, Gareth Armstrong, Jonathan Keeble, Sean Barrett, Steve Conlin, Ian Brooker, Tim Bentinck, Rupert Degas, Clare Corbett, Saul Reichlin, Chris Fairbank, Luke Thompson, Jane Whymark

©2020 Games Workshop Limited (P)2020 Games Workshop Limited Sours:

Literature / Dark Angels

Repent! For tomorrow you die!

The Dark Angels are a Chapter of Space Marines in Warhammer 40,000. They were the first legion of Space Marines. Their homeworld was Caliban, where their Primarch, Lion El'Jonson, grew up. However, half their number rebelled following the Horus Heresy, and they ruthlessly hunt these "Fallen Angels" while keeping the Fallen's existence secret.

They feature in the novel Angels of Darkness, the The Legacy of Caliban trilogy, and the Space Marine Battles novel The Purging of Kadillus, all by Gavin Thorpe. They also feature in the Horus Heresy novels Descent of Angels and Fallen Angels.

Not to be confused with Dark Angel.

Also check out the Character sheet.


  • Better to Die than Be Killed: With a doomsday virus having been tampered with, and unwilling to sacrifice the planet to escape their base, the squad in Angels of Darkness decide that it would be better to kill themselves than show weakness when their power armor fails to sustain their lives.
  • Career-Ending Injury: In Master of SanctityTelemenus suffers a daemonic plague infection, forcing the Apothecaries to cut his right arm and everything below his waist to remove the infection. Telemenus later realizes that his fighting days are over. The Unforgiven drives the point home; he can't just replace everything with machinery like the Iron Hands would have done, since too much damage happened too quickly, including minor brain cell damage right up until they subvert the entire trope by putting him in a Dreadnought.
  • "Could Have Avoided This!" Plot: Cypher flat out tells Azrael that the great sin of the Dark Angels isn't the Fallen - pretty much every Astartes Legion was split to some degree in the Horus Heresy - but their continuous efforts to conceal the fact that the Fallen exist. If the Dark Angels would just own up to the fact that yes, some of the Lion's followers betrayed him, as had happened with every other loyal Primarch, and asked for help in dealing with them from the Inquisition and the other Astartes Chapters, they'd all be better off. Even just admitting the truth to their own rank and file would simplify matters, as they wouldn't have to force entire units to hold back so that they won't encounter a Fallen. Unfortunately, the pride of the Dark Angels and their Successor Chapters prevent them from doing so.
  • Death World: Caliban was not a nice place before it blew up. Mostly due to warp taint and the vicious beasts that resulted from it (at least until the Lion led a crusade to kill them all). These days, the Dark Angels get their recruits from a number of Death Worlds, such as Piscina V, which is deliberately left untouched by the Imperium so the Dark Angels can recruit its inhabitants.
  • Heroic Blue Screen of Death: In Angels of DarknessBoreas has such a massive one following his learning that the Chapter never told him about the annihilus virus bomb, proving that Astelan's claims of Lion El'Jonson's mistrust of the Dark Angels was right, that he nearly kills himself.
  • Ignored Epiphany: After nearly destroying Piscina IV over his obsession with the Fallen in Angels of Darkness, Boreas realizes that the Dark Angels have lost their way, and makes a recording of an impassioned speech begging the Dark Angels to stop being so obsessive over the Fallen. When the Dark Angels arrive to investigate his death in Ravenwing, Sammael considers Boreas a heretic for failing to pursue the Fallen.
    • Hope Spot: He doesn't comment on it, but Belial seems to have taken Boreas's words closer to heart. In Master of Sanctity he splits his forces in the battle of Tharsis, leaving a transport escorting a captured Fallen vulnerable in favor of having troops left over to defend the Imperial citizens.
  • Interservice Rivalry: In Ravenwing the Fifth Company begin developing a rivalry the Ravenwing over deployment, with the Fifth Company feeling that the Ravenwing get the more glorious deployment with the Fifth being placed in a support role. Sammael does have a good reason for deploying the Ravenwing, specifically to hunt for renegade Space Marines, but he can't tell the Fifth that.
  • Legacy Character: Cypher insists that Lord Cypher is his title, not his name, implying that he may not be the Lord Cypher who lead the Fallen during the Horus Heresy.
  • Lost Common Knowledge: Astelan is able to identify the presence of another Fallen in a spaceborne fleet by the strategies it employs — strategies that were common sense at the time of the Heresy but have been all but forgotten in the present day. Even Belial, a recognized master of space combat in modern times, has trouble keeping up with his explanation.
  • Old Shame: Invoked Trope. The Fallen. The Dark Angels and their successor chapters are obsessed with dealing with them without the Imperium as a whole learning they exist.
  • The Reveal: In Angels of Darkness The Fallen on Piscina IV were after the gene-seed being stored in the Dark Angels basilica, which Nestor was guarding. And they tampered with a virus installed as a fail-safe after the Ork invasion. All of which was kept secret from Boreas.
  • Sinister Minister: Interrogator Asmodai, who firmly believes The Ends Justify The Means. It's believed he doesn't care about "saving the souls of the Fallen" anymore, just collecting more black pearls. It is hinted that Asmodai has gone off the deep end and is simply a sadist who enjoys inflicting pain; notably, despite his long service, he only has two black pearls for redeeming Fallen - the greatest of Interrogator-Chaplains had 13. Master of Sanctity final has some Asmodai's point of view: he legitimately believes that the Fallen need to be stopped, as his first encounter with the Fallen saw one wipe out an entire planet (Never mind that Asmodai himself considers destroying a planet an acceptable price for stopping the Fallen). At the same time, Master of Sanctity also reveals that Asmodai's first encounter with the Fallen did drive him insane, and he's fully aware of it.
    • Averted with his boss Sapphon, the Master of Sanctity, who belives that The End Does Not Justify The Means and that the Dark Angels need to be a lot more careful about how they hunt the Fallen, and much less willing to do whatever it takes to satisfy their own honour. His greatest fear is Asmodai taking his place and bringing the Dark Angels into conflict with the Inquisition and other Astartes Chapters, something that previous events involving Asmodai show is not a hollow fear, it's a very legitimate one.
  • Stable Time Loop: Thanks to a millennium-spanning warp rift, the Hunt for the Fallen caused the destruction of Caliban and the scattering of the Fallen during the Horus Heresy, which is what inspired the Hunt in the first place.
  • Teleporters and Transporters: A major plot point of The Purging of Kadillus, where the Orks are using tellyportas to transport Orks and material to the surface of Piscina IV.
  • Treachery Cover Up: Following the rebellion, the Dark Angels have hidden all information regarding the destruction of Caliban and the Fallen's existence. This includes up to and including killing Inquisitors who investigate Caliban's destruction. In Ravenwing it's revealed that the Inner Circle keep a lot of the truth about the Horus Heresy from the rank and file battle-brothers, such as it's existence.
  • Unusual Euphemism: Because of the numerous layers of secrecy surrounding Dark Angel history and lore, the senior members have adopted a number of indirect manners of referring to classified matters in places the rank and file might hear.
  • Wham Episode: In Pandorax, Kaldor Draigo lets Azreal know the Grey Knights know about the Fallen, and have known for quite some time. It gets better from there: one of the eight founding Grey Knights was a Dark Angel, and at some point had "switched fates" with either Zahariel or more likely Cypher, in turn implying Cypher is a powerful psyker!
    • Combined with a massive The Reveal in The Unforgiven when Annael detonates his Dark Talon's warp engine over the rift that connects the present to the past, specifically the Battle of Caliban, and in doing so closes the rift in the present but aggravates it in the past, sending it towards Caliban. Though the narrative doesn't say it out loud, it very heavily implies that it was that moment that caused the destruction of Caliban and the scattering of the Fallen through time and space, which would explain why so many of the Fallen arrived in 40k. Azrael and Sapphon both see this and it's hinted the former actually understood what he saw, since he alone knows what really happened to Caliban, but he knows he can never ever tell anyone else in the Chapter what he now knows is the truth: The Chaos Gods didn't destroy Caliban, the Dark Angels did.
  • Wicked Cultured: Throughout his appearances, Astelan is consistently polite, highly educated (only the extremely erudite Sapphon and Azrael are depicted as capable of matching wits with him and even then, it's questionable), snarky even under 15 years of torture, and a master of both ground and fleet combat.
  • World Gone Mad: In Ravening Piscina IV two months after the Fallen's attack and the suicide of Boreas's squad in Angels of Darkness. The planet is in pretty much in open revolt, the Imperial Governor has been executed, and Orks are rampaging through the city. The Dark Angels response? Head for their chapter keep and then go chasing for rumors about Fallen Angels.
  • Would Hurt a Child: When one of the potential Aspirants balks at the prospect of Nestor opening him up, Boreas takes him aside and explains that if he refused, his family would be shamed. The kid realizes he has to do this, but Boreas says there are no second chances, and calmly snaps the kids neck, leaving him in a room filled with decayed bones, implying that the Dark Angels have been doing this for as long as they've been recruiting from Piscina V.

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Dark Angels - Broken Wings - Original Song ft. Yohan

Angels of Darkness

Displaying 1 - 10 of 55 reviews

August 22, 2011

It may be crazy to say this about a tie-in novel, but this may be the best science fiction books I've read in the last year or two. The characters were well developed and explained, and the back story of the interrogation of a heretic was expertly woven into the plot. As the novel progresses in both areas, we see an interesting story of the main character develop, a chaplain who has began to question his faith after all these years. The more the story develops and the layers of secrecy are revealed, the more drawn in I became until I couldn't put the novel down. The final revelations in both the flashbacks and the main storyline were amazing, and this book definitely left me wanting more. It is so nice to see actual character development, interesting ideas, great action, and interesting story progression all blended together into a read that never got boring. If someone where to ask which Warhammer 40k novel they should read to get into the series, I would strongly recommend this book above others.

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19 reviews1 follower

Edited February 1, 2008

This book surprised me. I really expected some vapid writing and poor characterization, but Gav Thorpe actually put some thought into this book. The book deals with the history of the Dark Angels and the Fallen from an unexpected, and fascinating angle. Instead of the Fallen being cookie-cutter mustache twirling villains, they actually have believable and intriguing motivations.

I hope another book in this series in in the works, because it sets itself up nicely for a sequel. Recommended especially to Dark Angels players.

Edited April 11, 2013

To me, this is a powerful new nominee for "the Best Warhammer 40K novel Award". It might be because I've read Descent of Angels, Fallen Angels and Ravenwing - among almost 30 other 40k novels - before it, but still, this is definitely something else.

To someone who loves secrecy, mystery, lies, n'stuff,.. this is the one for you to read (oh, and Legion of course, in that matter).

The main character in other half of the book is someone who turns your knowledge of the Dark Angels and the Imperium to doubt.

As for Gav Thorpe, this is the best book from him I've read, so far.

The only minus points I'll give to this novel, are the ones that doesn't matter and just means this is quality stuff, is that it's short. Only ~240 pages or so. I want more, but hey, The Legacy of Caliban trilogy is just that.

Profile Image for Marc.


296 reviews3 followers

August 8, 2011

I was a bit disappointed given the hype. The story was choppy (bouncing back and forth did not enhance the enjoyment), and the "big revelations" were a) not the surprising, and b) not that big. We always knew they were all traitors. It was more like a "what if" than anything definitive.

Profile Image for Phil.


18 reviews2 followers

June 27, 2012

Should be a part of the flagship Hersey series. Makes descent of angels and fallen angels better books.

Edited January 5, 2014

A page turner for any 40k fan, its from the 40k era but in many ways is a prequel to the Heresy 30k era. If your reading the Heresy Series then you should read this.

black-libraryin-storageEdited July 23, 2016

Muy bueno, me faltó algo al final, probablemente un capítulo más para responder algunas dudas planteadas durante el libro.

June 29, 2017

This is a great Warhammer book. Keyword here being Warhammer book. You don't NEED to be a 40K fan to understand this book's plot but it certainly helps with a lot of the finer details the books assumes you to already be familiar with.

The story takes place from the point of view of two characters moving back and forth between them. The first is Interrogator Chaplain Boreas, a space marine of the Dark Angels legion. The second is Merir Astelan, one of the first Dark Angels and a member of The Fallen, a faction of Dark Angels that turned on the legion Primarch during the Horus Heresy 10,000 years ago. The chapters alternate between the two but it's Boreas's chapters that hold the current story and take place during the present day. Astelan's chapters all take place before the events of Boreas's story in an interrogation room but a lot of what happens between Astelan and Boreas in these chapters provide heavy context into the factors behind Boreas's decision making.

Part of why already knowing Warhammer lore helps with this book is that an understanding of what the Imperium of Man is in current timeline versus what it was during the Horus Heresy (and indeed details on the conflict itself) really help to solidify both how and why each of the two main characters feel the way they do as well as provide better background in regards to small details. This can also help curb expectation as far as the action scenes go. While it's no surprise to Warhammer fans, this may be somewhat jarring to those who aren't familiar with the status of the space marines that they are effectively invincible. Very few things provide even a remote danger to even a small handful of these elite soldiers. As a result, combat scenes don't carry any sort of real sense of stakes outside of what they can accomplish and when. It's not about if Boreas and his group will succeed, it's if they'll do it in time.

Astelan's role in the book is difficult to pin down. He serves as both a deurtagonist and antagonist to Boreas as well as a primary foil in terms of outlook and world view. A major theme of the book is a focus on what it means to serve a cause and what constitutes duty. This serves as a major source of internal conflict for Boreas. This is what you should focus on when reading this book. It makes for an enjoyable time if you want an internal perspective on two very different times of the history of the Imperium but it helps if know the Imperium first.

Edited January 20, 2020

It took a brief while to warm up to this book, but it certainly picked up. I actually went in not expecting to like, despite the fact that it concerns a Chapter I am very fond of. Luckily, the book's fantastic narrative between Astelan and Boreas kept me invested.

Angels of Darkness cuts a balance between intrigue and combat. Of course, its a Space Marine book, so there's bolter porn. It's not spectacular, in my opinion, but there's the action you'd expect from such a book. It's not bad, but nothing special

The real meat of the story is the dual narratives of the interrogation and the hunt. Astelan and Boreas' verbal sparring is fantastically gripping. I found my sympathies switching so quickly, even though I knew that every time I sided with one, another revelation would send me back over the side. The drip-feeding of Astelan's story is gripping. A lot of comments are made about the revelations that Astelan drops, but I find myself siding with the author's view: (paraphrased) "If you don't agree, then consider it the lies of a traitor". Even if you don't like Astelan's argument, it does not stand in the way of the story.

I did find the conclusion, as with a lot of 40k novels, to be quick in the coming. I wish the author got about 50 extra pages to weave together a little grander. It might have mitigated my issues with the development of the third act. All I will say is that I saw the deception and twist coming a mile off, and while I do understand that this is somewhat meant to be obvious, and that the specific flaws of the Chapter and of the characters blinded them to this twist... it's still a little hard to believe.

That, along with the unfortunate need to include the generic action scenes, and some pages spent dedicated to aspirant training (I do get the need to establish the importance of, and connection to, the aspirants, I just think it could have been done better or excluded in favour of the main story) means i can't give this five stars. I also note the mandatory "At least 5 chapter dudes" that all Space Marine novels have. As usual, there's only 2 or 3 you can bother to care about and not enough time to establish proper characters.

This is still a fantastic book. It's re-readability is only slightly tarnished by knowing the ending.

April 14, 2019

This was a surprisingly good read. I've read plenty others by the same author and most were hit (Fall of Ekrund, The Sundering series, Grudgebearer) or miss (most of his early Horus Heresy books which I did get to read), I guess I came into this one with mixed expectations. I'd heard from others about how good this book is, especially for anyone interested in the particular chapter of space marines the book is centred on.

The book has two parallel plots - one is the interrogation of a captured Fallen by the main character, a chaplain, and the other is a hunt for some other Fallen conducted by the same hero some time later. The interrogation scenes are the best written part of the book, but at the same time the hunt is interesting and the most satisfying in the end (and most importantly its action scenes don't drag out over page upon page of describing how space marines utterly crush their opposition like other books from BL). This is surprisingly good character development for a space marine book.

I'll end by just echoing what plenty others have already said: if you want to know about dark Angels, you have to read this book. Even if you don't, it's still a very enjoyable read.

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