It has been a long time, but I need to catch up with my Horus Heresy Review series. It has been a while since I read Deliverance Lost, but I liked it, in large part because it features two of my favorite Legions, Raven Guard and Alpha Legion. As always, spoiler alert for below the bump, though it might be fairly general.
The focus of the novel is largely Corax and the few survivors of the Isstvan Dropsite and their efforts to rebuild the legion in time to be of use in the fight against Horus. Their efforts are being countered by Alpha Legionnaires who managed to infiltrate the Raven Guard while on Istvaan, taking the place and faces of killed Raven Guard legionnaires.
The novel is a follow on to the short story "The Face of Treachery in the Age of Darkness collection, which follows Commander Branne's efforts to find survivors from the Dropsite Massacre. The book begins with the survivors being rescued from a last stand facing down Angron and the World Eaters and the fleet's stealthy exit from the Isstvan system. Most of the survivors head back to Deliverance, the Raven Guard homeworld, while Corax heads to Terra.
The novel shows views of Terra, the Sol system, and the Imperial Palace from a very different perspective from what was shown in The Outcast Dead. Corax even speaks with the Emperor, and is guided to the hidden lab in which the Emperor created the Primarchs. The technology in the laboratory is taken back to deliverance to be manipulated to try to rebuild the Legion at an unprecedented rate.
The more glimpses I get of the Alpha Legion, the more I like them. The Alpha Legion segments can be a little confusing, as it's revealed at the end that the story likely followed more than one legionnaire who had infiltrated the Raven Guard. In true Alpha Legion fashion, there is a good bit of misdirection.
As a fan of both legions, I was a bit torn, but obviously the Alpha Legion is not completely successful at permanently debilitating the Raven Guard, as was their goal. They do succeed in slowing down the rebuilding process however, limiting the Raven Guard's ability to influence events of the Heresy.
Again, it's been a while since I read it, but I enjoyed it. I know some people have issues with Gav Thorpe's writing, but I've generally enjoyed it. The themes aren't as deep as Abnett and McNeil's works, but enjoyable nonetheless. Not to mention, I enjoy getting glimpses of Primarch origins - and there's a good bit of Corax's history in Deliverance Lost.