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New Warhammer 40k Lion novel breaks Dark Angels canon

Lion El’Jonson, Primarch of the Dark Angels, has awoken - a new novel reveals what he makes of the grim darkness of the 41st millennium

Warhammer 40k novel "The Lion: Son of the Forest" breaks with canon - portrait illustration by GW

A new Warhammer 40k novel “The Lion: Son of the Forest”, announced  via the Warhammer Community website on Wednesday, will shake up decades of established lore. The book follows Dark Angels Primarch Lion El’Jonson on his first adventure since awakening in the 41st millennium, and will break with some pillars of the Dark Angels’ canon.

According to GW’s announcement, the new book will reveal “exactly what the Primarch of the Dark Angels has been up to since the end of the Horus Heresy”. If you’ve read a Dark Angels codex from any edition of Warhammer 40k, you’ll know the canon answer is that Lion El’Jonson has been sleeping like King Arthur in his cave. The article states that’s not the case – but doesn’t elaborate on how, exactly, the novel will update the canon.

The plot will see the Lion confronting “a formidable Chaos warband led by one of his traitorous sons”, and will lead the Lion to “rally his Fallen knights”. That’s a massive shakeup to the lore: the Fallen were separatist Space Marines within the Dark Angels legion who rebelled against the Imperium of Man during the Horus Heresy, and have spent the 10,000 years since on the lamb. You’ll need to read a lot of Horus Heresy books to decide exactly where their loyalties lie.

Warhammer 40k novel "The Lion: Son of the Forest" breaks with canon - book cover mockup

The author of the novel is Mike Brooks, a fairly new Black Library author who has written some of the best Warhammer 40k books in recent years. Brutal Kunnin’ stars the Orks and Adeptus Mechanicus, and proves that, with enough self belief and a big enough ramp, two Orks in a Shockjump Dragster can obliterate a Warlord Titan.

“The Lion: Son of the Forest” will be released simultaneously as a hardback, eBook, audiobook, and numbered special edition, though the WarCom article doesn’t specify when to expect them.

A lot of fans are keen to know what the famously proud Jonson makes of the new, dark Imperium he finds himself in, having last been awake at the end of the Horus Heresy. The Ultramarines’ Primarch Roboute Guilliman has been doing his best to right the foundering ship but, as the trailer for Warhammer 40k 10th edition reveals, he doesn’t think it’s going well.