Black Library Weekly – W/C 31/10/16

Hello and welcome to another instalment of Black Library Weekly, where I take a look at the Black Library-related news from the week just gone – announcements, pre-orders and new releases.

The slower rate of brand new releases continued this week, albeit with some small changes to the usual way things have worked recently. That being said, it’s been an exciting week for new, upcoming titles with a whole raft of (often temporary) covers and synopses discovered online as well as a few confirmed by Black Library.

The first change to the normal shape of things came with this week’s Digital Monday, which instead of the usual short story was an audio drama, and a reasonably lengthy one at that – Children of Sicarus by Anthony Reynolds. At just under 40 minutes in length its £4.99 price tag is about right, although that prices it at about twice as much as the usual Digital Monday short stories. I’d say it’s good value, but then I’m a fan of audio dramas – it’s certainly an interesting choice though, given that (to me) the point of the Digital Monday releases has historically been to offer a regular supply of quick, relatively cost-effective stories.

The rest of the week was dominated by news of upcoming releases spanning a large chunk of 2017, initially in the form of covers and synopses spotted out in the wilds of the internet. Some of these have had covers spotted before but no synopses, or vice versa, while some are brand new (to me, at least). You can find more details in this blog post, including covers and my thoughts on release dates. Since I wrote that post a few more titles appeared, either in the wilds again or in the freshly-updated Coming Soon section on the Black Library website.

Here’s the full list as far as I can tell:

New titles – subsequently confirmed on the Black Library website

  • Kingsblade by Andy Clark
  • Garro by James Swallow (a Horus Heresy numbered novel tying together the various Garro stories into a single narrative)
  • Slaughter at Giant’s Coffin by LJ Goulding (plus an anthology of Scythes of the Emperor stories, including this novel)
  • Asurmen: The Darker Road by Gav Thorpe (audio drama)

New titles – not yet showing up on the Black Library website

  • The Black Legion by Aaron Dembski-Bowden
  • Perturabo: The Hammer of Olympia by Guy Haley
  • The Horusian Wars: Resurrection by John French
  • The Carrion Throne (Vaults of Terra) by Chris Wraight
  • Watchers of the Throne: The Emperor’s Legion by Chris Wraight
  • Warlord: Fury of the God Machine by David Annandale
  • Dante by Guy Haley
  • Mephiston: Blood of Sanguinius by Darius Hinks
  • The Eye of Ezekiel by CZ Dunn (Space Marine Battles)

We also got confirmation from David Guymer that his upcoming Iron Hands novel is going to be called Eye of Medusa, and will be accompanied by an audio drama called Battle Calculus.

There was also the hilariously titled Untitled tie-in novel, which I’m thinking could be for a new boxed game or even the next edition of 40k.

New editions of existing books

  • Space Marine Legends: Cassius by Ben Counter – standard hardback
  • Space Marine Legends: Shrike by George Mann – standard hardback
  • Space Marine Legends: Azrael by Gav Thorpe – standard hardback
  • Space Marine Legends: Lemartes by David Annandale – standard hardback
  • Glory Imperialis featuring Richard Williams, Andy Hoare and Mark Clapham
  • Legacy of the Wulfen by David Annandale and Robbie McNiven (collects together Curse of the Wulfen and Legacy of Russ).
  • Ahriman: The Omnibus by John French
  • Forges of Mars: The Omnibus by Graham McNeill
  • The Macharian Crusade: The Omnibus by William King
  • Sisters of Battle: The Omnibus by James Swallow

After the excitement of all of those new titles, Friday then saw the official release of David Annandale’s new Grey Knights novel Warden of the Blade in pricey (£40) Limited Edition hardback format as well as the usual standard hardback (£18) and ebook (£9.99) formats. I was under the impression that this wasn’t due for release until the 12th November – either I got that wrong, or the Black Library website had the wrong date!

This one continued not only the trend (started by last week’s Leman Russ) of being available for pre-order before its actual release, including the Limited Edition, but also of seeing a Friday release. It was all a little under the radar, which was a bit of a shame.

Saturday then saw a few fairly low key releases, which once again felt a touch underwhelming compared to past weeks’ explosiveness. The main releases were two 2017 calendars, following on from the success of the Horus Heresy and Space Marine calendars released in 2016. This time round we’ve got a Heresy one again, plus a generic Black Library one which should perhaps have been called the Warhammer 40,000 Calendar given that all twelve pieces of artwork are from 40k releases. Both of these are priced at £14.99, which is maybe a little pricey…but if they’re as nice as last year’s then at least they will be good quality.

Here are the lists of the included artwork, which in a few cases confirms even more new titles!

2017 Calendar: The Horus Heresy (all twelve covers by Neil Roberts)

  • January –The Master of Mankind
  • February – Garro
  • March – The Binary Succession (a new title from David Annandale)
  • April – Corax
  • May – The Thirteenth Wolf
  • June – Sons of the Forge
  • July – Praetorian of Dorn
  • August – The Heart of the Pharos/Children of Sicarus
  • September – Virtues of the Sons/Sins of the Father
  • October – The Silent War
  • November – The Crimson King (the upcoming novel by Graham McNeill)
  • December – Angels of Caliban

Of these covers, all but two have been previously shown, which makes this a somewhat underwhelming prospect if, like me, you fancy some cool new artwork.

2017 Calendar: Black Library (artist names shown alongside authors)

  • January – Magnus the Red: Master of Prospero by Mikhail Savier (Graham McNeill)*
  • February – Kingsblade by David Alvarez (Andy Clark)
  • March – Mephiston: Blood of Sanguinius by Lie Setiawan (Darius Hinks)
  • April – Perturabo: The Hammer of Olympia by Mikhail Savier (Guy Haley)
  • May – Eye of Medusa by David Alvarez (David Guymer)*
  • June – Vaults of Terra: The Carrion Throne by Igor Sid (Chris Wraight)*
  • July – Lorgar: Bearer of the Word by Mikhail Savier (Gav Thorpe)*
  • August – Lucius: The Faultless Blade by Lie Setiawan (TBC)*
  • September – Warlord: Fury of the God-Machine by Akim Kaliberda (David Annandale)*
  • October – Shadowsword by Adam Tooby (Guy Haley)
  • November – Warden of the Blade by David Alvarez (David Annandale)
  • December – Fabius Bile: Primogenitor by Lie Setiawan (Josh Reynolds)

There are more new pieces in this one, including six (by my count – marked with a star) which haven’t been seen at all until this point. Only one of these titles hasn’t been talked about somewhere before – Lucius: The Faultless Blade. It’s possible that this will be by Ian St. Martin as he’s already written the short story In Wolves’ Clothing featuring Lucius, but this remains unconfirmed.

Aside from the calendars, the only release I could find was the standard paperback of Nick Kyme’s Salamanders novel Rebirth, which finally gets the affordable (ish) £8.99 treatment.

Thoughts on the week
Another slightly odd week of releases, although it’s possible that this is now going to be the norm with so many titles available for pre-order now. I thoroughly enjoyed Children of Sicarus, although I do think it’s odd to release a £4.99 audio instead of a £1.99 or £2.49 short story – presumably we’ll be back to short stories for the next instalment, especially as we’re still due to see the previously-mentioned stories from Guy Haley and David Annandale.

The new titles were clearly the highlight of the week – it’s great to see the Coming Soon section on the Black Library website being updated with more upcoming releases, and judging by the stacks of titles still to be officially announced it’s looking like 2017 is going to be a fantastic (and expensive) year for Black Library fans. Particular highlights for me are the two Inquisition novels – from John French and Chris Wraight – which promise to be very interesting indeed. It’s also worth bearing in mind that there’s bound to be more releases still unconfirmed – if nothing else there hasn’t been a single Warhammer: Age of Sigmar title announced (presumably Games Workshop are keeping quiet so as not to spoil the miniature releases) and there’s definitely going to be some of those coming out next year.

As for the remaining releases, there’s been nothing exceptional this week really. Warden of the Blade looks great, especially the gorgeous Limited Edition, but it feels a touch like old news given that it’s been available to pre-order for a couple of weeks now. Another paperback is always a welcome release for those who prefer their books to be of the smaller and cheaper variety, while the calendars are cool…but perhaps not as exciting as a totally new book would have been. Still, at least we’ll get to see even more exciting new cover art once the calendars start being dispatched.

Looking ahead, next week’s main release is due to be Guy Haley’s The Beheading, which finishes off The Beast Arises. Personally I’m very excited indeed about that, as I’ve been avidly reading the series so far. I would assume (although I may well be proven wrong) that the next Digital Monday release might be one of the stories that Black Library had confirmed for October (late, as usual), but other than that I’ll look forward to seeing what else sees the light of day. It’s just possible…given that Rebirth has just had a paperback release…that Aaron Dembski-Bowden’s The Talon of Horus might get the same treatment…although perhaps Black Library are holding that off to coincide with the release of The Black Legion.

As always, if you’ve got any thoughts, comments or questions – just let me know.

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