The Black Library 12 Days of Christmas

The 2016 Black Library Advent Calendar was a resounding success, but Black Library aren’t resting on their laurels. Starting on Christmas Day and running until the 31st January there’s a new campaign taking place – The 12 Days of Christmas.

Each day there’s going to be a new offer on the Black Library website, so I’ll update the list below with details of each new offer. At this point there’s not a lot of speculation to be had, given that (as far as I’m aware) this is a brand new promotion that’s not been run before – so there’s no precedent for what’s going to be included (although partridges, milking maids and leaping Lords seem unlikely…). 

Here’s the list – keep checking back for more details…

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Day 1: A free short story – The Librarian’s Acolyte by Graeme Lyon.
You can find my review of the story here. As you might already be aware, this was first released as a free story to anyone who bought into the ‘Librarium’ club this year, which entitled you to 12 brand new ebooks for £75 (£6.25 each, so not bad) and the chance to submit reviews of each to be used on the Black Library website. That’s now run its course, so it’s good to see this story get a general release, and a free one to boot. I wouldn’t say it’s an essential read, unless you’re a hardcore Ultramarines completist, but it’s good fun.

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Day 2: Two Limited Editions for the price of one – Cassius and Shrike.
The Space Marine Legends books each get a LE release first, before they see a standard hardback release later on down the line. Aaron Dembski-Bowden’s Ragnar Blackmane has just got its standard release, but the second and third books in the series – Ben Counter’s Cassius and George Mann’s Shrike are still only available in LE formats. At £40 each they’re not cheap, especially as these are short novels – Cassius is 176 pages and Shrike 144. £20 each is much better though, so a two book bundle for £40 suddenly looks like much better value. A cynic might suggest that this bundle only exists because the books haven’t sold well enough – that’s probably true, but then post-Christmas sales are always about selling off unsold stock. Either way, there’s no denying this is a pretty good deal if you like your Limited Edition books.

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Day 3: Three messenger bags.
If you’ve ever attended one of the Black Library or Forge World events you’ll probably have seen this sort of messenger bag for sale, alongside tshirts, mugs, bookmarks and so on. In the past some of this sort of merchandise has been available online, but it doesn’t seem to be a permanent fixture – so if you’re after a bag to show your BL allegiance, to either the Sigillite, the Officio Assassinorum or the Commissariat, now’s your chance. Strangely enough they’re not cheap; from what I can remember the £40 price tag is exactly what you’d pay at an event. These are marked as ‘last chance to buy’ though, so if you want one…now is the time to get one.

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Day 4: Three (?) gallery print bundles
If you like having Horus Heresy cover artwork on your walls, this is the day for you! It’s a little odd that only three of the four bundles are available, especially as it’s the fourth day of Christmas – the offer includes volumes one, three and four, i.e. the covers for the Horus Heresy books 1-5, 11-15 and 16-20. Presumably there’s not enough stock to include volume two in the offer, which is a shame. Each individual print is £27.50 normally, so these bundles are great value at £82.50 for five prints. That’s five for the price of three, or £16.50 each! I can attest to the quality of the prints, as I have a few myself – £16.50 is a damn good price, so if you’re in the market for some art to go on your walls, you could do a lot worse than pick one of these bundles up.

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Day 5: Five legends of the World That Was
Now THIS is a good offer! £44.97 gets you fifteen ebooks from across five Time of Legends series, each telling the tale of great heroes or villains from the old Warhammer World. Sigmar, Nagash, Caledor, Makekith and more – these are some of the best Warhammer characters and stories ever seen. If you fancy a bit of Warhammer nostalgia, or if you never got round to reading these series, this is a great opportunity to get hold of them. Price-wise it works out as just under £3 per book, or £9 per series – compare that to the usual £6.99 per book or £14.99 for the collected series! Ok, £45 is a lot to fork out at once, but it’s a really good deal.

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Day 6: Six half price series starters
Another great offer, this time a 50% discount on the first (e)books of six series/trilogies – Gotrek and Felix, Night Lords, The Beast Arises, Space Marine Battles, Salamanders and Legends of the Age of Sigmar. Ok, the last one is a bit of an oddity as it’s not the first Age of Sigmar book and the Legends of… series isn’t a chronological series, but I suppose it was the first AoS book to feature one of the non-Stormcast or Chaos factions. With the exception of that one, the other five are all long-running and/or much-loved series, the sort of books that you’ll see regularly recommended – so if you haven’t read some or all of these, now is your chance to get stuck in! Half price means £3.49 for Trollslayer, Soul Hunter and Salamander, or £4.99 for I Am Slaughter, Fyreslayers and Rynn’s World. If you can only stretch to one, I’d say go for either Trollslayer (if you prefer Warhammer) or Soul Hunter (if 40k is more your thing) as they’re both stone cold classics. Just ignore the page on Black Library’s website which currently has Soul Hunter listed as book 2 in the Night Lords trilogy – it’s not, don’t worry!

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Day 7: T-shirts…five of them
On the seventh day it’s back to merchandise, and away from the numbered theme, with five t-shirts for £15 each (or, weirdly, £20 for the small The Beast Arises one). As with the messenger bags these are showing up as ‘last chance to buy’, so if you fancy a new shirt then check them out. The five designs are Tanith Knife, Tau Battlesuits, Tau Castes, The Beast Arises and Warhammer 40,000 Weapons and they’re available in various sizes (depending on the shirt) from small to XXL. There’s not much else to say about these really – I suspect the merchandise appeals less to most fans than the books do but it adds a little variety at least.

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Day 8: Eight audio dramas for the price of four
We’re back on track with the numbered theme today, with all eight of the Age of Sigmar audio dramas available in one bundle for half price. That’s the four Knights of Vengeance audios by David Guymer, and the four Hunt For Nagash audios by Josh Reynolds, all for £39.96 – or just under £5 per audio. Not bad at all! The alternative would be to buy Mortarch of Night (£9.99 in ebook), in which the prose versions of all eight are collected, but if you enjoy audio dramas then this is pretty good value for almost ten hours of audio.

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Day 9: Nine tales of the primarchs (well, nine loyal and nine traitor)
This one’s worked out quite nicely, given that there were nine loyal primarchs and nine traitors – that sets things up nicely for two digital collections offering a story of each primarch, from quick reads to full novels. The loyalist collection, Nine Loyal Primarchs, is priced at £44 for three novels and six novellas, while Nine Traitor Primarchs contains three novels, one anthology, four novellas and one quick read, and comes in at £40. Between them that’s one story per primarch, from newer stories like Roboute Guilliman: Lord of Ultramar to stone-cold classics like Aurelian and Prince of Crows. Both collections offer pretty good savings (somewhere in the region of £15-20 off by my rough maths), and while long-term Heresy fans are likely to have read most or all of these stories, they both offer a great introduction for newer fans. Another really good offer, I’d say.

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Day 10: Ten Realmgate Wars Exclusive Editions
The first ten novels (or at least novel-length books) set in the Age of Sigmar were all published as rather beautiful Exclusive Edition hardbacks when they first came out, at £25 each compared to the standard hardback price of £15. For me they’re among the nicest of the formats – not as luxurious as some of the top-end Limited Editions, but noticeably cooler than the standard editions, however the problem was always that price tag. £250 for ten books is quite steep, after all. Well now, if you felt the same as me, you can always pick up the whole lot in a single bundle for £150, or the equivalent of £15 per book! It’s perhaps a shame that you have to buy all ten in one go, but if you’ve got the money to hand…what’s stopping you?

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Day 11: Eleven tales of Tech-Priests
For the fourth day running that we’ve got a properly themed offer, this time an ebook bundle of eleven Adeptus Mechanicus stories. £24.98 gets you all three of Graham McNeill’s Forges of Mars trilogy (plus associated short story), both of Rob Sanders’ Adeptus Mechanicus short novels, and five more short stories from David Guymer, Peter Fehervari, CL Werner, Rob Sanders and Josh Reynolds. That’s a saving of somewhere around £9 against buying these in the various collections already available, or probably more like £25 if you bought everything individually. Once again it pretty much only appeals to people who haven’t bought any of these stories already, but on the other hand even if you’ve got one or two of them it’s such a good price it might be tempting to get it anyway. Certainly if you like the Adeptus Mechanicus, this is a treasure trove of fiction.

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Day 12: Twelve more art prints
We had three Horus Heresy gallery print bundles for the fourth day, but for the twelfth and final day in the campaign there’s a genuinely impressive bundle of twelve prints…for the price of six! Once again it’s a lot of money to spend in one go, but that £165 gets you twelve pieces of cover art from a mixture of 40k, Horus Heresy and Age of Sigmar books – that’s the equivalent of £13.75 per print. The Horus Heresy dominates with seven of the twelve prints, with Age of Sigmar just represented once and 40k covering the remaining four, and overall there’s a nice mixture of covers even if the Heresy ones are all from novellas/audios as opposed to the main series. As a conclusion to the campaign it’s nice to see it match the day number, and there’s no doubting that this offers a considerable discount…but there’s maybe just a hint of disappointment that it’s art prints (again) and not actually book-related. Still, if you weren’t tempted by day four but you’re still after some new artwork…it’s pretty good.

What would you like to see included in these offers? If you’ve got any thoughts, let me know!

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