Black Library Weekly – W/C 09/01/17

Hello and welcome back to Black Library Weekly, where I’m taking a look through this week’s Black Library activity. The week has mostly been focused on the ucoming Magnus the Red book from Graham McNeill, but it’s also seen the first Age of Sigmar release of 2017 as well as a nostalgic look back at a Warhammer classic from the Old World. As usual though, let’s start at the beginning…

This week’s Digital Monday short story was from Aaron Dembski-Bowden, in the shape of his Black Legion story Extinction, available for the pretty standard price of £2.49. You might have come across it before if you’ve got the Games Day Anthology 2012/13 or the posh First Edition of The Talon of Horus, but if not it’s well worth a read to get a little glimpse at what happened between the end of the siege of Terra and the events in The Talon of Horus. Suffice to say the Sons of Horus weren’t very popular, while First Captain Ezekyle Abaddon was notable by his absence…

The middle of the week was pretty quiet on the Black Library front, really. It saw another book inducted into the Black Library Hall of Fame – this time the excellent Riders of the Dead by Dan Abnett, as nominated by Chris Wraight. Currently it’s only available as ebook (for £6.99), which is a shame as it’s a great read, but if you’re lucky you might be able to find a physical copy somewhere, either on its own or as part of the Thunder & Steel omnibus. I read this a LONG time ago, but Chris’ description in his nomination reminded me just how much I’d enjoyed it.

The main event was clearly the official release on Friday of Graham McNeill’s latest novel, in the Horus Heresy Primarchs series – Magnus the Red: Master of Prospero. As usual the initial release is as a Limited Edition hardback for the princely sum of £40, before the standard hardback comes out in three months’ time. Once again it’s a lovely edition so if you’re happy to fork out for it you’ll be getting a beautiful book, although you’ll need to be quick as (at the time of writing) it looks like there are less than 500 copies left.

I’ve talked before (many times) about how putting books up for pre-order takes away from the immediate hype preceding their release. This time round Black Library put up an interview with Graham split across four days, which was promoted on their Facebook page; it was interesting to read a few of Graham’s thoughts on the book, but (to me, at least) it didn’t feel like there was any more excitement as a result. I mean, it looks like the book’s doing well, so I’m happy about that, but as usual there just didn’t seem to be a buzz around a book that should have had people talking…

Continuing the Primarchs theme, Saturday saw the official release of Chris Wraight’s Leman Russ: The Great Wolf in standard (non-limited) hardback. It is in fact available as an ebook (£9.99), hardback (£12.99) and MP3 (£19.99), and looks like being something of a must-read. It looks like this series has established a clear release pattern now, where the ‘standard’ formats are made available three months after the Limited Edition comes out. That’s pretty good in my opinion; it helps the LE stand out as worth buying for the hardcore fans/collectors, but doesn’t force everyone else to wait too long.

The rest of the releases were all for the Age of Sigmar, with a brand new book, an omnibus of existing stories, and a new Battletome from Games Workshop all showing up at once. I talked a little last week about City of Secrets, Nick Horth’s new (and debut) novel, so it’s good to see that released now – you can pick it up in ebook (£9.99) or hardback (£15) formats. Judging by the artwork on the cover it should tie in nicely to Battletome: Disciples of Tzeentch, the latest gaming supplement for Age of Sigmar. Unusually for one of these GW releases there are only two formats to choose from – hardback (£20) and ebook (£14.99), although do remember that this is up for pre-order only. You should be able to download it from the 21st January.

The final Age of Sigmar release was in fact a re-release, in the shape of Legends of the Age of Sigmar: Omnibus 1. Priced at £9.99 for the ebook or £12.99 for the paperback it collects together three of the previous Legends of… titles – Fyreslayers (David Annandale, David Guymer and Guy Haley), Skaven Pestilens (Josh Reynolds) and Sylvaneth (Robbie MacNiven, Josh Reynolds, Rob Sanders, Gav Thorpe). Considering these are £15 each in hardback, that’s an impressive price.

Thoughts on the week
Somehow, even though there have been a good few releases it’s felt like a bit of a quiet week on the Black Library front. Maybe that’s just because there’s not been anything in the way of announcements or cool news, although there’s been plenty of that on the Games Workshop front if you’re a fan of Tzeentch (check out the Warhammer Community website). That being said, the releases have all been pretty good so there’s been plenty to get stuck into for anyone in need of a new book or two.

The Primarchs series seems to be really ramping up now, with three titles already released in one format or another, a fourth listed on the Coming Soon page of Black Library’s website, and a fifth confirmed (Gav Thorpe’s Lorgar: Bearer of the Word). The Limited Editions won’t be for everyone (they’re not for me, sadly) but as I said before it’s only a three month wait for the standard hardback, which isn’t too bad. Of course some people will be wondering about a paperback release…I wouldn’t hold your breath though.

As for Age of Sigmar, it’s great to see City of Secrets get a release, for multiple reasons. First of all it’s a brand new author (always interesting), secondly it’s not focused on the Stormcast (yay!), and lastly it’s proof that despite what the naysayers would have us believe, there’s plenty of attention being paid to this setting. The fact that AoS books aren’t showing up on the Coming Soon section certainly doesn’t mean they’re not on their way!

It’s worth mentioning one of last week’s releases, Robbie MacNiven’s Carcharadons: Red Tithe. Not only has the hardback now hit the shelves, but Robbie’s recently confirmed that the digital edition has reached Amazon bestseller status! That’s no mean feat, especially for an author’s first novel, so massive congratulations to Robbie – here’s hoping it’s the first of many!

Coming up…
Strangely enough there’s only a single title left in the January section of the Coming Soon page – the CD/MP3 collection Virtues of the Sons/Sins of the Father by Andy Smillie. That should be available to download from next Saturday (21st), but nothing else is showing up…however it looks like Kingsblade by Andy Clark will probably be available the following weekend, despite being listed in the February section.

As always, if you’ve got any thoughts on the week’s news and releases please do give me a shout to let me know!

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