Black Library Weekly – W/C 06/02/17

Happy Sunday (or whenever you read this), and welcome back to another instalment of Black Library Weekly, a weekly look through the week’s Black Library news and releases. We’ve had a couple of fairly quiet but still enjoyable weeks, and that trend has continued this week; there has been some exciting news, but not a huge amount of brand new content (read: essentially none). As usual, let’s start at the beginning and work our way through the week…

Monday
Another sort-of-reused short story for this week’s Digital Monday, in the shape of Heloth by LJ Goulding (£2.49 in ebook). This one was first published in the limited edition (recognise a theme here, at all?) Visions of War: The Art of Space Marine Battles back in 2015 alongside The Thrill of the Hunt by Anthony Reynolds, which is already available in ebook. It’s a great little story, that ties in with the Scythes of the Emperor stuff that Laurie’s been working on in preparation for Slaughter at Giant’s Coffin. If I remember correctly from when I spoke to Laurie, I think it actually covers a scene that’s included in the novel, but from a different perspective. That should be fun to read…

Midweek
Two weeks ago the Ahriman trilogy was released as a lovely hardback boxed set, and I speculated on what the next choice might be. My money was on the first three of Dan Abnett’s Gaunt’s Ghosts novels, collectively known as The Founding. Guess what was released this Wednesday? All sense of smugness aside it’s a great choice, as these are some of the best and most loved books ever published by Black Library. As with Ahriman a £50 price tag gets you three hardback novels complete with new author introductions and additional short stories, presented in a really nice new format. In my opinion it’s not quite as nice a package as the Ahriman trilogy, but it’s still rather lovely.

gaunts

What’s interesting is that out of the 750 copies initially made available, as I write this it looks like there’s still a fair few remaining – there’s a little badge on the website saying ‘Fewer than 450 copies left’. I’d have expected this to be considerably more popular, and given that Black Library printed another 250 copies than they did for Ahriman, it looks like I wasn’t the only person thinking that. I’m sure it will sell out in due course – if you’re a Gaunt’s Ghosts fan and like your hardbacks, now’s a good time to get them! The only problem is that there’s then going to be the temptation to want the rest of the series in hardback…!

When I wrote up my thoughts on which books might get the hardback treatment next, I was surprised that the Gaunt’s Ghosts series hadn’t already been covered. Here’s what I said:

This seems such an obvious option that it suggests Black Library are waiting for the right moment, perhaps somewhere around the time that the next novel in the series – Warmaster – is released to put out the first books in hardback.

Funny that. On the same day as The Founding was confirmed as the next boxed set, Black Library FINALLY confirmed that The Warmaster, the fourteenth novel in the Gaunt’s Ghosts series, is due to be released this year. Cue much celebration for fans of the series! However, the bad news is that it’s not due out until December! That’s going to be a long wait…

Warmaster.jpg

Still, plenty of good stuff to keep us all busy until then! Last week Black Library introduced the idea of Audio Month, in which each week during February there would be a different audiobook or audio drama on special offer. Last week it was a Horus Heresy combo, but this week it’s The Talon of Horus by Aaron Dembski-Bowden, which is reduced (until a new title is confirmed next Wednesday) to £14.99. If that sounds a lot, it’s because this is an unabridged audiobook, which means you get a little under thirteen hours of audio for the price. Not bad.

Weekend
I mentioned last week that there wasn’t anything on the Coming Soon page that was listed for this weekend. That wasn’t a mistake; the only Black Library releases were new editions of existing books. First up was Space Marine Legends: Cassius by Ben Counter, the second book in this series to get a standard hardback/ebook release. Previously only available in limited edition hardback, it’s now available in standard hardback (£12.99) and ebook (£9.99) formats, making it considerably more accessible. Personally I didn’t think it was the most exciting of books, but if you’re a fan of the Tyrannic Wars veterans, it’s worth a look.

Next up were two new paperbacks, first CL Werner’s Wardens of the Everqueen, book 5 in the Realmgate Wars series, and secondly book 33 in the Horus Heresy series, War Without End. Both of these are priced at £8.99 and if you’re after either of them remember that they’re both available in various formats, including ebook, MP3 and hardback.

That’s it for new Black Library books, although three new art prints are also now available – Cassius and Warden of the Blade in standard (£30) Gallery Print format, and Sons of the Forge in posh £95 format (signed and with only 50 available). That’s not quite everything though, as Games Workshop had a couple of new books – Fracture of Biel-Tan (as mentioned last week) is now available to download or pick up in stores, while a new Stormcast Eternals Battletome is up for pre-order. This one is priced at £25 for the hardback, or £19.99 for the ebook.

Finally, in terms of purchases at least, we had tickets for Warhammer Fest go on sale – £20 per day for adults and £10 for children, plus weekend tickets for £32 and Grand Tournament tickets for £75. It’s taking place at the Ricoh Arena in Coventry again, over the weekend of the 27th/28th May, and looks like being good fun. From a Black Library perspective I’d expect multiple authors to be in attendance, with seminars, readings and potentially advance copies of upcoming titles.

The final thing I’d like to point out for what happened at the weekend was a little closer to home for me. I’ve been working for a while now on transcribing and writing up an interview I did with Laurie Goulding, previously the Commissioning Editor for Black Library, and part one of the interview went live on the blog on Saturday. If you haven’t read it yet, I’d urge you to check it out as it’s really, really interesting…so much so that in less than two days it’s skyrocketed to the second most read article on the blog. It’s certainly proving popular – if you have read it, I hope you enjoyed it! Part two will be coming soon, so watch this space.

Thoughts on the week
It’s been another week where the news and announcements have been higher profile than the new releases, what with the confirmation of The Warmaster finally getting a release date, and Laurie’s fascinating thoughts on the last couple of years in Black Library. That being said, once again there have been some cool new products made available, not least the lovely hardback boxed set of The Founding by Dan Abnett.

Personally I’d have liked something a bit more interesting for the weekend’s releases, as they felt a little underwhelming, but that’s just my personal opinion. I’m certainly not complaining about the release schedule though, as I’m always pleased to see more accessible versions of books getting released, whether that’s standard hardbacks or paperbacks.

So overall another reasonably quiet week in terms of releases, but still an interesting one overall for fans of Black Library and Games Workshop.

Coming up…
While this week didn’t come with much in the way of brand new content, next week is looking pretty good. The Coming Soon section of the Black Library website lists two new titles for Saturday 18th February – the Space Marine Battles novel Slaughter at Giant’s Coffin by LJ Goulding, and Gav Thorpe’s audio drama Asurmen: The Darker Road. Personally I’m very excited about both of these, so next weekend is looking damn good!

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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