Black Library Weekly – W/C 10/04/17

Hello and welcome to another instalment of Black Library Weekly, my regular look at what’s been happening in the world of Black Library. We’re already on week fifteen of 2017 if you can believe it, and this week brought with it a pair of seconds – the second full (i.e. numbered) Horus Heresy book of the year, and the second Horus Heresy: The Primarchs book of the year. As always let’s start at the beginning…

Black Library are absolutely knocking it out of the park when it comes to Digital Monday short stories this year, and this week was no difference. The Skeleton Key by David Annandale (£2.49 in ebook as usual) is the third new Blood Bowl short story this year, and the seventh overall, and is another hugely entertaining little story. This time around we get a story featuring a disenchanted mummy, teleporting skeletons, the Bright Crusaders and some hopeless goblins all getting stuck into the Dungeonbowl – it’s ridiculous, in the best possible way.

Most weeks there tends to be something of interest – news of upcoming releases, some form of announcement, little snippets of interviews from authors about their latest books. This week? Nothing. Black Library was quiet as a mouse – so I’ve got nothing to talk about! On to the weekend, then…

Well, Friday at least. As often seems to be the case, the latest limited edition hardback was officially ‘released’ on Friday, despite having been up for pre-order for a while – Perturabo: Hammer of Olympia by Guy Haley. The fourth Primarchs novel to be released, it came with the usual £40 price tag – at the time of writing, the Black Library website is showing that out of the original 2,500 copies printed there are less than 700 remaining. That’s pretty good I’d say! I’m waiting for the standard hardbacks of these books so I’ve got another three months to wait, but I’m expecting this to be excellent…

On to Saturday, and the second new book of the week – book 43 in the Horus Heresy series, Shattered Legions. This one is another anthology, collecting together the stories previously available in Meduson (by Dan Abnett, Graham McNeill, Chris Wraight, John French, Guy Haley, David Annandale, Gav Thorpe and Nick Kyme) along with Graham McNeill’s novella The Seventh Serpent. As usual it’s available in all formats, so that’s hardback (£20), ebook (£9.99) and MP3 (£29.99). It’s worth pointing out that (like all of the anthologies after Mark of Calth) there’s nothing ‘new’ here – these are all stories that have been printed before in one format or another. More on this later…

Thoughts on the week
Well, it’s felt like a bit of a slow week overall – sure, there were three new releases, but of those one was a short story, one was a limited edition hardback that most people can’t afford, and one was an anthology of already released stories. Don’t get me wrong – I’m ok with all three of those! Looking at things objectively though, I don’t think you can really say that this has been a big week for Black Library…

Starting with Monday, I’m ALWAYS happy to get a new Blood Bowl short story. Annandale commented on Twitter that this was a massive change of pace for him, but it just goes to show that he can do non-40k/HH stories too. I’m so pleased that Black Library are continuing to support Blood Bowl in this way – there’s nothing quite like these stories anywhere else in Black Library’s catalogue, and I hope Blood Bowl continues to be supported in this way for a long time to come…

As for the weekend’s releases, it’s certainly nice to get two two new books, even if one is a limited edition and one is an anthology. There’s been lots of negativity around Shattered Legions, but Black Library are just doing what they always said they would do – releasing every story in every format. I bought the Warhammer World-exclusive edition of Meduson a couple of years ago, and the limited edition hardback of The Seventh Serpent when that first came out, so that’s £60 (I think) committed to these stories already…but I bought them in the full knowledge that they would almost certainly be released later on in an anthology. And lo – the anthology is here. Is it a little wince-inducing to think how much I’ve spent on these, PLUS another £20 for the anthology? Sure. Am I going to buy the anthology anyway? Of course. If that was going to be a problem, I wouldn’t have bought the limited editions…simple as that.

As I said earlier, I’m waiting for the standard hardbacks in the Primarchs series, which means I’ve got a full three months before I can pick up Perturabo. I’m ok with that too, though – I’ve committed to the standard Heresy series in hardback, but another £700+ for eighteen (admittedly beautiful) hardbacks just didn’t appeal when the series first started. I like the design of the standard hardbacks, so I’m happy with having those on the shelf, and three months isn’t too bad for a wait. It’s a lot better than the nine months that seems de rigeur for the mass market paperbacks of the main series!

So yeah, I’m cool with the two new releases this weekend…but nevertheless I think it’s a bit of a shame that nothing else was released alongside them. It might have been nice to have seen something COMPLETELY brand new as well, but then maybe I’m just expecting too much…

Coming up…
Once again I’m not going to hazard a guess as to what next week’s Digital Monday short story is going to be. I think it would be AWESOME if it tied in with the cool new Kharadron Overlords models that Games Workshop have just released, but I’m not going to hold my breath for that just yet.

Who wouldn’t want to read THIS story?!

As for the weekend’s release, it looks like being LJ Goulding’s Scythes of the Emperor audio drama Daedalus, which should fit in nicely with the recent short story Terminal Velocity. It would be nice to see a couple more releases too, maybe a paperback or two – fingers crossed!

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!


  1. As someone who is still catching up with The Horus Heresy – and not keen on digital releases – I’m delighted with the anthologies volumes collecting all the previously released stories, and look forward to all the remaining ones being included moving forwards 🙂 I get why some people wouldn’t be happy about it, if already shelled out on limited releases etc, but personally it makes me v happy they’ve chosen to do it!

    Speaking of limited editions, I’m sad to hear you didn’t plump for the Primarchs series ones, as IMHO they’re the nicest ones I’ve seen to date; love the themed foil-design covers, and can’t wait to have the full set all lined up. (Side point, do you think they’ll ever reveal the two missing legions? I know its supposed to be a ‘never’, but I last week read that Gav Thorpe said the return of Primarchs to 40K and Horus Heresy miniatures were two big previous ‘nevers’!)

    Conversely though, I decided not to opt for the new spate of limited editions that have the ribbed spines but no slipcases; I can’t afford those on top, and so decided to stick with 30K whilst I’ve got so much catching up to do. Some of your reviews of them have really made me want them though – Fabius & Dante especially!

    Final thoughts on limiteds: do you know if they’ve abandoned the ‘Space Marine Legends’ series? 🙁 Although Ragnar sold out (before I got involved unfortunately), I noticed they really seemed to struggle to shift the Cassius & Shrike ones – so much so that they offered both for £40 around xmas!, which I’ve never seen before or since on limited editions. I’m thinking they’ve disbanded the series now, which is a shame as I’d hoped for one per legion similar to Primarchs plans.

    Similarly, I wasn’t expecting the Gaunt’s Ghost boxset to struggle to sell out, so whereas initially I thought they might release all the completed ‘sets’ of books in this series throughout the year in a build up to the new one in December, but now fear they got burned on the first set of GG and won’t release the next two :S

    1. That’s really interesting – glad to hear that the anthologies are helpful for you, under the circumstances! I admire BL for sticking to their guns with the ‘every story in every format’ thing, despite the grumpy online responses sometimes!

      Yeah, I’d have LOVED to have gone in on the LE Primarchs…but just couldn’t justify Guilliman at the time. Given that I didn’t buy the first one in LE, it would be daft to get any of the others I think. The ribbed-spine style you mentioned is working really well I think, they’re looking lovely on the shelf! Not sure about the Space Marine Legends books – when I first heard about Dante I assumed it would be in that series, and was surprised to see that wasn’t the case. I’m not sure how I feel about it actually…I LOVED the Ragnar book, but was disappointed by Cassius. Perhaps there were just too many similar series going on at once…although I never got the feeling that there was a plan to do one per legion or anything like that…

      As for the Gaunt’s Ghosts boxed set, I was surprised as well. They did print 250 more of that one than the previous sets, mind. I’d be slightly surprised to see the next two arcs appear in hardback (yet, at least) given the sales of that one, but you never know I suppose! I do know that I’m extremely tempted to re-read at least some of the Gaunt novels…they’re just so good! If you haven’t read them yet, I’d definitely recommend them 🙂

      Lastly, the lost legions? Nah, I don’t think so. Personally I hope not – I think a little mystery helps, and ‘revealing’ their stories would lesson the mystique and mythos of the whole thing. I get the whole ‘we said we’d never do a 40k Primarch model’ and so on, but mostly those were to do with minis as opposed to narrative stuff, I think. The lost legions and their primarchs get mentioned a lot at BL events, but it’s usually met with groans from staff, authors and fans alike…if they DID bring them back, I fear it would annoy as many people as it would satisfy! They can’t win either way, really…!

      1. Yeah, main reason I thought their might be one ‘Space Marines Legends’ per legion is due to the legion insignia banner design at the top of each LE slipcase.

        I think the reason Gaunt’s Ghosts HBs didn’t sell so well is because most people probably already have got a copy of them, being such a classic title; whereas something like the Ahriman trilogy is a lot newer, so more people saw it as an opportunity to pick up something ‘new’ to them, rather than just nicer editions or existing books they’ve had. That’s my guess anyway

        Back in the day I’d always assumed the two legions were ‘lost’ as a result of some sort of Horus Heresy era betrayal or some point up to 40k era, but now that I’ve started reading the HH books (#13 currently!) and discovered they were lost pre-Heresy I thought it was even less likely they’d ever be revealed. Ah well! I think you’re right though, it would be hard to ever live up to the hype so probably best they stay unknown

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