Black Library Weekly – w/c 29/08/16

As August departs and September says hello, Black Library’s release schedule continues on its standard pattern. Nothing jaw-droppingly exciting last week in terms of new releases, although the welcome return of Black Library events lent the week a little extra oomph. Let’s take a look…

Last week’s Quick Read was a very quick read indeed – Death’s Shepherd by Andy Smillie, a Flesh Tearers micro-short. Like The Harrowing the week before, it’s not technically a new story – this one was previously available in the Black Library Anthology 2013/14, which was an event-only publication, as well as the Trial By Blood anthology which collects together a bunch of Smillie’s Flesh Tearers stories. It’s still good to have it available as an eshort though, and while it’s really very short it’s as satisfyingly brutal as you’d expect from Smillie. Just don’t expect Seth or any of the familiar characters – this one’s essentially a standalone.

Amusingly, the previous weekend’s supposedly ‘one weekend-only’ ebook collections were still available on Monday. Whether that was a blip or an intentional decision, hopefully a few more fans got hold of those – still a shame that they couldn’t remain available for longer.

The big news for the rest of the week was Wednesday’s announcement of Black Library Live! 2016, taking place in November at Warhammer World. There hasn’t been a dedicated Black Library event for nearly two years now, and while a lot of fans have been waiting and asking for the return of the Weekender, this is the next best thing. Even better, Black Library have already announced a load of cool stuff about what’s going to be happening, including an initial list of authors and a handful of new/pre-release titles. It’s like the good old days are properly back!

Friday saw George Mann’s Limited Edition Space Marine Legends: Shrike (short) novel go up for presale, at the expected high price point – £40 for the physical edition and £14.99 for the ebook. That tallies with the previous two books in the series, and while both versions are expensive, at least these days we get the option of an ebook with most LE titles. According to the banner on the Black Library website there are ‘fewer than 1,000’ copies left available, which means at least 500 have been sold – the LE frenzy has definitely been and gone, but there’s clearly some interest there still.

Just a single Black Library release this weekend, as far as I can see – Storm of Damocles by Justin D. Hill. Another novel in the Space Marine Battles series, which seems to be picking up speed again recently. This one ties in to the range of books already dealing with the Damocles Crusade, and also the recent Deathwatch releases – it’s almost as though Black Library planned it all out! It’s available in hardback and ebook formats.

That seems to be it for Black Library, although Games Workshop put Traitor’s Hate up for presale – the next 40k campaign book, featuring Khârn the Betrayer as part of the 13th Black Crusade. It seems a little odd that there’s nothing from Black Library to tie in with it, although perhaps we’ll get the final instalments in Chris Dows’ The Red Path serialised novel soon. Hopefully we’ll finally see Anthony Reynolds get to finish off what he started with Khârn: Eater of Worlds soon, as well!

Thoughts on the week’s releases
Another fairly light week overall, although the announcement of Black Library Live! 2016 makes up for things a little, at least for anyone able to get to Nottingham. Hardcore Raven Guard fans will be excited to get their hands on Shrike, but at £40 for a pretty short novel it’s probably only the serious fans who are likely to invest at this point.

Putting out Death’s Shepherd as the Quick Read without anything to tie into seems a little like a stop-gap release, and £2.49 is WAY too much for a micro-short, but I guess there’s a limit to the number of cool, interlinked short stories that can be released. Saturday’s release of Storm of Damocles is cool, not just because it ties in with all the rest of the recent stuff around Damocles, but also because it’s the first 40k novel for Justin D. Hill. He’s written some excellent short stories so it’s nice to see a full novel with his name on it.

It remains to be seen exactly what a ‘standard’ week is for Black Library these days, but with the possibility of some tie-in releases for Traitor’s Hate coming along soon, along with the next Beast Arises and Horus Heresy instalments, there’s a fair chance that this is the sort of week we should expect in between the bigger ones. Only time will tell…

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