Black Library Weekly – w/c 19/09/16

Hello and welcome to another instalment of Black Library Weekly, where I take a look at the Black Library-related news from the preceding week – announcements, pre-orders and new releases.

Week commencing 12th September had a massive announcement in the shape of Aaron Dembski-Bowden’s Master of Mankind being confirmed for Black Library Live! 2016, so I was keen to see whether Black Library would follow that up with more big news, or stick to the usual new releases. As it happened, the main excitement came in the form of Genestealer Cults – a new codex and an accompanying Black Library novel. Read on for more details…

For the first time in 2016 Black Library doesn’t have a serialised novel on the go, with the completion of Chris Dows’ The Red Path the previous weekend. The quality of these has in my opinion been…let’s say variable – so I was pleased to see a standalone Quick Read for Monday’s new release. Mike Mason’s micro-short Potentia introduces a new name to Black Library, although he’s an established author elsewhere, and while £2.49 is a bit steep for a very short story, it was interesting to see something that takes a slightly different angle to most Inquisition stories.

That was it for Monday, so on to the rest of the week…

It was a bit of a quiet week actually, with no releases as far as I could see. Two things stood out as interesting though, the first being an updated reading order for the Horus Heresy series. If you haven’t already seen it you can find it here:

There’s no doubt that the Heresy series has become a bit of a monster, so it’s nice to see Black Library putting a guide together to help those readers who haven’t been following the series from the beginning. They’ve based this around the core (numbered) novels, the novellas and the Garro audio dramas, but other than that I only counted one other audio drama on the list (Laurie Goulding’s The Heart of the Pharos), the Macragge’s Honour graphic novel, the un-numbered books Meduson, The Honoured and The Unburdened, and two short stories from the Tallarn arc. None of the rest of the (many) short stories are included, or any of the other audio dramas. What that means is going to vary depending on your perspective – I imagine some people will be happy to only have the core/primary/essential (delete as appropriate) stories included, while others will be disappointed that this doesn’t include every last detail. It’s a start, at least…

The other point of interest for the week actually came via the Warhammer 40,000 Facebook page in the shape of daily teasers for the weekend’s new release. All of the Games Workshop social media channels are turning out excellent content these days, and this mini campaign was among the best yet. It’s worth checking out if you haven’t yet, even though the surprise has been spoiled. Speaking of which…

No doubt about it, there’s been a lot of excitement about the release of Codex: Genestealer Cults, and the accompanying novel from Peter Fehervari. It’s not exactly a shock – the Deathwatch: Overkill board game was a big success and had already spawned a new Deathwatch codex, so a Genestealer Cult release was pretty inevitable, but everything’s pointing to another fantastic release. The new codex is available for pre-order now in the usual formats – hardback (£30), ebook (£24.99) and digital Enhanced (£29.99), as well as a rather lovely looking Limited Edition priced at an eye-watering £115.

From a Black Library perspective, as with the Deathwatch release we get an accompanying novel in the Legends of the Dark Millennium series, simply entitled Genestealer Cults. Written by the (in my opinion) criminally underrated Peter Fehervari, it’s available in ebook (£9.99) and hardback (£15) formats and looks to be a suitably dark and creepy tale. If you haven’t read anything by Fehervari before I’d suggest you start with his contribution to the Deathwatch: Ignition anthology (The Walker in Fire) and then dive straight into his novel Fire Caste, which despite the title is more of an Imperial Guard story, and a brilliant one at that.

No other new releases as far as I can see, but there was good news for fans of the Horus Heresy hardback editions – The Horus Heresy Hardbacks Bundles, Volumes I to IV. Each bundle contains five novels in numbered order, covering books 1 to 20, priced at £90 each. Nineteen of the twenty hardbacks are priced at £20, so that’s a discount of £10 for volumes 1, 2 and 3. Volume 4 includes the more expensive A Thousand Sons (£25) giving it a discount of £15 for the bundle. Okay that’s only £2/3 saving per book, but it’s still a saving – so if you’ve been waiting to get hold of some or all of the first twenty books in hardback, now’s your chance!

Lastly, a similar bundle but for the Gallery Prints this time, with Gallery Prints: The Horus Heresy Volume One – the covers of the first five books in the series, in print form. Normally £27.50 each, this bundle is priced at £110 for five, which works out as buying five for the price of four. Fancy some Heresy art on your walls? This is as good an offer as you’re likely to get, I’d say. Just remember that only four of the five were done by Neil Roberts – the cover for False Gods is the only one not done by Neil, instead being by Phil Sibbering.

Thoughts on the week’s releases
Not the most exciting of weeks in terms of brand new Black Library titles perhaps, but not awful either. I’m firmly in the ‘fans of Peter Fehervari’ camp, so realising that he’s written LOTDM: Genestealer Cults has got me even more interested than I would have been otherwise – his style is noticeably more psychological and less action-focused than many Black Library authors, which is perhaps why he’s not released as much as I’d personally have liked, but this is a great opportunity for more people to read his work. Hopefully the Genestealer Cults codex will be good as well, as the models look very nice indeed!

As for the Heresy bundles, it’s good to see Black Library offering some discounts on these, although it would have been even nicer if the hardback bundles had equated to ‘five for the price of four’ like the gallery prints bundle! These bundles are essentially only for collectors though, so I’d imagine they’re not going to be of much interest to a large chunk of Black Library’s fan base.

That then just leaves Potentia, which was interesting if not exceptional, but a bit pricey for its length. As I mentioned earlier I was actually quite pleased that we didn’t see the start of another serialised novel, but I’m hoping that we see some more interlinked short stories that tie in with upcoming releases as well.

Looking ahead, I’m not sure what to expect actually. I’d imagine we’ve still got another week to wait for The Beast Arises book eleven (which I’m expecting on the 8th October) and probably another week after that until the next Horus Heresy book comes out – Corax by Gav Thorpe. In the meantime…I don’t know. There are quite a lot of upcoming releases that I’m expecting in the next couple of months, from David Annandale (Warden of the Blade and Warlord: Fury of the God-Machine), Guy Haley (Shadowsword and Dante) and Chris Wraight (Leman Russ: The Great Wolf and Vaults of Terra: The Carrion Throne), as well as omnibuses from John French (Ahriman) and Graham McNeill (the …of Mars trilogy), so maybe one of those might sneak in? Alternatively there might be something completely unannounced, which would be fun. Let’s wait and see…

EDIT: scratch that bit about Corax – it’s been confirmed for Saturday 1st October! Mystery solved…

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