Black Library Weekly – W/C 26/09/16

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.

This time round we saw a new Horus Heresy novel and a short story tying in with a recent novel, as well as some more Black Library Live news and the launch of a brand new app. Sound interesting? Keep reading…

Last week’s Digital Monday release was a corker – Casts a Hungry Shadow, a brand new short story from Peter Fehervari which sits chronologically between the prologue and main body of his new Legends of the Dark Millennium: Genestealer Cults novel. It’s well worth the meagre £2.49 price tag, and is a Quick Read that will stay with you a fair bit longer than the recent spate of slightly overpriced very short stories. Interestingly it’s billed as Casts (note the letter s) a Hungry Shadow on the website, but appears as Cast (minus the s) in the ebook – quite why Black Library decided to make the change I’m not sure. Does it make any difference to the story? Not really.

Black Library also moved quickly to give advance notice of the weekend’s main release, advertising Gav Thorpe’s new Horus Heresy book Corax with a five-day countdown including daily recaps of the story so far. If nothing else, it gave us the chance to admire the beautiful new Neil Roberts cover…

Once again no midweek releases, but two weeks after the confirmation Aaron Dembski-Bowden for Black Library Live! 2016, we now know a few further details regarding authors and new releases. For the first time (as far as I’m aware) at a Black Library event we’re going to have authors appearing by video link – David Annandale and Graham McNeill – which should be interesting. Neil Roberts has also been confirmed, to nobody’s surprise (he’s a regular at events), while three new titles have been announced:

  • Sons of the Forge by Nick Kyme – a Horus Heresy Salamanders ‘short novel’ (approximately 50K words) which presumably won’t sit within the numbered series. It follows on from Nick’s short story Artefacts.
  • Warden of the Blade by David Annandale – a new Grey Knights book (somewhere in the region of 80k or more, according to the author – so a full length novel) featuring Castellan Crowe.
  • Legends of the Space Marines: Azrael by Gav Thorpe – the third title in this series, this time featuring the Chapter Master of the Dark Angels. Presumably in posh Limited Edition format as usual.

Judging by the Black Library website that now leaves only Guy Haley’s new release still to be announced (bar surprises) and three more guests to be confirmed. It’s shaping up pretty good!

After a week of hype, the Horus Heresy book 40 arrived on Saturday in the shape of Corax by Gav Thorpe. It’s an unusual one, for two reasons – firstly it’s an anthology, but one that’s entirely about Corax and the Raven Guard, and secondly it includes a bunch of previously released stories alongside a brand new novella. The previously released stories are the novellas Corax: Soulforge and Ravenlord, the short stories The Shadowmasters and The Value of Fear, and the prose version of the audio drama Raptor, while the new novella is called Weregeld. What’s not unusual are the formats and prices – hardback (£20), ebook (£9.99) and MP3 audiobook (£29.99), or the fact that you can download and read the ebook (and I assume the MP3) straight away, while the hardback isn’t available in shops until Saturday 8th October.

As far as I can tell Corax was the only new release over the weekend, although I did spot another ebook collection – this time it was The Horus Heresy novels Volume Seven. Collecting together the ebooks for numbers 31 to 35 in the series (Legacies of Betrayal, Deathfire, War Without End, Pharos, and Eye of Terra) for £39.99 it’s a saving for about £10 over the individual ebooks. That’s one free book, which isn’t to be sniffed at, but then once books 33, 34 and 35 are all available in mass market paperback it’s only going to be a saving of about £5.

No other releases, but the weekend did see the launch of the Black Library Audio App, which pretty much does what it says on the tin. A nicely presented app, it’s free to download and then allows you to browse through the range of Black Library audio books and audio dramas, listen to samples, and then make purchases all within the app. It’s an interesting idea, and one that’s somewhat inevitable in hindsight, but time will tell whether it’s successful. I’ll be writing some more about the app in future, so keep your eyes peeled.

Thoughts on the week’s releases
Corax inevitably dominates the week, as Horus Heresy books tend to. It’s already dividing opinions as anthologies usually do – personally I don’t mind that it collects stories I’ve already got, as I enjoy collecting the numbered books, but I can understand people who aren’t too keen on paying for stories twice. What’s interesting is the inclusion of the new novella Weregeld, which isn’t at present available elsewhere. If that gets a solo release then I don’t really think anyone will have cause to complain…but it remains to be seen whether that will happen or not.

Elsewhere in the week the Digital Monday release was the best we’ve had for weeks, both for its overall quality and for the fact that it tied in with a recent novel. To me that’s exactly what these Quick Reads should be for – I much prefer linked stories adding depth to other releases rather than serialised novels.

As for future releases, Black Library have already announced two of October’s Quick Reads and given hints to two more:

  • Massacre by Aaron Dembski-Bowden (Horus Heresy Night Lords, previously published in the Eye of Terra anthology).
  • The Fissure by Nik Vincent (a story set in the Sabbat Worlds, previously published in the Sabbat Crusade anthology).
  • ‘A new tale of tank action’ by Guy Haley (presumably tying in with his upcoming novel Shadowsword).
  • ‘A Grey Knights story’ by David Annandale (presumably to tie in with his upcoming novel Warden of the Blade).

Advertising these in advance seems to demonstrate once again that Black Library is making an effort to look ahead and engage with their audience, which can only be a good thing!

As always, if you’ve got any thoughts, comments or questions – just let me know.

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