Black Library Weekly – W/C 17/10/16

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.

After a couple of bumper weeks for Black Library news and releases, things have slowed down a bit with the focus being more on a new boxed game from Games Workshop than anything else. Read on for more details…

As always the first noteworthy item of the week was the Digital Monday short story, which this time was a Quick Read from a brand new Black Library author – Matt Smith’s In Service Eternal. Priced at £1.99 for a decent length short story it’s a clear indication that Black Library’s short story pricing is determined more by the author’s name and standing than by length! As Smith’s first contribution it’s pretty good, so the price is something of a bargain.

After the introduction of the Coming Soon page on the Black Library website there’s been an unusual situation where the next Limited Edition release – Chris Wraight’s book about Leman Russ – has been available for pre-order for some time. As of Monday there was a banner on the Black Library website stating that there were less than 1,000 copies still available, out of a total of 2,500 printed. So much for building hype in advance of the release!

For the first time in what seems like months, the rest of the week was pretty quiet on the Black Library front. There were various emails and Facebook posts providing ‘updates’ on Black Library Live! 2016 that had already been announced previously (apart from notification that Chris Wraight will sadly only be appearing via video link), or pushing both the new Leman Russ book and Guy Haley’s latest releases, but nothing especially interesting or noteworthy.

Friday saw the official ‘release’ of Chris Wraight’s Leman Russ: The Great Wolf, the second book in the Primarchs series, currently only available as a Limited Edition hardback at £40. Unlike previous Limited Edition releases which were hyped to the max before finally being available to buy, this one (as mentioned earlier) has been up for pre-order, so by the time the official release day came round there were only a small number of copies still available. As far as Black Library’s concerned they’re probably happy enough, as it’s clearly been popular, but it does seem an odd way to release this sort of title.

With Leman Russ already available there was just one release at the weekend, which was Robbie MacNiven’s first audio drama – Vox Tenebris. Available in the standard formats – MP3 for £9.99 and CD for £12 – it’s an interesting idea in that it features two characters from the Deathwatch: Ignition collection of short stories but sets the tale two hundred years later, during the events of the War Zone Fenris arc.

That was it for Black Library – instead the main focus across the hobby was the release of the new Horus Heresy boxed game Burning of Prospero. This undoubtedly looks awesome, and seems likely to be as popular as the previous Betrayal at Calth, but from a Black Library perspective it’s disappointing that there’s nothing being released to directly tie in with it. Gav Thorpe’s upcoming audio drama The Thirteenth Wolf looks set to link off from the Prospero story arc, but that’s not available until the 19th November. The Horus Heresy omnibus The Razing of Prospero has been available for a while now, containing the novels A Thousand Sons and Prospero Burns along with a few other short stories, so obviously the Prospero arc has been covered quite a lot already, but you might have thought something could have been written to link in with the game more directly. Seems a shame not to have anything available really.

Thoughts on the week
It’s definitely been a quiet week in comparison with the past few, which seems odd given the headline news of the new GW boxed game. Clearly Leman Russ has been timed to come out at the same time as the game, as has the Forge World miniature of Russ, but a £40 Limited Edition book and a £70 miniature aren’t the sort of wide-reaching, accessible releases that will appeal to a broad range of fans. The lack of a £10-20 tie-in book (like we usually see alongside this sort of boxed game) is a little weird.

The other two releases are both interesting, from a couple of the newer Black Library authors, but they don’t really feel enough to give the week much weight in terms of releases. Combined with the lack of noteworthy updates or announcements during the week, it feels like maybe the overall Games Workshop message was deliberately restricted to the new Prospero boxed game…either that, or it was simply a slow week. It will be interesting to see what comes next – there’s nothing left for October on the Coming Soon page, so the next releases are something of a mystery. All we know is that we’re still due the ebook release of Nik Vincent’s Iron Snakes short story The Fissure, and a couple more short stories from David Annandale (Grey Knights) and Guy Haley (tanks!).

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

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