Black Library Weekly – W/C 24/10/16

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 quiet week for Black Library in the run up to the release of the new Burning of Prospero Games Workshop board game, did things pick up again with more new releases? Well, not really – but there were some interesting things nonetheless, so read on for more…

It was mentioned earlier in the month, so as expected the first release of the week was Nik Vincent’s short story The Fissure, coming as the Digital Monday Quick Read. Priced at £2.49 for a pretty standard length story, and originally published in the excellent Sabbat Crusade anthology, it’s an interesting tale that ties in cleverly with Dan Abnett’s A Ghost Return from the same anthology. It also features the Iron Snakes, which makes it automatically cool.

That was all for Monday, however this ‘new’ release that had technically been released before turned out to be a sign of things to come…

Even more than the previous week, it was quiet on the news front during the week. The main point of interest was the confirmation of the final guest for Black Library Live! 2016 – Andy Smillie – and a sneak peek at the cover for the new Warhammer World/events-exclusive novel, Josh Reynolds’ Age of Sigmar book Nagash: The Undying King. Yep, you’ll only be able to get it (for the time being) if you can make it to either Warhammer World or one of the other Black Library events – so that one’s bound to upset a few diehard fans!

Other snippets from Black Library included notifications that three Limited Edition boxsets are running low – the Salamanders trilogy, the first Ciaphas Cain trilogy and the Betrayal at Calth box set (featuring The Honoured and The Unburdened) – along with a half-hearted attempt to tie into the release the previous weekend of the Burning of Prospero game by pointing out upcoming releases featuring either the Space Wolves or the Thousand Sons.

To be honest that only highlighted the strange absence of any new titles linked to the Prospero story either side of the game’s release. I can’t help thinking that it was a strange decision not to make more of a song and dance about Prospero – even a repackaging of existing stories, or (and I’m clutching here) a combo deal of the boxed game and the Abnett/McNeill novels. I’m sure there are reasons why Black Library didn’t get involved this time round (not that they did a huge amount when Betrayal at Calth came out, with just the two short novels limping out via an under-demanded Limited Edition release) but it does seem odd.

So, was there a big release at the weekend, maybe a delayed link to Prospero? Well, sort of – the main release was the standard hardback/ebook (£15/£4.99) version of Chris Wraight’s excellent Horus Heresy novella Wolf King after its original Limited Edition release in 2015. Obviously it’s focused on Leman Russ and the Space Wolves, but it’s set a fair while after the events of Prospero so it’s a pretty tenuous link. Still, it’s a great novella – if you haven’t already got it, I’d definitely recommend checking it out.

The next most noteworthy release was the unabridged audiobook (at last!) of Dan Abnett’s classic novel Xenos, the first book in the Eisenhorn trilogy. It’s somewhat out of the blue, and won’t appeal to everyone, but is actually a very welcome addition – in fact it’s slightly surprising in hindsight that there wasn’t already an audio version available! Priced at £24.99 (MP3 only) for a little under ten hours of audio narrated by Toby Longworth, it’s a worthy addition to the available titles in audio.

Continuing the audio theme was a trio of Horus Heresy audio collections, each one containing the unabridged audiobook for three of the numbered novels in the series.

  • Books 19-21 (Know No Fear, The Primarchs and Fear to Tread).
  • Books 22-24 (Shadows of Treachery, Angel Exterminatus and Betrayer).
  • Books 25-27 (Mark of Calth, Vulkan Lives and The Unremembered Empire).

Priced at £74.99 each, that’s a saving of £15 meaning these are pretty good value if you’re an audio fan and don’t have these in your collection yet.

Lastly there was a handful of paperback releases that got a quick mention on Facebook but otherwise have gone largely under the radar. Here’s what I could spot:

  • Warhammer Age of Sigmar: The Realmgate Wars book 3 – Hammers of Sigmar containing two novellas by Darius Hinks and CL Werner – £8.99.
  • Legends of the Dark Millennium: Sons of Corax by George Mann (an anthology of six short stories and a novella) – £8.99.
  • The Horus Heresy book 27 – The Silent War (anthology) – trade paperback, £12.99.

Thoughts on the week
Despite there being quite a lot of releases across the week (nine, including collections), once again it felt like a bit of a quiet week – essentially because there was nothing brand new on offer. For fans who prefer their paperbacks and standard releases as opposed to posh Limited Editions, or for audio fans, there was quite a lot of interest. For anyone who’s more inclined to pick up titles as soon as they’re released, there was much less on offer.

It’s actually been some time since there was a week without any completely new releases, and perhaps we’ve been spoiled by that – it’s probably unrealistic to expect something new and exciting every single week, after all!

Looking ahead, there’s still a couple of short stories out of the list that were promised for October which haven’t seen the light of day – a Grey Knights tale from David Annandale and a tank-based story by Guy Haley. Presumably one of those will be the next Digital Monday release, and then perhaps the other will be the following week’s Quick Read.

In terms of novels, a quick look at the Coming Soon section of the website suggests that the next books that are listed aren’t due until the 12th November (The Beheading by Guy Haley and Warden of the Blade by David Annandale). That leaves a noticeable gap on the 5th November, so it’s going to be interesting to see whether there’s anything interesting due for release that weekend!

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

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