Hello and welcome to another instalment of Black Library Weekly, a weekly look through the week’s Black Library news and releases. It’s been something of a busier week, with a few cool new releases as well as a little bit of interesting news. As usual, let’s start at the beginning and work our way through the week…
As always the week kicked off with a new short story for Digital Monday, although once again this week’s release was actually a REALLY old story finally getting the ebook treatment. The Fall of Malvolion by Dan Abnett (£2.49) is a bit of a classic – it’s more about the darkness of life in the 41st millennium than the specific characters in play, and it’s super grim. But excellent nonetheless. I’m not quite sure why it’s been released now; there isn’t a clear link with anything current in 40k, although it does share certain themes with a novel released this weekend…although that’s a little tenuous. Still, it’s worth having available!
There seems to be something of a pattern at the moment with Wednesdays – every other Wednesday (like the previous one) there’s something cool like a new hardback boxed set coming out, or the Coming Soon section of the Black Library website gets updated. The Wednesdays in between tend to be either empty or filled with little snippets of news…like this week, when the latest title was inducted into Black Library’s Hall of Fame. The second nomination from David Guymer, The Death of Integrity by Guy Haley is a worth inclusion, although I just can’t quite work out what the point is of the Hall of Fame. The page always seems to disappear off the homepage remarkably quickly, and it gets next to no attention. Ah well.
Also on Wednesday, the discounted title in Black Library’s Audio Month changed again, with Gav Thorpe’s Howl of the Banshee this week’s choice. It’s the first of these titles that isn’t a big release, after week one’s Horus Heresy audio drama and last week’s The Talon of Horus audiobook…but it does tie in with both the Eldar focus for Games Workshop (see last week’s Fracture of Biel-Tan campaign book) and the Gav’s latest audio drama which came out this weekend. More on which later.
Lastly for midweek, Friday saw the announcement of the Gemmell Awards longlist, which includes two Black Library entries. If you’re not familiar with these awards, they’re an annual celebration of the best new fantasy titles, named after the legendary David Gemmell, and have been running since 2009. Last year saw David Guymer’s Slayer shortlisted for an award, while Graham McNeill and artist Raymond Swanland have previously walked away with awards. This year Gav Thorpe’s Age of Sigmar novel Warbeast is on the longlist, as is the cover for Josh Reynolds’ Black Rift, by artist Alessandro Baldasseroni. If you fancy adding your vote, you can do so at http://www.gemmellawards.com/award-voting-2017/.
It’s been a few weeks since the last time there were two brand new titles up for release on a weekend, which makes this weekend great to see, with one new novel and an audio drama. The new novel was Slaughter at Giant’s Coffin by LJ Goulding, the latest Space Marine Battles novel, which is available in hardback (£15) and ebook (£9.99) formats. It’s quite a short novel, and not your average Space Marine Battles book, but it’s very interesting.
The audio drama was Gav Thorpe’s Asurmen: The Darker Road, which according to Gav’s author’s notes was originally intended to be a companion piece to his first Phoenix Lords novel Asurmen: Hand of Asuryan, but has instead been delayed almost until the release of his second in the series – Jain Zar: Storm of SIlence. Either way, it’s another excellent instalment in this fledgling series, and worth getting hold of if you’re an Eldar fan – either in CD (£12) or MP3 (£9.99) format.
Thoughts on the week
After a couple of weeks without much in the way of tentpole releases, it’s nice to get back to some excitement again. While neither of this week’s main releases are necessarily major titles – not Heresy, or exceptionally popular characters – they’re both a little different from the norm, and therefore (in my opinion) a little more interesting. I’ve been waiting a long time for this Scythes of the Emperor novel, after reading all of the accompanying short stories, and it’s fun to see how the bigger picture has been built up over time.
I find it really interesting that the Asurmen audio drama was originally slated for release shortly after the novel, but got delayed by so much. It’s good to see Gav being open about this, and also to see Jain Zar on the horizon given that this series could easily have fallen by the wayside over the last few years. If you haven’t made a start on the series, I can’t recommend it enough – start with the Asurmen novel, then check out the audio drama; hopefully Jain Zar will be just as good!
Looking at the release dates online, it looks to me like Darius Hinks’ Blood Angels novel Mephiston: Blood of Sanguinius is the next book on the list. For some reason it’s showing up under March in the Coming Soon section of the Black Library website, but it’s scheduled for a release date of the 25th February. As far as I can tell it’s Hinks’ first 40k novel, so I’m looking forward to seeing what it’s like!
If you’ve been keeping an eye on the Warhammer Community website you might have spotted a new post this weekend entitled Scythes and Shuriken; Traitors and Titans. This purports to detail the weekend’s Black Library releases, and as well as the two I’ve mentioned above it also mentions the audiobook of Dan Abnett’s Hereticus (actually the 3rd book in the Eisenhorn trilogy, not the second as that article suggests) and the ebook version of the Titan graphic novel, also by Dan Abnett. Titan is currently available to pre-order (available to download from the 18th March), while Hereticus is not visible on the Black Library website. Perhaps the Warhammer Community folks have just got a bit over-excited, but it’s nice to know that this third and final audiobook is definitely coming up!
As always, if you’ve got any thoughts on the week’s news and releases please do give me a shout to let me know!