Hello and welcome to another instalment of Black Library Weekly, my regular look at what’s been happening in the world of Black Library. This week we’ve seen the lead up to the bank holiday and Warhammer Fest, with some really cool stuff going on…but also a real tragedy for Games Workshop fans as well, which has somewhat overshadowed the weekend. Let’s take a look at what’s been going on…
First up we had the usual Digital Monday release, this time featuring an old school short story from the Black Library archives – Know Thine Enemy by Gav Thorpe (£2.49 in ebook only). This was a real blast from the past (it was first published way back in 1999) and a really interesting look at the Salamanders – unusually for Gav – in an earlier iteration. Don’t expect a modern-feeling story, as this is very much a child of its time, but it’s thoroughly good fun.
After that we actually had a very quiet week, with nothing happening on Wednesday this time around – it looked like there wasn’t going to be anything at all until the weekend. Clearly Black Library had a plan however, and Friday saw the launch of a range of digital-only bundles ready for the bank holiday. Here’s how they break down:
- Eisenhorn: The Audios by Dan Abnett – all three audiobooks in the series for £61.99.
- Honour and Vengeance: Uriel Ventris vs Honsou by Graham McNeill – all 20 stories in the series so far (7 novels, 12 short stories and 1 novella) for £43.99.
- Gotrek and Felix: The Complete Journey – every story in the series, by eleven different authors, for £92.99.
- Paths of the Eldar – a range of novels and short stories featuring the different elements of the Eldar, by eleven different authors, for £57.99.
- Primarchs: The eBooks Volume 1 – the first three novels in this series, by David Annandale (not Dan Abnett, as I first wrote! Oops), Chris Wraight and Graham McNeill, for £24.99.
- Primarchs: The Audiobooks Volume 1 – the same three novels, in audiobook format, for £49.99.
- The Horus Heresy: Sons of Nocturne by Nick Kyme and Dan Abnett – the entire Salamanders story in the Heresy so far, for £37.50.
It’s difficult to know for certain without totting up the value of all of the stories in each bundle, but it certainly looks like these all offer decent discounts against buying the stories individually. They’re mostly pretty expensive, though, so while they look like great value…it’s difficult to imagine too many fans plumping for these, especially (sadly) the Gotrek and Felix bundle!
EDIT: as pointed out in the comments below, I missed one – Guy Haley’s Dark Imperium, which was confirmed on Tuesday. If you’ve been under a rock this week, here’s the lowdown of what’s coming for the new edition of 40k, including the cover of this book.
The weekend then began with some new releases, or at least new editions, starting with Nick Kyme’s Sons of the Forge. Largely described as a novel – albeit a short novel – this sits outside of the numbered series and ties in with Nick’s previous short story Artefacts and his 40k-era Salamanders work. Previously only available as a £35 limited edition (which you can still buy, should you fancy the posh version), it’s now out in standard hardback (£18), ebook (£9.99) and MP3 (£14.99) formats.
The other new releases are all paperback versions of books previously released in hardback. Let’s begin with The Master of Mankind by Aaron Dembski-Bowden, book 41 in the numbered series, which is now available (after the usual three months or so) in trade paperback for £12.99. Just to be clear, this is the larger paperback format, not the original mass-market size, which isn’t likely to be released for a good few months yet. Next up is Mark Clapham’s Space Marine Battles novel Tyrant of the Hollow Worlds, which comes in at £9.99 in paperback.
Lastly is the Age of Sigmar book Bladestorm (£8.99), which was originally published as a series of short stories before being bundled up into a single volume. Ostensibly written by Matt Westbrook, it’s worth noting that this isn’t a real person – it’s a pen name used by Games Workshop’s Publications department on a couple of different books (including Medusan Wings, which turned out to have been written by Ian St. Martin). It remains to be seen who actually wrote Bladestorm – if you’re a Black Library author and you’d like to take credit for this one, let me know!
That’s it for new releases, but it’s also worth mentioning that this weekend has seen Games Workshop’s annual Warhammer Fest event take place in Coventry. I was lucky enough to be able to attend on the Saturday, and – overall – it was a great day of hobby engagement including the chance to meet authors, artists, sculptors, rules writers and a whole host of other people involved in the hobby. It was, however, rather overshadowed by the sad, sad news that Forge World’s Horus Heresy lead writer Alan Bligh had passed away the night before.
Anyone who has met or listened to Alan at a Forge World event will know both how lovely a man he was, and how important he has been to the development of the Horus Heresy overall. Obviously a terrible personal tragedy for Alan’s family, friends and colleagues, it’s also clearly had, and will continue to have, an impact on a lot of people in the hobby who have enjoyed and appreciated Alan’s work. I think it goes without saying that all of us – fans, readers, hobbyists – will miss Alan’s involvement in this hobby, and this world that we all love.
I would also like to say a huge thanks to everyone from Games Workshop who has worked hard to make Warhammer Fest a success. Big events like this are always tough to organise and run, but to do so with such sad news having only just been delivered must have been incredibly tough, especially for the Forge World team. Everyone I saw and spoke to had a smile on their face, and was clearly working as hard as they could to make the event as good as possible. That shows a real sense of professionalism and character, and I think they all deserve huge credit. Thanks, everyone – you deserve it.
Thoughts on the week
Under other circumstances I would be talking about the books released this weekend, as well as the pre-release titles that were available to pick up at Warhammer Fest. It feels somehow less important to do so, given Saturday’s news.
Instead, let’s take a moment to remember that we’re now forty-four numbered novels into Black Library’s Horus Heresy series, with the upcoming release of The Crimson King, as well as seven books into Forge World’s own series. We’re also about to see Forge World release a swathe of new rules for all of their 40k models to tie in with the upcoming new 8th edition of the game, and by the looks of things at Warhammer Fest there’s going to be a whole host of cool new stuff coming along sooner or later. Personally, I think that both Black Library and Forge World are going stronger than ever, and that we’ve all got amazing things to look forward to.
Perhaps now is as good a moment as ever to remember that we’re in this position because of the hard work of everyone at Games Workshop. Countless people contribute to every miniature, rulebook, novel and photograph…and we wouldn’t have such an awesome hobby without them.
It looks like next weekend’s big release is going to be Graham McNeill’s Horus Heresy novel The Crimson King, which I think is going to get a lot of people very excited. Lots to look forward to, for sure.
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!