Hello and welcome to another instalment of Black Library Weekly, my regular look at what’s been happening in the world of Black Library. Things started off a little slowly this week, but with hype building for the release of the new 8th edition of 40k, it built up into something pretty spectacular by the time the weekend came around! Let’s start at the beginning like we always do…
Blood Bowl fans rejoice (commiserations to anyone who’s not a fan, I guess) as once again Digital Monday brought with it a new short story set in the weird world of fantasy football. This time around it was Pride and Penitence, the second ever Black Library story from Alec Worley, available as usual in ebook format for £2.49. Featuring the Bright Crusaders taking on the wonderfully named Doomtown Rats, it once again proved the flexibility of Blood Bowl as a setting for fiction – after eleven new short stories we’re still seeing an amazing range of variation.
After Monday’s strong start, the rest of the week was very quiet on the Black Library front. The hype was growing in terms of new 40k, so (understandably) the focus of all things Games Workshop was on that – if you were to have looked at the Warhammer Community site you’ll have seen a load of content popping up to tease the big release. The one bit of Black Library-related news came in the shape of confirmation that Guy Haley’s Dark Imperium would be released as a swanky looking limited edition, alongside the frankly stunning limited edition 40k rulebook…
And then on to the weekend. If I’ve been a touch critical in the past about weekends without much in the way of new releases…this is Black Library saying ‘well watch this!’ No less than six new releases landed on Saturday, including two completely brand new books – let’s take a quick look…
For the Horus Heresy fans we got Book 44 – The Crimson King by Graham McNeill, which is the long-awaited follow up to A Thousand Sons. As usual it lands in hardback first, for £20, or if you don’t need a physical copy you can pick it up as an ebook (£9.99) or MP3 (£29.99). I managed to get a copy last weekend at Warhammer Fest, and I thought it was DAMN good – you can check out my review here.
Next up, for new 40k we got Dark Imperium by Guy Haley, the first Black Library novel to be set in the post-Gathering Storm 40k universe. As I mentioned earlier, this came out in standard and limited editions, so you can pick it up as a normal hardback (£18), beautiful limited edition hardback (£40) or ebook (£9.99). There’s no audiobook version sadly, although there is – for the first time, as far as I’m aware – a limited edition combo…where you can buy the LE and get the ebook for half price, for a total of £45. Now, while I applaud any move to combine physical and ebook versions, I can’t help feeling that anyone who spends £40 on a book might be justified in thinking they would get the ebook for FREE, not just discounted! Anyway, that’s by the by. The option is there, should you so desire it…
Those were the two brand new titles, but there was also an impressive bunch of reissues…by which I mean titles which had previously been available in one format or another. Usually that means paperback releases, of which there were a couple, but first let’s take a look at a couple of slightly different releases, beginning with Champions of the Eternal War. This is an audio drama compilation, priced at the usual £12 for the CD and £9.99 for the MP3, featuring the three 40k short audio dramas from the 2016 Advent Calendar – The Calculus of Battle (David Guymer), The Embrace of Pain (Ian St. Martin) and The Art of Provocation (Josh Reynolds). All three are excellent audios, and each one teases a novel featuring the same characters – David Guymer’s The Eye of Medusa is already out, while Ian St. Martin’s Lucius: The Faultless Blade is due in August and I don’t believe Josh Reynold’s Lukas the Trickster novel has got a release date just yet.
Next up was Lemartes by David Annandale, a book which was originally made available as part of a rare Black Library incentive scheme, and published as part of the short-lived Lords of the Space Marines series. This seemed to be phased out in favour of the Space Marine Legends series (I know, not a lot of difference), and now Lemartes has been re-released in the same format as the other four books in this series – you can pick it up in ebook for £9.99 or hardback for £12.99. I’ll only very briefly mention that I’m pretty sure this book was originally promoted as a novella, while the other four in this particular series were all promoted as novels…
Two more still to go – firstly, Legacy of the Wulfen. Available in ebook (£6.99) and paperback (£8.99) this combines David Annandale’s Curse of the Wulfen with Robbie MacNiven’s Legacy of Russ, and seems like remarkably good value – especially in ebook format! It’s worth pointing out that both of these lean heavily on the really close tie-in side of Black Library, linked in with the War Zone Fenris campaign, but if you’re a Space Wolves fan then this looks like an amazing deal.
Lastly…Book 35 in the Horus Heresy series, Eye of Terra, in mass market paperback (£7.99) at last! Interestingly, that puts the paperback £2 cheaper than the ebook, which seems unusual. Coming just under two months after the MM paperback of Pharos, which itself was released two months after War Without End, it looks like – great news for Heresy paperback fans – the series is picking up speed again in this particular format!
EDIT: come Sunday afternoon, MORE news turned up in the shape of some brilliant new covers (not all of which appear to be finalised)…some for books that had been talked about before, or reissues of older books, but some for brand new titles! Nothing’s showing on the Black Library website yet, but here’s what looks to be coming our way sometime soon, beginning with the brand new stuff before moving onto the rest:
- Ruinstorm by David Annandale – this looks like it might just be the story of Sanguinius making it to Terra!
- Ferrus Manus: The Gorgon of Medusa by David Guymer – the next Primarchs novel after Lorgar: Bearer of the Word.
- Cadia Stands by Justin D. Hill – hopefully this is a post-Gathering Storm novel dealing with the fall of Cadia…which will be awesome!
- The Ashes of Prospero by Gav Thorpe – this looks to be branded as 40k, not Heresy…so something following on from War Zone Fenris perhaps?
- Eight Lamentations: Spear of Shadows by Josh Reynolds – Josh’s next Age of Sigmar novel, which I’m very excited about…
- Cult of the Spiral Dawn by Peter Fehervari – sadly this doesn’t look like a brand new novel, but a paperback of Peter’s excellent Genestealer Cults novel complete with decent title and the Casts a Hungry Shadow short story.
- Rogue Trader: The Omnibus by Andy Hoare – a total blast from the past, presumably including Rogue Star and Star of Damocles.
- Champions of Chaos by S P Cawkwell, Ben Counter and Darius Hinks – I assume this is Valkia the Bloody, Van Horstmann and Sigvald.
- The Sundering by Gav Thorpe – presumably a reissued omnibus of Gav’s Time of Legends trilogy.
- Vampire Wars: The Von Carstein Trilogy by Steven Saville – another reissued omnibus, this time of the classic Vampire Counts trilogy.
Thoughts on the week
As the week was progressing I must admit to feeling a touch disappointed that so little was happening in terms of Black Library…but boy did they make it up on Saturday! I haven’t even mentioned all the new 40k goodies from Games Workshop (other people will have done a much better job of that than I could, not least Warhammer Community), so goodness only knows how much they’re going to have made with all these new releases!
As far as Black Library goes, I can’t remember another weekend with quite so many new releases, and so many great ones at that! For me, releasing the latest Heresy novel AND the first ever post-Gathering Storm 40k novel on the same day…that’s a bold move, and I love it!
I realised that I’ve actually reviewed almost everything that was released this weekend, in one format or another, so I put together a quick post with links out to all of those reviews – so if you’re not sure whether to pick something up, or just fancy reading a bit more about some of these releases…take a look at this.
I’m not aware of any Black Library titles listed for next weekend – currently both Chris Dows’ Scions of Elysia (which I’ve listened to and reviewed) and Josh Reynolds’ Plague Garden are both listed as being released on the 17th June. So that means either we’re going to see one of those release dates adjusted…or there’s another surprise coming next weekend! I don’t know about you, but I’d love another surprise!
I think there’s a fair chance we’ll see September’s new releases show up on the Black Library website as well…so plenty to look forward to!
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!