Black Library Weekly W/C 03/07/17

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 has brought with it the Inquisition, the Warmaster of Mankind, and another tranche of newly-announced titles coming later in the year…it’s been pretty damn good, in fact! Let’s have a quick look then, shall we?

Digital Monday this week was aimed at preparing for an upcoming novel, with The Absolution of Swords by John French (£2.49 in ebook), the third short story in his Horusian Wars series. It’s a nice prequel to Resurrection, which is due out soon, setting the scene for the beginning of the novel while also continuing to shed a little light on Inquisitor Covenant and his entourage. More so than the previous two stories in the series, this sets the tone for what’s to come as well – it’s well worth checking out.

Excitement was building as the week progressed, as the expectation was for October’s new releases to be confirmed on the Black Library website. As expected, Wednesday morning saw a few new titles added – here’s a rundown:

  • Ruinstorm by David Annandale – the Horus Heresy book 46.
  • Fulgrim: The Palatine Phoenix by Josh Reynolds – The Primarchs book 5 in limited edition.
  • Lorgar: Bearer of the Word by Gav Thorpe – The Primarchs book 4 in standard edition.
  • Ghost Warrior: Rise of the Ynnari by Gav Thorpe – a new 40k novel, featuring post-Gathering Storm eldar.

Those are all available for you to check out online, and read the synopses. As Black Library pointed out in their marketing over the weekend it’s something of a primarch-heavy month, especially considering the cover for Ruinstorm, while Gav’s second contribution looks particularly exciting as it will hopefully pick up some threads from the Gathering Storm and give an interesting insight into the eldar as they are at this point in 40k.

This time there were no accompanying pre-orders – it looks like we’re moving to a new release model where titles are announced in advance but not available to actually buy until their release dates. This is good, in my opinion, as if it’s the way it’s going for everything then it means saying so long to pre-orders, and welcome back to people getting excited for the day of release. I hope it helps generate some buzz again around the big titles, which I’ve felt has been rather lacking of late.

Of course the big one that people were looking forward to pre-ordering is Aaron Dembski-Bowden’s The Black Legion, which is apparently ‘available to order on the 5th of August’. If you’re after one of the limited edition copies, put that date in your diary! It’s worth noting that while August’s titles might not be available to pre-order, they do now all have excerpts available if you fancy getting a taste of what’s to come.

The weekend started on Friday, as usual for the big limited edition releases – with the beautiful but expensive limited edition version of Gav Thorpe’s Lorgar: Bearer of the Word finally getting its actual release. As always for this series, it’s a ‘short novel’ – which I take to mean somewhere between 50-70,000 words in this case – which is beautifully presented, but priced at £40…which I can’t help feels a touch steep. If, like me, you’d prefer to hold off until it’s available in standard hardback…you probably spotted above that the standard edition is due for release in October. So three months to wait, which isn’t too bad.Saturday saw the weekend’s second release, in the form of Dark Compliance by John French – a Horus Heresy audio drama available in CD (£12) and MP3 (£9.99) formats, including via the Black Library app. You can check out my review of this here, but suffice to say it’s a grim but fascinating story which takes a look at a topic that, once you think about it, seems like a very pertinent question. I’d absolutely recommend it, with the caveat (for those whose tastes run in certain ways) that it’s the sort of story which doesn’t move the story of the Heresy on…but is nevertheless (and possibly because of that) deeply interesting.

Thoughts on the week
The weeks during which a new month’s releases are announced are always exciting, and this was no exception. Whether or not those four books will capture fans’ imaginations in the way that some of the others coming up soon (The Black Legion and Watchers of the Throne I’m looking at you) remains to be seen, but for me they’re looking pretty damn interesting. I’d say Fulgrim is one of the books I’m looking forward to most out of everything confirmed so far (which makes it even more annoying that I’ll need to wait until January to get the standard edition), while Ruinstorm promises to cap off the Imperium Secundus arc within the Heresy…so it’s safe to say I’m looking forward to that too!

As for the week’s actual releases, I’ve read/listened to two of them – both by John French – and in my opinion they’re both excellent. I imagine Dark Compliance is probably going to hold the most excitement for fans overall, but (trust me on this) The Absolution of Swords is a good indicator of what’s to come from Resurrection…so if you’re a fan of the Inquisition, I really can’t say strongly enough that you want to check that out!

Coming up…
Looking ahead, I can’t see a book currently slated for release next weekend…which normally means one of the books due for release the following weekend (Andy Clark’s Shroud of Night or The Horusian Wars: Resurrection by John French) is listed incorrectly online. Given this Monday’s short story release, I’d say Resurrection is the more likely of the two…but alternatively it could be the case that they’re both going to be released on the 22nd, and there’s a surprise waiting next weekend! Which would be nice…but I’m not holding my breath for that.

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!


    1. Yeah I saw that, but WD also says that Dark Compliance is due out on the 29th July…but it actually came out yesterday, on the 8th! I think you’re probably right, but I tend to take WD release dates with a pinch of salt given that the magazine has to go to print so far in advance…!

  1. I do wonder about the ‘release date’ for special editions, as Lorgar for example states it will actually be shipping from next week, so not really sure the point of them making such a big fuss of the countdown to Friday ‘release day’ each time – unless this is purely for customers who can perhaps buy it in person from Nottingham store only?

    I do like the look of the October releases, but – based on etc – I was also expecting “The Devastation of Baal” for October. Maybe they’re announcing this closer to the time when they’re ready to officially unveil the relaunch of the Space Marine Battles series (or “Space Marine Conquests”, as Amazon shows they are now calling it).

    1. Yep – it’s a bit weird, right? I suspect the introduction a few months ago of pre-orders was at least somewhat a reaction to concerns from certain parts of the fanbase, all related to a lack of information about upcoming releases. It pretty much tallied with the re-introduction of the Coming Soon page on the BL site. I’ve said for a while now, however, that allowing people to pre-order books takes away from the buzz around release day. Of course it’s up to BL to decide what’s most important, but I’ve certainly felt that most of the ‘big’ releases in the last few months have fallen a little flatter than they might have done in the past.

      Whatever the reasons behind this, it looks like pre-orders are stopping again in favour of set release dates. I’m sure some people will disagree, but personally I think that’s much better, and will hopefully introduce a bit more buzz once again for the big new releases.

      I wouldn’t be surprised to see The Devastation of Baal appear on the BL website sometime reasonably soon, either as a ‘surprise’ release or just quietly slotted into the release schedule – the new cover has been revealed on Amazon, and I’d say the cat is well and truly out of the bag. If Amazon’s release date is to be trusted – and they’re not always accurate – I’d imagine it will be up for release on the BL website at least a little while before then…

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