Black Library Weekly – W/C 11/09/17

Hello and welcome to another instalment of Black Library Weekly, my regular look at what’s been happening in the world of Black Library. There’s been quite a range of noteworthy goings on this week, which is excellent as it means plenty to talk about!

First up, a debut story – this week’s Digital Monday short story was The Flesh Tithe by Miles A. Drake, available for £2.49 on ebook as always. I’d be saying that it was an interesting, unusual and deftly-handled story even if it was by a regular Black Library author, so considering it’s a debut I’ve got to say it’s pretty impressive – you can check out my review of it here. It’s also another story to feature the Adepta Sororitas, although this time it’s a Sister of the Orders Hospitaller instead of a Battle Sister – there have been a few of these stories recently, which is always a good thing in my book!

If you’ve got a ticket to the Black Library Weekender in November you might have been looking at the lineup recently and thinking that it couldn’t get much better – well on Wednesday another two authors were added, and another two books confirmed to be available! David Annandale (all the way from Canada) and Andy Clark (Nottingham, not such a journey) take the number of authors in attendance up to fifteen, plus actor Toby Longworth, while the Weekender page still says there are more to be announced!

Books-wise, we already knew that Fabius Bile: Clonelord was due for a December release so while it’s not a huge surprise that it’ll be available to buy at the Weekender, it’s nice to get confirmation. The other confirmed title was the Black Library Events Anthology, which looks very interesting – note the Events part, as opposed to a Weekender anthology, and the fact that it says 2017/18 on the cover. Presumably that means it’ll be available at all events, not just the Weekender. Here’s the list of stories included:

  • A Dirge of Dust and Steel by Josh Reynolds
  • Shiprats by CL Werner
  • Sons of Sorrow by John French
  • The Battle of Blackthunder Mesa by Phil Kelly
  • Atonement in Fire by David Annandale
  • A Lesson in Iron by David Guymer

I’ll leave you to try and decide which stories are in which settings – if I remember rightly there’s going to be two each from 40k, the Horus Heresy and Age of Sigmar. There’s some big names in there, so I’m certainly looking forward to getting my hands on that!

That’s not all during the week, though. Oh no. Black Library had something up their sleeve, a surprise that I don’t think anyone saw coming…a new Eisenhorn novel! Yes, you read that right – in February 2018, as part of the wider celebrations of Black Library that have been mentioned a couple of times already, we’re going to get our sticky mitts on The Magos. Details are still a little light, and there’s been much speculation online, but here’s what the Warhammer Community article says:

“This epic volume gathers together all the Eisenhorn short stories that have appeared over the years, several of which haven’t been in print before. But it’s not just an anthology for completists. There’s an entire, new, full-length novel here too, one which ties together many elements from those short stories to become the unexpected fourth book in what was previously the Eisenhorn trilogy.”

I think the key phrase here is “an entire, new, full-length novel here too” – which, along with Dan referring to it as an “epic volume” suggests to me that this isn’t going to be a bunch of short stories stitched together but rather a bigger book containing the short stories as well as the novel. I could well be wrong, but that’s how I read it – it looks like there’s going to be a seminar on this topic at the Weekender, so we’ll know more by then if not before! Personally, even just a collection of short stories would be cool, but a new novel? Wow. I’m excited! Do I still want to read the second and third books in the Ravenor vs. Eisenhorn series, after Pariah? Of course! Can I wait a couple more years? Sure, not a problem.

As seems to be usual these days there was very little in the way of hype in the run up to the weekend’s big release, which is a shame. If it’s anything like his previous novel (The Carrion Throne), Chris Wraight’s new one – Watchers of the Throne: The Emperor’s Legion – is likely to be an absolute cracker of a novel, whichever format you buy it in. If you’re feeling flush you can pick up the lovely leather-bound limited edition for £40, or alternatively you can buy it in hardback (£18), ebook (£9.99) or MP3 (£29.99) formats. You can even pick up the ebook for half price if you buy the limited edition – although (and I think I’ve said this before) I can’t help thinking it might be nice to offer the ebook for FREE to anyone willing to fork out £40 for the limited edition!

I’ve got to say, it would have been nice to see Black Library put a bit of effort into promoting this in advance of its release – it’s one of the real oddities to how they do their marketing that new releases like this don’t get that much of a push. That’s one of the reasons that I’ve started up my Rapid Fire series of quick interviews, so that I can help make a bit of noise for these new releases on the day they come out – you can check out my quick interview with Chris Wraight right here.

In all the excitement around getting my hands on The Emperor’s Legion (that full title is SO long…) I almost missed that it wasn’t the only new release. A few months ago two new audio dramas by Gav Thorpe was released in serialised form, and now the first one – Eye of Night – is available on its own. You can pick it up in CD (£12) or MP3 (£9.99) formats, and if you haven’t already listened to it then I would definitely suggest you check it out – if nothing else for the sound of Emma Gregory absolutely OWNING it as Inquisitor Greyfax. You can have a read of my review here.

Lastly, do you remember last week when the limited edition of The Warmaster by Dan Abnett showed up as part of December’s new releases? Well, you might have spotted that it soon dropped off again, leaving just the standard edition….but now it’s back! Here’s a photo of what you get if you buy a copy:

So on top of the novel itself, you get:

  • A bonus short story.
  • An ‘infantryman supply box.
  • A 140-page hardback journal.
  • A Tanith regimental flag.
  • A metal Tanith pin badge.
  • A fabric uniform patch.
  • A set of dog-tags
  • An art print

The book is also signed by Dan, and the whole thing is limited to 2,500 copies. Sounds cool, right? Well…until you see that it’s going to cost £85! That’s a lot of money for a book and a handful of extras. Don’t get me wrong, all the extra stuff looks cool…but how much use is anyone going to get out of a set of dog tags or a regimental flag, really?

Also, as someone pointed out on Twitter recently – it’s in a box! That’s not exactly going to fit nicely on the bookshelf alongside the rest of the series. Nor will it match the lovely leather-bound limited editions that have been coming out recently. Overall I’ve got to say that it just feels like a bit of a gimmick, and that I suspect most (not all, I’m sure) fans would have preferred the limited edition to a) match the rest of the recent LEs and b) NOT cost £85! What do you think…?

Thoughts on the week
For me, it’s been a pretty cool week. What I think I’ve liked the most is the range of different things that have happened – we’ve been introduced to a debut author, had more great Weekender news, learned that a NEW EISENHORN novel is coming, seen one brand new novel which promises to be fantastic and a full release for one of my favourite audio dramas of recent years…oh, and we’ve had confirmation that the limited edition of The Warmaster is going to be VERY expensive…

One thing I’ve learned from writing these weekly posts is that the best weeks are the ones where lots of different things happen – whether I personally like or agree with them or not. While there have been weeks where way more things have happened, this still feels like one of those cool weeks with lots of different bits and pieces. Thinking about the Weekender, I’m increasingly feeling like Black Library are really making an effort to put on a good show, presumably knowing full well that the last one wasn’t really up to scratch. We’ll have to wait until the event itself to know if that extends to the actual content as well, but I’m feeling hopeful…

Coming up…
Two very interesting new releases due next week – the latest novel from Justin D. Hill, in the shape of Cadia Stands, and Josh Reynolds’ first involvement with the Horus Heresy with his audio drama Blackshields: The False War. I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait for both of those!

As always, if you’ve got any thoughts or comments on the week’s news and releases please do get in touch via the comments section below or on Facebook or Twitter.

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