Hello and welcome to another instalment of Black Library Weekly, my regular look at what’s been happening in the world of Black Library. LOTS to talk about this week, from Gaunt’s Ghosts to a raft of upcoming releases, not to mention the perennial Black Library Advent Calendar…so let’s get to it!
In an unusual move by Black Library, this week’s Digital Monday short story is one that’s also included in the super-expensive limited edition of The Warmaster (more on that later) – Killbox by Dan Abnett. Previous limited edition hardbacks have included exclusive short stories which (looking at the LEs on my bookshelf) genuinely seem to be exclusive – I haven’t seen any of them released individually yet – so it’s a touch odd that this one is more of a bonus than an exclusive.
Still, that’s good news for those of us not blessed with overstuffed wallets, as it means we get to enjoy a brand new Gaunt’s Ghosts story for the price of £2.49 (in ebook, as always). You can take a look at my review here…suffice to say it’s a great story, and if you’re a Ghosts fan then I think you’ll enjoy it.
It’s been a busy midweek period this week, with a few different things to talk about. Let’s start with The Warmaster – I’m sure I’ve mentioned before that Black Library don’t tend to do a lot of marketing in advance of new books coming out, but this time around there’s at least been a bit of activity in the form of a signing tour for Dan Abnett. If you’re around in Nottingham, Leicester, London or Canterbury over the next couple of weeks, you might be able to meet the man himself and get your books signed. Here’s the schedule:
There’s been a noticeable increase in book signings taking place at Warhammer World lately, and now this, which is the first time I can remember seeing a Black Library-promoted signings tour. Obviously Abnett is a big draw for a lot of sci-fi fans, but it’s great to see this sort of thing happening, and I’d love to see more of it!
Next up, and if a signing tour came as a surprise then this was even more so – I wasn’t expecting to see March’s upcoming releases revealed until next week, seeing as it usually happens on the first Wednesday of the month, but lo and behold they popped up on Wednesday after all. Five titles this time – four brand new releases, and a fifth which had previously only been available as a Warhammer World-exclusive limited edition. Let’s take a look…
Carcharadons: Outer Dark by Robbie MacNiven
The sequel to Robbie’s excellent novel Carcharadons: Red Tithe, this promises another dose of brutal Space Marine action, albeit tackling the tyranids this time instead of the Night Lords. I don’t know about you, but I’m looking forward to seeing how the Carcharadons fare against the tyranids – should make for a very different dynamic.
Ashes of Prospero by Gav Thorpe
The second Space Marine Conquests novel, this pits the Space Wolves against their arch enemies the Thousand Sons…and on Prospero, no less! It looks like there’s going to be at least a bit of a call back to a Heresy-era storyline, while it provides the first look at the Space Wolves in the Dark Imperium. Sounds fun.
Jaghatai Khan: Warhawk of Chogoris by Chris Wraight
The eighth Horus Heresy Primarchs novel, this sees Chris Wraight return to the White Scars, a legion he handled so well in Scars and The Path of Heaven. It looks to be dealing with the creation of the Librarius, which is instantly intriguing, especially when you consider which other primarchs are likely to show up!
Titans’ Bane by Chris Dows
Look at that cover. Just look at it! Not only does this have one of the best covers I’ve seen in a long time, but it sounds like a perfect story for an audio drama, set as it is within the confines of a super-heavy tank. Can’t wait for this one!
Nagash: The Undying King by Josh Reynolds
I’ve had the limited edition Warhammer World-exclusive version of this on my shelf for over a year and somehow still haven’t got round to reading this…which I intend to rectify soon! Word is it’s rather good, as you’d expect from a Josh Reynolds book dealing with life in the Realm of Death!
So Wednesday saw those five new titles show up, but that wasn’t it – Friday was the 1st December, which means one thing…Advent Calendar! For (I think) the fourth year running, Black Library are releasing a story a day throughout Advent, which you can either pick up individually or as a discounted subscription. If you only tend to read certain stories then buying them individually may be worthwhile, but if you like reading across all settings and factions, the subscription is usually your best bet. £49.85 isn’t exactly cheap, but it’s apparently the equivalent of 24 stories for the price of 15, which sounds like a good discount to me.
I’ve set up an Advent Calendar page here which will eventually hold links out to my reviews of all 24 stories (in this case both short stories and audio dramas), so I won’t go into more detail about the overall campaign here, but I’ll include a section for Advent in each of these weekly roundups between now and Christmas. Read on for more info!
Just the three stories released so far, but it’s been a good start to the Advent Calendar. Here’s a very quick roundup:
Stone and Iron by Robbie MacNiven – audio drama (£3.99)
The first ever Primarchs audio drama, and one of three that we’re going to see over the course of Advent. It maybe doesn’t use the audio medium to its fullest, but the voice actor who plays Perturabo does a fantastic job, so it’s worth it for that alone.
Endurance by Chris Wraight – short story (£1.99)
A 40k Death Guard short story, which I’m assuming is going to act as an introduction of sorts to Chris’ upcoming series, the first novel of which is going to be called The Lords of Silence. It’s really dark and fairly heavy, but cleverly done.
Doombound by David Annandale – audio drama (£3.99)
The first ever piece of Shadespire fiction from Black Library, and an audio drama to boot! It’s a dark, captivating story complete with some really, really great atmospheric sound effects, and a fantastic introduction to Shadespire.
It’s been a long, long time coming. We’ve waited patiently (or not so patiently, in some people’s cases) since finishing Salvation’s Reach way back in 2011, and now our patience has been rewarded. That’s right, ladies and gentlemen…The Warmaster by Dan Abnett is now available to buy! Good news, right? If you fancy a bit more info about it before you splash your cash, you can read a quick interview with Dan Abnett right here, as part of my Rapid Fire series.
Like all the big releases at the moment, you can pick this one up in hardback (£18), ebook (£9.99) and MP3 (£29.99) formats, as well as a posh, expensive limited edition (limited to 2,500 copies). Unlike others, however, this limited edition is very expensive – £85 no less (or £90 if you choose the bundle which adds the ebook) – and rather than being a gorgeous leather-bound tome it comes in a munitorum ammo crate, along with sundry extras. Here’s a cool little unboxing video from the legendary Duncan (fun fact: Greg Dann and I also filmed an unboxing video for Warhammer TV…clearly Duncan’s just better looking than we are):
The question of limited editions comes up quite a lot, and I suspect will come up even more around this one. Can you justify £85 for a book, even if it does come in a lovely format and with lots of cool extras? For me – and remember that I’m a sucker for a limited edition – I couldn’t quite justify it, so I went with the standard hardback when I picked it up at the recent Weekender. Don’t get me wrong, I think the LE is cool…but it’s a lot of money, especially in the run up to Christmas, and would have meant I’d probably not have been able to buy anything else. That being said, some friends and I did buy a copy of the LE for another mate of ours, who I think is very happy with it!
If you haven’t yet read any of the Gaunt’s Ghosts series and you’re wondering what all the fuss is about, fear not. Black Library have reprinted the omnibus collecting together the first three books in the series, which collectively are known as The Founding (so that’s First and Only, Ghostmaker and Necropolis), with a nice new cover and a bargain price tag of £15, or £14.99 for the ebook. This is an excellent place to start, although be warned – if you buy this, chances are you’re going to end up buying the other eleven (and counting) books in the series!
Lastly, there was one final book out this weekend, which was the mass market (i.e. small) paperback edition of Gav Thorpe’s Horus Heresy novel Angels of Caliban – you can now pick this up in five different formats, of which this particular paperback, at £7.99, is the cheapest. This takes us up to book 38 in the series as being available in the old-style paperback, so it’s still a fair few behind, but it’s good to see. You can click here to check out my review if you fancy a read.
Thoughts on the week
There’s no doubt about it, it’s been a busy week! Under normal circumstances, any normal week would be given a massive boost by a new Dan Abnett short story, the confirmation of another month’s worth of new titles, or the latest Gaunt’s Ghosts novel. Taken together…it’s pretty exciting!
For me, I spent a lot of November re-reading Gaunt’s Ghosts novels in preparation for The Warmaster, so finally getting the chance to read it (bearing in mind I picked my copy up at the Weekender) has been a huge focus of the week. I suspect I’m not the only person who’s been re-reading the previous novels (I’ve still got 7 to go, by the way), or indeed the only person who’s got very excited about finally reading The Warmaster! If you’d like to read my thoughts on it, you can take a look at my review here – there are no spoilers, I promise, but I won’t be offended if you’d rather read the book first, just in case!
Like I said earlier, I really didn’t expect to see March’s new releases until next week, so that was a surprise…but a welcome one. As someone pointed out to me online, the Jaghatai Khan book looks to be coming out a month earlier than we might have expected, given the previous release cycle for Primarchs books. Only time will tell whether anything’s actually changed there, but that should be something interesting to keep an eye on. Certainly it sounds like a fascinating story, and if Chris’ previous White Scars stories are anything to go on it promises to be another brilliant book!
I’d say that all five of March’s releases look very interesting, in fact. I’ve already got my hands on two of them (one from the Weekender, and one as a Warhammer World exclusive) so I’m aiming to make sure I’ve got those read and reviewed by the time they’re released – watch this space. Between them, though, these five titles look to cover a lot of ground across the three main Black Library settings, so it looks like being a varied, interesting March.
Lastly, December is always a fun month with the Advent Calendar stories, and I’m feeling positive that this year is going to be no exception. The three so far have been great, and fingers crossed the following twenty-one will be as well! I’m really looking forward to getting stuck into so many audio dramas this year, personally. I know not everyone has got into audio, but if you haven’t yet taken the plunge…maybe now’s the time to try a couple?
As usual, here’s a (longer than normal) list of what I’ve posted this week, in case you missed anything:
- The Devastation of Baal by Guy Haley
- Honour Guard by Dan Abnett
- QUICK REVIEW: Killbox by Dan Abnett
- Blood Pact by Dan Abnett
- Salvation’s Reach by Dan Abnett
- The Warmaster by Dan Abnett
- RAPID FIRE: Dan Abnett Talks The Warmaster
- Black Library Advent Calendar 2017
- QUICK REVIEW: Perturabo: Stone and Iron by Robbie MacNiven
- QUICK REVIEW: Endurance by Chris Wraight
- QUICK REVIEW: Doombound by David Annandale
The excitement doesn’t stop with this week, oh no! Next week sees two new titles released – Fabius Bile: Clonelord by Josh Reynolds and Renegades of Elysia by Chris Dows. Look out for reviews of both of those coming soon! If you happened to have been looking at the Black Library website this morning you may have seen a Fabius Bile short story briefly listed online – no confirmation yet as to whether Light of a Crystal Sun by Josh Reynolds is going to be next week’s Digital Monday story, but it’s not a bad bet.