Hello and welcome to the final 2017 instalment of Black Library Weekly, my regular look at what’s been happening in the world of Black Library. As the last week of the year it’s not been the busiest in terms of Black Library news, but there have actually been quite a lot of releases to talk about! I’m going to use a slightly different layout to usual for this week’s post, but we’ll then be back to normal next week…
So the Black Library Advent Calendar finished on Christmas Eve, after twenty-four brand new short stories or short audio dramas. Nothing brand new to talk about here, then, but this week I did post a write-up of the whole Advent series, picking out some of the most thought-provoking and interesting subjects to have been tackled, and looking at what we might be able to infer from this year’s stories in terms of future tales. Take a look at that post here, or by clicking on the image below.
For the last few years, as well as the Advent Calendar we’ve been treated by Black Library to at least one new novel on Christmas day, in ebook format – and this year we got two! That’s right, two brand new ‘ebook premieres’, one on the 25th and one on the 26th. What’s an ‘ebook premiere’ when it’s at home? It’s just a swanky way of saying the ebook version of a book gets an early release, ahead of the physical and audio versions – so not much help for anyone who remains anti-ebook, but cool for the rest of us.
The first of this year’s two premieres was Nagash: The Undying King by Josh Reynolds, which you can pick up right now for £9.99 (in ebook, obviously) or, if you’d prefer a hardback or MP3 audio version, you can wait until the 3rd March. If you’ve not come across this title before, it was actually first released as a Warhammer World-only limited edition hardback in…I think…about November 2016, and is an Age of Sigmar novel set before the Age of Sigmar. I’m currently in the process of reading it, having only just started despite buying the LE hardback over a year ago, so keep an eye out for a review soon-ish. Suffice to say it’s started really well!
The second premiere was a 40k novel – Sons of the Hydra by Rob Sanders, once again available now for £9.99 (ebook) ahead of its 20th January hardback release. Not so long to wait for this one, if you’re not an ebook fan. It feels like it’s been a really long time since Rob’s last full-length BL novel – we’ve had a couple of The Beast Arises books, a Heresy novella (Cybernetica) and short novel (The Honoured), two short Adeptus Mechanicus novels (Skitarius and Tech Priest), and a bunch of sho
rt stories…but (I think) the last decent-length novel was Archaon: Lord of Chaos back in 2015. Personally I didn’t quite feel like Sons of the Hydra was a full return to classic Sanders, but it’s an enjoyable read and it’s good to see him back. Check out my review here.
Just a quick note on the concept of these ‘ebook premieres’, to cap this section off. On the one hand you can look at these in a cynical light, as a way for Black Library to give a couple of books a bit of a boost in advance of their general release dates – after all, there must be plenty of fans looking for something to read immediately after the Christmas period. Look past that, though, and I actually think they’re just a nice, fun way to finish off Advent – and, arguably the year overall – on a high note. The choice of books must be quite tricky, but I think BL nailed it this year with an AoS novel from the author who’s clearly most associate with the series, and a 40k book that taps into the respect a lot of fans have for Sanders writing Alpha Legion, after The Serpent Beneath. Sure, I can see physical-only fans not being interested (arguably being annoyed) and it’s not like there’s a discount for these titles, but overall I think it’s a nice little extra touch.
It’s not only Black Library who did a little present-giving at the end of Advent, either. With three fascinating Primarchs audio dramas included in the Advent Calendar, I spoke to authors Robbie MacNiven, Laurie Goulding and Ian St. Martin about their stories, the audio medium overall, what it’s like to write for the Heresy, and plenty other topics, and posted that interview on Christmas Day! Don’t say I never give you anything…! If you haven’t read that, you can do so by clicking here or on the banner below.
You might have expected that the final weekend of the year would be another quiet one with nothing happening…but you’d have been wrong! While it didn’t bring with it any brand new releases, it did feature the standard release for the sixth Primarchs novel, a new Warhammer Chronicles omnibus, and the paperback release for another of this year’s earlier 40k books. Let’s take a look at those in a bit more detail.
First off, it’s been a little under three months since the limited edition hardback release of Josh Reynolds’ Fulgrim: The Palatine Phoenix, so those of us who didn’t go in for the £40 hardback can now pick it up in standard hardback (£12.99), ebook (£9.99) or MP3 (£19.99) formats. I’ve been waiting to read this with baited breath, so I can’t wait to get hold of it now! If you need a bit more convincing (I mean…why would you? But ok…) then do check out my RAPID FIRE interview with Josh that I first posted back in October.
Next, the latest in the growing range of Warhammer Chronicles omnibuses – Vampire Wars: The Von Carstein Trilogy by Steven Savile. The first in this series, Inheritance, was released way back in 2006, so these are perhaps the oldest of the classic Warhammer books to have been reprinted under this series! Just as with the previous omnibuses, this is available in paperback (£15) or ebook (£14.99) formats, so it’s pretty good value for three novels. I’m going to be honest here – I’ve read all three of these, but so long ago that I can’t remember anything about them! It’s an interesting choice to release before a lot of the better-known Warhammer books, but if you fancy getting your old-school Warhammer fix then this might be a good option.
Lastly, we got the paperback edition of Phil Kelly’s latest T’au novel Farsight: Crisis of Faith, which you can pick up for £8.99. As with all of these paperback releases this is now available to order from the Black Library website, and will presumably be on shelves next weekend. I’ve not read this so can’t offer much in the way of commentary, but if you’re a T’au fan then maybe now is the time to get hold of this.
Thoughts on the week
Considering this was the last week of the year, I’d say it’s been a pretty good one! Two brand new novels (albeit only in ebook), the latest Primarchs novel for the masses, an old-school omnibus and a paperback…can’t really complain about all of that. While the Advent Calendar series pretty much capped the year off on a high, I’d say that this week did a grand job of continuing that theme ready for the new year.
What there hasn’t been much of is news or other interesting things on the BL front, but that’s too be expected really. If you’ve been keeping an eye on the Warhammer Community site or Black Library Facebook page you may have seen a 2017 retrospective looking back at a selection of the year’s releases – if not, check that out here. As usual I’ll be jumping on that bandwagon and taking a look back at the year for Track of Words, so watch out for that coming next week.
As usual, here’s a rundown of what I’ve been posting this week in case you’ve missed anything:
- The Primarchs Audio Dramas with Robbie MacNiven, Laurie Goulding and Ian St. Martin
- QUICK REVIEW: The Autumn Prince by Guy Haley
- The Bastard Legion by Gavin Smith (first posted on the British Fantasy Society website)
- Black Library Advent Calendar 2017 – Recap
- Sons of the Hydra – Rob Sanders
- Mortarch of Night – Josh Reynolds and David Guymer
- QUICK REVIEW: The Blessing of Saints by John French
Just a quick note on The Blessing of Saints – this is a short story within John’s The Horusian Wars series, included in the LE hardback of Resurrection. If you fancy reading more about this fascinating series, do check out my The Horusian Wars page where you can find links to reviews, articles and interviews on this subject.
I’m looking forward to two things next week. Firstly, as the first full week of January I’m expecting to see the next set of upcoming releases announced, which will be for April – can’t wait to see what’s coming! Secondly, the weekend should be bringing with it the release of the second Castellan Crowe novel from David Annandale – Castellan. Keep an eye out for that, and also for the first of my RAPID FIRE quick interviews of 2018!