Hello and welcome to the latest instalment of Black Library Weekly, my regular look at what’s been happening in the world of Black Library. It’s been another reasonably quiet week for the most part, although a few weekend releases provided an extra burst of excitement towards the end of the week. As usual, let’s begin with the earliest activity in the week…
After a couple of weeks of Digital Monday recycling older stories, it was great to see not only a brand new story this week, but a brand new (to Black Library) author as well! The Path to Glory is Evan Dicken’s debut BL tale, and is instantly unusual by virtue of being somewhat longer than most short stories, with a slightly higher price (£3.49) to reflect that. It’s an Age of Sigmar tale set, ironically, before the Age of Sigmar itself (i.e. just about when Sigmar’s starting to close Azyr off from the other realms), and features three characters trying to survive amidst the death throes of a once-thriving human empire. I would definitely recommend this, not just because it’s a really good story but because it suggests Dicken might just be a BL author to watch…
You can read my review of The Path to Glory by clicking here.
Like last week, there wasn’t a lot in the way of Black Library-related news during the midweek period. I picked up on two items of note, so let’s take a look at those – beginning with a book signing. It’s nice to see these sorts of small events continuing to be arranged and publicised, as historically we haven’t seen too many of them; in this case it’s Andy Clark at Warhammer World on the 3rd February, where he’ll be signing copies of his new novel Knightsblade (more on this later). It’s slightly frustrating that this is taking place over the same weekend as the Horus Heresy & Necromunda Weekender (I’ll be in Nottingham, but at the Belfry…), but it’s still good to see it happening.
Next, on Wednesday the regular Black Library slot on the Warhammer Community page was filled by a cool little quick interview with Evan Dicken, where he talks about his introduction to Games Workshop as a fan, and his first contribution as an author. I couldn’t be happier to see this sort of content, giving authors a platform and promoting new names – it’s exactly the sort of thing that has been missing on the Community site, which is (understandably, but frustratingly) dominated by painting and gaming content. I can’t wait to see what shows up next – and if you take a close look at the header image you’ll spot a few unfamiliar faces…so hopefully we’ll soon be able to put names (and stories) to those faces!
If the midweek period was quiet, it was pretty much a lull before a raft of releases dropped at the weekend – only one brand new title, but lots of cool releases that I think will please quite a wide range of fans. Let’s start with the brand new title, which was Knightsblade by Andy Clark, the second of his Imperial Knights novels. You can pick this up in hardback (£18) or ebook (£9.99) formats as usual – no audiobook for this one, sadly. If you’ve been following this series (which started with the short story Becoming followed by the novel Kingsblade) you’ll know just how much fun it’s been so far, so if you’re anything like me you’ll be champing at the bit to get hold of the next instalment! I don’t have a RAPID FIRE interview this weekend, but I do instead have a ‘Spotlight on’ article taking a look at the whole of Andy’s body of work for Black Library so far. If you’re not familiar with his style, take a look and see if it sounds like something you’d be interested in.
Next up are two Dan Abnett releases – a Gaunt’s Ghosts omnibus and an Inquisition story in audio. BL are slowly re-releasing omnibuses of each of the arcs in the Gaunt’s Ghosts series, with nice new artwork, and in both physical and digital formats. We’re now up to the second arc – The Saint – containing books four to seven in the series, which you can pick up for £15 in paperback or £14.99 in ebook. On top of that, BL have also been gradually releasing Dan’s Inquisition novels as audiobooks – we’ve had all three of the Eisenhorn books already, and now the Ravenor series is all available in audio with the release of Ravenor Rogue. These are digital-only, available as MP3s to download from BL or via the audio app for £29.99. That gets you 12.5 hours of audio in the case of Ravenor Rogue – lots to enjoy there!
After all that there’s still two more releases, this time new paperback versions of existing books. First up was Lucius: The Faultless Blade by Ian St. Martin, available for £8.99 alongside the existing hardback (£18) and ebook (£9.99) editions. If you’ve not read this already then it’s a good time to pick it up – here’s my review if you fancy some info on what to expect. The other paperback was John French’s Horus Heresy book Tallarn, which bundles together most of the stories from that arc (minus a couple which were included in previous anthologies) into a single volume. This was released in hardback back in July, so you’ve got a little while yet if you want the small mass-market paperback, but it’s now available in trade paperback (i.e. the large, sort of hardback-sized paperbacks) for the usual £12.99. Both of these paperbacks are available to order now, and will presumably be on shelves next weekend.
Thoughts on the week
As you can see, it’s been one of those weeks where the start and end were pretty interesting, with a bit of a lull in the middle. Personally I was really pleased with Monday’s short story release – it’s an interesting, well-written story that demonstrates the author’s existing talent (he’s already published elsewhere), the scope of Age of Sigmar for cool stories, and the desire from BL to actively reach out and find interesting new authors to add to their roster. If I’m being brutally honest I think I’d have preferred that particular story to have been told in an even longer format (novella maybe?) but even as it is, I enjoyed it. I’m looking forward to reading more from Evan Dicken in future.
Thinking about the weekend’s releases, it actually feels like a pretty thorough set of titles – a brand new novel, a couple of new-ish books in paperback, an omnibus of classic novels, and the audiobook of another classic novel. About the only thing it’s missing is a new audio drama and we’d have a full house! I suspect there’s probably something in this weekend’s releases for pretty much every Black Library fan. I know I’m most looking forward to reading Knightsblade, as I really loved Kingsblade, but there’s a ton of good reading and listening in all the rest of the releases!
As always, here’s a rundown of what I’ve posted so far this week:
- Fulgrim: The Palatine Phoenix by Josh Reynolds
- QUICK REVIEW: The Path to Glory by Evan Dicken
- Warhammer 40,000 Legends Issue Eleven – Mechanicum by Graham McNeill
- Crusade by Andy Clark
- QUICK REVIEW: Shiprats by CL Werner
- Spotlight on Andy Clark
We’re getting closer to the start of February, but I suspect we’ll have to wait until the week after next to get a look at May’s upcoming releases (although I’d be happy to see them next week, too!). Looking at the next releases it looks like we should see The Burden of Loyalty arrive next weekend, which is book 48 of the Heresy series, right in time for the Horus Heresy & Necromunda Weekender. That means we should also get some news about what else to expect for both the Heresy and Necromunda at the weekend – look out for a Warhammer Community post (I’d imagine), and if not I’ll see what I can do about providing some updates myself.