The debut Black Library story from Mike Brooks, The Path Unclear is an Inquisitorial tale of action and intrigue that bodes well for future stories. Told from the perspective of Alyss Nero, newly recruited acolyte of Ordo Xenos inquisitor Zaretta Ngiri, it sees the inquisitor and her retinue investigating a mysterious artefact recently uncovered from an archaeological dig amongst xenos ruins. While Ngiri is determined to ascertain the artefact’s true provenance, Nero is keen to prove her value to her new mistress and companions, but things are never simple when xenos are involved.
For the fifth instalment of the ongoing Horus Heresy-set The Primarchs series, Gav Thorpe takes a look at the primarch of the Word Bearers in Lorgar: Bearer of the Word. When disgraced preacher Kor Phaeron finds a strange infant – clearly touched by the gods – in the company of a band of ragged nomads travelling the arid lands of Colchis, he instantly recognises the potential for his own gain represented by Lorgar. We watch as he exerts his influence upon the impressionable Lorgar, and how their relationship develops as Lorgar himself changes.
Available as a standalone e-short or within the Sedition’s Gate and War Without End anthologies, Guy Haley’s The Laurel of Defiance sees Ultramarines Captain Lucretius Corvo honoured by Guilliman for his role in the defence of Ultramar. As he mingles with the great and good of the realm, uncomfortable with the esteem in which he’s held and the message behind his recognition, he recalls the events which led there. Events, on the world of Astagar, which saw him lead his men against the forces of the Word Bearers and World Eaters, and their horrific allies.
In their first full non-Heresy outing, the Talons of the Emperor – i.e. the Adeptus Custodes and the Sisters of Silence – take centre stage in Chris Wraight’s novel Watchers of the Throne: The Emperor’s Legion. With word from Cadia looking bleak, and crises springing up throughout the Imperium, calls grow for the Custodes to end their self-enforced seclusion and fight once more at the forefront of the Imperium’s armies. Set predominantly on Terra it deals with the events leading up to the Gathering Storm, both military and political, from the perspective of the Custodes, the Sisters of Silence, and the High Lords.
2003’s classic Black Library novel Daemon World, by Ben Counter, is something of an iconic 40k novel despite being about as un-40k as you can imagine…but in a good way. On the titular daemon planet Torvendis, deep within the Maelstrom, Lady Charybdia rules in the name of Slaanesh, her great city built upon deep-running strata of battle and death. When the mountain tribes begin to stir, and Word Bearers arrive hunting one of their own, the balance of power on Torvendis begins to change.
Josh Reynolds’ first contribution to the Horus Heresy series, Blackshields: The False War is a 72-minute audio drama featuring ex-World Eater Endryd Haar…and lots of arguing. On the prison Forge of Xana-Tisiphone, Archmagos Gilim Raijan waits to make a trade with Horus’ emissary, even as a loyalist fleet battles against the system’s defences in orbit. Meanwhile Haar and his warband of Blackshields, having cast off their legion loyalties and offering fealty to neither Horus or the Emperor, seek only to survive and to find their own path through the war.
Five years after its publication in Treacheries of the Space Marines, Anthony Reynolds’ short story Vox Dominus is now also available as a standalone e-short. Carrying on the story of Marduk from Reynolds’ Word Bearers trilogy (and very spoilerific if you haven’t read at least Dark Apostle) it sees the Word Bearers clashing with their cousins in the Death Guard over the unexpected arrival of the corpse of XVIIth Legion battleship. While a combined force of Word Bearers and Death Guard investigate the stricken Vox Dominus, Marduk sees the opportunity to further his own plans, complete with a little treachery.
The long-awaited sequel to The Talon of Horus, Aaron Dembski-Bowden’s Black Legion continues where its predecessor left off in terms of tone, style and characters. Once again narrated by Iskandar Khayon, it picks up some time after The Talon of Horus and sees the burgeoning Black Legion asserting their strength within the Eye of Terror. While rival warlord Thagus Davarek opposes them at every step, despite Khayon’s assassination attempts, Abaddon’s gaze turns to a power that will set him on his fateful path. A path that leads, inevitably, out of the Eye and to a confrontation with an old enemy.
The third of Justin D. Hill’s Creed short stories, and the longest of the three, The Battle of Tyrok Fields tells the story of a particularly dark moment in Cadia’s history, at the beginning of Abaddon’s thirteenth Black Crusade. Gathering en masse at Tyrok Fields, the armies of Cadia are caught unprepared when the newly-arrived Volscani regiments treacherously open fire. Having survived the initial exchange, Creed reacts quickly to pull together a coordinated response and lead the Cadians in a desperate defence of their own world.
Book eight of Black Library’s Realmgate Wars series for Age of Sigmar, Bladestorm is immediately notable for two things – first that it was originally serialised as seven individual short stories, and second that its author, Matt Westbrook, is in fact a pen name. It’s the continuation of Thostos Bladestorm’s story, picking up where we last saw the Lord Celestant in Ghal Maraz, a changed man after his reforging. He and Lord Celestant Mykos Argellon lead their chambers to destroy a Chaos-held fortress and reclaim a vital realmgate, a mission which must succeed for the next stages of Sigmar’s plan to proceed.