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.
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.
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.
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.
Some of Black Library’s earliest and best-loved books tackled the mysteries of the Inquisition, away from 40k’s usual battlefields, but for a while it seemed those sorts of stories had fallen out of favour. Chris Wraight’s Vaults of Terra: The Carrion Throne offers a welcome return, featuring Inquisitor Erasmus Crowl and Interrogator Luce Spinoza as they work to root out a dangerous cult deep within the heart of the throneworld, Terra itself. As the sacred festival of Sanguinala approaches and Terra swells with countless pilgrims, can Crowl and Spinoza cut to the heart of the unfolding events in time to prevent disaster?
Thanks to Subterranean Press and Netgalley for the digital advance copy in exchange for this review.
The first novella-length story to be published in Ben Aaronovitch’s Rivers of London series, The Furthest Station sits somewhere between Foxglove Summer and The Hanging Tree in terms of the series’ timeline. As with the various graphic novels, it deals with a story that runs at a tangent to the series’ main arc, in this case taking a closer look at how Peter’s cousin Abigail is fitting in with things. After a rash of sightings on the Metropolitan Line, Peter, Jaget and Abigail head off up the line to find out what’s causing ghosts to start joining the rush hour commute into London.
If you’d like to read more about Lucius: The Faultless blade, check out this quick interview with the author Ian St. Martin.
As the title suggests, Lucius: The Faultless Blade by Ian St. Martin features Lucius the Eternal, Champion of Slaanesh, in a surprisingly rare non-Heresy outing for such a well-known 40k character. Set at an unspecified point pre-Gathering Storm, it sees Lucius and his dwindling warband – the Cohors Nasicae – at low ebb, much reduced from their glory days and forced into making decisions and alliances they would normally prefer not to make. Lucius himself is plagued by the voices of those whose bodies he’s usurped after having perished at their hands, struggling to maintain a grip on his mind and his warband.
Book one in the Shades of Magic series, V.E. Schwab’s A Darker Shade of Magic is a delightful, instantly engaging adventure story in a fantasy setting of linked worlds and blood magic. Each world is unique, but connected by a common factor – they each contain a city called London on the same spot, cities which were once linked freely but can now only be moved between by a tiny handful of individuals known as Antari. Kell, one of the last remaining Antari, is a risk taker – when luck catches up with him he finds himself trapped in the only London without magic of its own.
Many thanks to Justin and Little, Brown for the review copy, in exchange for this review.
A sweeping story of adventure, danger and drama, Justin Hill’s Viking Fire is a novelisation of historical events – the story of Harald Hardrada, from his youth in Norway to his invasion of England in 1066. It’s a wide-ranging story spanning the majority of Harald’s life and moving across large swathes of the continent as Harald pursues his fate, from the fjords of Norway to the warm seas of the Mediterranean. Along the way he fights on land and sea, meets Kings, Emperors and Empresses, wins hearts and loses friends; he’s driven to survive and succeed, and realise his ambitious dreams.