Monthly Archives: September 2010

Sarah Cawkwell to write new Space Marine Battles novel.

It has been announced that Sarah Cawkwell, newest author in the Black Library lineup, will be writing a new Space Marine Battles novel.  Titled Gildar Rift it will feature the Silver Skulls Space Marine chapter.

Based on this passage from the Space Marines codex:

“The Silver Skulls Chapter fleet destroys a Red Corsair strike force comprising several Executor-class grand cruisers. The surviving renegades make planetfall on several worlds in the Gildar system, but the Silver Skulls are not to be thwarted so easily. In a matter of weeks, the Gildar system is declared free of the Red Corsair’s influence.”

Sarah Cawkwell has recently joined the ranks of the Black Library authors with her short story in the first issue of Hammer & Bolter magazine. A new digital publication from the black library.  Her story Primary Instinct was her first published work.  Featuring the Silver Skulls, it is a wonderful story, and i hope that all of you will read it here in the near future.

My review of the short story is forthcoming.

CP

Win a Copy of the SABBAT WORLDS anthology!

 TFF GIVEAWAY

Hello there again everyone! I’ve got an extra copy of the SABBAT WORLDS anthology, and i thought to myself, what better way to engage with the community then to host a giveaway! 

That’s right, i’m giving away a brand spanking new copy of SABBAT WORLDS.  It’s free! There is no cost.  All you have to do is:

step 1: follow TFF using the google friend connect app on the right-hand sidebar.

step 2: post a reply to this thread guessing the number of pageviews that TFF has had this past week.  (I’ll give you a hint. more than 500 and less than 1000.)

simple as that!

The person who guesses the closest wins. 

The contest/giveaway will run through the week.  Check back on Friday to see who won.   I’ll contact the winner via email for an adress to which i can send the book to. :)

cheers!

CP

LotN Reviews: Vampire Hunter D by Hideyuki Kikuchi

Lord of the Night reviews the epic Vampire Hunter D series by Hideyuki Kikuchi.




“Never before have supernatural action and tragedy been worked together so well. Truly a series for the ages.”
-Lord of the Night



Hey everyone. I, the Lord of the Night, have returned from the eternal darkness that I reside in with a new book review for everyone. Granted I normally only review Black Library books but I would be remiss if I didn’t help give my favourite non-Warhammer series some attention. Plus it was fun writing this review, so enjoy all.
So I have penned a review for the Vampire Hunter D series by the Japanese author Hideyuki Kikuchi. This was one of the first books I ever read and I have been amazed with each new translation release through the years since then. So far thirteen D novels have been released in English translations while twenty-three novels are available in its native country of Japan, the most recent release D – Nightmare Village, being released only two days ago.
Kikuchi has created a very unique world for D. In the first novel’s second chapter a history for Earth is provided. At first it may seem like any normal post-apocalyptic series but it quickly takes on a life of its own with a supernatural take on the rebuilding of civilization and the fall that followed it. Vampires, or the Nobility as they are commonly called in the series, are known by all and feared by all while other beasts like werewolves, chimeras, gorgons and dragons stalk the lands hunting for any unlucky fool that dares walk in the night. One rule is clear throughout the series. Man lives in the day, while the monsters own the night.
The series follows the titular character, a vampire hunter known only as D as he travels across the Frontier hiring his services out to those willing to pay his exorbitant fees. As high as they may be the fees are worth it as no force will stop D from carrying out his missions. However the supernatural forces that D faces are all deadly and even rival hunters, powerful vampire lords and bio-engineered monsters cannot keep D from his secret quest.
The series itself is a fantastical mix of supernatural, fantasy, sci-fi, action and tragedy. Kikuchi works them all in his stories either in the unique world of D or in the stories, characters and the events of each novel. One thing that I really enjoy about this series is that it doesn’t just throw you a happy ending, often the endings are quite sad and filled with tragedy but they always provide a silver lining, you just have to look for it and its always such a good one that it can make the reader, and D, smile.
The only two permanent characters in the series are D and his eponymous Left Hand. D himself is a silent tragic figure who rarely speaks unless he has something prudent to say, and even then usually keeps it to himself. He is also a dhampir, which is a human/vampire hybrid, and is unique that he bears all the strengths of vampires and the absolute minimum of their weaknesses, however this is not just favouritism for a character but rather the result of his mysterious past. Characters like this are tough to write, they say too much and they aren’t the same while if they don’t say enough they are boring. Kikuchi avoids this by making everything that D says important and very cool.
The Left Hand is a foil for D, a parasite living within D’s left hand who provides not only some extra powers and support for D but acts as D’s second voice, giving his own opinion. Their relationship is a mystery as D seems to treat the Left Hand without much consideration yet clearly respects him and takes his advice into account, creating an odd yet likeable duo.
The action scenes are very unique as D is powerful beyond reasoning. Foes come left and right to fight D yet none have ever bested him. D’s extra amazing powers often save him in fights that nobody else would even stand a chance in, yet he is not portrayed as overly powerful. In fact D only fights when he has to and often disregards foes who pick a fight with him, only attacking when he feels they will not leave him alone. This may seem like the outcomes of fights are often decided before they begin, and quite often they are, but there are enemies that can match D and then some.
The series also boasts some very excellent artwork. For any fans of Final Fantasy you’ll appreciate it as the artist for the famed game series, Yoshitaka Amano, also draws for D and has created some exceptional artwork. Every so often in the books you’ll find an illustrated page that shows off a particularly great moment within the novel. D’s classic unearthly beauty is brought to life in many of these artworks, and many others are devoted to his monstrous enemies.
Overall I have no problems with giving this series a 10/10 for its imaginative world, fascinating characters, and the wealth of
stories that it boasts. Vampire Hunter D has a long way left to go, at twenty-three novels its not nearly enough and I hope that many more D novels will be released.
My only actual problem with the series is not with the series at all, its the schedule they release it. Usually two D novels are released per year, three at best. Normally this isn’t a problem but at the moment in the series a four-parter, D – Pale Fallen Angels, has been finished followed by a three-parter, D – Dark Road. Both of these novels have taken some time to be finished, being released in parts 1&2, followed by 3 and 3&4. Next up is D – Tyrant’s Stars, another four-parter but thankfully the last one for now. After that we can get back to regular single novel D releases.
To sum it up Vampire Hunter D is an excellent series and I encourage you prospective readers to buy it. The first novel is where you should start but after that you can read any of them, each novel is a different story and does not rely on the others to tell a story. My personal favourites are D – Stuff of Dreams and D – The Rose Princess, but they are all great. Next for me is D – Dark Road, and im eagerly looking forward to it.
Thanks for reading the review. Now its back to the eternal darkness of Old Night. And make sure to comment well, and if not…you won’t see me coming.
The Lord of the Night

Angry Robot signs Jo Anderton for Veiled Worlds series

Angry Robot signs debut novelist for a Manga-inspired science fantasy epic

New Australian author Jo Anderton has signed with genre masterminds Angry Robot for at least two novels in her Veiled Worlds series. The worldwide deal, covering physical books and eBooks, was done by agent Anni Haig-Smith and Angry Robot’s publishing director, Marc Gascoigne.


Debris will be published in the autumn of 2011, with direct sequel Suited to follow in 2012.

Series opener Debris introduces us to Tanyana, leader of a energy-harvesting team. Following an accident, she’s dismayed to be demoted to little more than a garbage collector, but it soon becomes obvious she’s been manipulated into that role by the faceless faction she calls the Puppet Men, to uncover a world-shattering secret.

Angry Robot’s man with the cheque book Marc Gascoigne said, “With the ever-increasing popularity of Japanese and Korean anime, manga and computer games, it’s been surprising that there hasn’t been more SF and fantasy showing its influence. Debris’s mix of SF and fantasy themes, exotic future-medieval settings, Dune-esque warring factions, and a fabulous kick-ass heroine is exactly the sort of on-trend science fiction Angry Robot was set up to publish. We’re damned pleased to have Jo on board.”

Jo added, “I’ve been reading Angry Robot books since their first giant, metallic steps and absolutely loving them. Debris started out as an idea about a magical version of the industrial revolution and a scarred garbage collector who saves the world, but still has to pay her rent. Add a few motley companions, a pinch of probably-misinterpreted quantum physics, and far too much time spent in front of various Final Fantasy video games. I’m thrilled my books have found a home at Angry Robot.”

Mathias Thulmann Witch Hunter by C.L Werner – Reveiw

Lord of the Night reviews the dark, thrilling Witch Hunter omnibus from the Black Library, written by C.L Werner.

 


‘From the plague-ridden mind of C.L Werner comes a series to invoke dread in all servants of the Dark Gods. Read this series, or face the wrath of Sigmar!’
Across the Empire no men are more feared then the the Templars of Sigmar. Better known as Witch Hunters they roam across the Empire fighting the forces of Chaos, no matter where it rears its head. Even the most fearsome of the Dark Gods servants quake when the temple’s chosen come to dispense the justice of Sigmar. And amongst these mighty witch killers, one is renowned across the Empire. Known for his fearsome deeds and piety to mighty Sigmar, Mathias Thulmann is a bulwark against the darkness.
The omnibus starts with an introduction by Mr Werner himself where he talks about Mathias Thulmann being his first character created for Black Library, his love of halloween, and the influences of Vincent Price’s Anthony Hopkins and Robert E. Howard’s Solomon Kane when creating Thulmann. The series itself consists of three novels, from first to last these are titled Witch Hunter, Witch Finder and Witch Killer, along with three short stories added in, one of these created especially for this omnibus. A Choice of Hatreds, Meat Wagon and Witch Work. The first novel contains its own story and sets up the scene for the next two books, while the short stories are set before the first novel, and the last short story Witch Work serves as a direct prequel to Witch Hunter.
The characterization is well-shown in the series through good writing and a health dose of contrast. Thulmann is a pious servant of Sigmar who stands against the forces of Chaos in all its forms, but is caring and does recognize that his kind are not popular in the Empire and tries to avoid harming innocents in his duties. While his partner/henchman Streng is a drunken, greedy whoremonger who very much enjoys his work as Thulmann’s torturer. The contrast between these two exemplifies the characterization of each of the two and provides a good amount of humour in the series.
The remaining characters are all very varied and provide valuable allies and dangerous enemies to Thulmann. Some of these characters include Captain-Justicar Ehrhardt, a dour knight of Morr, Lady Silja Markoff, a strong-willed ally to Thulmann, the mad scientist Doktor Freiherr Weichs, or the devious necromancer Carandini who serves as an antagonist throughout the series. A strong base of characters remains in the entire series while new characters introduced in each book allow for new interactions and situations to occur.
The action scenes in the series are very well-written. Thulmann despite being brave and possessing a fearsome array of weaponry frequently faces enemies far more powerful then he, such as deadly vampires, fearsome Daemons and even the nightmarish myths of man in the flesh. Thulmann opposes them all with his blessed sword, twin pistols and assortments of holy water and symbols of Sigmar. With Streng at his side, and Streng’s trusty crossbow, the fighting scenes vary from small to large and are all written well, whether its a short brutal fight against those who under-estimate Thulmann, or a large battle against the mad servants of the Dark Powers.
The pace in the series is quite well done. C.L Werner creates many twists and turns in the story, surprising the readers and doubling their interests in the novels. Going from a slow reading pace the series can explode in an instant into fast-paced action or chase scenes, Werner does them all well.
The omnibus ends with Witch Killer but the series is far from finished. C.L Werner has told me that he wants to get a new series of Thulmann novels started, and that they are one of his future projects. But the ending of the omnibus was action-packed, ominous and heart-warming all at the same time.
My rating for Mathias Thulmann Witch Hunter is a deserved 9/10 for a memorable cast of characters, both hero and villain, plenty of surprise twists and a great portrayal of the dark world of the Witch Hunters. I highly recommend this book, and if you have any doubts about buying this omnibus, see the quote at the top of this review. That should alleviate your doubts.

 

Soul Stealers – Digial Extract

Angry Robot has released a digital extract of Andy Remic’s novel Soul Stealers.  It’s the highly anticipated second novel of the Clockwork Vampire Chronicals.  Preceded by a wonderful novel; Kell’s Legend, it should prove to be well worth the wait.

CP

"Sabbat Worlds" ed. Dan Abnett – Advanced Review

Commissar Ploss reviews the thrilling, new anthology from the Black Library, Sabbat Worlds, edited by Dan Abnett.

‘Abnett’s Aces’ have assembled to deliver an Anthology for the ages. A real masterpiece of 40k Fiction.”                    
                         -The Founding Fields

Hello again everyone. Commissar Ploss here to bring you another wonderful book review.  This time it’s an advance review of the short story anthology Sabbat Worlds, from the Black Library and edited by Dan Abnett.

Abnett has assembled an elite corp of writers for this Anthology.  Graham McNeill, Matthew Farrer, Aaron Dembski-Bowden, Nik Vincent, Nick Kyme, and Sandy Mitchell all feature with stories in this antho.  As well as the two shorts by Mr. Abnett himself.  We really should be calling this group “Abnett’s Aces.”  They are a hell of a task-force.

My review comes a little later than i had wanted, to be honest. I’ve unfortunately been almost bedridden with the flu this past week, so i’ve been pushed off schedule a bit.  Let’s begin shall we? I’ll break the book down to it’s individual parts so you can get a little taste of each story, and the absolute mastery of literature you’ll be reading.

Introduction

by: Dan Abnett

The book is headed off with a wonderful introduction written by Dan.  He chats with us, the reader, a little about his history in writing as well as the fun he’s had in writing for 40k, delving even into the topic of ‘world building’ and how the Sabbat Worlds, as he’s created them, have really been accepted as basic vernacular amongst players and writers of the 40k universe, along with such terms as feth and gak, my personal favorites.

As well as the opening introduction, Dan also introduces each story with a short blurb about the work and author. It’s a very nice touch.

Apostle’s Creed

by Graham McNeill

The first story in this exuberant anthology starts off strong.  Graham McNeill kicks things off with a wonderfully rousing air combat story.  Using Dan’s previous novel, Double Eagle as a springboard, Graham focuses in on, like the title of this short suggests, a formerly ambiguous fighter group of the Imperial Navy.  The “Apostles” are the Aces of Aces, they are the best of the best. A nigh autonomous unit of select Thunderbolt fighter pilots from across the Imperial Navy.

The Main Character in this short; Flight Lieutenant Larice Asche, was chosen to join the Apostles from her prior squadron, the Phantine XX, an already highly decorated and prestigious unit of Imperial pilots.  The story takes place on the Imperial held world of Amedeo, where the Archenemy is attempting a flanking maneuver on the stretched Imperial forces of the Sabbat Worlds Crusade.  It is here the Apostles have been stationed to proved the air superiority necessary for the defense of the planet.

Graham kicks things off right from the get-go with fast paced air combat that puts you right in the cockpit.  He gets your adrenaline pumping with high-g turns, stunning dives, and stomach-churning rolls.  Yet even through all of this, character development is strong.  The isolation of the Apostles, in both skill and attitude is very straight-forward.  It can be hard to develop strong characters in such a short word count, but Graham does it with ease.

There was only one gramatical error in the whole short.  A missing word right in the middle of a breath-holding action scene.  I actually found myself verbally expressing my disappointment with a long drawn out “Awwwwww….damn.”  I was holding out, hoping there wasn’t going to be one but, it happens…

Overall, i was very pleased with this story and it’s characters and plot.  Graham McNeill did a fantastic job.

The Headstone and the Hammerstone Kings
by Matthew Farrer

I’m going to be honest. Matt’s story confused me.   The Headstone and the Hammerstone Kings centers around the Adeptus Mechanicus and its association with destroyed relics of war machines.  Especially those of the enemy.  I’ve read Matt’s other works, i.e. the Shira Caplurnia Omnibus, and i’ve noticed that his use of point-of-view is very sketchy, and jumpy.  It doesn’t transition well.  I’ve regularly found myself flipping back to reread sections to figure out who i was reading about.  And such was the case with this story.  It wasn’t bad mind you.  Although it does beg expansion.  As the ending wasn’t that clear.  It was finite, as in the words stopped, but the story would probably have done better with longer word count.

There are three factions at play here, if i understood the story correctly.  The Adeptus Mechanicus, who over see the “graveyard” of busted war machines, a bunch of scheming dealers who’ve worked their way into the Mechanicus structure, and those still loyal to the Archenemy.  The Heritor’s “Woe Machines” (which notably saw action during the siege of Vervunhive), a assaulted by forces still loyal to the archenemy. There is something stirring within the Hammerstone Kings and it isn’t good.

There were a fair few characters that really presented nothing to the plot… or at least it seemed nothing but filler and places to interject small-talk.  However, i was very confused during this whole ordeal, so i may have misinterpreted things.  I think this story deserves a reread from my side, and perhaps another read after that…

I have to give credit to Farrer though, he really has a knack for choosing topics that are a bit off the wall. Showing the sort of “behinds the scenes” look at things us fluff lovers take for granted.  I never really wondered where the broken war machines of the Archenemy went after being battered and beaten.  So it was nice to have that insight.  Farrer even goes off on tangents about other things like the spoken dialect of certain individuals and what the different inflections mean when spoken.  It was interesting, but not that helpful to the plot.

in summary, i was highly confused by Farrer’s story, and will have to try it again…

Regicide

by Aaron Dembski-Bowden

I have to start this off, as Dan does in the introduction, with the phrase, “HI DAN ABNETT!” for those who get the reference.

We head back into the past with Aaron’s story.  This story, when i read the intro from Dan, really made me fanboyishly happy.  The story centers around Warmaster Slaydo and his personal bodyguard regiment the Argentum (another of Aaron’s cleverly concieved names), “also known as the Silver Kindred, the Warmaster’s Own, and on Munitorum rosters – the Khulan 2nd Huscarls.” 

As a fan of Imperial Guard fiction and a noted Slaydo fan-boy, there is nothing in 40k fluff and lore that has occupied more of my think space than the life of Warmaster Slaydo and his final moments on Balhaut.  It’s something i’ve wanted to write about sooo badly and i’ve digested all i can of currently available fiction surrounding the subject.  So you can imagine my delight when i found out that Aaron would be writing about it. 

The characters are absolutely life-like. Senior Sergeant Commodus Ryland recounts the tail of what happened on the eighteenth hour of the tenth day, with vivid detail.  Culminating in the scene which Warmaster Slaydo dueled with Archon Nadzybar.

The story is absolutely riveting.  A wonderful account of Slaydo and his mannerisms and jovial nature, as much as his tactical brilliance and martial skill.  Clearly a person to emulate and idolize.  The pacing is quick and the tone pure.  There were, to my delight, no spelling mistakes or grammatical errors.  I do believe that only Dan and Aaron’s stories were clean in that sense. 

Top notch!

The Iron Star
by Dan Abnett

This is classic Abnett.  Wonderfully told and starkly brilliant.  This story is a continuance of the Gaunt’s Ghosts series, and is set more recently within its arc.  It falls directly between the novels Only in Death, and Blood Pact, and is an account of the aftermath of the battle of Hinzerhaus.

Without giving too much away. The story is actually a metaphorical look into Gaunt’s own mind during this time.  Dan reveals this slowly throughout the story.  It’s very well done.  Little discrepancies sneak in and you find yourself stopping and going, for example…”wait, those characters has been dead for a while, why are they here? ooooohhhh! i see!” and other such instances. The term “iron star” is a metaphor as well.  I don’t feel comfortable divulging however, as it really ruins the mystery and magic of the whole story.  You’ll have to read more about it when the anthology comes out!

However, suffice it to say, we see the return of a few characters in this story, and i believe the cover illustration is a direct nod to this story as well. Some notable characters are on there, although i won’t tell you, you’ll have to discover them for yourself. ;-)

Wonderful story!

The Cell
by Nik Vincent

Nik’s story takes place on a chaos held world of Reredos.  Where a small cell (see there’s the title) of resistance forces are trying to hold together some semblance of Imerpial society and customs.  An Ayatani priest by the name of Perdu plays host to band of six workers who come to pray with him every so often in different hideouts amongst worker habs on the agri-world.

It’s a wonderful story of how resistance fighters don’t trust anyone, not even their comrades too heavily.  The characters are well developed, and the pacing is tight and crisp.  I liked it a lot.

There isn’t much else to say other than, the story really dives into themes that aren’t as prevalent as the ‘bolter-porn’ we see in other Black Library novels.  It  is an interesting insight into an occupied world and the struggle to survive within.  Another notable title with this theme is Traitor General by Dan Abnett.

Blueblood
by Nick Kyme

The Royal Volpone 50th “Bluebloods”.  Those who are familiar with the name are aware of the run-ins they’ve had with Gaunt and the Tanith First.  Not all of their encounters have been friendly.  In fact, the Volpone command structure was thrown into upheaval during the siege of Vervunhive. General Noches Sturm deserted his post and was court-martialed and nearly shot by Gaunt.  But that is far done with.

Nick Kyme has written a story surrounding a full battalion of the Volpone 50th that have been recycled to a reserve position.  Stationed at Sagorrah Depot, the Bluebloods find the condition of morale and discipline they’re landing into deplorable, and downright undignified.  The Volpone commander Major Regara, notes the incapable nature of the acting Commissar for this garrison and decides to take the matters of discipline in his own hands.  On a scouting and surveillance mission into the slums surrounding the depot, Major Regara and his squads of men come under fire from Archenemy troopers, and are saved by a regiment called the “Longstriders.”  A regiment who remind Regara waaaay too much of the Tanith.  Suffice it to say this doesn’t aid his judgment, nor his thanks towards the Longstriders for saving the Bluebloods collective arses.

As the story progresses we see the urgency and the dire circumstances that are at play here.  The garrison is going crazy, and it’s getting worse every hour, fights are breaking out and troopers are killing each other.  Major Regara notices that the only place where things are completely peaceful, is the section of camp where the Longstriders billet is located.  When the Longstriders tell Regara they’ve discovered the reason for the growing hostility.  Major Regara and the Volpone’s joins them on a hunt through the slums.  And they quickly realize that things are worse than they feared.

This story was quite good.  It was nice to see them gain a bit of the limelight instead of the supporting roles they’ve played in the past.  The characterization was very strong, and Kyme nailed the pacing.  Starting out a bit slower, and then increasing steadily as the story and plot progressed.  Yet another great story in this antho.

A Good Man
by Sandy Mitchell

This short is set just after the fighting that took place at Vervunhive.  It’s a story about an Imperial scribe that arrives shortly after the fighting has ended, to help with the reconstruction efforts.

Sandy is a master at this type of writing.  Just as his Ciaphas Cain novels are full of humorous bits, so too is this story.  I found myself chuckling at quite a few points during the short.  In a way, i found myself thinking that it read just like an old film noir picture.  Like a great black and white movie that get narrated by one of the main characters.

It provided a nice peak into the life of an Imperial Bureaucrat. Showing that it’s not as easy as it seems.  The story is “narrated” by Adeptus Arbite Wil Feris, as he hunts for another scribe that has “falsified documents.” An accusation equal to treason.  It’s a great story and the elements of humor that Sandy expertly weaves into his prose made it all the more enjoyable.

Of Their Lives in the Ruins of Their City
by Dan Abnett

Like Dan states in his introduction for this story, there isn’t much i can tell you that wouldn’t ruin it.  And i really hate spoilers… i really do.  Suffice it to say that it is a Gaunt’s Ghosts story.  It’s a newly written story just for this anthology, but it doesn’t take place very recently, like The Iron Star does.

I will tell you that it is a newly written continuance piece set smack-dab in the middle of Ghostmaker.  Which in itself was an anthology of shorts, along with First and Only, from Inferno! magazine back in the day.  Of Their Lives in the Ruins of Their City is set between the actions of Voltis City, on Voltemond, and the action on Caligula.

A clear theme in this story is the strain placed upon Gaunt at this time.  He is fighting to gain the trust of the Tanith as well as trying to establish his leadership amongst them.  It’s a tough job, especially for a man who is held in the highest hatred by the men who follow him.  He stole their glory from them, and he knows it.

But, that’s all you’ll get out of me on this story.  You’ll have to wait until it comes out to get the full effect.  You won’t be disappointed. Not in the slightest.

***

Overall, this anthology was a real treat to get to read and review for you all.  I’m pleased to say it is the best short story antho i’ve ever read from the Black Library, bar none.  “Abnett’s Aces” have assembled to present an anthology for the ages.  A real masterpiece of 40k fiction.

I’m also thrilled to say that i have no reservations giving this antho a healthy 9/10.

Reason:
Although there were a few editorial/grammatical mistakes that normally plague even the most highly edited works, it was vastly overshadowed by the wonderfully skilled prose that are present.  The caliber of writing is second to none for this anthology.  I’ve recommended this work to many people, and if you’re a veteran of the Gaunt series you’ll appreciate this work even more as it really shows the vast spectrum of existence throughout the entire Sabbat Worlds, the good, bad, and ugly. 

Should you buy this book? YES

Thanks for stopping by for a read.  It’s a bit longer review than one for a singular novel, but i appreciate your time just the same.  I hope you enjoy this book as much as i did.  It’s release is scheduled for October 2010.

cheers!

Commissar Ploss

  














*this is an advanced review*

[Next Review: The First Heretic]

New Titles Announced from the Black Library

Overnight, the Black Library released a list of future titles on their “coming soon” page.  Lots of great titles here for you all to see. Although none of them have covers yet (at least on the website) the titles and descriptions are there. I’ve got the scoop here for you below.

Fist off lets start off with a book i’ve been thoroughly anticipating since i reviewed it’s predecessor.

BLOODFORGED by Nathan Long

Unable to adapt to Lahmian society, Ulrika seeks her own way, striking out to the Chaos-besieged city of Praag to seek old friends and glory in battle. On her arrival, she finds a devastated but defiant people and the invaders repelled. But the Ruinous Powers can take many forms, and now a more insidious threat is rising from within – a Slaaneshi cult that seeks to claim dominion in Praag. Shunned by her Lahmian sisters, decried by the humans she seeks to protect, Ulrika treads a lonely path as she tries to find the root of this destructive plot. Caught between the will of the vampires and the insane designs of Chaos sorcerers and cultists, Ulrika must call upon all of her cunning and savagery if she is to triumph… (from Black Library website)

 I’ll postulate more on my theories of this description later. I’m intrigued to see that she has been shunned by her Lahmian sisters…interesting!  Next up,

BATTLE OF THE FANG by Chris Wraight

It is M32, a thousand years after the Horus Heresy. The Scouring is over and the Imperium at the height of its post-Crusade power. When Magnus the Red is tracked down to Gangava Prime, the Space Wolves hasten to engage the daemon primarch. Even as Great Wolf Harek Ironhelm closes on his ancient enemy, the Fang on the Space Wolves home world is besieged by a massive force of Thousand Sons. A desperate battle ensues as the skeleton forces of Wolf Lord Asvald Greylock attempt to hold back the attacking hosts before the last of his meagre defences gives in. Though a single Scout ship survives to summon Great Wolf Harek Ironhelm back to Fenris, none of the defenders truly realise the full scale the horror that awaits them, nor what the Battle for the Fang will cost them all. (from Black Library website)

 This is the latest announced installment to the Space Marine Battles series and one that i have been aticipating for a while now.  Seems the Space Pups will be getting a lot of love this time around.  I’m looking forward to this one. Next…

CHAPTER’S DUE by Graham McNeill

War is unending in the life of a Space Marine. After defeating tau forces, Captain Uriel Ventris of the Ultramarines has returned to the Chapter’s homeworld of Macragge, but there is little respite. The Ultramarines are thrust back into battle, and this time the enemy is the Chapter’s greatest nemesis. The traitorous Iron Warriors, led by renegade Warsmith Honsou, have gathered together a massive and brutal warband. Their target is the realm of Ultramar. Their objective is total annihilation. It is a final showdown between legendary Space Marines, and Uriel Ventris must take on the might of Honsou if he is to save his Chapter’s homeworld.(from Black Library website)

The paperback release of McNeill’s novel: Chapter’s Due.

DWARFS by Gav Thorpe & Nick Kyme

The dwarfs are a stoic and long-lived race. Their unbending will and pride serve them as fearsome warriors on the battlefield and the greatest craftsmen across the Old World. But cross them at your peril, as a dwarf grudge is never forgotten, a quest for revenge handed down from generation to generation until the debt is settled in blood…
In this action-packed omnibus, the bravery and resilience of the dwarfs is brought to life as they wage war against the twisted powers of Chaos, vile skaven ratmen, brutal greenskins and their oldest adversaries, the mysterious and powerful elves. From the ancient dwarf holds to the killing fields of the Empire, war will be waged in the name of Grungni , Grimnir and Valaya, and no foe shall forget the day they met these unbreakable warriors in battle. Contains the novels Grudgebearer, Oathbreaker and Honourkeeper. (from Black Library website)

 An interesting omnibus to say the least. I’m looking forward to this one as well. Next up…

DEAD IN THE WATER by Sandy Mitchell

no info at the moment (from Black Library website)

although it is an audio drama from Ciaphas Cain author Sandy Mitchell.

ATLAS INFERNAL by Rob Sanders

Inquisitor Bronislaw Czevak is a hunted man. Escaping from the Black Library of the eldar, Czevak steals the Atlas Infernal – a living map of the Webway. With this fabled artefact and his supreme intellect, Czevak foils the predations of the Harlequins sent to apprehend him and thwarts his enemies within the Inquisition who want to kill him. Czevak’s deadliest foe, however, is Ahriman – arch-sorcerer of the Thousand Sons. He desires the knowledge within the Black Library, knowledge that can exalt him to godhood, and is willing to destroy the inquisitor to obtain it. A desperate chase that will bend the fabric of reality ensues, where Czevak’s only hope of survival is to outwit the chosen of Tzeentch, Lord of Chaos and Architect of Fate. Failure is unconscionable, the very cost to the Imperium unimaginable.(from Black Library website)

SIGVALD by Darius Hinks

Prince Sigvald the Magnificent has struck a pact with his Slaaneshi masters that bestows incredible power and beauty, but drives him to ever greater acts of hedonism. Despite his pre-eminence, the champion of Chaos is tricked into an impossible war with the promise of a powerful artefact to slake his dark desires. After centuries of debauchery, Sigvald rouses his army and leads them to battle against the legions of the Blood God Khorne.
Obsessed with the Brass Skull, the object of his misguided yearnings, Sigvald is unaware his enemies are closing in around him. In a hellish quest that drives him across the twisted landscape of the Chaos Wastes and culminates in an epic confrontation, he realises godhood and that the lures of Slaanesh can never be sated. (from Black Library website)

FALSE GODS (audio book) by Graham McNeill

The Great Crusade that has taken humanity into the stars continues. The Emperor of mankind has handed the reins of command to his favoured son, the Warmaster Horus. Yet all is not well in the armies of the Imperium. Horus is still battling against the jealousy and resentment of his brother primarchs and, when he is injured in combat on the planet Davin, he must also battle his inner daemon. With all the temptations that Chaos has to offer, can the weakened Horus resist?
The epic tale of The Horus Heresy continues in Graham McNeill’s sequel to Horus Rising.The fate of the galaxy now rests in the simple choice of one man; loyalty or heresy?(from Black Library website)

IMPERIAL GLORY by Richard Williams

Tired and broken by war, the men of the Brimlock Eleventh Imperial Guard are a force on the verge of collapse. Having been stretched across the galaxy by their loyalty to the Emperor, they are presented with one final battle that will allow them reward they all seek: to colonise the distant world of Vorr and live out the rest of their days in peace. All that stands in their way is a force of savages – a plague of feral orks that has spread across the planet. But can the Brimlock’s battered bodies and minds hold up to this greenskin invasion? (from Black Library website)

PATH OF THE SEER by Gav Thorpe

The ancient eldar are a mysterious race and each devotes their life to a chosen path that will guide their actions and decide their fate. Thirianna abandons her simple existence to embark upon the mysterious Path of the Seer. She will tread a dark and dangerous road that leads her to the other realm of the warp, where daemons are made flesh and nightmares are manifest. For only there can she realise her psychic abilities. After unleashing her powers in battle and communing with the spirits of her craft world, Thirianna turns her skills to discerning the future amidst the myriad strands of fate. Her visions reveal a great threat descending on Alaitoc, and both the living and the dead will march to war to defend it. (from Black Library website)

THE MADNESS WITHIN by Steve Lyons

Desperate and isolated, Sergeant Estabann and Brother Cordoba of the Crimson Fists Space Marines are hunting the daemon that destroyed their battle-brothers. Their only hope remains with a Librarian on the edge of sanity, a potentially tainted Astartes who they are forced to trust. His psychic abilities can lead them to the daemon, where Estabann and Cordoba can avenge their brothers’ deaths. But is the greatest threat a foul denizen of the warp, or the power contained within a psyker’s mind? (from BL)

NAGASH IMMORTAL by Mike Lee

In the tunnels of Nagashizzar, a new threat to the realm of the undead is rising. Nagash must call upon all his reserves of power to defeat the skaven assault and continue his unholy reign. But when Nagash realises he can use his enemy for his own nefarious needs, an uneasy alliance is struck and a vast, nightmarish army is formed. The necromancer launches his final attack on the lands of Nehekhara, sweeping all before him. Only one man dare stand in his way – Alcadizzar, a peerless warrior and the leader of a defiant force. Their confrontation will not just decide the fate of Nehekhara, but of all the Old World.(from BL)

HAMMER & ANVIL by James Swallow

The Sisters of Battle are the Emperor’s most devout worshippers, fierce warriors preaching the purity of the Imperium and scourging their enemies with bolter and flamer. When an Ecclesiarchy outpost, Sanctuary 101, comes under attack, the Sisters are quick to retaliate. But they face an unknown alien, an implacable foe that has never been encountered – the fearless, soulless necrons. With wave after wave of metallic nightmares assaulting the bastion, a vicious battle will be fought – one that can only end in the total destruction of the unrelenting xenos, or the annihilation of the proud Sororitas. (from BL)

SONS OF ELLYRION by Graham McNeill (The highly anticipated sequel to Defenders of Ulthuan)

Ulthuan is a land at the verge of destruction. At Lothern, a fell army marches against the elven defenders of Prince Imrik and Prince Tyrion. In Averlorn, two brothers fight for forgiveness and their right to defend their people. But at Tor Elyr, the conflict will be lost and won. The druchii army, led by Morathi and Issyk Kul, battles the gathered might of the high elves in a vast, destructive conflict. But Morathi has even grander plans than this – to destroy the vortex that holds Ulthuan together, plunging the island into a nightmare domain of Chaos. The noble elves must overcome their dark cousins, or else face the end of their race. (from BL)

And that rounds off the list of projected titles for this update. I’ll update the cover art with new posts as things come out.  please comment if you feel you want to discuss any of the titles here.

CP

Featured Fiction – Triple Feature! [Commissar Ploss]

For the third and last piece in our Featured Fiction “Triple Feature!”, i’ve selected a piece of 40k fiction that i wrote two years ago for Heresy-Online’s first ever fanfic competition.  This piece subsequently won me the title of the Heresy-Online Fan Fiction King. I was humbled to say the least. enjoy!

CP

At the End of All Things
Commissar Ploss

Waking from the daemon-grip of death’s hands is never a welcome instance. Being the only one to do so, is even less.

Gazing through the cracked lenses of his helmet, brother Vicarus viewed the world as a grey haze. A faint rasp emitted from his augmetic voice box as he realized he had just tried to chuckle. Viewing the sky above him from the bottom of an impact crater all too ironically displayed the gravity of the situation. The air was acrid with the smell of burning promethium and the stench of boiled flesh, and his auditory sensors picked up the faint crackle of a fire not fifty meters off. Upon waking just moments before, his brain had been flooded with strong signals from pain receptors all throughout his body. He laid still, eyes closed, as his bodies advanced chemistry coped with the initial rush. He felt not the usual instinct to move, just the overwhelming feeling that this probably was not the best place to be. Not only was it quite uncomfortable, but he needed to rejoin the fight.

Sitting up would have to be the first step. Using his arms, he attempted to hoist himself up into a sitting position, but noticed quite frustratingly that he could not gain any purchase. With blurred vision he looked down, noting the stump that used to be his right hand. Even though it had already healed to the point of what looked like an Ork’s anus, he realized that any similar injury could turn this little crater into his final resting place. Wearily he glanced at all his other major limbs and allowed himself a chuckle at the fact that only his right hand, the ‘Right hand of Angarius,’ the most feared hand in all his home world—second only to that of their primarch— ‘the hand that smote one thousand Orks,’ was gone. Gone and never to be seen again. Sure, an augmetic replacement would be fitted the moment he returned, but only to serve as an artificial reminder of its former glory, and the shame he carried with it’s loss. Just considering what his battle brothers would say was enough to start him laughing maniacally. That was if any of them were still alive.

There was no use reminiscing. Right now he needed to get to the surface and reestablish contact with the rest of his unit and if need be, rejoin his battle brothers without his right hand. Or his sidearm for that matter. A quick glance to either side showed that his holy plasma weapon was nowhere to be seen. He took great pride in his weapon, as so many of his brethren did. And to see that it was gone, just as simply as his hand, infuriated him. He would die for the Emperor at the wave of a hand, but without his weapons his life felt meaningless. Brother Vicarus reminded himself that if he was not removed from his tranquil little hole, his now meaningless life would be all that much shorter. That did not sit well at all. He swore that he would see out his remaining days in service to the Emperor.

With his remaining helmet lens, brother Vicarus queued his com-link. The signal strength read zero. He hoped it was due in part to his subterranean nature, that the com-link in his helmet was not receiving a signal from the main vox towers. However, as close to the surface as he was… The growing sense of dread welling inside, told him he knew otherwise. He sat back to catch his breath before continuing and only now smelled the metallic tang of iron wafting from the fluid surrounding his body. He knew right away that the liquid was not just fluid from his powered armor systems but something much more important.

With the threat of an unfulfilling death clear in his mind, he mustered up all the strength in his remaining three limbs and began his climb to the surface. Climbing in the soil, and Emperor knows what else, is difficult with only one arm to steady yourself. And having vital signs flirting on and around the verge of death made it even more difficult. It took all of twelve minutes for him to make it to the rim of his crater. To brother Vicarus it seemed as if hours had passed. He paused before breaking the surface to take a moment and steady himself against the onrush of sensory perception that he would receive upon gazing at the surrounding battlefield. Down in the hole, Emperor be praised, there was nothing more than dirt, green Ork flesh and small metal fragments. But across the vastness of the surface battlefield there were many more things to see. He braced himself for what the silence told him would not be a welcome sight.

With a sigh, brother Vicarus stepped out of his crater – and into hell.

The scene that greeted his already weary eyes destroyed him. He fell to his knees and wept. All around lay the remnants of a world destroyed by war. Mangled corpses, charred metal, and the smoldering wrecks of war machines lay broken forever in all directions. Friend and foe alike lay as if battles were still raging wherever their spirits had ascended. With cracked lips and through streaming tears, brother Vicarus let out a roar so seething with rage and desperation, it would have made Emperor himself cower in fear. Removing his helmet, he stood. As if in defiance to his survival, the wind howled and the rain began to fall as if to wash away the death that consumed its planet. At this he laughed, and then said with a sigh, almost inaudible against the rain and wind, “It seems i have been left behind, and my brothers march without me.” With rain mixing with the tears down his cheeks, brother Vicarus somehow knew he was the last of his chapter. The Iron Diamond Space Marines would be no more. Their name would be forgotten, and their history untold.

Whistling an old Imperial hymn, and accompanied by only the wind and pelting rain, he felt minuscule and insignificant. The work had been done. Lives had been payed in full. Oaths had been fulfilled and creeds had been upheld. But for what? “For the Emperor,” he said to himself, hoping beyond hope that that was justification enough.

Turning around, he spotted his crater. As if in thanks, he bowed to it, and said, “You have saved me. By the Emperor, you have saved me. Please refrain from doing it again.”

And with that, brother Vicarus turned away. And with a deep breath, he began to walk. There at the end of all things. He walked for a lost cause, across a forgotten field, on a nameless world. For none would know, save the Emperor himself, how he longed for peace.

 ———————-

I hope you enjoyed the piece. This story was a bit of Iron Diamond Space Marine short fiction.  Just a little something to introduce an important character in my work with the Iron Diamonds.  Lucian Vicarus features in other works dedicated to the Iron Diamond SM’s. Here’s a link to the original posting of the story at Heresy: http://www.heresy-online.net/forums/showthread.php?t=9995

CP

HOFC 2010 – Submission Window Closed

Hello everyone. Just a short update, but i wanted to inform you all that the Submission Window for the “Heresy-Online Fiction Competition 2010″ is now closed. We’ve rounded off this years comp with 25 entries! It’s a wonderful turnout.  I’d like to say it’s just because Heresy-Online is such an awesome forum and that i’m the coolest moderator in history! But i’d imagine the prizes had something to do with it. lol  If you want to have a read of the stories that were submitted for the competition, just follow this link to the Submission Thread, scroll down a little bit into the first post, and you will see a list of Official Contest Entries.  They are all linked, so have a read and leave your comments.  If you haven’t signed up for the Heresy-Online forums, do so through this link: Join Heresy-Online here!

To see the submission thread, just click HERE.

cheers!

CP

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