Monthly Archives: March 2011

Knights of Bretonnia by Anthony Reynolds – Advanced Double Review [LotN-BoK]

Lord of the Night AND Bane of Kings review the fantasy epic Knights of Bretonnia omnibus by Anthony Reynolds in a double review!
‘All across Bretonnia Knights quest to earn the favor of their goddess, the Lady of the Lake. But only those pure of heart and deed will drink from her grail and become legends.’
~The Founding Fields

(Note: This is an advanced review of Knights of Bretonnia. It is scheduled for release in April 2011.)

[Lord of the Night]
Anthony Reynolds may not have very much written for Black Library when compared to Dan Abnett and Graham McNeill, but its all quality stuff and Knights of Bretonnia is no exception. With two novels Knight Errant and Knight of the Realm, bolstered by two brand new novellas Questing Knight and Grail Knight. If you like chivalrous knights, fearsome foes and dangerous quests, this is not a series to be missed.
When the young Knight Errant Calard of Garamont and his brother Bertelis are sent to aid in a border war against the greenskins the story begins the quest that will send Calard across his homeland Bretonnia and the Old World in search of his goddess, the Lady of the Lake, to drink from her grail and to become one of Bretonnia’s most revered warriors, a Grail Knight. But the Lady’s quest is no easy feat, the quest will see him face the worst nightmares of man and the dark beings that even the older races fear, and confront a destiny that will have him defy his past, present and future.
The characters in the novel are interesting, however there are elements of them that while well written, make it slightly harder to agree with them. Calard of Garamont, the protagonist, grows through the series beginning as a young Knight Errant eager for glory and striving to prove himself, and as the series goes on Calard begins to show the growth over the story until he becomes a figure worthy of respect and admiration. His adamant dislike of peasants for no reason other than their low-birth is annoying but that is typical of Bretonnians, but Calard is better then his brother about that.
The supporting characters in the series are wonderfully varied. Calard’s brother Bertelis the lazy, care-free knight grows as much as Calard but his path leads down a much different road. The hunchbacked peasant Chlod is endearing to read as he attempts to survive his horrific luck and bribe, steal or murder his way into a comfortable life. Each character is quite interesting and seeing them grow through the series, characters dying and new arrivals becoming a part of this epic tale was very enjoyable.
The foes that Calard must face would make even a Dwarf pause. From wyverns to the ghoulish undead, the beastial greenskins to the tainted beastmen and several foes who will genuinely surprise you as they reveal themselves, and some that its hard not to root for, the villains that Calard faces are unique and definitely good additions to the series.
The action is very engaging, Calard being a knight there are charges into enemy lines galore and duels between peerless warriors, champions of their gods and mighty beasts that shake the earth with every footstep. Calard’s skill grows along with his character and as the series progresses it becomes clear that Calard has grown, and is becoming a grand swordsman and knight. Plus the stampeding charge of a thousand knights on horseback is just awesome to picture, the thundering of hooves and the the clash of blades as both sides meet.
The pacing was quite good, the series progresses at a steady rate and Reynolds’s handles the timeline quite well. Calard does age through the series and the passage of time is handled very well. Running Calard and Chold’s own storylines against each others could have been hard but Reynolds makes sure that each story contributes to the other until they merge together into one.
The ending of the series is fantastic, it had the perfect setting and ended in just the right way. Though the outcome of the ending can only be solved in our imagination, I think we all know who won in the end. The Old World is a dark place, but sometimes heroes do prevail.
I give Knights of Bretonnia a solid 8/10, it has its flaws such as the constant reminder that peasants are beneath knights, the occasional grammatical error, the most glaring of which occurs in Grail Knight when Calard’s two named horses Gringolet and Graibor are mixed up, despite them both only appearing in one novel each. But these don’t spoil the series’s great story and interesting characters.

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[Bane of Kings]

Knights of Bretonnia: Anthony Reynolds
A Bretonnian Omnibus
Right, let’s get started with this then, the latest omnibus from Black Library, and this time, it’s by Anthony Reynolds, who was responsible for the popular, hard to find Word Bearer Trilogy, which is being republished as an omnibus in 2012.
Knight Errant
Knight Errant is the first in a series of five books (Two Novels, two Novellas and one short story which isn’t mentioned on the cover), and focuses on the young Calard of Bretonnia, and is Anthony Reynolds’ first ever novel.
Basically, Knight Errant is about a Beastmen invasion of the Arthurian style realm of Bretonnia, and a band of knights, including cousins Bertelis and Calard, trying to stop it.
I found the first instalment in this omnibus very hard to get into, for I found it hard to like the characters and the novel slow to start off with, but once I got going, I was thrown into an awesome, action packed read with plenty of light-hearted humour to keep the reader interested.
I don’t know about you, but this novel kind of reminded me of Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, especially towards the end. No, there may not be any Urak-Hai in this novel, or Helm’s Deep, but it still seemed similar.
Anyway, moving on, if you’d like to take a look at the cover of this omnibus for a sec, it’s amazing. A Knight, complete with sword and a shield, who is presumably Calard, looking at the reader as they pick up the book.
Yeah, as I said, awesome. Occasionally during Knight Errant, Anthony Reynolds gives us a change of point of view, and rather than looking from the perspective of Calard, he gives us a taste of the enemy’s views, and this, in my view, helps to propel the storyline forward.
And then, when not giving the point of view of Calard or the Beastmen, Anthony Reynolds enlightens us as to what life is like if you are a peasant in Bretonnia (Or in this case, a thief), by giving us the view of the unfortunate Chlod, who goes from one misfortune to the next.
However, I found no evidence in this novel to suggest that the thief might eventually turn out to be Calard’s “Faithful Manservant”.
Now, finally, Knight Errant ends on a massive cliff-hanger that really makes the reader want to read on to Knight of the Realm to find out what happens next.
Rating: 7/10
Knight of the Realm
Knight of the Realm is the next instalment in the Knights of Bretonnia omnibus, and picks off where Knight Errant left off, again focusing on the Beastmen as the enemy, and again dipping between Calard, the enemy and Chlod’s point of views, as we look at the next stage in these epic adventures.
This novel sees many aspects that weren’t concluded in Knight Errant come to a close here, as this is full of twists and turns, particularly, one huge one towards the end that you won’t see coming, and again, the novel leads us to another, climatic conclusion that will once more leave you desperately wanting to know what Calard gets up to next.
Another thing that’s good about Knight of the Realm, is the fact that if you enjoyed one of the characters in Knight Errant, the majority of them (apart from the ones that died, of course), return in this sequel.
There were some fantastic moments in this book, and again, I was reminded of Lord of the Rings here, but of the charge of Théoden at the Pellenor Fields this time, when the Knights of Bretonnia charge into the Skaerlings.
Once more, I found myself enjoying the personality of the ‘bad guys’ in this novel, as Anthony Reynolds, in my opinion, makes the reader like them just as much as Calard, and I’m looking forward to read the Word Bearers Omnibus, to see his take on Chaos Space Marines, when it comes out in 2012.
In my opinion, due to the even more epic stuff in this novel, Knight of the Realm is much better than Knight Errant.
Rating: 8/10
Rest Eternal
Right, we’re out of the two novel-arc that began in Knight Errant and Knight of the Realm, and gives us a chance to see Anthony Reynold’s take on a different enemy, this time, a Wyvern that doesn’t seem to stay put, and sees Calard (with Chlod at last), take on the beast near a small Empire/Bretonnia border, as he attempts to become a Grail Knight.
We’re restricted to a lot less characters than the previous two novels, with the only point of views here being Calard and Chlod (if am not mistaken), and this gives Reynolds a chance to explore their characters a bit more.
Although this is a short story, meaning I don’t have much to say about it as I would normal ones, Rest Eternal is another great read, as Reynolds keeps the plot twists new and great to read.
Unfortunately, the major low point in this story was that I found this hard to get into, as once again, the characters were still hard to get to like.
This short story was previously available in Death and Dishonour, a Warhammer Fantasy short story collection edited by Nick Kyme and Lindsey Priestly.
Questing Knight
Well, the penultimate adventure in this omnibus sees Calard and Chlod return once again, as the main characters, having returned home, to their castle of Garamond, only to find it in ruins.
What follows Calard leaves him on what promises to be his most shocking adventure yet, as old friends and rivals return once again, although they are no longer who they were before. Questing Knight delivers a nice action scene, particularly the final fight, as Calard is neither pitted against Wyverns, Beastmen or Greenskins (who featured in one of the earlier stories), but the undead.
There are some great moments in this novella, particularly the final fight which I enjoyed, because I didn’t see it coming.
Overall, probably my favourite out of the bunch.
Rating: 9/10
Grail Knight
At last, we’ve nearly reached the end of this review, and I’m going to finish with what looks like the final instalment to feature Calard, as he takes one final lunge towards the legend he’s set to become.
There are also a few grammatical errors throughout the omnibus, in particular, one pointed out by fellow TFF member Lord of the Night in this novella, where Calard’s two named horses, Gringolet and Graibor are mixed up.
Grail Knight delivers a final, triumphant ending that the whole series, right from the start, has been building up to, as it sees Calard of Garamond take on one, final quest before he completes his journey.
There are some great scenes in this final novella, especially the epilogue, which was really nice to read. However, I didn’t find that it matched up with Questing Knight though, mainly due to the error but also because I loved the fight scene (readers of the book will know what I’m talking about), in Questing Knight.
Rating: 8/10
Overall Rating: 8/10
Should you buy this Omnibus? If you’re a fan Warhammer fantasy, Bretonnians, Lord of the Rings-style action scenes, a variety of action and enemies (aside from the first two novels, really), then this omnibus is for you. 

 

Fall of Damnos by Nick Kyme – Advanced Review [LotN]

Lord of the Night reviews the fifth installment of the popular Space Marines Battles series, Fall of Damnos by Nick Kyme.
Ultramarines vs. Necrons in an unwinable battle on a doomed planet. Damnos will fall, but who will fall with it?
~The Founding Fields
(Note: This is an advanced review of Fall of Damnos. It is scheduled for release in April 2011.)

Nick Kyme truly is great with the Space Marines, to him Space Marines are what the Inquisition is to Dan Abnett. But what he has done with the Necrons is nothing short of amazing, at first I didn’t even recognize them but now that I have finished the novel I think back to Dawn of War and all the other times the Necrons rose from their tombs, and I feel boredom as I compare them to the Necrons of Damnos. And in regards to the Ultramarines, I agree with Bane of Kings’s assertion that with only two books Kyme is challenging Graham for control of Guilliman’s own.
When miners on the world of Damnos unearth an artifact they unwittingly begin the destruction of their world. Freed from the Long Sleep the Necrontyr rise again to purge their world of the insects that dare invade their kingdom and defile their lands. The Ultramarines 2nd Company led by Cato Sicarius, the Master of the Watch and High Suzerain, eager for glory and to be the first Ultramarine to battle the undying Necrons. But Damnos may already be doomed, the Ultramarines must face the possibility that there is no victory waiting for them at the edge of the abyss.
For me the highest point of this novel is the Necrons, I enjoy innovation and bright new ideas quite a lot and the Necrons featured this heavily. It used to be that only a Necron Lord could hope to even have a voice, but now the Necrons have their own caste system, culture, their fears and hopes and even ambitions. I can only think that GW is hiding a new Necron codex, or at least a prototype version of one, and Nick Kyme wrote from it when he designed these new incarnations of the eldest of all xenos.
The characters are separated into two sides. Imperial and Necron. The Imperial characters range from the Ultramarines and the natives of Damnos. Sergeants Scipio Vorolanus, Iulus Fennion and Praxor Manorian return from Black Reach and their growth through the novel is interesting. But the biggest growth must be Scipio shaken from an event in-between Black Reach and Damnos, which was very surprising for me. Human characters like Falka Kolpeck, Zeph Rancourt and Adanar Sonne show the darker side of the war, the displaced and the grieving, and the fatalism that comes from fighting a foe that may very well be immortal.
With all kinds of Necron royals leading the way from The Undying One at the head of the phalanx, the cunning cryptek Ankh the Herald of Dismay, the ambitious Tahek the Voidbringer and the ghoulish Sahtah the Enfleshed, the Necrons have gained a wide range of characters that are not only cool but actually sympathetic in some cases, Sahtah mainly. Eternity has not been kind to the Necrons, and their cruel existence is shown very well in the book.
The action portrayed is visceral and brutal, the Ultramarines strength is great but the Necrons are a foe like no other, death means nothing to them. When facing enemies that can repair from mortal wounds and who simply disappear upon defeat, even the absence of corpses can unnerve a man. But the Ultramarines fight on heroically, earning glory and honor with every kill. The Necrons own fighting style has been very well depicted, disintegrations and flayed corpses are everywhere as it should be.
The novel’s pacing is well-written. Running multiple plots alongside each other with different characters in different parts of Damnos can’t be easy but Kyme does it and weaves them together to affect one-another to create the first battle between Guilliman’s chosen and one of the oldest of all alien races. Be it Scipio’s story, Fennion’s, Praxor’s or even Cato Sicarius’s each story melds together very well to create an overall tale that is definitely worth the time.
The book ends on a cliffhanger, halfway through the battle. The situation is grim but there is hope yet for the defenders of Damnos. I eagerly await the sequel to the novel that Ser Kyme will hopefully start writing very soon, the Damnos duology is shaping up to be a great tale, one that may reshape the image we hold of an entire xenos race.
I give Fall of Damnos a 9/10, on its own the novel is definitely a clear second amongst the Space Marines Battles series but it cannot match Ser Dembski-Bowden’s epic Helsreach. But perhaps the sequel, once the whole story is together a new champion amongst the series shall rise.
Now I move onto the dark world of Warhammer Fantasy, into the land of chivalrous knights and hunchbacked peasants. Knights of Bretonnia is next, the tale of a knight and his quest for glory.

 

Writer’s Needed! – The Emperor’s Fading Light [blog]

hey there folks, have you been itching to try your hand at writing an Audio Drama, like the ones produced by Black Library?  Well, here’s a prime opportunity!  Our friends over at emperorsfadinglight.blogspot.com have put the call out for writers. they need you! why not give it a shot? just follow the link below to find out more information.

http://emperorsfadinglight.blogspot.com/2011/03/call-for-writers.html

CP

TFFGivesBooks2011 – Contribute to the cause!

Hello everyone, David Ploss here, owner/founder of the book review and fiction news website “The Founding Fields” http://www.thefoundingfields.com/

I’m here again to let you know about a special project that I have undertaken at the request of others that I work with and members amongst my readership at TFF.

I bring you: TFFGivesBooks! TFFGivesBooks is a new project that aims to give books to those who can’t afford them. What i want to do is provide books on a regular basis to shelters around the area that I call home, Chicago.
I’ve done research and asked many people associated with shelters and programs that help those citizens in need, and the thing that comes up the most in all of the conversations I’ve had is the overwhelming need for reading material.

Then it dawned on me, what better way to bring about fulfilling this need and contribute to my fellow man than utilize the exposure of my website to help fund the contribution of books.

here’s what’s involved:

The goal is to raise $1,000 dollars to help fund a large new and used books purchase that will be made before December 22 of this year.

The Purchase will be made on the 22nd. I’ll provide photos for the purchase to to show what all i was able to get.

Then on Christmas Eve, I will be playing “santa” and delivering the books to various shelters and community wellness groups for distribution to their patrons.

It’s a way for all of us to give back to the community and those people who need some nice entertainment from books!

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How can you get involved?

I urge all of my readers and anyone that happens upon The Founding Fields to chip in, and donate a bit of cash to the cause. There will be a widget on the right sidbar of www.thefoundingfields.com . All you have to do to contribute is click the “ChipIn!” button and get things going.

All the money and transfers are handled securely through Paypal.

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How else can you help?

I ask that anyone who runs a website relating to books and the like contact me so that they can get a copy of the widget to put on their website. This will help spread the word and get the project known to a larger audience.

The sooner we raise the 1000 (or close to it) the more we’ll be able to do for our fellow man.

It’s a worthy cause, one i hope you’ll contribute towards!

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Check back periodically for updates on how the project is going!

thanks again,

David Ploss
TheFoundingFields.com

visit our ChipIn! page here: http://thefoundingfields.chipin.com/tffgivesbooks

My interview with The Overlords Podcast

Hello again everyone. little short on book reviews this week but fear not! I’ve got three upcoming, so keep your pants on. :)  Meanwhile! i wanted to alert you all to an interview i did with The Overlords Podcast.  Had a wonderfully long chat with Dagmire about all manner of fiction related things. Gave the proper shoutouts to my pals and made sure to let everyone know about upcoming and current projects i’ve got going on. You really ought to have a listen i’ll provide a link to where you can download the episode. You can find my interview at the 2:07:00 mark thereabouts. Please let me know what you think. you can download it through iTunes or directly from their site. :o)

from friends of the site:
(unofficial, but favorite, podcast of TFF)

"Embedded" by Dan Abnett – Preorder here!

Hey Everyone! Dan Abnett’s novel, Embedded is available for preorder from Amazon.com Click on the post to get a link to where you can order it! I’ve already ordered mine!

It’s official release is on March 29th! Get your order in now!  Besides, ordering now helps TFF out as well. :o)

cheers gents,

CP

Follow TFF via Email!

Perhaps you’ve had a hard time getting to visit The Founding Fields to check up and see what the new news is around the fictionverse! Well, now you can be alerted via email when a new post is made here on TFF.  That’s right! If a new book review gets posted, you’ll get an email, if a new interview is posted, you’ll get an email, etc etc. that way, you can pick and choose your designated visiting time. Don’t worry, i’ll still continue to post updates via Twitter and Facebook, so for those of you who follow that way, you wont miss out. 

If you would like to sign up for email updates, it’s on the right hand sidbar under the search bar. just pop in your email and hit “submit” it’s that simple. :o)

cheers everyone!

CP

The Overlords forum Fan-Fiction Competition

 
Hey gang, just wanted to alert you writers out there to a competition being hosted by friends of TFF, The Overlords Podcast, on their forum.  Running through March, it’s a short fan-fiction competition, that if you win, you’ll be awarded a signed copy of Horus Rising!!! :O  woot woot!  A link can be found here, just click!

http://theoverlordsforum.freeforums.org/march-competition-win-a-signed-copy-of-horus-rising-t636.html

Be sure to check out the next episode of their podcast (hopefully the next episode!). I was asked to do an interview with Dagmire, one of the blokes over there. Super nice guy. We got to chatting about all manner of stuff regarding TFF, fiction and probably some other nuisancey stuff that’s not fit for human consumption, but what the hell, that’s the fun of it right? lol

I’ll be sure to post a link to the episode and my interview when it’s up. :)

cheers,

CP

Victories of the Space Marines – Advanced Review [Bane of Kings]

Victories-of-the-space-marines

For the first time, Bane of Kings reviews a short story collection, called Victories of the Space Marines, edited by Christian Dunn and published by Black Library, containing stories from Chris Wraight, Gav Thorpe, CL Werner, Rob Sanders, James Swallow, Steve Parker, Sarah Cawkwell and Ben Counter.

“…It delivers a whole heap of fascinating, new short stories…” ~The Founding Fields

Angry Robot Books signs new author Adam Christopher

 I’ve got a bit of info from Angry Robot Books this morning in my inbox and i wanted t share it with you. They have just signed a new author, and i think he’s going to do great. feel free to read the press release. -CP

March 15, 2011

We’re absolutely delighted to announce that we have pounced upon the debut novel of British-based New Zealander Adam Christopher.

Adam is well-known to many at the heart of the British science fiction community through his strong presence on Twitter, under the nickname @ghostfinder. It was through reading his posts that AR first became aware of him. When we found out he had ambitions to have his debut full-length novels see print we dove at the chance to check them out.
We loved what we read (and we mean loved), and so Lee has signed Adam to AR for at least two novels, starting with EMPIRE STATE.

Empire State is a story of superheroes, and a city divided in two. Detective Rad Bradbury picks up the trail of a murderer, only to discover that the world he has always known is a pocket universe, recently brought into existence by an explosion of phenomenal power. With a superhero on his tail he crosses into a city that bears a remarkable resemblance to his own – a city called New York. There he uncovers a deadly threat to the Empire State, and finds that the future of both realities are at stake.

Lee said…
“It’s always a great feeling when you find a new author – especially one with Adam’s talent. Empire State is reminiscent of China Miéville’s The City & the City – the existence of superheroes within Adam’s world serving to underline the very human struggle for survival. We’re pretty excited.”

And Adam added…
“I’ve been following Angry Robot ever since their mothership landed in 2009, and they quickly became one of my favourite imprints. Over the last couple of years they’ve built a brilliant list of authors and titles, and to be part of it all really is a dream come true.”

Empire State will be published in January 2012, with a second superhero-themed fantasy, Seven Wonders, to follow before the end of the year too. You are so going to looooove these books.

-

Lee Harris
Editor, Angry Robot

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