Monthly Archives: April 2011

Embedded by Dan Abnett – Review [Bane of Kings]

Embedded

Bane of Kings reviews Embedded, written by Dan Abnett and published by Angry Robot Books.

“Abnett’s ability to create amazing adventures in any setting makes him a king among Science-Fiction authors… Embedded blazes along with fast-paced action, engaging story, charismatic characters and twists that will leave you stunned! Buy it!” ~The Founding Fields

Blood Reaver by Aaron Dembski-Bowden – Advanced Review [LotN]

Lord of the Night reviews the thrilling second novel in the Night Lords series by Aaron Dembski-Bowden, Blood Reaver.
“Dire straits! With old enemies as allies and new allies they must betray, the 10th Company face their darkest hour thus far. Just surviving may no longer be enough… now they must win.”
~The Founding Fields

(Note: This is an advanced review of Blood Reaver. It is scheduled for release in May 2011.)
The Night Lords are back and better than ever, though their situation is far worse. ADB has only further improved the Night Lords with traditions age old and elements new and fierce. ADB is a king with the Astartes, particularly the Chaos Astartes, he has given them depth and made them not only likeable, but sympathetic. Its very easy to root for the Sons of the sunless world, (awesome title), even over the heroes of the Imperium that they tear down with bolter and blade and claw. And of course the human element is never neglected, I didn’t think it was possible but ADB has actually written a not only convincing, but rather interesting, love story into the darkest depths of 40k.
The 10th Company is facing the abyss. With barely any supplies remaining, the Covenant of Blood just waiting for one more component failure, and Claws killing each other in the pitch black halls, the Night Lords are given an interesting opportunity. Allied with the Red Corsairs, both sides having little love for each other, they are given a chance to wage war their way. But the true fight still awaits the Night Lords, to retake what was stolen from them, and to salvage their dying legion they must look to the future, rather than wallow in the past. But whom can they trust and whom can they call enemy, in this battle when foes may be allies and brothers are enemies.
This is a hell of a novel, already cutting its way into my favorites. I was very surprised by several events in the novel, namely what First Claw is shown when they arrive at Hell’s Iris, what Talos learns at the novel’s end and by the void warrior’s ultimate revenge. ADB may not focus on the battle but that only makes the novel better, focusing on the Eighth Legion and what is driving them forward, and tearing them apart, as they sail the stars in their never ending war, just trying to survive. And one mystery is resolved in this novel, the fate of Secondus, the slave whose death Talos refuses to speak of.
The characters that ADB made us love in Soul Hunter return in Blood Reaver, even better than before. We take a look at what drives the other members of First Claw, chiefly Uzas whom we see to be a far deeper character than anybody, including myself, suspected. Xarl, Mercutian and Cyrion all return, and we of course get more humor from the most latter, including another “So… how are you?” moment, it was quite a good laugh. We gain more of Talos’s world view, and see what seems to be the defining belief of the Night Lords legion from the others, in direct contrast to Talos’s beliefs. And as the prophet of the Eighth Legion grows we see his past, which was surprisingly warm, and only makes a scene in Soul Hunter all the more tragic, I do hope we’ll see a continuance of that scene in the future. And with new characters added to the mix like the half-crazed Lucoryphus, who has some really great moments, particularly his scene near the end of the novel, and the Apothecary Variel the Flayer, who is quite frankly sheer detached coolness, and the most bad-ass Apothecary in Black Library.
The human element of the story is always present. Septimus and Octavia return and we see how their positions fare now that things are growing darker for the legion. Octavia struggles with her new charge, the Covenant of Blood, that rebels against her at every chance, while the life of a heretic is beginning to affect Septimus as he commits acts that while ensuring the legion’s future, make him finally doubt the life he has been cast into. ADB has created a very interesting and unique story in 40k with these two characters, and the ending of the novel only makes it more interesting as we see what might be coming. And of course the scene somewhere in the later middle when Septimus, Octavia, Nonus and Hound are confronted by a legionnaire is surprising, and very impressive for them. I will watch their story with great interest.
One particular character that drew my eye is the Tyrant himself, Huron Blackheart. ADB has given us an interesting take on the Red Corsairs’s lord and master, a wretch of a creature constantly in pain from wounds suffered centuries ago, and barely kept together by extensive machinery. Yet his tactical genius is unharmed and he reminded me of a younger Abaddon, but more aware of the troops under his command, the courtesies he must pay and the prizes he seeks. One day the Blackheart may rival the Despoiler, that will be something to see, and if they should ever ally to each other.. the Imperium would bleed.
The action is very well done, the Night Lords finally get to wage war their own way and it shows in the terror inducing, fast paced and lightning stealth that the Night Lords favor, but the carnage isn’t left behind as they get plenty of chances to vent their rage and bloodlust on the enemy, and we get to see some of the methods the legion uses to inspire fear in the enemy, some of which are quite inventive. And the Bleeding Eyes are a joy to read as they scurry across walls and ceilings in their unique method of combat, it was like the Alien if it were armored in adamantium and ceramite.
The pacing of the novel is very good. ADB doesn’t slow down as he keeps giving us hits and quotes worthy of a lexicon entry. The story proceeds on and on and never slows down, I only put this book down to take a break from reading so that I could process what I had read. We get to see more and more POV’s in the story and they blend very well together, only adding to the story and quality of the novel.
The ending is ominous to say the very least, the future is always in flux and we know that prophets can be wrong, but they can also be right… the third novel is going to be a bloody affair, wrought with treachery and heresy. But the coming novel Void Stalker will definitely be a not-to-miss book, I’m already envisioning it.
I give Blood Reaver a grand total score of 10/10. The story is grand, the old characters are still complex and likable despite being renegades, the new characters are interesting and cool and in some cases quite funny, the surprises are shocking and game-changing, the battles are epic and one in particular stuck out in my mind as historic, and the ending is tense and only makes you want to read the next novel even more. And yet despite taking place in the shadow of the Fall of Vilamus, the battle that rages within the Eighth Legion is far more gripping and exciting.
Should you buy this book? The answer is yes. This is a must-read for all Black Library fans, hell the Night Lords trilogy is a series that I would recommend even to those who aren’t fans of BL, they are a very great read.
Next for me is the Heresy Anthology Age of Darkness, its gonna be a good read.

Age of Darkness: Edited by Christan Dunn – Advanced Review [Bane of Kings]

Age-of-Darkness

Bane of Kings reviews Age of Darkness, a Horus Heresy short story collection containing works from Graham McNeill, James Swallow, Nick Kyme, John French, Chris Wraight, Gav Thorpe, Dan Abnett, Rob Sanders and Aaron Dembski-Bowden. Published by Black Library. It is also the Sixteenth novel in the bestselling multi-author Horus Heresy series.

“There’s no better way to kick start a new arc of the Horus Heresy series with an anthology, especially when it’s an exceptionally good one.” ~The Founding Fields

 

Blood Reaver by Aaron-Dembski Bowden – Advanced Review [Bane of Kings]

Blood-Reaver

Bane of Kings reviews the second novel in the Night Lords trilogy, written by Aaron Dembski Bowden and published by Black Library

“The Night Lords return in another fantastic novel.” ~The Founding Fields

Angel by L.A Weatherly – Review [Lord of the Night]

Lord of the Night reviews the supernatural Angel by L.A Weatherly.
“Angels are beautiful, but deadly. The celestial beings that many adore are parasites that drain the life from humans. We are at war, and we are losing. But there may be one last hope, a hope that by all rights, shouldn’t exist at all.”
When I first saw this novel I was fascinated by the caption at the bottom, it seemed very interesting and after reading a little bit about the novel I bought it. It was a very smart purchase. This is a quality novel, and a future trilogy or more, a great supernatural adventure and an enjoyable love story at that. If your a fan of the supernatural, and are sick of the vampire-hype like I am, this is a novel you should seriously consider.
When the young girl Willow Fields, who is considered the queen of weird at her school and is psychic, performs a reading on a girl from her class she sees two futures, both horrible and without hope but discovers the cause. An angel that has visited her friend, and somehow ruined her life. Soon her life takes a dramatic turn when she is rescued from an angel attack by the AK, Angel Killer, Alex who discovers that Willow is far more than what she appears to be. With the malevolent Church of Angels on their tail the unlikely pair flee, but the angels are still coming and humanity’s last hope rests on the shoulders of a girl whose powers should not exist.
The characters in this novel are few in number but are very interesting. The two protagonists, Willow Fields and Alex, are the focus of the story as they travel across America on their journey. Both of these characters have interesting pasts that come up across the story either through supporting characters or memories that hint at something greater. Their growth as characters is very enjoyable to read and you can really sympathize with them.
The supporting characters are, though not as prominent as Willow and Alex, very fun to read. Raziel the head of the Church of Angels’ branch that will usher in a new age is a fascinating character, he is an angel and yet the exact opposite of what they are pictured as by humans. Jonah his assistant whose faith is tested as he begins to learn the truth, and the former AK Cully who shows us just how grim humanity’s situation has become.
The antagonists, the angels, are portrayed in a new light. They are cruel, parasitic predators that are slowly turning earth into their own world, and making humans their willing slaves. Angels have never been shown like this before, and yet their can even be some sympathy for them, but to know why you’ll need to read the novel.
The action is sparse through the novel, the focus is more the journey, but there are a few fighting scenes and they are quite well done. Alex is adept at killing angels and the ease that he does it in the novels shows just how strong he is, and when Willow joins in the fight becomes a whole new affair.
The pacing of the story, taking place over many weeks, is quite well done. I was engaged by this novel, read over a three day period, and I never felt rushed by it, or felt that the novel was slowing. The author does a good job of keeping the reader interested by changing it up between character points-of-views and by keeping the adventure going.
The ending was quite surprising, and when you read it you’ll see why, I wasn’t expecting how part of the ending went down but it was still very cool and made me anticipate the sequel even more. Things may be bad but the ending gives hope that humanity still has a chance to save itself, it won’t be easy but theres still hope that the angels can be stopped.
I give Angel a 9/10 for a great story, well-written characters and creating one of the most interesting depictions angels in fiction, this is a great novel and has become one of my most anticipated series. The series will be continued with Angel Fire later this year, and it will definitely be on my pre-order list, even though its more than a few months away I can’t wait for it.
Should you buy this book? If your a fan of the supernatural, and enjoy books that don’t rely on fight scenes to tell a good story, then I would recommend this book. Its a great read and tells a story that you’ll very much like, characters that you’ll be rooting for and is the beginning of a trilogy that I think could make many best-seller charts.
Sadly it’ll be a while before Angel Fire is released so I have to wait, next up for me is Dresden Files Changes. Hells Bells!

37th Annual Origins Award Finalists

Hey everyone. Just something you should all be interested in seeing. One of the books i’m reviewing has just been nominated for the Origins Award! Mark H. Walker’s novel, World at War: Revelations has been nominated for “Best Game-Related Publication”. see for yourself! You may recognize some other titles as well. :o)

The Academy of Adventure Gaming Arts and Design has announced the nominees for the 37th Annual Origins Awards. The winners in each category will be determined by the votes of attendees at the Origins Game Fair, which will be held in Columbus, Ohio, June 22nd-June 25th. The winners will be announced and the Calliope statues presented on the evening Saturday, June 25th.
The nominees were chosen by hobby game retailers attending the GAMA Trade Show in March from a short list in each category prepared by a jury of hobby game professionals and knowledgeable enthusiasts.
The complete list of the 37th Annual Origin Awards finalists:
Best Roleplaying Game

DC Adventures - Green Ronin Publishing
Designer: Steve Kenson
Dragon Age, Set 1 – Green Ronin Publishing
Designer: Chris Pramas
The Dresden Files RPG  - Evil Hat Productions
Designers: Leonard Balsera, Jim Butcher, Genevieve Cogman, Robert Donoghue, Fred Hicks, Kenneth Hite, Ryan Macklin, Chad Underkoffler, Clark Valentine
Fiasco - Bully Pulpit Games
Designer: Jason Morningstar
Gamma World RPG – Wizards of the Coast
Designers: Rich Baker, Bruce Cordell
Best Roleplaying Supplement

A Song of Ice and Fire Campaign Guide (A Song of Ice and Fire RPG)  - Green Ronin Publishing
Designers: David Chart, Joshua Frost, Brian Kirby, Jon Leitheusser, Anthony Pryor, Robert J. Schwalb, Owen K.C. Stephens
The Dresden Files: Our World (The Dresden Files RPG) – Evil Hat Productions
Designers: Leonard Balsera, Jim Butcher, Genevieve Cogman, Robert Donoghue, Fred Hicks, Kenneth Hite, Ryan Macklin, Chad Underkoffler, Clark Valentine
Advanced Player’s Guide (Pathfinder RPG) – Paizo Publishing
Designers: Judy Bauer, Jason Bulmahn, Christopher Carey, James Jacobs, Steve Kenson, Hal Maclean, Rob McCreary, Erik Mona, Jason Nelson, Stephen Radney-MacFarland, Sean K. Reynolds, F. Wesley Schneider, Owen K.C. Stephens, Lisa Stevens, James L. Sutter, Russ Taylor, Vic Wertz
Sixth World Almanac (Shadowrun RPG)- Catalyst Game Labs
Designers: Jason Hardy, John Heifers, John Dunn
Sunward: The Inner System (Eclipse Phase RPG) – Posthuman Studios
Designers: Rob Boyle, Brian Cross, Adam Jury
Best Board Game

Castle Ravenloft – Wizards of the Coast
Designer: Bil Slaviciek, Mike Mearls
Defenders of the Realm – Eagle Games
Designer: Richard Launius
Fresco – Queen Games
Designer: Wolfgang Panning, Marco Ruskowski, Marcel Süßelbeck
Lords of Vegas – Mayfair Games
Designer: James Ernest, Mike Selinker
Nuns on the Run – Mayfair Games
Designer: Fréderic Moyersoen
Best Traditional Card Game

Ascension: Chronicle of the Godslayer – Gary Games
Designer: Justin Gary
Back to the Future: The Card Game – Looney Labs, Inc.
Designer: Andrew Looney
Hecho – Glowfly Games
Designers: Brian Knudsen, Brent Knudsen
Hex Hex XL – Smirk & Dagger Games
Designers: Curt Covert, Justin Brunetto
Railways of the World: The Card Game – Eagle Games
Designer: James Eastham, Steve Ellis
Best Family, Party or Children’s Game

Ligretto Dice – Playroom Entertainment
Designers: Inka Brand, Markus Brand
Telestrations – USAopoly, Inc.
Designer: USAopoly
Wits and Wagers Family Edition – North Star Games
Designer: Dominic Crapuchettes
Word on the Street Junior - Out of the Box Publishing
Designer: Jack Degnan
Zombie Dice – Steve Jackson Games
Designer: Steve Jackson
Best Gaming Accessory

Color Primer: Dragon Red - The Army Painter
Designer: Bo Penstoft, Jonas Faering
Adventurers Tiles – Battle Bunker Games
Designer: Tony Ironmonger, Daniel Hinkle 
Battlefield XP Swamp Tufts – The Army Painter
Designer: Bo Penstoft, Jonas Faering
Cthulhu Dice Bag  - Steve Jackson Games
Designer: Alex Fernandez
BattleTech Hex Pack: Lakes & Rivers – Catalyst Game Labs
Designer: Randall N. Bills
Best Miniatures Rules

Adventures in the Lost Lands – Two Hour Wargames
Designer: Ed Teixeira
BattleTech Technical Readout: 3085 – Catalyst Game Labs
Designer: Joel Bancroft-Conners
DC HeroClix Blackest Knight Starter Game – WizKids/NECA
Designers: Eric Engelhard, Jake Theis, Norman Barth, Drew Nolosco
Hordes: Primal MK2 – Privateer Press
Designer: Matt Wilson
MERCS Games Rule – MERCS Miniatures, LLC
Designer: Brian Shotton
Best Historical Board Game

Warlords of Europe – GameBuilders
Designers: Ken Griffin, Kyle Battle, Russ Rupe
Conflict of Heroes: Price of Honour Poland 1939 – Academy Games
Designer: Uwe Eickect
Catan Histories – Settlers of America: Trails to Rails – Mayfair Games
Designer: Klaus Teuber
Panzer General: Allied Assault – Petroglyph Games, Inc.
Designers: Chuck Kroegel, George Chastain
Best Game-Related Publication

No Quarter Magazine  - Privateer Press
Editors: Matt Wilson, Aeryn Redel, Privateer Press
Hamlet’s Hit Points – Gameplaywright
Author: Robin Laws
Family Games: The 100 Best – Green Ronin Publishing
Editor: James Lowder
Shadowrun: Spells and Chrome – Catalyst Game Labs
Editor: John Helfers
World at War: Revelation – Lock ‘n Load Publishing
Author: Mark H. Walker

Author Interview – Dan Abnett (AdeptiCon 2011)

Well everyone. I’m pleased to say that i got the chance to sit down with one of my good friends and fellow author/writer/nerd/thespian/intellectual/hitman/john-wayne-enthusiast, Dan Abnett. :o) I met up with him at the AdeptiCon convention in Chicago this year. We had a blast the entire weekend, and together with our mutual friend Nathan Long, created quite a few memorable moments which i will remember forever. cheers to that!  Anywho, i got the chance to sit with him and ask him a few questions over a relaxed and entertaining lunch. Please enjoy the video. It’s 45 minutes long, so i would prepare a pot of tea.

CP

Black Library News – April 2011

Hello again, my faithful readers. :) I’ve got the scoop for you this month on the news and noteworthy from Black Library.  It’s hosted in google docs, so all you have to do now is just click the link and be taken right too it.

cheers!
CP

Author Interview – Nathan Long (AdeptiCon 2011)

So this past weekend at AdeptiCon 2011, down in Lombard, Illinois i got a chance to sit down with a good friend of mine, Nathan Long and chat about a few things. We’d spent the weekend bullshitting the days away with Dan Abnett as well, and it was only last minute before he had to catch his plane back home, that i got a chance to sit down with him all serious like. well, more or less procrastination on my part, but i still got the chance to talk to him about some upcoming projects and other such things, here, check it out!

The audio isn’t as great as i wanted, since we’re in the hallway… but either way, you should be turning this one up anyways!!!

Commissar Ploss

you can buy Bloodborn, or preorder Bloodforged, below.
 

Bloodforged Competition!

My good friend Nathan Long, author for the Black Library, and creator of the astounding Ulrika the Vampire series is having a contest to help celebrate the release of his latest book, Bloodforged.  There are prizes and everything!!!


here’s the details, straight form his site, i’m entering, you might as well too: (http://sabrepunk.com/?p=855)

To celebrate the upcoming release of the second Ulrika book, Bloodforged, I have decided to hold a double contest. Here’s how it works. I am looking for the best Ulrika artwork and best Ulrika miniature conversion, and I will be giving out cool prizes to the winners and runners up in both categories.
Both art and miniatures should represent Ulrika, armed and dangerous, as described in Bloodborn or Bloodforged and shown on the covers. There should be no nudity or excessive violence (this is a family show) but the rest is at your discretion.
The contest will run from now until Monday, May 30th 2011, and I will announce the winners a week later on Monday, June 6th, which is right between the US and UK Bloodforged release dates.
I reserve the right to post all entries, whether winners or losers, on my blog, but make no guarantees that I will show any of them. Enter at your own risk.
Here are the details for each contest:

Art Contest

The medium can be anything you want, pen, pencil, paint, digital, even sculpture or photography. It can be a pin-up, portrait, action scene, comic story, etc. Whatever you want, as long as it features Ulrika. Please DO NOT send original works. Send jpgs of the work to my gmail address and make sure they’re not too big. 700×450 pixels is about right. The decision of the judges (me) is final.

Miniature Contest

The medium is a standard 28mm miniature figure, converted and painted to look like Ulrika. If you want to go nuts and make a diorama, be my guest, but a single figure will be fine. As with the art contest, DO NOT send the actual miniatures. Send jpgs of the finished pieces to my gmail address and make sure they’re not too big. 700×450 pixels is about right. The decision of the judges (me) is final.

Prizes

Prizes for both contests are as follows:
First Prize is a signed copy of Bloodforged PLUS a print of the Bloodforged cover art signed by me and the artist, Winona Nelson.
Two runners up will each receive a signed copy of Bloodforged.
There you go. Any questions, send an e-mail. Good luck and get started. I can’t wait to see what you come up with.
And no, Winona, you can’t enter….

CP

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