Monthly Archives: August 2010

Grey Seer Review|Spoilers

The latest novel on my finished list is the first of the Skaven trilogy by C.L Werner, Grey Seer, and a new personal favourite for Fantasy. Chronicling the adventures of the megalomaniac, conniving and devious Skaven Grey Seer Thanquol and his trusty dullwitted sidekick Boneripper, a series of Rat Ogres that always end up dead, the series is a smash hit and brings the Skaven into the spotlight with all their cunning and ratty deceit.
The novel begins with Grey Seer Skrabritt and his Adept Kratch excavating a dangerous artefact called the Wormstone from the ruins of another Skaven Clan Warren. Kratch is able to trick Skabritt into wandering too far and awakening a Giant Rat beast that assaults their group, and provides ample distraction for Kratch to cause a cave-in that claims Skabritt and the rest of the Skaven. Then jumping to Grey Seer Thanquol who is being held captive by the Council of Thirteen for his failures in Nuln and the attempt to steal the Dwarven Airship, (see Skavenslayer and Beastslayer respectively), and is awaiting his punishment, all while devising a way to weasel out of it. Dumped into a maze Thanquol is pitted against many dangers, including warp-flame jets and a giant Skaven eating insectoid but manages to survive to be brought before the Council. Although the Arch-Plaguelord Nurglitch VII wants Thanquol dead, as Thanquol’s fame comes from slaying a rogue Plague Priest and shaming Clan Pestilens, however he is granted a final chance and a mission to go with it. Thanquol must go to the Skaven city of Under-Altdorf and investigate potential disloyalty, and to recover the Wormstone artefact for the Lords of Decay.
Arriving in Under-Altdorf, with Adept Kratch in tow, Thanquol quickly learns the extent of opulence and decadence that has allowed the Altdorf council to become corrupt, even believing themselves greater then the Lords of Decay, and Under-Altdorf to be greater then Skavenblight. Thanquol of course immediately begins scheming to turn them against each other, while the Grey Seer Thratquee sees through Thanquol in an instant, and in arrogance announces his intentions in private discussion with Thanquol.
Meanwhile in Altdorf a group of smugglers led by the Dietrich Brothers, Hans and Johann Dietrich, lead an expedition to recover smuggled goods from underground and inadvertedly stumble upon the Wormstone, believing it to be the less dangerous and very valuable Wyrdstone they steal it and those who carry it are unwittingly infected by its deadly touch. While they attempt to sell the Wormstone they draw the attention of a Wizard who fights against the Skaven threat, and the attentions of Thanquol who desires the stone. Thanquol and his ad-hoc force from the Clans Moulder, Skyre, Skab and Eshin must find the Wormstone, while Thanquol must survive the repeated attempts on his life, the countless betrayals and secret plots that are the norm of Skaven life.
The book itself is excellent. The Skaven are brought to life in all their devious glory, the self-serving motives of Skaven are their nature and the only life that is not expendable to a Skaven is his own. And the Skaven language of Queekish is very humourus and fast-paced, fitting for the Children of the Horned Rat. ‘Fast-quick flea-maggots!,’ ‘Speak-squeak faster man-things!.’ I also found Thanquol’s revulsion at the Under-Altdorf Skaven’s almost human mannerisms interesting, Thanquol considers it corruption that these Skaven use their expressions to convey emotions and consume human liquor and use human decorations and furniture stylings in their dens.
High Point: For me the portrayal of the Skaven is the high point. They are conniving, cruel, devious and supremely arrogant, and cowardly when things turn against them. Thanquol’s own arrogance costs him much and the betrayals by Kratch, Viskitt Burnfang and Skrim Grimclaw cost him even more, but such is the way of Skaven life.
Low Point: The early parts with the smugglers group and the Dietrich brothers was annoying, I was much more interested in reading more about the Skaven but the parts were essential to understanding, however they weren’t as good as the rest of the book, mainly because its humans and not Skaven.
I give Grey Seer a 8.5/10 for its excellent depiction of the Skaven, its interesting storyline and engripping characters, and the rantings of Grey Seer Thanquol are always good for a hard laugh.

Storm of Iron Review|Spoilers

Well after prolonging it for months I have finally finished Storm of Iron. Nothing against the book, its awesome, but other stuff kept coming and I kept putting it off. Having finished Hunt for Voldorius I decided to finish Storm of Iron as well.
The novel begins on Hydra Cordatus, a backwater fortress world manned by the 383rd Jouran Dragoons Regiment. A thankless duty quickly turns into a fight for survival when the Iron Warriors, led by the enigmatic Warsmith, assail the planet with their siege warfare. The Warsmith’s three captains, the blood-crazed Kroeger, the methodical and apathetic Forrix, and the young and eager Honsou, are tasked to bring down the Sepulchre and kill its defenders to a man, and to recover a secret objective that The Warsmith will not discuss, but demands be recovered intact.
The novel focuses on two viewpoints. Honsou and the Iron Warriors primarily but also shows the defenders from several viewpoints including errant Guardsmen Hawke who aids the defenders from behind enemy lines, Colonel Leonid who’s leadership is tested to the breaking point and Major Tedeski who holds the Tor Christo bastion. The Iron Warriors continue their siege tactics but with Hawke’s aid the defenders are able to bring down the entirety of the enemy’s Daemon-Engines and severely damage their Titan Legio, Legio Mortis which contains the infamous Dies Irae, responsible for bringing down the walls at the Emperor’s Palace. With the arrival of the Imperial Fists third company under Captain Eshara things look to be turning around, but the chances of victory are not guaranteed, and what secrets does the Sepulchre holds that The Warsmith demands victory so much, and that the Mechanicus would guard so fervently.
While it took me a long time to read Storm of Iron it was in no way the books own fault, it was mine. Other novels kept arriving and I put them first before Storm of Iron, but now that ive finally finished it I wish I had done so much earlier, because its a great book. Well-paced and containing an excellent depiction of the grinding engine that is siege warfare, trenches, artillery emplacements and storming actions are all found within and more with epic Titan duels and Space Marines massacring each other.
High Point: I thought that the two high points of this novel were the depictions of siege warfare, no other 40k novel has done this as well and its easy to get bogged down in semantics and grinding attrition but Graham McNeill does it expertly and delivers a fantastic experience of the Iron Warriors methods of war, rather then the lightning assaults favoured by all other marines, and the Iron Warriors method is no less deadly.
The second high point was the death of Captain Forrix. After he and a squad of Terminators assault a Warhound Titan they are able to bring it down through utilizing the open-spaces and getting close enough that it cannot unleash its guns upon them. After it topples and Forrix sprays the crew with his Storm Bolter, only for another Warhound to smash the wall down and stare Forrix down for a moment, before utterly annihilating him with all of its guns. He felt only a moment of pain and frustration before he perished.
Low Point: I felt that the Mechanicus betrayal early on in the novel was not received very accurately. What they did was treachery and grounds for immediate execution, regardless of position or affiliation, but the Guard officers act like they have to appease them and keep them sweet. And Magos Naicin, despite being a warp-touched mutant was not detected at any point in the novel, even when in the same room as an Imperial Fist Librarian. A bit odd.
I give Storm of Iron a well-deserved 8.5/10 for its depictions of siege and trench warfare, an interesting insight into the Iron Warriors and showing how Honsou became the Warsmith we all know and love. Its a shame that Kroeger and Forrix didn’t make it, but at least the Warsmith got what he wanted, eternity.


Hunt for Voldorius Review|Spoilers

The third installment of the Space Marines Battles series Hunt for Voldorius by Andy Hoare is my latest review and already a favourite of my collection for a great story, riveting characters and battles that are worthy of the sagas they earned in the book.
The book opens with the Master of the Hunt Kor’sarro Khan and his Hunters dropping onto Cernis IV, for a decade they have hunted the vile Daemon Prince Kernax Voldorius of the Alpha Legion across the galaxy and finally they have managed to run him to ground, or so they think. After chasing down the Daemon and confronting him and his Alpha Legion pawns at a promethium refinery the battle is revealed to be a trap orchestrated by Voldorius’s champion, the Alpha Legionnaire Nullus, who slays the Company Champion Brother Jhogai in a duel and flees, leaving the White Scars at the mercy of a mighty kraken released in the trap.
The White Scars are able to escape the trap however and believed to be dead by Nullus and soon after Voldorius, they re-double their efforts and track the Daemon to the planet Quintus V, where the corrupt planetary officials have welcomed Voldorius and his ilk in exchange for power. Meanwhile a lone woman, Malya L’nor is chosen by Voldorius to be his new equerry and despite her revulsion at such a task, her faith in the Emperor allows her to withstand the evils of the Daemon Prince and plot behind his back to aid the Space Marines against him.
The White Scars arrive on Quintus and are greeted by the Raven Guard 3rd Company, under Shadow-Captain Kayvaan Shrike who has been operating secretly on the planet for several weeks, and despite bad blood between their Chapters both captains agree to work with each other against the Alpha Legion. However Voldorius plots to re-create his greatest work, to reawaken the mythic Bloodtide, and once this legacy of the Dark Age of Technology is unleashed, the world of Quintus and all its people will bleed.
The battles in the book are very well-written and both chapter’s styles of combat are reflected, the Bike-mounted charges of the White Scars in tandem with the aerial assaults of the Raven Guard are both great to read and since its rare to see Space Marine bike squads it was a nice treat to see the White Scars doing what they do best.
One very interesting thing introduced is the White Scars battle-cant. Rather then broadcast what they are doing the White Scars use assortments of their own words in place of orders, while meaning the direct orders. ‘The silvered moon enshrouds the hunted,’ or ‘We hunt as the dawn-bat soars over the mountain,’ and ‘As the moon swoops,’ are examples of the intricate battle-cant that Andy Hoare has created for the White Scars. Knowledge of Chogoris and its steppes, it ways of life and its people are essential to the battle-cant and it can vary greatly from user to user. A very innoventive device for the White Scars and something to set them apart from other Space Marines.
The Bloodtide is also a very ingenious creation, rather then go down a more obvious route like a dangerous Daemon or Warp-crafted artefact, Andy Hoare has taken the creative high-ground and created a unique archeo-tech weapon from the Dark Age of Technology that stands apart from the technology of the 41st millennium and makes other devices look primitive. A nano-machine based weapon the Bloodtide is designed to infest people and upon vocal command can exsanguinate them. Use of this ancient device to bleed over a trillion innocents earned Voldorius his Daemonhood, and it is a shame that we wont see this mighty device again, but hopefully more Dark Age relics are not far off.
High Point: Three high points are present in this novel. The first is Kor’sarro Khan’s duel with Nullus on top of the wrecked Daemon-engine Ironsoul. It is here that Kor’sarro realises Nullus’s true identity as the Kagayaga, a dreaded Daemon from Chogoris’s legends that was banished 10,000 years ago by Jaghatai Khan before the coming of the Emperor. Nullus’s death by new Company Champion Kergis was fitting for a warp-spawned creature as himself and his halberd weapon was quite inventive.
The second high point was Scout-Sergeant Kholka’s single shot against Voldorius. Just as the Daemon Prince is about to inject Malya L’nor with the remnants of the Bloodtide Kholka is about to shoot her and spare her more suffering, but a single shard of rock upsets his aim and sets it on Voldorius’s wrist. One single vengeance round that destroys the plans of Kernax Voldorius and aids in the final destruction of the Bloodtide. Kholka’s deeds will be remembered as well as his death at Voldorius’s hands for a thousand centuries, and as long as a single White Scar remembers his name.
The third high point was the final duel between Kor’sarro Khan and Kernax Voldorius. Although Voldorius quickly gains the advantage Kor’sarro is able to bring down a statue of the Emperor upon Voldorius, and saves Malya L’nor from being crushed by the falling rubble. As soon as Voldorius rises he is impaled by Shadow-Captain Shrike’s Lightning Claws and forced into the remnants of the Emperor’s statue, the Master of Mankind’s blade pinning Voldorius in place, allowing Kor’sarro to behead the Daemon and end the decade long hunt.
Low Point: Though im not that good at identifying low points in a novel i’d say that the lack of fighting against the Alpha Legion was somewhat disappointing. It was mostly cultists and forced militia units that faced the Space Marines and it was not until 3/4 of the book that the Alpha Legion got involved. However the battles with them were great and I suppose that the smaller numbers of them make them even better.
I give Hunt for Voldorius a 9/10 for an engrossing story, well-constructed characters and ingenious additions to 40k lore and to the White Scars chapter as a whole. I look forward to Andy Hoare’s next work Savage Scars. And as the ending notes that one day Nullus and Kernax Voldorius would return to haunt the nightmares of man, I hope we have not seen the last of them.


The Island of Blood – Available for purchase?

I’m not sure if it’s just a mix-up on the website, or perhaps the title is legitimately available for purchase.  However, The Island of Blood is available for “purchase” on the Black Library Website.  Release date says “September 2010″ and every other book with that date is only available for ‘pre-order’.  So i’m a little confused.

Here’s the cover art for it. Kind of neat though…

I just wonder if it’s actually for sale.  I’d buy it (at 3 GBP, it’s a steal) however, my funds are extremely low until the end of the week, so no chance there.  If someone knows if this is a mistake feel free to comment.



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October POD Release – Lord of the Night

Howdy folks,

I’ve gotten wind that the Black Library will be releasing a classic title from Simon Spurrier in Print On Demand format this October.  Lord of the night will be October’s release.  Chances are there will be new cover artwork for this as well, seeing as the POD range has had some variations in its cover work.  Of course, it could just simply be a reprint of the book, which is fine as well.  My thoughts are that the original cover just don’t fit the current feel of the Night Lords (ADB, and Sullivan’s vision). 

Here’s a look at the original cover from the Black Library website:

It’s nice, but like i said, i don’t think it quite fits with the current, and probably most recognized, vision of the Night Lords.  Lord of the Night’s release is slated for October.

There is to be a Warhammer anthology released in September, but i’m still awaiting confirmation on its contents and title.  I’ll update you all when i have that information.



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Fear the Alien Review/Spoilers

The latest anthology of tales from the 41st millennium titled, appropriately, Fear the Alien arrived for me this morning and ive just finished it as I start this review.
Gardens of Tycho
The first story is titled Gardens of Tycho: A Magos Drusher Story by Dan Abnett. Set on a backwater world the story follows the unlucky Magos Biologis Valentin Drusher who is picked up by the Magistratum Martial Order Division to aid them with a serial killing case, although Drusher first assumes it is because he is supplementing his meagre Administratum earnings by teaching a small-time rackateerer’s daughter the art of water colour painting.
This was quite a good short story for its well-paced action, humourus moments and a twist ending that was quite well-done. And a brief hint to Eisenhorn with the appearance of something that readers of the series will definitely recognize.
I give Gardens of Tycho a 3.5/5, and I hope we have not seen the last of Magos Drusher.
Fear Itself
The second story Fear Itself by new Black Library writer Juliet McKenna centres around the Alnavik ‘Stone Bears’ Imperial Guard Regiment during a Tyranid invasion. The story follows Catmos, the chief surgeon, as he must patch up the wounded and send them back into the slaughter, and must also deal with the psychological scarring that many suffer from the horrors of the Hive Fleets.
This was a good stand-alone story that portrays the Tyranids quite well and gives a new and interesting Imperial Guard Regiment the Alnavik ‘Stone Bears’ that are “Hard enough to eat rocks and shit gravel!”, as the guardsmen put it. However while it was good it did not wow me, this is a solid entry but its not gonna win any awards.
I give Fear Itself a 3/5 and look forward to Juliet Mckenna’s future work.
Promethus Requiem
The third story is one that many will recognize. Yet another Salamanders short story by Nick Kyme. Prometheus Requiem is set in-between Fireborn and Firedrake and features Tsu’gan on another mission with the Firedrakes. Tsu’gan and the Firedrakes join up with another Firedrake sergeant on a mission to a Space Hulk, and face the ghosts of their pasts and must determine what enemies are real and what are false, while the true enemy stalks the shadows on the hunt.
This was quite a good short story, definitely better then the other Salamander short tales. Featuring an overlap with ADB’s The Core the appearance of Lucoryphus and his Bleeding Eyes was quite cool, especially when they tore a Firedrake apart piece by piece. Plus seeing how both stories affect each other was nice.
I give Prometheus Requiem a 4/5 and look forward to Firedrake, which I am attending Games Day solely to get it early.
Mistress Baeda’s Gift
The fourth story was a very interesting one for me. Mistress Baeda’s Gift by Braden Campbell follows the Dark Eldar Archon Malwrack as he attempts to win over, and dominate, the widow Baeda who has stolen his affections. However to win such a beauty he must dig deep into his resources and come up with the perfect gift, and that will cost more then he expects.
This was an interesting story. Rather then being set around a huge battle or a deep conspiracy it follows the daily life of a Dark Eldar, and deals with a more emotional side to the twisted kin. While not up to the standards of Anthony Reynold’s Dark Eldar, but then again what is, it was definitely enjoyable and another step towards getting the Dark Eldar the attention they deserve.
I give Mistress Baeda’s Gift a 4/5 and look forward to more Dark Eldar, we really need more of them.
Iron Inferno
The fifth story Iron Inferno by C.L Werner is a first for Black Library, the very first story written from the perspective of an Ork. The story follows Kommando Kaptain Grimruk Badtoof, a Blood Axe Ork, who has joined up with a WAAAGH! that is rampaging through the Izanagi sector and has made planetfall on the capital world Yamato. Grimruk and his Kommando’s have their mission and will carry it out, regardless of the risk. A Blood Axe knows two things. One, sometimes you’ve gotta pull out of a fight to get the job done. And two, there’s more to winning then getting killed in a big fight.
This was a very enjoyable story and contained some great Orkish moments. The PDF’s strategy was sound but I knew instantly how the Orks would react to it. They made one critical mistake, they assumed an Ork thinks like a human. The only thing that disappointed me was the total lack of Ork dialogue, the speech was never used directly. While Orkish dialect is tough we still love hearing, ‘Smash dem gitz boyz!, WAAAAGH!’.
I give Iron Inferno a solid 4.5/5.
The sixth story Sanctified written by Mark Clapham follows Magos Kaspel as he repairs the ship Sanctity after its crippling by the Necrons. However the Dark Eldar have slipped aboard and are intent on capturing the ship and taking it back to Commorragh, Kaspel must rely on his technological skills to defeat them and save the Sanctity.
This was quite a good story, and more Dark Eldar which gives me hope for their future, and was a solid entry for the anthology. The skills used by Magos Kaspel to defeat the Dark Eldar was surprising and fitting for a Mechanicus Engineseer.
I give Sanctified a 3.5/5 and look forward to Mark Clapham’s future work.
The seventh story Faces by Matthew Farrer, the writer of Shira Calpurnia was an interesting one. Set on a mining rig a group of humans have lost their identities and are acting as different people, memories that are not theirs of a great war, broken promises and hatred between brothers and sisters, are being told through their bodies. And the true actors of this epic play are returning, and do not take kindly to their roles being usurped.
This was, ill admit, a slog to get through. Its confusing at the start and seems to drag on but halfway through it starts to get a lot better and the Harlequin’s appearing at the end and retaking their masks was very entertaining. Plus it was a fun challenge to guess which roles the human’s were playing based on their words and actions.
I give Faces a 3/5 for a good story but a slow start.
The eighth story Unity by James Gilmer was a very interesting take on a xenos race. The story follows the Guard sniper Tam and the Raven Guard Gesar as they trek across a planet to escape the Tau forces hunting them. Dealing with the sting of betrayal by another regiment who have defected to the Tau. Both of these unlikely partners will see a dark side to the enigmatic Tau that show their true xenos colours.
This story was interesting because of its portrayal of the Tau and their Kroot allies. The Tau are shown to be uncaring of humanity and will gladly sacrifice them to preserve their Tau forces while preaching that their deaths are for the Greater Good. And to keep the Kroot sweet they pay them off with live prisoners and dead bodies for feeding.
I give Unity a 3.5/5 for a good story and showing the true dark side of the Tau. It was only a matter of time.
The Core
The ninth story The Core by Aaron Dembski-Bowden returns to the Night Lords in a preview of the future. Set after the upcoming novel Blood Reaver the story follows Talos who now has his own ship the Strike Cruiser Echo of Damnation and is in command of the 10th Company. Taking the advice of Tech-Priest Deltrian the Night Lords infiltrate a Space Hulk hoping to be off with much salvage and something that Deltrian wishes to harvest from the hulk of a Mechanicus craft, locked deep within the hulk. However they pick up more then they bargained for and run into an old enemy.
This is my favourite story of the anthology for obvious reasons but also because it is the first glimpse of big changes ahead for the Night Lords. The Exalted and his Atramentar are nowhere to be seen, although their fate is not confirmed, and the Covenant of Blood is gone as well. Newcomers Lucoryphus of the Bleeding Eyes, a Night Lords Raptor who is a remnant of what he once was, and Variel the Flayer, a former Red Corsairs Apothecary and an original Astral Claw. And the overlap with Prometheus Requiem by Nick Kyme was very cool.
I give The Core a 4.5/5 for an enjoyable story, a well-written overlap, and managing to entertain us and at the same time not give anything huge about Blood Reaver away. I look forward to Blood Reaver even more now, and I hope The Exalted burns.
Ambition Knows no Bounds
The tenth and final story of Fear the Alien is Ambition Knows no Bounds by Andy Hoare. Following the junior Rogue Trader Brielle as she and her team venture into an ancient tomb system to plunder and loot what they can. However once inside they face the tomb’s guardians and learn that its occupants are not as dead as they assumed.
A good story that gives us some pretty cool Necron action and shows us that ultimately, humans are greedy and stupid, and will disregard danger and the safety of others for a chance at profit. The Necron Lord was awesome and it was nice to see the traditional Necron method that I always imagined they kill people with, disintegration.
I give Ambition Knows no Bounds a 4/5 for a good story and an interesting lesson on humanity’s failings.
Overall Fear the Alien has proved to be my favourite anthology with many classic stories and fearsome xenos to threaten mankind. The Dark Eldar getting two appearances and a full short story about them is sweet and promising for their future, and the first Ork story was a success in my eyes and hopefully C.L Werner’s next work will be a Ork series, WAAAAGH! ye grots and squigs!.
I give Fear the Alien a 9/10. My next review will be Andy Hoare’s Hunt for Voldorius, this is my first full novel by Mr Hoare and features Kernax Voldorius, one of my favourite 40k characters that hadn’t been fleshed out until now. I can’t wait to start reading.


Black Library Releases "Marks of Chaos" as POD title

wow, it’s been a day of releases! I just checked up on Black Library’s “Print On Demand” page, and found that Marks of Chaos has finally been released.  I’ve known about the “future” release of it for some time now. but was waiting for actual confirmation.  Seems they’ve snuck it in there under our noses. :-) Well, here’s the cover and a link to where you can find it.


20 GBP takes it home. :)

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ADB releases cover for Blood Reaver

Happy to say that one of my best mates, Aaron Dembski-Bowden has released the cover of the second Night Lords novel today on his blog.  Titled Blood Reaver, it is sure to be a hum-dinger of a book.  If you haven’t read anything of the Night Lords or anything of Aaron’s.  Pick up the first book of the series, Soul Hunter from the TFF Booklist.  You won’t be disappointed.  I’ll post the cover art below.


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Age of Darkness

Some new artwork has just been released, Black Library has brought in the heretically good artist Neil Roberts whom has brought us the cover art for the next Horus Heresy anthology Age of Darkness, featuring Horus Lupercal himself.

All Hail Horus!

(all images copyright GW/BL)

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New Page – TFF Booklist

We’ve added a new page here on TFF.  Its a booklist that features all of the books mentioned here on The Founding Fields. 
If you are interested in purchasing any of the books that you read about here on TFF, i encourage you to buy them from our booklist shop.  Its powered by Amazon, which is generally where you can find the best price. 

As we post and discuss about more titles, you will see those titles appear in the Booklist.  You don’t have to buy them, but i encourage you to.  The percentage that we make from every purchase goes right back into TFF and its fees, as well as helping us fund our expeditions to book conventions and shows, so that we can bring you the latest news and updates from the world of Fiction.  I hope to be able to travel to a few conventions soon, as they are the best place to conduct interviews with our favorite authors.  In fact, i had the opportunity to get into the US Baltimore Gamesday for Games Workshop this year, but alas, i lacked the funds to be able to travel out that way.  It can get expensive.  But hopefully, with your help, i’ll be able to save up enough to go back next year.  I had the opportunities to get interviews lined up with each of the authors that were going to be present this year, but the numbers just didn’t work out.

So i encourage you to have a look at the TFF Booklist and purchase the books that you want.  Some of the books on the list are not available yet, but you can preorder them form the Booklist and they will be shipped to you a while before they become publicly available.  The link has been added to the bar under the header at the top of the page.   Or you can click here:  TFF Booklist.



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The Founding Fields - Blogged