Monthly Archives: August 2011

The Coming of the Terraphiles by Michael Moorcock – Review [Bane of Kings]


Bane of Kings reviews The Coming of the Terraphiles, a Doctor Who novel by Michael Moorcock published by BBC Books

“A humour-filled galactic adventure. Top notch-stuff.” ~The Founding Fields

The Red Duke by C.L Werner – Advanced Review [Lord of the Night]

Lord of the Night reviews the latest Warhammer Heroes novel, The Red Duke by C.L Werner, author of the Thanquol and Boneripper series, Brunner the Bounty Hunter and Matthias Thulmann: Witch Hunter.
“The Red Duke is a nightmare on the lands of Bretonnia, a fae tale that is told to disobedient children and scared peasants around the campfire. But there is more to the tale than simply a hero and a villain, in fact the roles may very well be the other way around.”
~The Founding Fields

Yet another novel down, and this one is a smash. The Red Duke is a great story of heroism, betrayal and revenge from beyond death. But of course things are never so clear when you deal with the troubles of the past as this novel so clearly demonstrates. C.L Werner has surpassed Wulfrik in this latest Warhammer Heroes outing, as we get a story with a hero who is a monstrous villain, and yet still sympathetic.
The story of the Red Duke is a mysterious one. Nobody can remember who he was, only what he became and the cruel deeds that made him a figure of dread throughout Bretonnia. Some say he died at Ceren Field, on the lance of King Louis the Righteous and the rays of the sun. Some say he returned 500 years later and was slain finally at Ceren Field, both times his army scattered and destroyed, burnt so as to never return to the living world. But the truth is far worse, as the Duke still haunts the shadows of Bretonnia, and he will tell us the truth of what happened all those years ago. The truth of heroes and villains, of monsters and magic, and of honour and betrayal.
A good cast of characters lends weight to the tale but the Red Duke stands heads and shoulders above them all. Once a great general who fought for honour and justice, loved by his family and his wife, the greatest swordsman of Aquitaine and respected even by his enemies, the Duke is now a cruel tyrant, trapped in memories of the past, reliving his cruelties that make even the Skaven and Dark Elves look kind, because even death is not an escape from the Duke’s clutches. But behind his madness lurks the mind of an extraordinary tactician and a fearless swordsman who was never bested in life.
But the Duke is not alone in the narrative. Supporting characters from the knights Leuthere D’Elbiq and Count Ergon Du Maisne on their quest for revenge and atonement, the damsel Iselda who aids them with the powers of the Lady, and on the Duke’s side the necromancer Renar whose advice may be the key to the Duke’s triumph over Bretonnia. These characters are well written and we see just how important honour is to a Bretonnian through Leuthere and Ergon, and a very dark side to Bretonnia is illuminated through this.
The best action of this series comes from the threat of the undead. There’s plenty of sword battles, displays of powerful magic and no Bretonnian novel would be complete without a knightly cavalry charge, lances tearing into the enemy and the thunderbeat of hooves. But the fearless forces of the undead meet all of these without pause, fighting from the will of their master and the unlife infused into them. But we also see the weaknesses of the undead, and while they are a potent force, they are far from the perfect warrior.
The pacing of the story is very good. Each chapter begins with a flashback to the Duke’s past, this keeps the narrative ordered as the story doesn’t break into flashbacks randomly but rather keeps an ordered pace as each flashback links with the others to reveal what truly happened five-hundred years ago. The atmosphere really feels like a vampire movie, you can just picture the Red Duke in black and white as he regales us with the tale of his rise and fall. And the story moves at an ideal pace, keeping the reader interested the whole way through by switching narratives from past to present.
The ending of the story is a great one, both amazing and disappointing, not for quality I assure you! But for the actions of characters who such hopes were placed upon. We see that a Bretonnian values honour, but the value they place on honour is so great that any pragmatic or practical man would be utterly horrified at their folly. And the Duke still stalks the shadows, where he is bound and what he will do are a mystery, but for now all that matters is that we know the truth of what happened so many years ago.
I give The Red Duke a 8.7/10 for a gripping story, characters who enthral you with their stories, and a hero who may have been relatively unknown before this, but hopefully soon will become as well known to readers as Nagash, Malekith and Archaon. And all the while we see just how bad Bretonnia was, is, and always will be.
Should you buy this book? Any fan of Bretonnia (If there are any) will enjoy this novel, as will any fan of the Undead and the Vampire Counts. But for general fans of Warhammer its another question. But the answer is the same. Yes, I think this is the best of the Warhammer Heroes novels yet and any fan of Warhammer will definitely enjoy The Red Duke.
Well that’s it for Fantasy and C.L Werner for now, the latter more than the former sadly as I must wait for Dead Winter but not for Black Library. Next up is Nocturne and The Outcast Dead, the former of which I will be starting today. Until then,

Salvation’s Reach by Dan Abnett – Advanced Review [Bane of Kings]

Bane of Kings reviews Salvation’s Reach, the latest Gaunt’s Ghosts novel, published by Black Library and written by Dan Abnett.
“Possibly the best outing for Gaunt and his Ghosts yet.” ~The Founding Fields

Officially Noticed!

Yes that’s right, The Founding Fields has been officially noticed by Black Library, and quoted.

Using our Commissar Ploss’s quote from his review of Salvation’s Reachin their latest blog article, this is the first step by The Founding Fields in being widely recognized.

“This book is bloody brilliant!”
~The Founding Fields

Simple but awesome.

Lord of the Night

Red & Black by James Swallow – Advanced Review [Lord of the Night]

Lord of the Night reviews the Sisters of Battle audio-novel Red & Black by James Swallow, author of Faith and Fire and Hammer and Anvil in the Sisters of Battle series and the New York Times Best-Selling Author of Nemesis.

“The Sisters of Battle are an uncompromising force. Aliens, mutants and heretics must all burn in the fires of the God-Emperor. But when Sister Miriya travels to the planet Hollos her faith will be tested like never before. For what can they do when the worshippers of the God-Emperor, are more-than or less-than human?”
~The Founding Fields
(Note: This is an advanced review of Red & Black. It is scheduled for release in October 2011.)

The Sisters of Battle series continues with an audio-novel that gives us a short but enjoyable story with a complex moral dilemma that only the 41st millennium can give. Jim Swallow has written quite a good short story here, and the audio aspect only makes it better as you can feel the devotion of the Sisters, and the sadness that lies within the ending.
Sister Miriya, a Celestian elite of the Sisters of Battle is called by her Prioris to examine a prisoner taken from the warp-stormed world of Hollos, now freed from its isolation. Miriya is given her mission, to evaluate Hollos and determine whether it must be welcomed back to the Imperium with joy and the bonds of faith, or whether the ultimate sanction is called for. With her squad, the Magos Biologis Questo Nolan and the Hollosian envoy Rho, Miriya travels into a world of mysteries and lies that refused to be answered. But the greatest mystery must be answered or Hollos will burn. Have the Hollosians kept their faith?
The characters in the audio-novel are quite good. Sister Miriya and her squad provide the Ecclesiarchal view of the story, and Miriya proves surprisingly likeable for a Sister of Battle. Her devotion and faith are unquestionable, but she is willing to look at a situation and look for alternate solutions to simply burning the place down. Questo Nolan is not delved into deeply, though i’ll admit his voice-acting is simply fantastic, but his scene at the end shows that the most human of the group, is in fact the cyborg.
The action of the novel is quite simple with some good combat scenes thrown in, but these are few as the audio-novel is mainly dedicated to the mystery of Hollos.
The pacing is quite good as the audio-novel moves at an appropriate pace, the narration shifting from one scene to another at the right moments and providing the gravity and drama of the situation with vocal tones and background music.
The voice-acting is quite good, Sister Mirya and Rho’s voices being fitting. However I felt it was Rho and Questo Nolan who had the best voices, Rho’s clearly showed her nature and at the end I felt her voice genuinely reflected her situation and the tragedy of the ending. And Nolan’s was very Mechanicus, deep, buzzing and machine-like, and the appropriate use of words and phrases of the Mechanicus only made him more believable.
The ending is a sad one, reminding us that sacrifice is required for humanity to endure. And yet its always the innocent of the faithful who must pay the price while the warriors endure. Questo Nolan and Miriya provide an interesting question, is that sacrifice always worth it?
I give Red & Black a 6.7/10, a solid story with some good moments and a tragic ending that really provokes some feeling in the listener. Its not the greatest audio-novel I’ve listened to, that is Throne of Lies, but it was enjoyable and perhaps i’ll listen to it again one day.
Should you buy this novel? If you like the Sisters of Battle then yes you should. If you want a good audio-novel then I would say yes as well. But if your looking for a war-torn novel that oozes carnage, then this isn’t for you. Red & Black is more of a mystery story than a battle one, and thus only listeners interested in mystery should consider purchasing this audio-novel.
That’s it for now. Next up for me will be The Red Duke and Nocturne, then after them The Outcast Dead. Look forward to those reviews people, until then…

Thanquol’s Doom by C.L Werner – Advanced Review [Lord of the Night]

Lord of the Night reviews the third novel in the Thanquol and Boneripper series, Thanquol’s Doom.

“Grey Seer Thanquol, mightiest of the mighty, dread-terrible overlord of underearth and Prophet of the Horned Rat returns to match his undefeatable brain against the Dwarves. But has the smart-genius Thanquol met his match in the infamous Ikit Claw and his infernal machines?”
~The Founding Fields

(Note: This is an advanced review of Thanquol’s Doom. It is scheduled for release in October 2011.)

Thanquol is back and meaner than ever in his latest adventure that sees him go against the ancient enemy of all Skaven. The Dwarves. C.L Werner has really made Thanquol his own through this series, Thanquol has become so much more than just a special character in the game. He’s a villain that many yearn to see in the novels, very few villains can ever gain their own series and Thanquol is without a doubt the best of them.
Fresh from his unlikely success in Lustria Thanquol returns to Skavenblight through trickery, betrayal and by breaking yet another of his hasty oaths to himself. But the Horned Rat does not allow rest as Thanquol is shanghaied, first by Warlock-Engineer Kaskitt Steelgrin into robbing a Warlord of Clan Mors while he assaults a Dwarven stronghold! And then by Seerlord Kritislik into joining the drug-addled Grey Seer Skraekual into a secret mission, the secret Thanquol is not privy too, while robbing Mors. But when Ikit Claw usurps control of the army for his own purposes Thanquol finds himself caught between the violent war-rats of Mors and the insane tinker-rats of Skryre. It will take all his cunning, brutality, magic, his new undying servant Boneripper (Whom all Army Book readers will recognize as Thanquol’s signature robotic Boneripper), and a pinch of warp-snuff to survive this, especially when old enemies conspire to doom the malevolent Thanquol once and for all.
Thanquol is as nasty and hilarious as ever in his latest adventure. All readers of this series and of G&F should know what to expect from the great Thanquol! After all, he is the greatest of all Skaven, the chosen of the Horned One, he who will usher in the ascendancy and who can crush any enemy from the lowliest clanrat to the mightiest Dwarven slayer… at least that’s what runs through his head a lot. With Boneripper by his side, there’s nothing he can’t accomplish… until the warp-snuff clears his head.
A plethora of great characters make their debuts in the novel, and their final appearances as well. Most notably we have the legendary Ikit Claw who serves as the antagonist of the novel and makes a great impression, as the mechanical Dr Frankenstein of the Skaven. Ikit is mad, even by Skaven standards, and gives Thanquol the greatest challenge he’s had since Gotrek and Felix tried to kill him. Grey Seer Skraekual, a drug-addicted fawn-whelp, plays a big role as he leads Thanquol on a quest to recover something that will decide the fate of the entire Skaven campaign. And another character makes a big appearance later on, but I won’t spoil who it is… suffice to say that I enjoyed this character endlessly and I pray he and Thanquol cross paths again.
And the Dwarves aren’t lacking for interesting characters. The innovative Klarek Bronzehammer is the leading Dwarf point of view, and with his Iron Throng consisting of the veteran Horgar Horgarsson, the young Runepriest Kurgaz Brightfinger, the doctor Kimril and the hunter Thorlek, he is prepared to doom Thanquol, or doom himself trying. And the Slayer Mordin Grimstone gives yet another crazed Dwarf-thing who wants Thanquol dead, at least this one doesn’t have a man-thing tagging along.
And an old enemy returns to pay Thanquol a visit, I won’t spoil it as its extremely surprising, but I doubt we or Thanquol have seen the last of this enemy.
The action of the novel is packed with Skaven tactics and warfare. Leaders who fight in the traditional position, in the rear ranks. Massed rushes of half-naked, or fully-naked (An important distinction), Skavenslaves into the enemy, and plenty of warped Clan Skryre machines and tinker-toys to massacre the Dwarf-things, when they function properly. Dwarves fighting Skaven underground is the sort of stuff both army books are filled with, and we finally get to read a real battle between this subterranean enemies. Expect lots of carnage, overpowered magic blasts, and some surprising battles near the finale.
The pacing is well written. The atmosphere of the novel shifts with Thanquol, when he exults in his incredible power its hard not to feel empowered along with him, and when he realises he’s in way over his horns the reader feels the need to shrink down and start mindlessly praising the Skaven with the larger weapon. The humour in the series is as grand as ever, anyone who doesn’t laugh while reading this novel just doesn’t have a sense of humour. Thanquol is a rare character whose both menacing, evil and yet can make the reader laugh repeatedly and consistently. One of my particular favourites is a scene involving Thanquol, a slave-dealer, and a pirate crew and their barge-scow, and Thanquol’s utterly laughable interior monologue.
The ending is an interesting one. The Dwarves are a strong people but its clear that in the long-run, its not the Skaven who will destroy them, its the Dwarves themselves. Their inability to make progress into the future is what will drive them to extinction, not the Children of the Horned Rat. And of course Thanquol is alone again, and poor which is even worse! But one way or another, he’s getting some warpstone before he slinks back to Skavenblight.
I give Thanquol’s Doom an 9.2/10 for another great misadventure for Thanquol and Boneripper. These two make a fantastic pair, Thanquol’s megolomaniacal genius and Boneripper’s dull unquestioning loyalty.
Should you buy this book? If your a fan of Skaven then I would definitely say yes. This is the premier Skaven series, but any fan of Fantasy should be willing to give the series a try. And if you want a book you can enjoy and laugh at, then Thanquol’s Doom is definitely for you.
That’s it for this novel. Next up is Red & Black, but I very much look forward to Thanquol’s next adventure, he may be poor and in deep trouble, yet again, at the end of the novel but I’m sure he’ll find a way to blame it all on somebody else.

The Outcast Dead by Graham McNeill – Advanced Review [Bane of Kings]


Bane of Kings reviews The Outcast Dead, a novel published by Black Library and written by Graham McNeill, and is part of the multi-author, New York Times bestselling Horus Heresy series.

Exploring inner workings of the Astropaths for the first time in the Horus Heresy, The Outcast Dead reminds us again why Graham McNeill is one of the better Black Library authors.” ~The Founding Fields

Podcasting, Cawky, Overlords and Giggling

Yes, it’s an odd title. But some of you may know why each word is significant.  I’ll break it down for those of you who dont know.

Podcasting: I’ve done guest features on some different podcasts for a while now. But my favorite, and the one i’ve done the most with, is The Overlords Podcast. I’ve done multiple interviews with them, and they even announce some news that pops up here every once and a while, significant book reviews, giveaways, etc. They’re TFF’s official podcast.  Anyways, I’ve sat down again with Dagmire (who’s as smooth as smooth jazz) along with another friend/colleague of mine (we’ll get to her in a moment) for a new segment that is going to feature on the Overlords podcast.
The working title is, “The Magic of Post Production” since we couldn’t think of a title, and we were sure that would be taken care of ‘in post-production.’ So it seemed fitting.  It’s an expose on writing and being a writer. That’s as much as we’ve got settled. lol We’ve recorded the first segment “The Beginning” already this past Wednesday. Look for it in the next episode from The Overlords. get it on your iTunes, it’s worth it. :) If nothing else, then get it so you can hear my voice. My Voice = Sultry.

Cawky: Refers to the wonderful miss Sarah Cawkwell. Friend, colleague, and subject of many of my nerdgasms these past months. She knows why.   But! she’s guest-starring in this podcast segment with me. We’re the ‘experts’ so it’s been a blast just doing this first part with her. :o) Follow her Twitter ramblins with @Pyroriffic. And be sure to check out her forum for Black Library fans. More on her later.

Overlords: see: Podcasting, above.

Giggling: the effect of one-too-many friends, one-too-many naughty comments, and a three-way Skype chat on the subject of writing. Much giggling ensued. I love my friends. :o)

so, that’s it, keep an eye out for that new segment in the next episode of the Overlords podcast. cheers!

Commissar Ploss

Luke Skywalker and the Shadows of Mindor by Matthew Stover – Review [Bane of Kings]


Bane of Kings reviews Luke Skywalker and the Shadows of Mindor, written by Matthew Stover, a Star Wars novel.

“A kick-ass action novel that’s almost as good as the films themselves.” ~The Founding Fields

Debris by Jo Anderton – Advanced Review [Bane of Kings]


Bane of Kings reviews Debris, the first novel in the Veiled Worlds series, published by Angry Robot books and written by Jo Anderton.

“Jo Anderton takes centre stage with style. An original, unmissable, unputdownable novel with fantastic cover art.~The Founding Fields