Monthly Archives: September 2011

Fool Moon by Jim Butcher – Review [Bane of Kings]

Bane of Kings reviews the second instalment in the bestselling Dresden Files novels, Fool Moon, published by Orbit in the UK and written by Jim Butcher.
“Entertaining. Enjoyable. The Dresden Files continues with style.” ~The Founding Fields

Note: Fool Moon is the sequel to Storm Front. Although there are hardly any spoilers for Storm Front, I recommend that you read that first before you read this review. Also, there are minor, minor spoilers in this as well, just for your information.

From the Vault – The Writer’s Circle: Issue 1: "Writer’s Block" (6/’09)

Our new series “From the Vault” will showcase select articles from my supremely popular “Writer’s Circle” discussions. The goal is to help educate you on some things to help make your writing better. After the select articles are done, i’ll be doing some more Writer’s Circle discussions to bolster the already large library of articles. please enjoy!

So begins the first session of Writer’s Circle! This first weeks discussion will be on a topic that I’m sure has effected many of you in the past, and may even be bothering you right now! Its “writer’s block.”

I was browsing the pages of this months “The Writer” magazine and I stumbled upon this little letter to the editor. It pertains to the existence (or in this guys opinion, lack thereof) of the condition “writer’s block.” Here is what the letter says:

Originally Posted by Andrew Davis in “the Writer” July 2009 issue
Writer’s block

With all due respect to Lois Duncan [“5 ways to break writer's block,” April], There’s no such thing as writer’s block, and writers need to stop using this misleading, warn-out phrase.

If you are unable to write, it’s either because your characters have nothing to say, do or think, or you simply don’t have a workable idea in the drawer.

Check your plot for action that demands your characters’ attention. Check your characters for a lack of motivation to act. And if you don’t have an idea, so what? Ideas worth writing about simply happen, and they will.

Stop claiming to have this mythical, exclusive “writer’s block” disease. The problem is in your story. And if you’re between projects, take your foot off the throttle. Where is it written that you must have an idea every day of the week? Writer’s block? I don’t think so.

And this is where I would like to open the discussion. What is your stance on the theory of writers block?

Personally, I don’t really think that it exists either. Don’t get me wrong, I do have bouts of time where I am seemingly unable to get anything accomplished, however, I do always manage to get something accomplished.

What are some possible ways of combating what could be known as writer’s block? Like the man wrote in the above letter, there is always the option of checking

…your plot for action that demands your characters’ attention.

you can also,

Check your character for a lack of motivation to act.

This is a great idea, if you are in the middle of a story you are working on!

But what if you aren’t currently working on a piece of fiction right now? What if you are between ‘publications’ yet you feel compelled to get something accomplished?

Here are a few things that I like to do if I am between stories and cant think of anything specific to write about.

1.I go over my existing characters. It seems to me that there is always something that needs elaboration or clarification. Whether it be their own personal background, or just some features about them like their height, weight, personality. There is usually something that I can do to make things more complete when it comes to my characters. Not only does it sometimes turn up possible avenues for my character to travel down, it helps me get a better handle on what my character is and isn’t capable of.

2.I check over my past stories for possible continuance. If there is one thing that helps me break the ‘writer’s block’ it’s this. Reviewing my past stories almost always helps me come up with something to write about. Take my first short story I did for example. When you read At the End of All Things, you will notice that Brother-Captain Vicarus wakes up after something significant has happened. What was it that happened? Now, I’ll admit, I wasn’t that interested in writing a background piece for that short story originally. I had initially intended it to just be some sort of amnesiac occurrence and then leave it at that. There was to be no background stories at all. But what do you know, I was struck with what could be called ‘writer’s block’ one day and decided to have a look over the story once again. There were a couple of things that stood out when I read it again, and coming to my senses, I decided to start writing a background for Brother Vicarus. Of course, I did continue on with the story after At the End of All Things. I’ve written and posted the Prologue and Chapter One of my new novel, The Ghost of Iron here on Heresy-Online since then. You can find them under the link in my signature called “the Lair of the FAN FICTION KING!” So you can see, checking over your pasts stories can be a great way to find things to write about.

3.Pick up the nearest Codex! Heaven knows, if you are looking for story ideas pertaining to the 40k universe, your nearest Codex will have plenty of them. And if you’ve done any 40k gaming in the past, you’ll have a copy. Doesn’t matter which edition really. If you’re looking for something to write about, most have the same races involved. Some of the older ones have different looks about them, but generally from a fictional standpoint they are the same (basically). Check through the different race sections, especially in the rulebooks. There are plenty of special character sections that talk about how characters act, their history, some background fluff, and even some notable campaigns. Lets take a look at the newest 5th edition rulebook for an example. Page 126-129 will find you with a time-line describing ‘The Time of Ending.’ There are quips about events happening all throughout the time frame, from 744.M41 all the way to 995999.M41, each bearing a little text about what happened on those notable dates. Look here for example.

Tau fleet units strike at the shrine world of Ghola’s Hope.

Lets look at this for a second… All this thing talks about is the Tau attacking the planet…WOW! Obviously there is much more that we can do with this.

For example, what Sept has attacked Ghola’s Hope? Who was there to defend it? Were the Imperial Guard involved? What type of planet (what it looks like) is it? Were Space Marines involved? Was the attack repelled? Did the planet fall? What was the battle like? Was it just a space fleet battle? Imperial Navy? A Battle-Barge? WHAT!? As you can see, there are many things that are left unsaid with this passage. Use this to your advantage! It can be a really good idea starter. The basics are already laid out in front of you by those who wrote the codex, now all you need to do is write the story behind it! Which brings me to my next tip…

4.Create some new characters! Now that I’m in the mood to start a new story, the characters have to come next. I went to local library (of which I am an employee) and borrowed a copy of ‘The Writer’s Digest’ Character Naming Sourcebook second edition, by: Sherrilyn Kenyon. You should check it out sometime and possibly buy it. It is a fantastic book with 486 pages of names from many different cultures. I never have a hard time picking out names to use as characters. Each name puts a different picture in my head right away. I jot down the name, signifying whether or not it is a male or female character, and then move on to find more. This really gives me a good running list of characters to work with whenever I am in need when writing a story. And it also helps if you refer back to my first tip #1, “Review your existing characters.”

Hopefully this post has been of some help to you all. It has been a blast putting this together for everyone! Please let me know what you think about it.

John C. Scott, Author – Guest Blog post

Welcome to another Guest Blog post! This time around John C. Scott stops by to talk to us in-depth about his debut novel, The Legend of Adam Caine, as well as taking us on a tour of his writing process and some other tips and tricks on the subject. Please enjoy!

Hey guys!

I would imagine most of you (besides the Commissar and Bane) haven’t heard of me, but I’m a writer. Or at least, that’s what I want to be when I grow up; the fact that I’m twenty-six already has nothing to do with that, of course… nor the fact that my day job is as an industrial chef, making literally tonnes of sauces and other components for Sainsbury’s’ ready meals (for all you Brits reading this).

Anyways, I thought I’d share my thought processes on writing, or at least what I’ve learnt. I’m not just talking about specific structures and whatnot, but fiction writing in general (whether it’s short stories, novellas, full novels, or an entire series).

Istarted writing when I was thirteen during an Air Training Corpscamp. I was absolutely obsessed with Star Trek at the time, and Ihad just seen Insurrection in the cinema for my thirteenthbirthday! I wanted to see a whole new crew, and a new ship, with newenemies. But there was no chance of that happening at the time, so Iwrote one. Admittedly, it was so badly written that my current stufflooks like Dan Abnett’s work in comparison! Gotta start somewherethough, right?

Mostof my work between then and now has been fan fiction, including adozen reboots of a failed Star Trek series, a Star Wars story set afew years after the Knights of the Old Republic II game, and anImperial Guard Catachan series that featured me and my friends as thecharacters. Oh, there were also several attempts at writing aStargate spin-off novel series recently as well, lol!

But,April 2006, I was in London to watch my dad run the London Marathon(he did it in just over 5 hours –I was dead proud), and during theevening I went on the Underground train system. Whilst on one of theplatforms, myself and the rest of the passengers were asked to leavebecause of a suspicious package found at one end. And it got methinking: what would it be like if something sci-fi-y happened? Whatkind of people would be caught up in it all? What kind of personwould lead them to safety?

Andthus, Adam Logan Caine was born!

Igrew up around the military, and more specifically, the Royal MarineCommandos at RMB Chivenor in North Devon. Thus, Caine became a RoyalMarine.

Writing-wise,I didn’t plan anything for The Legend of Adam Caine (literally),beyond some brainstorming notes on a TESCO refill pad. What? I wasyoung, and hadn’t had much experience with writing… so sue me. Actually, don’t because I don’t have any money!

Planning,it turns out, is actually important, as I’ve discovered with thesequel “Ghosts of Earth”, and my other current project, “ReconOne-Five”, set in the same universe. More on that in a bit. Planning can be anything: notes on a writing pad, on a computer,anything. Essentially, the story needs to be planned out, so youknow where you are going, and remember where you’ve been. Forexample, this entry has not been planned out at all, and it sucksbecause of that (see what I did there?). It boils down to knowingwhat is happening in your story, and what is going to happen, so youcan keep track of it. If you’re like me, and the day job isexhausting, and you don’t touch your story for a while, you tend tolose track of where you are. With “Ghosts of Earth”, I typed outa small description of every individual chapter. This gave me theoption of not doing the chapters in order, and still know what neededto be done!

Naturally,planning doesn’t just cover the story, but the characterspopulating your world, as well as any new technology, places,environments, etc. Hence why sci-fi/fantasy authors are absolutelynuts… just ask my wife.

Justas a side note, if you’re married or with someone, your writing canbe helped by a loving and supportive partner, someone who willunderstand why you don’t want to go to bed just yet. Or why youhave to get up in the middle of the night to bang out a few pages.

Justa thought: why is a raven like a writing desk? Seriously, I don’tknow, and it’s been bugging me!

Inspirationis a tricky one, because all sorts of things can influence yourstory: from a conversation you overheard on the street, to somethingyou saw on television.

Asfor me, well, here are mine for The Legend of Adam Caine:
BatmanBegins -My favourite movie ever! Batman’s psyche is exploredin depth, with the idea of Bruce Wayne being obsessed with the needto bring justice to criminals in Gotham City to the point of losinghimself in the monster known as The Batman. The mind-set andtechnology involved in him becoming the Batman, including the armouritself is a big inspiration to Adam’s thinking, as well as theunusual fighting technique that he employs.

BattlestarGalactica (2003) -The first real gritty sci-fi drama ontelevision that introduced the idea of ambiguous heroes and even moreambiguous bad guys. Most importantly, though, it had insanely coolbattles in space with “realistic” effects and camera workthat gave it a news-report-feel. Oh, and Edward James Olmos asCommander/Admiral Adama was such an amazing choice!

DanAbnett -My favourite author of all time! His writing-specifically the original three Gaunt’s Ghosts novels- was whatpushed me to start writing myself! His brief but loaded descriptionsand insane attention to detail combine with an astounding ability tocreate believable characters and situations. His action scenes areso intense that you actually feel like you’re in there with the unitsfighting through the streets. I love Dan Abnett!

First& Only -The first in the Gaunt’s Ghosts series of novelsfor Black Library! First & Only was the very first Warhammer40,000 novel i had ever read, and thus started my 14-year obsessionwith futuristic frontline soldiers, not to mention with the TanithFirst & Only themselves. Still waiting for Salvation’s ReachDan…

TheFounding Omnibus -Contains my favourite novel of all time-Necropolis! Necropolis was like nothing I’d ever read, it was anamazing siege tale that showed every trooper on the frontlinefighting for the city of Vervunhive, from the offworld troops to thelocals, and the rivalry between the Tanith and the Volpone Bluebloodsthat’s been brewing since the beginning of the previous novel,Ghostmaker. The siege was incredibly detailed (with a nice little mapfor those of us who had a hard time keeping track of Dan’s placementof the action.) Necropolis also saw Gaunt finally get to show whathe was worth to the upper echelons of the Guard. All told, it is anAWESOME novel and you all should read it!

IndianaJones -One of the first films i remember watching, IndianaJones has always been up there as one of my favourite films. I lovethe films because they’re not part of some huge destiny (like LukeSkywalker or Captain Kirk) of the main character; he’s just trying toget by in a supernatural world filled with ghosts, relics, snakes andNazis. The Indy films are plain good old-fashioned fun, with no realulterior motive. Also, Harrison Ford is absolutely awesome in thefedora and leather jacket with a wry sense of humour, and thedouble-life of professor of archaeology and “Obtainer of RareArtefacts”. More, his relationship with his father ishilarious!

RichardSharpe (played by Sean Bean in the television movies) -thetitle character from Bernard Cornwell’s Sharpe series of novels setduring the Napoleonic Wars of the early nineteenth century. Sharpewas an officer raised from the ranks, something utterly unheard of inthose times. Throughout the series, Sharpe is hounded by the upperclass officers, despite his continuing success. As a hero, Sharpewas inspiring to someone like me, literally beating the odds tosurvive and thrive! Plus, Sean Bean is cool! I want that uniform ofhis!

LieutenantColonel John Sheppard (played by Joe Flanigan) -Militaryleader on Stargate Atlantis, Sheppard is a sarcy, wisecrackingspecial operations pilot. It is primarily his weapons and uniformsthat are the inspiration behind Adam’s 21st century uniforms thatkeep popping up here and there! Not to mention, his uncanny abilityto fly any craft he touches!

RononDex (played by Jason Momoa) -Definitely the physical modelfor Adam Caine, not to mention the grumpy and moody temperament! Hischoice of clothing in Stargate Atlantis is also similar to Adam’slater on in the stories. His fighting style is similar to that ofBatman’s, in that he doesn’t use any fancy flourishes or moves tokick the crap out of the enemy!

StarTrek -the movies especially, opened my eyes to sciencefiction in general. The final of the original six was a masterpiece,made just after the end of the cold war, it showed the conflictbetween the Federation and their long-time foe, the Klingons, whoreach out to the Federation for help during an ecological crisis. Ilove the film because of the rising escalation of tensions, fromKirk’s imprisonment, to his rescue, and the subsequent events leadingto the peace treaty between the two conflicting powers.

StarWars –It introduced to me a world of both destiny-boundheroes and the regular schmucks trying to get by in a harsh universe(Luke and Han respectively). It also introduced the most amazingspace battle i had ever seen at the end of the original trilogy! Theentire saga is about the fall and rise of one person: AnakinSkywalker AKA Darth Vader; how he becomes a famed hero, then his turnto the dark side, and finally his redemption in the arms of his son. I just wish Lucas had got the new trilogy right, rather than try andmake a spectacle! The idea of the future Core War is also inspiredheavily by the Star wars novel series, New Jedi Order, where an alienmenace invades the galaxy from outside.

VindicareAssassin (Warhammer 40,000) -Most definitely the inspirationfor Adam Caine’s Ghost suit, though his are green eyes! The bodygloveis based on Jes Goodwin’s Vindicare sketch from his sketchbookreleased by Games Workshop!

RoyalMarines Commando -An elite amphibious fighting force used asa rapid reaction force, they’re one of the best frontline units inthe world. The choice to make Adam Caine a Marine was an easy onesince I grew up next door to RMB Chivenor, and knew dozens of kidswith Marine parents. I got to know a lot of them, and they are theepitome of professionalism and strength. They are trained harder andlonger during basic training than any other ground unit in existence,and are tasked with some truly hard objectives. Hence, why AdamCaine is first and foremost a Royal Marine!

SpecialBoat Service (SBS) -Secretive organisation that most don’tknow a lot about (including me). They specialise in water-basedoperations, mostly covert ops, and draw many of their recruits fromthe Royal Marine Commando Brigade they are a part of, stationed at RMPoole. Like the SAS, they use stealth and ludicrously harsh trainingto achieve their usually impossible missions.

Bandof Brothers -10 hours of pure awesomeness that i got on DVD! This wasn’t so much an inspiration as it was a continuation of onefrom “Saving Private Ryan”, a graphic look at World War IIcombat, a war that happened within some of our lifetimes and showedthe grim reality of all sorts of aspects of combat. Nothing like ithad been on television before, except for a few cop shows like TheWire. It was all based on true stories as well, which made it allthe more harrowing.

Toolsof the trade can be anything you deem necessary to write the story,though my own collection is pretty standard:
Laptop-In the modern age, this is probably the most important thing tohave, as long as you have a decent word processor document! It isfaster than pen and paper, and easier to get it published, as mostpublishers and agents like things all neat and tidy and 12pt TimesNew Roman! E-mails and attachments are the norm! Joy! Although, Iobviously have two, keeping my internet and writing separate toprevent outside influences (AKA, a Trojan virus!). Oh, and don’tforget to back everything up!

Entertainment-Have a huge supply of DVDs, Blu-Rays, and XBOX games! These can actas inspiration or as something to make you laugh, cry, or get angry,and help your writing! Also, you can use them as a quick coffeebreak!

Coca-Cola-Either drink or inject directly into your veins! The sugar andcaffeine rush helps me write faster, and the ideas come thick andfast, lol! Just don’t do it too often, or you’ll end up looking likea goldfish with wide eyes and gawping mouth!

Diary-Keep one of these handy for those all-important appointments, aswell as making sure you remember what day or year it is when you comeout of your mass writing session! Also, if you become successful,you’ll need to remember stuff like signings! I would recommend apage-by-page diary, just because they have lots of space!

Penand Paper -For those of you who don’t like using a computer,or simply for writing notes, keeping track of characters, events,places, and such! Also, when you become famous (I ain’t) you can useit to write autographs!

Dictionaryand Thesaurus -Important, but at the same time useless, asyou can end up making yourself look like a prat, using words youdon’t understand yourself, or constantly checking the thesaurus forsimilar words, making it all the more ununderstandable. You could dowhat I do, and make stuff up!

Howto Write Novels Books -If you’re smart, probably saferreading one of these than listening to me babble on!

Brain-Another important thing to have, though not necessarily required tobe successful (have you seen CSI: Miami?)

ReferenceBooks -Important if you’re writing out of your comfort zone,or even if there are certain details about nebulae or spatialphenomena that you weren’t sure of!

Well,there you have it, the thought processes of a madman…

Ihope this has inspired people (or person) to go out and write forthemselves. Either that, or I’m going to have an angry mob at mydoor demanding to know who the hell I am! No wait, that’s Chard ona Saturday night!

Well,there’s a tiny kitten called Sethington Stanley nibbling my toesfor attention so I better leave you to it. Tell me what you think,or what you’re writing, or whatever! I’m on Facebook as JohnCharles Scott, and Twitter and Heresy Online as Shaven_Wookiee!

Seeyou round the Linkways!

Longlive The Founding Fields!


The Age of Ra by James Lovegrove – Book Review [Bane of Kings]


Bane of Kings reviews an interesting spin on Ancient Egypt, The Age of Ra, written by James Lovegrove, published by Solaris Books.

“A mind-blowing, adrenaline pumping read.” ~The Founding Fields

TFF Goes Mobile!

Commissar Ploss here to announce some good news for mobile users. Say you’re on the run, and *BLING! your phone goes off. It’s an email update from TFF saying we’ve got a new post up on the site. But lo, you’re on the train with naught but your phone and your trusty portable record player (i’m not the only one who still listens to 45′s right? …right?!) Well, you wont have to worry any more about waiting until you get to a computer to read our posts anymore!!! :D

That’s right! The Founding Fields has finally gone mobile. Now you can simply got to TFF on your mobile phone and read the new post. You’ll be greeted by a new slimmed-down version of our awesome site. Our mobile template is easy to navigate and even easier to read (if that’s even possible).

So now you’ll never have to go a minute without your precious book reviews. give it a try! use your mobile phone to go to TFF and check out the new mobile template. let me know if you run into problems.



Black Hand Gang by Pat Kelleher – Review [Bane of Kings]


Bane of Kings Reviews Black Hand Gang, the page-turning opener to the No Man’s World Series by author Pat Kelleher published by Abaddon Books.

“A fascinating concept that I’ve never seen done before.”~The Founding Fields.

The Red Duke by C.L. Werner – Advanced Review [Bane of Kings]

Bane of Kings reviews CL Werner’s latest Black Library Novel, The Red Duke:
The Red Duke: CL Werner
A Warhammer Heroes Novel
“Another amazing instalment from my favourite Warhammer Fantasy author.”
~The Founding Fields
Note: This is an advanced review for Black Library. The Red Duke is not released in stores until November 2011.

The Red Duke is the latest novel in the Warhammer Heroes range, produced by Black Library, and, as the series title suggests, it focuses on Heroes of the Warhammer world, making this particular series a must for any fantasy fans. We’ve had Wulfrik, Sigvald and Ludwig Schwarzhelm take starring roles in this popular series, and now it’s the Red Duke’s turn to take the stage.
Unfortunately, I don’t know as much about the Warhammer world as I do the Warhammer 40,000 universe, so I probably would have delved into the back-story of the Red Duke here. But, seeing as I’m not, I’m just going to have to give you a brief overview of the plot.
Before the Red Duke was a vampire, he was a knight, and not just any night. A noble, honourable and chivalrous knight of the realm, and he remained that way until he was betrayed, back-stabbed in battle… but, rather than die there, he was reborn – as a bloodthirsty, vicious undead monster, who undertook a long crusade of slaughter and ruin before he was eventually defeated.
And not only defeated, but entombed for all time, never to rise again. Until the witch Jacquetta seizes her chance to free the Red Duke, and a new campaign of the undead begins for the second time.
The Red Duke seems unstoppable in his madness, but then… perhaps his madness can be used against him.
Author of Brunner the Bounty Hunter, and the popular Thanquol and Boneripper Trilogy, CL Werner is perhaps, as mentioned earlier, my favourite WHFB author.
Having read the entire set Warhammer Heroes novels bar Sword of Justice by Chris Wraight, The Red Duke continues to prove why this series of standalone books is the top-tier Warhammer Fantasy series out there, even when including Gotrek and Felix, admittedly which I’ve only read the first Omnibus of.
Nonetheless, you probably want to know what makes The Red Duke great. Well, Werner manages to get the personality of the Red Duke himself just right, and not only that – but find a way to combine the past and the present of him in a way so that it doesn’t really bog down the storyline, although, saying that – I did find myself skipping a few of the flashbacks when I was in an enjoyable scene in the ‘present’.
Other than that though, the pacing is done well, with the action scenes being brutal and bloodthirsty.
Turning away from the Red Duke now, the Bretonnians provide an interesting break from the mad vampire, as their characters help let us know what’s at stake should the Red Duke win, and give us a ‘hero’ to fight against the anti-hero that is the Red Duke himself. Knights, brave sons, great swordsmen and counts are all featured in the pages of The Red Duke, and we really get to understand more about Bretonnian history in this book, and what honour means to these noble knights.
The description is pretty enthralling as well, and we really get to take a peek into the surroundings of the Old World, as much as we get to know the characters that Werner has put across for us. We get to ‘know’ everybody, from the cowardly necromancer Renar, to the Red Duke himself, and in particular, his motives, as to why he wants to pillage and conquer Bretonnia.
Revenge is perhaps, the most important theme in The Red Duke, with two characters in this novel spurred by it, one being the Duke himself, and the other I won’t mention the name of due to spoilers.
Action is enjoyable in this novel. A cavalry charge against the lines of the undead, and even the way the undead themselves fight, proves that Werner certainly does know what he’s doing. 
Rating: 8/10
Should you buy this book? Yes, if you enjoy the Bretonnians and their lore, vampires (the real kind), and possibly Warhammer Fantasy fans in general. I don’t know about if you’re a non-Warhammer fan, but The Red Duke is a good read, and should be high on your list of WHF books to get if you are one.
More Warhammer Heroes: Sword of Justice by Chris Wraight, Sword of Vengeance by Chris Wraight, Wulfrik by C.L. Werner, Sigvald by Darius Hinks
More C.L. Werner: Grey SeerTemple of the Serpent, Thanquol’s Doom, Mathias Thulmann: Witch Hunter, Brunner the Bounty Hunter. 

Where can I buy this book?

Among Thieves by Douglas Hulick – Review [Bane of Kings]

Among Thieves

Bane of Kings reviews Among Thieves, the first in the Tales of the Kin series, published by Tor Books.

“Watch out, fantasy authors. There’s a new star in the genre.”

Hammer & Bolter issue 11 – Review

Commissar Ploss here reporting in onthe latest issue of Hammer & Bolter from Black Library! Issue 11is jam-packed with some great stories. Lets kick things off shall we?
Another grand installment of the Hammer & Bolter magazine. Awesome.
~The Founding Fields

The Carrion Anthem byDavid Annandale
Ligeta. Artisticsoul of the Imperium. It’s a world so far behind the lines ofconflict, that a posting there is considered to be more of avacation. Corvus Parthamen sits brooding on bitter thoughts of gloryas he waits for his brother Gurges to grace the stage for the nightsperformance. The word is, that Guges has returned to Ligeta, after ayear abroad, with a masterpiece of wonderment and entertainment thatis sure to wow the audience. However, Corvus doesn’t have an ear formusic, he never has… That may just be saving grace…
EnterTyphus, and his daemon ship Terminus Est.Once the Carrion Lord descends upon you, there can be no escape.Drawn to Ligeta by a chance encounter amongst the starts, things areabout to get… musical?!
This story iswonderfully written by new author David Annandale. It really helps toshow how futile resistance is against the Carrion Lord and his grandpoisoning Anthem. The story moves about quite fast, but it’s allpart of the natural flow of things. You can really feel the authorknew how to write in the urgency and panic necessary for this story.
Will Corvus findthat glory which he so desires? Or will Typhus and his Carrion Anthembe the final refrain? You’ll have to find out for yourself.
Reason: it’s awonderfully written story that’s fast paced and well maneuvered.However, I found myself confused at certain sections of the story. Itfelt it could have done with a bit longer page length. All waseventually made clear, but the story could have avoided some of theconfusion with a few more pages.
The Gods Demandby Josh Reynolds
Gorthor the Beastlord stands poised to crush the city of Hergig inthe name of his gods. But the one man who stands in his way is MikaelLudenhorf, Elector of Hochland. As much as Gorthor is a stubbornbeast, so too is Ludenhorf a stubborn human! He will see all of hisblood spilled before he surrenders his city to the likes of thebeastmen.
Joshhas written a very interesting story regarding interactions betweenthe beastmen as a “race.” This tribal nature has only beenexplored so heavily in a few previous works, most recently, BrokenHonourby Robert Earl. This feels very much like that book, only shortened.Which is a good thing! To be able to pull off a novel-esque feel in ashort story is a grand skill to have. It’s engaging and really helpspull the reader in. The only disappointment I had was that the storyhad to stop! I really would like to read more of the characters inthis story, so Josh, if you’re reading this, feel free to give mesome prequels. Haha
Rating:solid 9/10.
Interview withGraham McNeil
Watch as the Inquisition peels back the layers of Graham’s psyche andpulls forth information on his upcoming projects.
Most notable mentions:
The IronWithout
The Beast ofCalth
Some other interesting topics include:
Writing aboutAdeptus Mechanicus,
Favoriteauthors and inspirations,
Titles he’scurrenly reading!
BL/non-BLbooks he wished he’d written.
A very interesting conversation covering a whole host of topics,definitely worth reading!
Phalanx (Chapter 12) byBen Counter
Ialways eagerly await the next chapter of Phalanxin each issue. It’s really a well written novel so far and thischapter is no exception. The voices of the characters really standout during their hardest trials. In chapter 12 we see the SoulDrinkers and the Imperial Fists warily join forces to decimate thegreater threat to both of their Chapters. Abraxes and his hordes ofchaos daemons stand to crush the Astartes and the Phalanx itself.
As the battle progresses we see the appearance of not one, but twoGreater Daemons of Chaos!
The chapter gets going right from the start, kicking off with somefantastic action. I have to give Ben Counter a lot of credit forwriting some really kick-butt action scenes in this one. Each bunchgets their own time to shine. From Chapter Master Vladimir andCaptain Lysander, even to Inquisitor Kolgo and his Battle Sisters. It really is a rousing read.
At the end of the chapter, in an attempt to shatter Abraxes’reinforcements, a retinue of Soul Drinkers volunteers to undertake amission down the Path of the Lost to make a strike against asuspected Warp Gate that Abraxes may have constructed. It will be arough go, and one that that Soul Drinkers need to accomplish if theyare to gain any modicum of favor back in the eyes of the ImperialFists. As such a small band of Imperial Fists and Sisters of Battleare attached to them for the journey.
Overall it’s a wonderful chapter, and I can’t wait to get reading thenext one.
ShadowKnightby Aaron Dembski-Bowden
It’sbeen stated in a couple of different forum conversations as well asposted on the Black Library website that ShadowKnightwas to be a prequel short story to Soul Hunter, and if memory serves,it can be found in a short story compilation already in print. Thoughdon’t quote me on that. Haha. It’s an interesting look at thefragments of Talos’s memory as he progresses his way through tobecome a full-fledged Astartes. From his first killing as a smallchild, we see how the ways of deceit and murder shaped Talos into thebeing that he is now.
Ashe progresses through his training as what would amount to a Scoutclass Astartes to the VIII Legion, you see the skill he alreadynaturally possesses. Then onto some of his first undertakings as amember of Tenth Company, we see how he already doesn’t feelthebattle cries he blares outwards from his helmet speakers. ForThe Emperor. He already knows it feels wrong. His intuition is strong.
On to the cleansing of a world rebellious to the Imperium, we seethat even though the inhabitants have surrendered and pledged loyaltyto the Imperium after much bloodshed, the VIII Legion fights onward,bent on eradication anyways. It’s some of the first signs of taintamongst the Legion.
Andonward until we reach the beginning of Soul Hunter. The theme isrecurring. It’s a look into the mind of Talos as his Legion fallsinto hatred for the Emperor and the Imperial Way. A very interestinglook, fragmented and imprecise. But that’s the point, isn’t it? Tosee the recollections through the eyes of the one who experiencedthem, to see the bias born through experience. An exceptional piece.One that has me already grabbing SoulHunteroff my shelf to read it again.
And thus, we have concluded Hammer and Bolter, issue 11. A wonderfulvolume filled with some very very interesting stories. It followsalong with the other 10 issues we’ve had so far in raking as some ofthe top stories to come out of Black Library this year. I eagerlyawait Issue 12.
Overallrating: 9/10Awesome!
Should you buy this one? oh yeah, Hammer and Bolter is always worth the few pounds they ask. :) Win.
Signing off,
Commissar David Ploss

Nocturne by Nick Kyme – Advanced Review [Lord of the Night]

Lord of the Night reviews the earth-shattering conclusion to the Tome of Fire trilogy, Nocturne by Nick Kyme, author of Salamander, Firedrake and the Space Marines Battles novel Fall of Damnos.

“The fires of war have erupted across Nocturne, and the anvil beckons to all her children. Loyalist and Traitor both will be tested against the cold metal of the anvil, and against it, they will be broken and cast aside or reforged in the Circle of Fire, according to Vulkan’s will.”
~The Founding Fields

Its been a hell of a ride but the Tome of Fire trilogy has ended, and what an ending it was! Salamander was the novel that got me interested in the Sons of Vulkan, Firedrake was the novel that got me hooked, and Nocturne was the book that sealed me as a Fireborn (When I’m not a Chaos God that is). I may not have read Nocturne as fast as I would have liked, but that didn’t make it any less epic.
The Salamanders are against the anvil. With the Librarian Dak’ir in chains, subject to scrutiny over an ancient prophecy that names him savior or destroyer of Nocturne and his Chapter, the Salamanders are divided over his fate. If he is a doom he must be destroyed for the greater good of Nocturne, but… what if he is their salvation through fire? And in the dark depths of space Brother Tsu’gan, believed dead by his Chapter, fights to survive on-board the Hell-Stalker, home to the traitorous Dragon Warriors. He will be tested like never before, all the while the malicious sorcerer Nihilan’s plans to bring about the death of his world are coming to fruition.
The Salamanders’s darkest hour is upon them. Their enemies are legion and possess something that could destroy them forever. But the Salamanders, and all of Mt Deathfire’s sons, are Fireborn, and if they are to die, they will die in the fires of battle in the living hell that is Nocturne! And in this cauldron of war, the future of a chapter and a warband will be decided.
The characters in this novel come to a stunning head as their stories reach the conclusion of their arc. Dak’ir and Tsu’gan take the center stage as always as Dak’ir’s destiny as the Ferro Ignis comes to a blazing crescendo, and Tsu’gan’s trials finally reach their end. But we get plenty of other point of views through the story, and entirely new ones like Val’in the aspirant through whom we see the trials that all Fireborn must go through to become a Brother; Forgemaster Argos who gives us a look at the inner workings of one of Nocturne’s most dangerous weapons; Vel’cona the and even some returning older characters like Chaplain Elysius, Librarian Pyriel and Sergeant Praetor.
The enemies are not lacking with characters who keep us fascinated with the battle. Sorcerer Nihilan is the central enemy, still wishing for nothing more then revenge, but the traitor Astartes may harbour another desire, something far worse than revenge. His Glaive warriors, Ramlek and Ekrine return, with new members Thrak’n and Nor’hak, and alongside them the Archon An’scur, and many wicked Dark Eldar at his back. The traitor Marines Malevolent return as well, with the mystery of why they are there? And just what has happened to them that they refuse to speak of?
The action of the novel is fantastic. Nocturne is a living hell, as its inhabitants so eloquently put it, and in its cauldron many battles are fought, and Nocturne does not sit them out. Magma flows, vicious scaled monsters, earthquakes and dust clouds clutter the battles, adding a new flavour to the traditional Astartes battles. After all, how often does a homeworld rally to the aid of its denizens? The diverse forces under Nihilan’s command, Kroot, Dark Eldar, Dragon Warriors and hordes of cultists makes for diverse battle, but of course we have plenty of fire from the Salamanders. Even void-warfare from the Lord of the Burning Skies Dac’tyr that is a nice contrast to the siege and running battles on the surface, and the Firedrakes finally take to battle in what all 1st Companies are known for, Terminator armour.
The pacing of the novel is great. Kyme keeps the story going for different characters, the atmosphere shifting for each one as the story shifts from Librarian, to warrior, to Apothecary, to Chaplain and to Traitor. The story never slows down as new revelations and old legacies are brought to the surface. And of course the chapters are nicely divided into two segments, each segment of an appropriate length that is easy to read and engrossing at the same time.
The ending is mind-boggling, the battle has ended, and all who fought have been broken or reforged by Vulkan’s will. But the price is high, many have fought their final battle, but new generations will rise to take the place of these heroes, and through this, the Circle of Fire never ends, but continues onwards, unending and undying. And the final cliffhanger is the best I have ever read, even the cliffhanger of Defenders of Ulthuan cannot compare to this one. The Tome of Fire is over, but the Circle of Fire has not even begun.
I give Nocturne a 9.4/10 for a fantastic story, beautiful character arcs that have come to a close, and for some it has only just begun. On a separate note I want to give a secondary score to the cliffhangar of the story, the epilogue on its own. A full 10/10 is what this epilogue deserves and nothing less, it was a fantastic way to end the series and set the stage for what comes next.
Should you buy this book? If your a Salamanders fan then you’ve already made up your mind on that one, you don’t need me telling you what to do. But for general fans who could use a reference the answer is Hell YES! This is a must-read end to a must-read series. I’ve never really felt as strongly for Loyalist marines as I have Chaos Marines, but the Salamanders series has changed that. This is definitely something that all Black Library fans should read.
“Nick Kyme is the Fireborn of authors!”
~The Founding Fields
Well that’s it for this review. My only remaining brand new BL novel is The Outcast Dead, but i’m wrestling with the decision to put it aside for now and pick up Gaunt’s Ghosts which I have seriously neglected, fething hell I never even finished Honour Guard! But until then,
Full Disclosure
The Founding Fields - Blogged