Interview with JOSHUA REYNOLDS

ReynoldsJ-AuthorPicLet’s start with an introduction: Who is Joshua Reynolds?

I’m a freelance writer and semi-professional monster movie enthusiast. I’ve had around twenty odd novels published, and around two hundred or so short stories, over the past decade, since I began my career. Which is a lot, now that I think about it.

You’ve got a few novels coming out this year, so I thought I’d split this interview into sci-fi and fantasy.

Sounds good!

Black Library recently published Fulgrim, your latest contribution to the Horus Heresy series. In December, your second Fabius Bile novel, Clonelord is also due out. Both focus on the Emperor’s Children traitor legion. How did you approach the two novels, and were there any challenges to addressing the same Legion during different eras?

Not really. It was mostly a matter of building on the work of authors like Graham McNeill, Aaron Dembski-Bowden, James Swallow and Nick Kyme regarding the characters. I tend to approach all work in a shared universe – whatever universe it happens to be – the same way: I like to make sure that what I’m working on slots neatly into the meta-story set out by others, while still going in the direction I want it to go. Why write tie-in fiction, if you’re not going to tie-in to anything, after all? Continue reading

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Upcoming: THE WARMASTER by Dan Abnett (Black Library)

AbnettD-GG-WarmasterThe Warmaster, the long-awaited fourteenth novel in Dan Abnett‘s Gaunt’s Ghosts series will soon be available! The series that did a hell of a lot to kickstart Black Library’s WH40k fiction range, not to mention establish so many norms and elements of the WH40k fictional universe. I’ve read all of the novels so far, and I’m interested to see what it will be like returning to the characters after so long. (It feels like an age since the last novel, 2011’s Salvation’s Reach.) Anyway, here’s the synopsis:

The Tanith First dispatched to defend the forge world of Urdesh against the armies of Anarch Sek.

After the success of their desperate mission to Salvation’s Reach, Colonel-Commissar Gaunt and the Tanith First race to the strategically vital forge world of Urdesh, besieged by the brutal armies of Anarch Sek. However, there may be more at stake than just a planet. The Imperial forces have made an attempt to divide and conquer their enemy, but with Warmaster Macaroth himself commanding the Urdesh campaign, it is possible that the Archenemy assault has a different purpose – to decapitate the Imperial command structure with a single blow. Has the Warmaster allowed himself to become an unwitting target? And can Gaunt’s Ghosts possibly defend him against the assembled killers and war machines of Chaos?

The Warmaster is due to be published by Black Library in December.

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Quick Review: MEPHISTON — BLOOD OF SANGUINIUS by Darius Hinks (Black Library)

An interesting, action-packed WH40k novel

The shrine world of Divinatus Prime has become lost to the light of the Astronomican and no ship can piece its veil. Only the Lord of Death himself, Blood Angels Chief Librarian Mephiston, has any hope of discerning the fate of this once pious world. After enacting a powerful blood ritual, Mephiston and an honour guard of his fellow Blood Angels reach the stricken shrine world to find it seized by religious civil war. Each faction fights for dominance of a potent artefact, the Blade Petrific, said to be wrought by the Emperor Himself. Yet there is more at work here than a mere ideological schism, for Mephiston believes Divinatus Prime could offer answers to how he became the Lord of Death, he who resisted the Black Rage, and possibly even a way to end the curse of ‘the Flaw’ in all Blood Angels.

It’s been quite some time since I last read something by Darius Hinks. I enjoyed what little of his work I have read (of particular note: Razumov’s Tomb and Sigvald). I’ve also recently been reading and enjoying a fair number of BL’s Space Marine Heroes/Legends novels. The Blood Angels have always been of interest, but never as much as the mysterious Dark Angels, or Norse/viking-inspired Space Wolves. This changed after I read Guy Haley’s Dante and James Swallow’s Fear to Tread. And so, when I learned that Hinks was writing his own Blood Angels novel, Blood of Sanguinius, my interest was piqued.

Continue reading

Quick Review: CITY OF SECRETS by Nick Horth (Black Library)

HorthN-AoS-CityOfSecretsA fast-paced Warhammer novel with a classic feel

Excelsis is the city of secrets, a grand and imposing bastion of civilisation in the savage Realm of Beasts. Within its winding streets and shadowy back alleys, merchants deal in raw prophecy mined from an ancient fragment of the World That Was, and even the poorest man may earn a glimpse of the future. Yet not all such prophecies can be trusted. When Corporal Armand Callis of the city guard stumbles upon a dark secret, he finds himself on the run from his former comrades, framed for a crime he did not commit. Only the Witch Hunter Hanniver Toll knows the truth of his innocence. Together the pair must race against time to save Excelsis from a cataclysm that would drown the city in madness and fear.

I’ve been reading fiction based on Games Workshop’s IPs for a very long time. One of the classic themes or premises of early fiction set in the Warhammer fantasy setting was that of a Chaos conspiracy in an Empire city or town. City of Secrets offers a well-composed spin on this trope, albeit set in the Age of Sigmar — a time when Chaos won, and dominates the majority of the world. Continue reading

Quick Review: CASSIUS by Ben Counter (Black Library)

CounterB-CassiusA fast-paced, action-packed introduction to the Ultramarines

When a tyranid hive fleet is detected dangerously close to the Sol system, two entire companies of Ultramarines are sent to find and destroy the aliens. Led by their legendary Chaplain, Cassius, the Ultramarines must stop the tyranids, no matter what the cost. With typical bravery, courage and honour, the Ultramarines set about their task, but faced with impossible odds, and Cassius’s impetuous nature, victory is far from certain.

Another novel in Black Library’s Space Marines: Legends series, it turns our focus on Chaplain Cassius: a dedicated, single-minded champion of the Codex and Imperial mission. This is a pretty interesting introduction to the Ultramarines, a Chapter known for its rigid adherence to rules, and less-than-stellar sense of humour. Continue reading

Review: BLACK LEGION by Aaron Dembski-Bowden (Black Library)

DembskiBowdenA-A2-BlackLegionThe long-awaited sequel to The Talon of Horus

Ezekyle Abaddon and his warlords strive to bind the newborn Black Legion together under threat of destruction. Now Khayon, as Abaddon’s most-trusted assassin, is tasked with ending the threat of Thagus Daravek, the self-proclaimed Lord of Hosts — a rival to the Ezekyle’s final fate. Fighting the vile whispers of the Dark Gods within his mind, Abaddon turns a fevered gaze back to the Imperium, where his destiny awaits. Yet the Emperor’s Champion and his Black Templars stand guard at the gates of Hell, and Sigismund has waited centuries to face Abaddon in battle.

Aaron Dembski-Bowden is one of my favourite sci-fi authors. His work for Black Library has been, for the main, outstanding — especially the Night Lords trilogy, The First Heretic and Betrayer. He hasn’t been writing at the same pace as many of his peers at BL, but each of his new novels is met with quite some fanfare. Despite something of a wobble with his previous novel, The Emperor of Mankind (part of the Horus Heresy series), Black Legion sees him returning to form quite nicely. The sequel to The Talon of Horus, and picking up the story a short while after that novel, it’s a short novel, but one that manages to pack in quite a bit of story. I enjoyed this. Continue reading

Review: AHRIMAN: UNCHANGED by John French (Black Library)

Ahriman’s reaches the end of his journey, and executes his second Rubric…

It has taken many long years and countless sacrifices, but finally Ahriman, former Chief Librarian of the Thousand Sons, now exile and sorcerer, is ready to attempt the most audacious and daring feat of his long life. His quest for knowledge and power has all been for one purpose, and he would now see that purpose fulfilled. His goal? Nothing less than undoing his greatest failure and reversing the Rubric that damned his Legion…

This is the final book in John French’s Ahriman trilogy, and it is epic. If you’re a fan of the Thousand Sons legion, in WH40k or in the Horus Heresy series, then this trilogy is a must read. Ahriman: Unchanged details the culmination of Ahriman’s long quest to fix the damage he wrought with his first Rubric. He faces a long journey home, multiple forces arrayed against him, and potentially the wrath of his father… Overall, this is a fantastic conclusion, and I very much enjoyed it. Continue reading