Upcoming: PARIAH and PENITENT by Dan Abnett (Black Library)

AbnettD-B1-Pariah2021Back in 2012, Black Library published Pariah by Dan Abnett. The first novel to focus predominantly on Alizebeth Bequin, a beloved character from the author’s other Inquisition series — Eisenhorn and Ravenor. Fans of the series have long been waiting for the conclusion to the story, and this March Dan and Black Library are going to deliver the highly-anticipated Penitent. The first novel will also receive a new cover in the (superb) style of the new book.

Here’s the synopsis for Pariah:

In the city of Queen Mab, nothing is quite as it seems. Pariah, spy and Inquisitorial agent, Alizebeth Bequin is all of these things and yet none of them. An enigma, even to herself, she is caught between Inquisitors Gregor Eisenhorn and Gideon Ravenor, former allies now enemies who are playing a shadow game against a mysterious and deadly foe. Coveted by the Archenemy, pursued by the Inquisition, Bequin becomes embroiled in a dark plot of which she knows not her role or purpose. Helped by a disparate group of allies, she must unravel the secrets of her life and past if she is to survive a coming battle in which the line between friends and foes is fatally blurred.

AbnettD-B2-PentitentAnd, for those who have been eagerly awaiting Penitent, here’s the synopsis:

In the mysterious city of Queen Mab, the forces of light and darkness are locked in a murderous struggle for truth. The dedicated agents of the Holy Inquisition battle with their shadowy counterparts, the infamous Cognitae, to discover the encrypted identity of the enigmatic, all-powerful King in Yellow. Caught at the heart of this struggle is the pariah Alizebeth Bequin. Will she stand with the Inquisition, or with the Cognitae that raised her? And if she chooses the Inquisition, will it be the wise but ruthless Ravenor, or his rival, the denounced heretic Eisenhorn? Bequin must withstand an onslaught of angels and daemons, and even the monstrous warriors of the Traitor Legions, to unpick the greatest riddle of her life.

If you haven’t yet had the chance to read Abnett’s Inquisition fiction, both the Eisenhorn and Ravenor trilogies have bee released as omnibus editions. The new editions of Pariah and Penitent are due to be published by Black Library in early March 2021.

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Review: SATURNINE by Dan Abnett (Black Library)

AbnettD-HHSoT4-SaturnineA superb novel: action-packed, revelatory, both grand and intimate in scale.

As the traitors tighten their grip on Terra, Rogal Dorn must marshal the Imperial hosts to weather the storm. But not all of the defenders will survive the onslaught…

The Traitor Host of Horus Lupercal tightens its iron grip on the Palace of Terra, and one by one the walls and bastions begin to crumple and collapse. Rogal Dorn, Praetorian of Terra, redoubles his efforts to keep the relentless enemy at bay, but his forces are vastly outnumbered and hopelessly outgunned. Dorn simply cannot defend everything. Any chance of survival now requires sacrifice, but what battles dare he lose so that others can be won? Is there one tactical stroke, one crucial combat, that could turn the tide forever and win the war outright?

The Loyalists have their backs against the wall. Resources are fast depleting, and nobody knows the status of potential reinforcements. The Traitors are throwing everything they have — corporeal and never born — at breaking open the Imperial Palace’s walls. Primarchs Dorn and Perturabo are locked in a deadly game, trying to find chinks in the other master tactician’s plans. When one appears, both sides rush to exploit it. This is a superb novel: it packs quite a punch, drops revelations all over the place, advances the overall meta-story, and is utterly gripping. Continue reading

Quick Review: ANARCH by Dan Abnett (Black Library)

AbnettD-GG15-AnarchThe Victory Arc comes to an intense, bloody close…

‘Men of Tanith… do you want to live forever?’

On the forge world of Urdesh, the massed forces of the Imperial Crusade engage in a final bloody battle with the Archenemy commander known as the Anarch, and his elite warriors — the barbaric Sons of Sek. A victory for either side will decide more than just the fate of Urdesh… it will determine the outcome of the entire Sabbat Worlds Crusade. Ibram Gaunt — now serving at the right hand of Warmaster Macaroth – finds himself at the very heart of the struggle. His regiment, the Tanith First “Ghosts”, holds the vital key to ultimate success. But as the forces of the Imperium and Chaos square up for the final, large-scale confrontation, Gaunt discovers that the greatest threat of all may come from inside rather than out.

The previous novel in the Gaunt’s Ghosts series, The Warmaster ended with a number of cliffhangers — beloved characters’ fates were left in question, and tension on Urdesh was building towards an almighty confrontation between the Imperial and Archenemy forces. It took me a long time to get around to reading that novel, but I knew I didn’t want to wait too long before reading Anarch. I’m glad I didn’t — this is an intense end to a the series’s most recent story-arc, and it packs quite a punch. Continue reading

Quick Review: THE WARMASTER by Dan Abnett (Black Library)

AbnettD-GG-WarmasterA return to the ongoing saga of the Tanith First & Only, Gaunt’s Ghosts

Returning to the crusade’s heart after a dangerous mission, Colonel-Commissar Gaunt is thrust into intrigue while his Ghosts face a threat to their very existence.

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?

There was a seven-year gap between Salvation’s Reach and the release of The Warmaster. For some reason, despite reading each of the previous novels pretty much immediately after publication, it took me quite some time to get around to reading this 14th Gaunt’s Ghosts novel. I’m very glad I did, however, as it reminded me how much I enjoy the characters and Abnett’s writing. Another great addition to the series, I very much enjoyed this. Continue reading

Quick Review: SONS OF THE EMPEROR (Black Library)

Various-HHP-SonsOfTheEmperorAn anthology of short stories about the Primarchs

From their shadowed origins to the desperate battles that ensued when half of them rebelled against their father, the Sons of the Emperor – the vaunted primarchs – were among the greatest of humanity’s champions, warriors without peer and heroes whose deeds became legend.

From the Angel Sanguinius, who took the sole brunt of his Legion’s most brutal acts, to Vulkan, whose humanity made him unique amongst his brothers, and from dour Perturabo, architect, inventor and murderous warlord, to Horus, whose shining light was eclipsed only by the darkness that grew within his soul, this anthology covers eight of the primarchs and their greatest – or darkest – deeds.

Contents:
The Passing of Angels by John French
The Abyssal Edge by Aaron Dembski-Bowden
Mercy of the Dragon by Nick Kyme
Shadow of the Past by Gav Thorpe
The Emperor’s Architect by Guy Haley
Prince of Blood by L J Goulding
The Ancient Awaits by Graham McNeill
Misbegotten by Dan Abnett

This is a great anthology. Originally released as a special for the Black Library Weekender in 2018, it collects eight stories by some of the best authors working on the Horus Heresy series. Each of them offers something new and interesting, alternative and original impressions and glimpses of some of the Primarchs. I really enjoyed this. Continue reading

New Books (December-January)

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Featuring: Dan Abnett, Preet Bharara, James Brabazon, Robert A. Caro, JoAnn Chaney, Patrick Coleman, Liv Constantine, Jonathan de Shalit, Bret Easton Ellis, Karen Ellis, Sarah Gailey, Neil Gaiman, N.K. Jemisin, Sadie Jones, Nancy Kress, J. Barton Mitchell, Michael Moynihan, Brett Paesel, Chris Riddell, James Swallow, V.E. Schwab, Jean Edward Smith, Didrik Søderlind, Adam Stemple, David Swinson, Sam Sykes, David Szalay, Karen Thompson Walker, David Weber, Jane Yolen

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New Books (February-March)

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Featuring: Dan Abnett, Kevin J. Anderson, Melissa Caruso, John Connolly, Andrea Dunlop, Paul French, Ben Fritz, Paul Goldberg, Kristin Hannah, Jane Harper, Frank Herbert, Anthony Horowitz, Sarah A. Hoyt, Caitlín R. Kiernan, Lucas Mann, Stephen Markley, Ian McDonald, S.J. Morden, Claire North, Melissa F. Olson, Jo Piazza, Michael Redhill, Joe Mungo Reed, K.R. Richardson, Gav Thorpe, Corey J. White

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New Books (November-December)

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Featuring: Dan Abnett, Kent Anderson, K.C. Archer, Richard Baker, David Baldacci, Josiah Bancroft, Sue Burke, Alice Feeney, Leah Franqui, Stéphane Garnier, Robert Goolrick, Guy Haley, Jane Harris, Liska Jacobs, Maureen Johnson, Nick Kyme, Mario Vargas Llosa, David Mack, Sylvia Moreno-Garcia, James Patterson, Robert V.S. Redick, Christopher Reich, Josh Reynolds, Curtis Sittenfeld, Andy Weir, C.L. Werner

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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: SHATTERED LEGIONS, ed. Laurie Goulding (Black Library)

Post-Isstvan, the Shattered Legions fight back…

Driven almost to the brink of self-destruction at Isstvan V, the Iron Hands now seek vengeance for the murder of their primarch Ferrus Manus. Gathering survivors from the Raven Guard and the Salamanders aboard any vessels capable of warp travel, these Shattered Legions wage a new campaign of annihilation against the traitor forces across the galaxy – a campaign masterminded by legendary warleader Shadrak Meduson. This Horus Heresy anthology contains ten short stories by authors including Dan Abnett, Chris Wraight, John French and many more. Also, in the novella The Seventh Serpent, Graham McNeill revisits the ragtag crew of the starship Sisypheum as they are drawn into a war of subterfuge against the Alpha Legion.

Warmaster Horus’s push towards Terra has been disrupted. Following the brutal slaughter at Isstvan V, Horus and the other Traitors believed they had neutered the Raven Guard, Salamanders and Iron Hands. They were wrong. Shattered Legion is a collection of eleven stories of varying length, each chronicling actions by members of the three broken legions, as they wage their own war of vengeance on their traitorous former brothers. If you’re a Horus Heresy fan, then this is a must read.

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