Very Quick Reviews: THE BLOODIED ROSE by Danie Ware and AURIC GODS by Nick Kyle (Black Library)

Two very good books from Black Library’s first Novella Series

WareD-WH40k-TheBloodiedRoseTHE BLOODIED ROSE by Danie Ware

From the blasphemy of the fallen… Our Emperor, deliver us. At the edge of the Imperium sits the fetid jungle world of Lautis. Amidst the creeping foliage and ancient monuments, a horror is rising. From the depths of a crumbling cathedral come bloodied nightmares, intent on fulfilling their dark purpose by any means necessary. Only one thing stands in their way: the wrathful, holy fire of the Adepta Sororitas. Filled with the light of the Emperor, Sister Superior Augusta and her squad are a force to be reckoned with. They are here to purge the darkness from Lautis with prayer and bolter, and nothing will stop them. But the things that dwell in the darkness aren’t afraid. Augusta must put her trust in her Battle Sisters and lead them into the shadows of the crypts in search of the truth. Faith and fire are powerful weapons, but will they be enough to defeat the sinister powers that lurk in the deeps?

I’ve enjoyed all of Danie Ware’s Black Library fiction to date, and I’m very happy to report that The Bloodied Rose is another fantastic story. It draws on a fair few horror components to make for a sinister, grim WH40k story. The novella plays with some classic WH40k fiction tropes and styles, but updates it to incorporate some grittier elements. I really enjoyed this.

I certainly hope Ware is planning to write more Sisters of Battle stories (and others in general). Great stuff. Recommended for all fans of WH40k, and a must-read for fans of the Adeptus Sororitas.


KymeN-WH40k-AuricGodsAURIC GODS by Nick Kyme

For millennia the Adeptus Custodes have stayed true to their sworn duty – defend holy Terra and the God-Emperor to their very last breath. But when the Great Rift tears the Imperium apart, loosing tides of daemons upon mankind, they are faced with a dilemma. Should they continue to guard the Palace and the Golden Throne, or take to the stars to proactively root out the Ultimate Enemy? When Shield-Captain Cartovandis receives a mysterious distress call from the planet Vorganthian, he gathers a band of Custodians to investigate. When they arrive, they find a world in the grip of self-annihilation, overrun by Chaos cultists. In a race against time, the Custodians must find out what has happened, and hunt down those responsible, before the madness has a chance to reach its true target – something much closer to their hearts.

Tense moments, claustrophobic and intense action, and some suitably crazy Chaos shenanigans and beasties — this was a very interesting WH40k story. The story plays around with what we know about members of the Adeptus Custodes, and also what it means to leave an organization like this. (In fact, I had no idea that was even possible, before reading this.) I enjoyed seeing the Custodes differently — rather than the single-minded, utterly sure guardians of the Throne, in this story there is some uncertainty. One of the characters is not so polished. There are cracks in that golden armour, if you will.

If you’re a fan of the Custodians, and have been wondering how they operate post-Horus Heresy, then this novella is definitely recommended (as is Chris Wraight’s The Emperor’s Legion, which is climbing my TBR mountain).


Both The Bloodied Rose and Auric Gods are out now, published by Black Library. The paperback editions have now been discontinued, but they are available individually as eBooks. Both stories will appear in the forthcoming collection, Servants of the Imperium.

Also on CR: Interview with Nick Kyme (2011); Interview with Danie Ware (2013); Excerpt from Danie Ware’s Ecko Endgame

Follow the Author (Ware):Website, Goodreads, Twitter
Follow the Author (Kyme):
Website, Goodreads, Twitter

Guest Post & Excerpt: CHILDREN OF ARTIFICE by Danie Ware


Getting a character right can be tough. The concept is great — you know what you want them to do, feel, say — but somehow, you’re still struggling. And then, one day, the lights come suddenly on…

The “Man With No Face” has fascinated me for years. The actor, with no history or personality or name of their own, who can just assume any role necessary. And not just about the physical form (a la Mystique), but about assuming/creating the mental processes and emotions — becoming someone else completely. To me, it ties in with the “Gray Man” theory of urban espionage/survival; they’re the infiltrator who can hide in plain sight, so you’d never know they were there.

It’s a great concept — and it comes with so many questions. Where did they come from? How did they end up that way? Would they have a default setting? How would they train? And what about their emotional growth — they must be able to feel and understand the full range of human emotions, but also be able change them or switch them off when necessary. So how does that work? Continue reading

Excerpt: ECKO ENDGAME by Danie Ware (Titan)

WareD-3-EckoEndgameToday, we have an excerpt from Danie Ware‘s third novel, Ecko Endgame. Published by Titan Books, it’s the third volume in the author’s Ecko trilogy, a critically acclaimed blend of multiple genres. Here’s the synopsis…

Winter has come to the Varchinde – and with it, the fatal spread of the blight. The grass is dead, and the plains’ cities are falling to the loss of crops and trade.

Now, the Kas take their chance to rise from Rammouthe. Overmatched, betrayed and abandoned by his own forces, Rhan takes the ultimate gamble – he will abandon Fhaveon to lure the Kas into a final confrontation.

But the world’s memory is returning. And, as the battle rages round him, Ecko begins to realise that everything they have done has been for a purpose. If they can fit the pieces together, then they might just win the war. 

Yet, even if they do defeat the Kas, the blight is still there. And to save both the Varchinde and himself, Ecko must face the worst fear of all – the one that has come from his own world.

Read on for the first chapter… Continue reading

An Interview with DANIE WARE


Danie Ware’s debut novel, Ecko Rising was very well-received by the SFF community, when it hit shelves last year. The sequel, Ecko Burning, is dropping imminently, and it seemed like a perfect time to grill the author about her series, writing, and more…

Let’s start with an introduction: Who is Danie Ware?

I’m a single Mum, with a nine-year-old son, and I work for Forbidden Planet’s Head Office in London, handling their Social Media and event organisation. In the past, I’ve been everything from Dark Age re-enactor to kiss-a-gram girl, though the less said about that, really, the better.

Your latest novel, Ecko Burning, will be published by Titan in October. How would you introduce the novel to a potential reader? It’s the sequel to Ecko Rising – how would you pitch the series to a new reader?

They’re sardonic fantasy, a tongue-in-cheek look at the genre/s we know and love. Ecko is hard-bitten, sarcastic and foul-mouthed – he’s a cyberpunk character thrust into a fantasy world and, initially, he has a great deal to say for himself.

As time passes, however, and he learns more about the world and the people round him, he must change his mind about accepting their reality and caring for them, or the whole lot may be forfeit.


What inspired you to write the novel? And where do you draw your inspiration from in general?

The short answer to that: my friends. As kids, we shared all sorts of worlds and wackiness, and we threw genres at one another just because we could. When I started writing, I’d no idea this kind of cross-genre had ‘never been done before’ – I was just doing it because it was fun. I had no idea it would wind up being quite this interesting or controversial!

DonaldsonS-TC2-IllearthWarHow were you introduced to genre fiction?

I used to love mythology as a child – knew the basic Greek and Viking myths by heart before I was ten years old. At 13, my friend lent me Stephen Donaldson’s The Illearth War, and I was hooked from that point on.

How do you enjoy being a writer and working within the publishing industry? Do you have any specific working, writing, researching practices?

Between my son and my job, fitting it all in is pretty hard work. I have no daily wordcount, no discipline of time or desk or routine – I write where and when I can, and try not to get distracted by the evils of twitter. It’s a difficult thing, to juggle everything so that it fits and it has driven me to tearing my hair out at times… now that all three Ecko books are in, I’m looking forward to a rest!

When did you realize you wanted to be an author, and what was your first foray into writing? Do you still look back on it fondly?

I’ve written all sorts since when I was little. My first ‘proper’ story, if you like, was written when I was about 11 or 12, and it was a teenage horse story, complete with illustrations. It was absolutely bloomin’ awful.

During my twenties, I wrote upwards of 600- or 700,000 words – an original draft of the story that eventually distilled down into the Ecko books.

At thirty, I stopped writing completely – I guess life just caught me up – but I missed it like a friend and was very, very pleased when the ability and insight and compulsion came back. And the new Ecko started from there, tempered by everything I’d learned n the meantime.


What’s your opinion of the genre today, and where do you see your work fitting into it?

It doesn’t!

Having said that, though, the SF/F genre is expanding to encompass new ideas and different voices. Some publishers tend to stick to the same basic content; others are really changing the face of the industry and opening their ears and doors to all sorts of new ideas. It means that there’s something here for everyone – traditionalist and boundary breaker alike – and it makes our genre/s always a very exiting place to be!

What other projects are you working on, and what do you have currently in the pipeline?

The third Ecko book, Ecko Endgame, is now handed in and awaiting edits. As I’m probably moving house in the coming year, I’m short story girl for a while!

What are you reading at the moment (fiction, non-fiction)?

I’ve just finished Ben Aaronovitch’s Broken Homes, downloaded by mistake as I haven’t read the first three. Really enjoyed it, though I had to scrabble a bit to catch up. I walk round the Elephant and Castle every day and it was fascinating to see it brought to life.

This morning, I started Richard Morgan’s Altered Carbon, which is a book I should have read a very long time ago. And it’s awesome!


What’s something readers might be surprised to learn about you?

Ummmm… I guess I don’t keep things a secret, particularly. I was one of the first nine girls at an all-boys’ school, did ten years in Dark Age and Medieval re-enactment and had all sorts of odds and sods of jobs before eventually settling at FP.

The strangest thing may be either the kiss-a-grams (I was a lot younger then), or the fact that I worked for the Actuarial Department at Norwich Union, doing algebra, for about 18 months.

What are you most looking forward to in the next twelve months?

Honestly, I’m looking forward to my house move being over. As anyone who’s ever done it knows, it’s hugely stressful and I can’t wait for it to be done and gone. And to get back to writing the next thing!


Be sure to visit Danie Ware’s website for more information on her writing, and also follow her on Twitter.