Upcoming: “The Doom of Dragonback” by Gav Thorpe (Black Library)

Thorpe-ToL-DoomOfDragonbackThe Doom of Dragonback is the latest book in Black Library’s popular Time of Legends series. It’s never been entirely clear to me if they follow a particular chronology, like the Horus Heresy series, but I do know that I am a) really interested in a number of the titles in the series, and b) horrendously behind… (Something that is now true for oh-so-very-many series.) Gav Thorpe’s elves novels and Mike Lee’s undead novels, in particular, are high on my to-buy-and-read list.

War with the elves has ended in bloody stalemate, great quakes have broken the peaks, and the enemies of the dwarfs are rising in vast numbers. Far removed from this grief, however, are the dwarfs of Ekrund, great underground city of the Dragonback Mountains, convinced that no foe will ever breach their walls. Amongst them, the Angbok clan continues to mine their gold, until war threatens Dragonback and decisions must be made that could change their way of life forever. Whether by exile or extinction, a great doom is coming…

I found this artwork and synopsis on Simon & Schuster Canada’s website (they handle Black Library’s distribution there). The Doom of Dragonback is due for release in September 2014 (probably sooner from Black Library itself and Games Workshop stores).

Upcoming: “Master of Dragons” by Chris Wraight & “The Great Betrayal” by Nick Kyme (Black Library)

Wraight-MasterOfDragonsIt seems like Chris Wraight is having a very good, busy year. Alongside his Space Wolves and Horus Heresy work, he has a couple of Warhammer fantasy novels coming out, too. Today, I want to highlight Master of Dragons, part of the Time of Legends series, which is due to be published by Black Library in November 2013. Here’s the synopsis…

The epic war between dwarfs and elves continues.

For millennia, the elves of Ulthuan and the dwarfs of the mountain realm have been friends and allies. Now that time is over and the War of Vengeance has begun. Prince Imladrik, master of dragons and Ulthuan’s finest warrior, is ordered to leave his beloved homeland and lead his host in a war he does not believe in. Facing the fury of the dwarfs, the jealousy of his brother and the ever-present threat of Malekith’s dark elves, Imladrik must balance his love for his wife and home with the thrill of battle.

I’ve read a fair bit of Wraight’s work, now, and I’m really looking forward to this novel. After all: dragons! I really must catch up with his Space Wolf novels, too (Blood of Asaheim and the upcoming Stormcaller – both of which I’ll post about tomorrow)… If you want a taste of his work with the High Elves, be sure to check out his novella, Dragonmage.

Kyme-WoV1-GreatBetrayal2I think the novel is a sequel (of sorts) to Nick Kyme’s The Great Betrayal, which is also getting a re-issue in the same month. Here’s the synopsis for that novel…

The war between dwarfs and elves that shaped the Warhammer world begins.

Thousands of years before the rise of men, the dwarfs and elves are stalwart allies and enjoy an era of unrivalled peace and prosperity. But when dwarf trading caravans are attacked and their merchants slain, the elves are accused of betrayal. Quick to condemn the people of Ulthuan as traitors, the mountain lords nevertheless try to prevent conflict, but the elves’ arrogance undoes any chance of reconciliation and war is inevitable. At the city of Tor Alessi a vast army stands against the dwarfs. Here Snorri Halfhand, son of the High King of the dwarfs, will meet his destiny against the elven King Caledor as the first blow is struck in a conflict that could bring about the fall of two great civilisations.

Gotrek & Felix: “The Reckoning” by Jordan Ellinger (Black Library)

Ellinger-G&F-TheReckoningA Novella from the Upcoming Gotrek & Felix: Lost Tales

Gotrek and Felix: unsung heroes of the Empire, or nothing more than common thieves and murderers? The truth perhaps lies somewhere in between, and depends entirely upon whom you ask… Summoned back to Barak Varr by the outraged King Grundadrakk, the pair discover that a terrible crime has been committed – the dwarfen hold’s Book of Grudges has been stolen, right out of its sealed vault. Given that his own name appears upon its fading pages, Gotrek is honour-bound to join an expedition to recover the ancient tome. How far will the trail lead, and just what manner of individual would seek to rob the dwarfs of their vengeful legacy

I’m not a fan of buying novellas individually if they will be released later in a collected anthology, but when The Reckoning was released, I really fancied a short dip back into the Warhammer setting with my two favourite characters. And luckily, this story is really rather good.

To be honest, The Reckoning didn’t start too well, as the captain of the Dorabella was given a bit of a cliché accent. (The Dorabella is the ship on which our heroes are fleeing a mob intent on capturing them for… something they may or may not have done.) The story is set twenty years since the Window Tax Riots in Altdorf, the event that resulted in Gotrek and Felix’s first encounter – and, as can happen from time-to-time, after much alcohol resulted in Felix pledging to write Gotrek’s epic.

A group of heavily armoured Dwarfs attack the Dorabella, board it and apprehend our much-put-upon heroes. Apparently, Gotrek committed a crime before leaving Barak Varr (which he visited on his way to the Slayer Shrine to make his oath).

The best thing about this novella is the amount of detail it adds to Gotrek’s back-story. We learn a little more of his life pre-slayerdom. For example, I don’t remember knowing before this that he was a master engineer (it’s entirely possible I just forgot – there have been quite a lot of novels, now…).

“Where are we going?”

Gotrek’s single eye glittered. “To Barak Varr. I want to see for myself how these fools let someone into my vault.”

After examining the vault, Gotrek, Felix and their Dwarven captors recognise that there’s something else entirely going on, and so they descend into the tunnels below Barak Varr. As is so often the case with Gotrek and Felix, they are in pursuit of the mischievous and malicious Skaven, who have apparently stolen something very dear to the Dwarfs. We don’t really get to know the new dwarf characters as well as I would have liked, but it is by no means much of a problem – the action comes fast and often, and the story moves along at a good clip. The Skaven they are after are also an interesting, Goulding-Gotrek&Felix-LostTalesunique bunch, and I think Ellinger’s done a great job writing a new spin on the neverending war between the rat-kin and Dwarfs. (I won’t spoil what it is, but it’s well-written and executed.)

The Reckoning reminded me of the early Gotrek & Felix short stories, and particularly those found in Trollslayer. The atmosphere, the tight prose, and the sword-axe-and-sorcery fun. It was, therefore, very enjoyable and a most welcome addition to the series.

Overall, then, this is a really good novella, and I’m now really looking forward to reading the other three in Gotrek & Felix: The Lost Tales, which will be published in August 2013. I really don’t know why I’m still taking so long to read Josh Reynolds’s Gotrek & Felix: Road of Skulls novel… (Soon!)