Review: THE CURSE OF KHAINE by Gav Thorpe (Black Library)

ThorpeG-TheCurseOfKhaineThe Elves prepare for the End Times…

The End Times are coming. With Naggaroth besieged by the hordes of Chaos, the Witch King Malekith makes the decision to abandon the Land of Chill and make one final attempt to seize the throne of Ulthuan. As the druchii march upon the soil of their ancestral home once again, long-laid plans come to fruition and treachery blooms, bringing Malekith closer than ever to his goal. All that stands in the Witch King’s way is the Regent of Ulthuan, Prince Tyrion, and the darkness within Malekith’s own soul, the call of the Curse of Khaine.

This was an interesting addition to the End Times story. Taking a step away from the Empire and “main” thrust of the Chaos invasion and campaign, The Curse of Khaine focuses exclusively on the actions of the High and Dark Elves (with a bit of the Wood Elves). While I didn’t enjoy it quite as much as The Return of Nagash and The Fall of Altdorf, it is nevertheless a very good, engaging novel. Continue reading

Interview with MARKUS HEITZ

HeitzM-AuthorPicLet’s start with an introduction: Who is Markus Heitz?

An ex-RPGer, old Goth, who likes living and laughing and telling stories. Many stories in many different worlds. That’s the curse of being a roleplayer (p&p) for 16 years. Now I’m writing and it’s a kind of methadone. Oh, of course, I wear black. It calms people around you – did I mention, that I am 1.89m tall?

Your latest novel, Righteous Fury, is published by Jo Fletcher Books. How would you introduce the novel to a potential reader? Is it part of a series? Is it connected to your previous novels?

When I started the Dwarves, I knew that my evil elves – called the Älfar – must have their own series. The idea of changing the perspective was very seductive for me. And, like the Emperor in Star Wars, I wanted to say to readers: come to the Dark Side. Look, we even have art and paintings and culture. Okay, we use bones and blood and other parts of our enemies, but, well, art is art. Playing the devil’s advocate was the challenge. Continue reading

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).

“Iron Night” by M.L. Brennan (Roc)

BrennanML-GV2-IronNightA second, fine mess Fortitude Scott has got himself into…

Underachieving film theory graduate and vampire Fortitude Scott may be waiting tables at a snooty restaurant run by a tyrannical chef who hates him, but the other parts of his life finally seem to be stabilizing. He’s learning how to rule the Scott family territory, hanging out more with his shapeshifting friend Suzume Hollis, and has actually found a decent roommate for once.

Until he finds his roommate’s dead body.

The Scott family cover-up machine swings into gear, but Fort is the only person trying to figure out who (or what) actually killed his friend. His hunt for a murderer leads to a creature that scares even his sociopathic family, and puts them all in deadly peril.

Keeping secrets, killing monsters, and still having to make it to work on time? Sometimes being a vampire really sucks.

The sequel to Generation V, in Iron Night, we get more of the same – which is by no means a bad thing. We get to see Fort embracing his vampire heritage a little more. Since he started going through his physical changes, he appears to have accepted that he can’t escape what he is, and as a result has stopped rebelling as much as he used to. Iron Night is a solid follow-up, complete with great character development. Continue reading

Keeping Elfy at Christmas…

WarhammerArmies-HighElves4thOver a decade-and-a-half ago(ish), I was rather addicted to reading the background sections, stories, and special character histories from the Warhammer Armies range of books published for Games Workshop’s tabletop game. They used to be considerable books, actually, before a decision was made to strip out much of the background information, army and character histories, etc. [Boo!] Because of my peripatetic upbringing, I never actually had anyone to play the game(s) with, though, despite my obvious interest in and affection for the fantasy and science fiction systems GW produced – understandably, there was only so much patience my over-worked father could have for them. So, I made up for this by devouring the books and writing Extremely Bad fan-fiction. Like, really, really bad…

Anyway, while selecting my Christmas reading for my trip to Canada, I realised something: an Elf trend. True, it’s a trend that has been broken with a massive time-gap in the middle, but one Christmas, I found Warhammer Armies: High Elves waiting for me under the tree [pictured, above]. Including this year, for the last three Christmases, I will have read William King’s Tyrion & Teclis trilogy. These two characters feature heavily in the (very well-read, now-fallen-apart) edition of WA: HE that I had, which is perhaps partly why I have enjoyed the trilogy so much.

So, I guess, this is how I keep Elfy over Christmas…

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William King’s Blood of Aenarion, Sword of Caledor and Bane of Malekith are all available now, published by Black Library. I would also strongly recommend the Gotrek & Felix series, which he created.

KingW-Tyrion&TeclisTrilogy

I apologise (only a little) for the fact that this post was, basically, all about getting to use that pun…

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.