Upcoming: “Slayer” by David Guymer (Black Library)

Guymer-G&F-Slayer2015(Kind of) Hot on the heels of my recent post with the details for Guymer’s Kinslayer, I’m able to share with you the details for the next Gotrek & Felix novel! I am now very behind on the series, after following it eagerly from the publication of Trollslayer (I’m not including the three anthologies that included G&F stories, as I read those quite a bit after publication). In May 2015, Black Library will publish SLAYER!* This pleases me mightily. Although, I can’t help but think it’s a little like they ran out of things to identify as the slayed, and decided to go very to-the-point with the title. Check out that big daemon in the background…

Here’s the synopsis…

With enemies on all sides and destiny calling, Felix must make a choice: to follow Gotrek into the darkness that awaits him, or to abandon his oldest friend once and for all.

For many long years, Felix Jaeger has followed the dwarf Slayer Gotrek Gurnisson across the world. Their adventures have been extraordinary, their heroic partnership the stuff of legends. Now it ends. With their friendship in tatters after a series of betrayals, the pair march south at the head of a ragtag army, intent upon driving the forces of Chaos out of the Empire and returning Felix to his wife. But Gotrek’s doom is at hand, and great powers are at work to ensure that he meets it. With enemies on all sides and destiny calling, Felix must make a choice: to follow Gotrek into the darkness that awaits him, or to abandon his oldest friend once and for all.

* This is the date listed by Simon & Schuster (Canada), at any rate. Black Library may release it sooner as an eBook or directly through their website/online store. Simon & Schuster have been a real boon for information and artwork for upcoming Black Library titles – they’re BL’s distributor in Canada, and share the information in their online catalogue way before BL shares it on their own website. I think this is something to do with North American conventions for publishing. (But that could be a load of rubbish… I just remember hearing something to that effect recently.)

Upcoming: “Kinslayer” by David Guymer (Black Library)

Guymer-G&F-KinslayerFans have been clamouring for this novel ever since they turned the final page of Nathan Long’s Zombieslayer. Finally, David Guymer brings the story of Gotrek and Felix back to the chronology begun in William King’s Trollslayer! For some reason, I’ve been unable to keep on top of the non-chronological Gotrek & Felix novels (though I do have all three of them, and really need to get myself caught up). I would like to catch up before this is released, in September 2014, but I don’t think I can make any promises.

Nevertheless, Kinslayer, the sixteenth novel in the series, is likely to be one of Black Library’s most anticipated novels of the year. And, indeed, I count myself among those who are eagerly awaiting it. I have been a fan of the series ever since King’s short stories appeared in Warhammer Armies: The Empire and various other venues. (Inferno! magazine! Anyone else read/remember that?)

Kinslayer is also getting a hardcover release, apparently, which will mark it as the first in the series to do so. Here’s the synopsis:

Once heroes and companions on the greatest of adventures, Gotrek Gurnisson and Felix Jaeger have long since gone their separate ways. Felix, married and working for the family business in Altdorf, embarks on a journey north to Kislev when he hears that an old comrade has been captured by the forces of Chaos. Reunited with Gotrek, and other old friends, Felix begins to suspect that he has embarked upon his final adventure. And in the cold north, Gotrek’s doom awaits him…

This cover also has that tantalising (for fans, anyway) tagline: “Book 1 of the Doom of Gotrek Gurnisson”. What does this mean, I wonder? Are they drawing the series to a close in the relatively-near future? Or, will this be a Marvel-esque tease that fails to deliver utterly on what it promises/portents? (See, for example, the various “deaths” of multiple Spider-Men, death of innumerable characters, the brain/consciousness switcheroos, etc…).

Artwork: “Gotrek & Felix: The Serpent Queen” by Joshua Reynolds (Black Library)

I must have said it a hundred times on the blog, now, but I really must get around to reading Josh Reynold’s Road of Skulls, his first full-length novel featuring my favourite Dwarf Slayer and human companion… In advance of that, though, I spotted the artwork for Reynolds’s next novel in the series, The Serpent Queen:

ReynoldsJ-G&F-SerpentQueen

Sorry for the low-quality image, but I wanted to share the cover anyway. It’s one of my all-time favourite fantasy series, so I’m always excited for news and more fiction (even if it does take me altogether too long to get around to reading them…). Here’s the synopsis:

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… Travelling to the mysterious south in search of a mighty death, the Slayer Gotrek Gurnisson and his human companion, Felix Jaeger, find themselves caught up in a battle between warring kingdoms. Captured by the sinister Queen Khalida and forced to do her bidding, the adventurers must brave the horrors of the sun-soaked Land of the Dead, where the dead do not rest easy.

Serpent Queen is due to be published in March/April 2014. Road of Skulls and David Guymer’s City of the Damned are available now from Black Library. In addition, the first in the series, William King’s Trollslayer, has recently been re-released as part of the Black Library Classics series – it is, in my humble opinion, a must-read.

Gotrek&Felix-AlsoAvailableNew

Upcoming: “Felix & Gotrek: City of the Damned” by David Guymer (Black Library)

Guymer-G&F-CityOfTheDamnedI’ve been reading the Felix & Gotrek series ever since the very early Games Workshop Warhammer anthologies (the first I bought was Wolf Riders). When Black Library was formed, and William King started releasing regular novels, I was very happy. Then Nathan Long took over the series, and he maintained the quality very well, taking it to the next level. Now the series seems to be more of a team-effort, with multiple short stories by different authors, and now novels by different people – this latest one by David Guymer, and also Josh Reynold’s Road of Skulls (which I really need to read… Maybe I’ll read it this coming week).

It’ll be interesting to see how these new installments add to the expanding Gotrek & Felix canon. Especially as they seem to be diverging from the timeline set out by King and Long…

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… Legend tells of the City of the Damned – a dark and forbidding place destroyed in a previous age by the wrath of Sigmar. Long have its fallen towers remained undisturbed by the people of Ostermark, but now an ancient evil stirs in the depths, gathering its strength once more. Gotrek and Felix are swept up in the crusade of Baron Gotz von Kiel to cleanse the city, and as the ruins are torn from the passage of time itself, the Slayer’s doom appears to be approaching more quickly than either of them would like.

City of the Damned will be published in September 2013.

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!)

Upcoming: “Gotrek & Felix: The Lost Tales” (Black Library)

Goulding-Gotrek&Felix-LostTalesIt should be no secret to long-time readers of the blog that I am a fan of the Gotrek & Felix fantasy series from Black Library. First conceived of and written by William King, then ably continued by Nathan Long, the series continues to grow – now with a growing roster of authors writing about the two heroes and the ever-extending cast of companions, enemies and peripheral characters.

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…

A collection of timeless tales featuring the Slayer Gotrek Gurnisson and his human companion Felix Jaeger. From the undead-ridden marshes of Hel Fenn, where an ancient evil lurks, to the court of a skaven lord in the depths of a dwarf hold, the duo face excitement, danger and intrigue at every turn.

Gotrek & Felix: The Lost Tales will be published by Black Library in August 2013. It features novellas written by Josh Reynolds, David Guymer, Jordan Ellinger,* and Frank Cavallo. The book is edited by Laurie Goulding.

* Hopefully not the one I just bought today… Don’t like doubling-up…

“Berthold’s Beard” by Joshua Reynolds (Black Library)

ReynoldsJ-BertholdsBeardA Gotrek & Felix short story

When Gotrek and Felix agree to help an impoverished nobleman reclaim his birthright, they are thrown into a battle for survival against a creature from their darkest nightmares.

Previously printed in the Black Library Weekender 2012 Saturday Anthology, Berthold’s Beard is a quick tale featuring the Dwarf Slayer and his human companion. It’s quite fun, too, indicating once again that the Gotrek & Felix franchise remains in safe hands.

Berthold’s Beard captures the tone and fun of William King’s and James Nathan Long’s G&F fiction, but does not ape their style. The story is an odd one, to be sure, but no less fun for it. It is, however, very short, which makes it rather tricky to review without spoiling everything. Our heroes have been hired by an heir to the Berthold line, to complete a legacy quest – they must travel to the ancient Berthold family country estate and return with something, by way of proving the nobleman’s heritage and therefore gaining access to the family’s vast fortunes. Sounds easy, right? Yeah, it’s really not that simple. But then, it never is when Gotrek and Felix are involved…

If you’re a fan of the series, then this short story will tide you over until you can get hold of the latest novel, Road of Skulls (out now in paperback and eBook). As I said, the series is in very safe hands, and Reynolds has faithfully recreated the fun and adventure of the previous instalments of the series. I’m really looking forward to reading his first full-length contribution (I may read it next week, we’ll see).

If you’ve never read the series, I think it’s about time you pick up either the first Omnibus paperback, or at least the Trollslayer eBook. If you’re worried because you’ve never read any Warhammer fiction, then this would also be a perfect starting point. (Many moons ago, that’s exactly what this series was for me.)

Recommended.

***

UPDATE: Apologies for getting the second author’s name wrong – it was, of course, NATHAN Long who took over from Will King.