Quick Review: INVOCATIONS by Various (Black Library)

WarhammerHorror-InvocationsReturn to the dark places of the worlds of Warhammer for a new anthology of sinister stories that dive into the arcane, the unexpected and the downright terrifying.

An Imperial Priest extracts a monstrous confession; a widower embarks on a doomed pilgrimage; a witch hunter returns to the place of his nightmares… Invocations is Black Library’s second Warhammer Horror anthology, featuring more short stories set in the chilling hellscape of the 41st Millennium and the arcane gloom of the Mortal Realms. From the whispering corridors of an abandoned medicae facility to the shrieking dungeons of ghostly castles, this collection of sinister stories further explores the unspeakable evil haunting in the worlds of Warhammer.

An interesting, engaging collection of horror and suspense fiction, set in the Warhammer science fiction and fantasy worlds. Atmospheric, creepy, and featuring varied protagonists, this is a solid anthology. I enjoyed it. Continue reading

Quick Review: GHOULSLAYER by Darius Hinks (Black Library)

HinksD-Gotrek-GhoulslayerGotrek continues his journey in the unfamiliar Age of Sigmar

In the bleak, haunted underworld of Shyish, a vengeful Slayer seeks the Lord of Undeath. Gotrek Gurnisson returns, his oaths now ashes alongside the world-that-was, his fury undiminished. Branded with the Master Rune of Grimnir, the God that betrayed him, and joined by Maleneth Witchblade, a former Daughter of Khaine turned agent of the Order of Azyr, the hunt has taken them far and wide through the Realm of Death. Will Gotrek find a path to the Undying King or will the underworlds claim him as their own?

Gotrek returns in his first new full-length novel set in the Age of Sigmar. Now in the care of author Darius Hinks (the third author to write the character since the End Times), the irascible, possibly divine dwarf slayer is determined to take down Nagash. To do that, he must venture to Shyish, the realm of the dead… A fun novel, with plenty of action and character development. Continue reading

Quick Review: GODS & MORTALS (Black Library)

Various-Gods&MortalsAn anthology of Age of Sigmar short fiction, which serves very well as an introduction

For too long, the Mortal Realms have suffered under Chaos’ twisted crusade. Tainted lands writhe in agony and once great cities lie in ruins, the hopes of their people extinguished. But the storm winds rise. Sigmar’s greatest creation, the Stormcast Eternals, strike with His vengeance. Their lightning drives the darkness away and their thunder drowns out the screams of the Foul Gods’ acolytes as they fall to sword and halberd. The sons and daughters of the storm know they cannot fail. For now is the time where the fate of a world will be decided. Where Gods and mortals must rise and fight, or face their final damnation.

CONTENTS
The Dance of the Skulls & Obsidian by David Annandale
Blacktalon: Hunting Shadows by Andy Clark
Vault of Souls by Evan Dicken
Bear Eater, Force of Personality, Gods’ Gift & The Hardest Word by David Guymer
Pantheon by Guy Haley
Callis & Toll: The Old Ways by Nick Horth
Pilgrim’s Trial by Robbie MacNiven
Auction of Blood, Eight Lamentations: The Tainted Axe, The Library of Forgotten Moments, Order of the Fly: Tourney of Fate & The Road of Blades by Josh Reynolds
Gravesend Gold & The Witch Takers by C L Werner

The Age of Sigmar is a pretty massive fantasy setting, one that continues to grow. It could be a bit daunting to find a way into it. If you are looking for a way in, this is a substantial collection of short fiction may be your best bet. Including stories featuring some established characters, as well as touching upon many of the myriad facets of the Mortal Realms, reading Gods & Mortals will give readers a nice, broad glimpse of the Age of Sigmar. Continue reading

Quick Reviews: THE BONE DESERT by Robbie MacNiven & ONE, UNTENDED by David Guymer (Black Library)

MacNivenR-AoSG-BoneDesertTwo short Age of Sigmar outings for Gotrek Gurnisson, my favourite dwarf…

The world that Gotrek Gurnisson knew is long dead, alongside every soul the legendary monster slayer once cared for. Adrift in this curious new age, the duardin scours the treacherous Bone Desert in search of the axe he inherited from the God Grimnir, which too has been lost to the annals of time.

When a series of assassination attempts strike, Gotrek and his aelf companion Maleneth soon learn that it is not only the wasteland’s ravenous beasts and sinking sands that hunger for their flesh. The heroic duardin is certain these highly calculated and creative attacks are the work of his infamous nemesis – the skaven, Thanquol. But is all as it seems?

As I’m sure I’ve mentioned a couple of times (at least) on CR, I’ve been reading about the exploits of Gotrek Gurnisson for decades. I first stumbled across his adventures, alongside his human companion Felix Jaegar, in the Warhammer Armies books. Then, William King and others’ novels that I still return to whenever I feel like a fantasy-comfort-read. With the demise of the Old World, and the shift to the Age of Sigmar, the venerable dwarf returns! Continue reading

Upcoming: DRACHENFELS and GENEVIEVE UNDEAD by Kim Newman (Black Library)

newmank-g1-drachenfelsLater this year, Black Library is due to re-issue (for the second time) two classic novels set in the Warhammer world (pre-Age of Sigmar): Drachenfels and Genevieve Undead by Kim Newman. Originally published under the pseudonym Jack Yeovil, I read and thoroughly enjoyed both of these novels back in the 1990s. The new covers are fantastic, and I just wanted to share them on CR. If you’re a fan of the setting, as well as a bit of horror, then these should appeal.

DRACHENFELS (April 18th)

Detlef Sierck, the self-proclaimed greatest playwright in the world, has declared that his next production will be a recreation of the end of the Great Enchanter, Constant Drachenfels – to be staged at the very site of his death, the fortress of Drachenfels itself. But the castle’s dark walls still hide a terrible and deadly secret which may make the first night of Detlef’s masterpiece the last of his life.

newmank-g2-genevieveundeadGENEVIEVE UNDEAD (May 16th)

After her return from Drachenfels, Genevieve Dieudonne, the vampire femme fatale, embarks on an odyssey of self-discovery in which she must face monsters and magicians, intrigue and evil. Her journey takes her from the depths of an old theater to an accursed mansion under a deadly gothic spell, and finally to the hunt of a savage unicorn mare through haunted forests.

The final two books in the Genevieve series — Beasts in Velvet and Silver Nails — are also due to be re-issued later this year, in July. If you missed them before, then I would highly recommend you pop them on your to-buy list.

I was very lucky to meet Mr. Newman at WFC in Brighton, and he was kind enough to sign a battered copy of Drachenfels. I’m really looking forward to re-reading this excellent horror-fantasy series.

Kim Newman is also the author of (among others) the Anno Dracula and Drearcliff Grange series, both published by Titan Books.

Also on CR: Excerpt from One Thousand Monsters

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Quick Review: NEFERATA — MORTARCH OF BLOOD by David Annandale (Black Library)

AnnandaleD-Neferata1-MortarchOfBloodNeferata, queen of the vampires, shows her true colours…

When a threat to her realm of Nulahmia rises, the Mortarch Neferata must commit herself to a centuries-long battle if she is to save her kingdom and retain her position.

The Realm of Death convulses with the ravages of war, but Neferata continues to rule the city of Nulahmia with an iron will. Through guile and terror, she has destroyed all who would take her crown. But when a threat rises whose repercussions will stretch across the ages, Neferata must commit herself to a centuries-long battle and retain what is hers, no matter the cost.

This is the first full-length novel dedicated to the queen of vampires in the Age of Sigmar. Her origin story was first written about in Josh Reynolds’s novel, set before the history of the Old World, and also a bit in Mike Lee’s Nagash trilogy. Reynolds also wrote a short story featuring the character, Auction of Blood, which was an intriguing introduction to the character’s obsession with secrecy and scheming, always off-stage as others did her bidding. In Mortarch of Blood, Annandale gives us a much clearer picture of Neferata herself. She is presented as never before. Continue reading

Upcoming: REALMSLAYER by David Guymer (Black Library)

GuymerD-AoS-RealmslayerI was first introduced to Gotrek Gurnisson and Felix Jaegar in a short fiction snippet in (I think) the fifth edition of Warhammer Armies: Empire book by William King — this was, I believe, their first appearance, too. After that, I read King’s short stories featuring the pair in the early Warhammer anthologies Wolf RidersRed Thirst and Ignorant Armies. This was all before Black Library was established, and the Gotrek & Felix series was launched in earnest. I read all of King’s and then Nathan Long’s contributions to the series, and finally David Guymer‘s ‘conclusion’ to the series in the End Times novels, Kinslayer and Slayer. I was sad to see the characters’ stories end. This October, however, Guymer is bringing Gotrek back for the Age of Sigmar in the audiobook Realmslayer!

Fabled hero of the Warhammer Old World, Gotrek Gurnisson is reborn and cast into the Age of Sigmar for a brand-new, feature-length audio adventure.

Gotrek Gurnisson was the greatest monster slayer of the age, who met his doom at the End Times. The heroic duardin stepped forth into the Realm of Chaos to fight the daemons gnawing at the world’s ending and satisfy his death oath, leaving behind his companion Felix Jaeger.

Now Gotrek has returned, having outlived the old gods and the Old World. Spat from the ruinous depths with his redemption unfulfilled, he emerges into the Mortal Realms, a strange new world where gods walk the earth and dark forces are ascendant. Nothing is as he remembers. His oaths are dust, and the lands are torn asunder by Chaos. Yet when Gotrek learns of human champions being elevated to immortality for Sigmar’s fight against this darkness, the so-called ‘Stormcast Eternals’, he knows why fate has brought him into this new age. To find Felix. For only then can he find the peace in death he seeks.

But is there more to Gotrek’s apotheosis than even he can fathom? Has he truly been chosen by Grimnir and for what purpose?

Realmslayer is due to be published by Black Library in October 2018. (The cover above is not final, but I don’t think it will change too much before release.)

Update (Sunday, May 13th): At Warhammer Fest, it was announced that Brian Blessed will “be lending his booming tones to this upcoming tale”, and voicing Gotrek. Hm. Not sure what I think about this. Could be interesting, or it could be… well, somewhat Blackadder-esque…

Also on CR: Reviews of Elfslayer, Shamanslayer, ZombieslayerKinslayer and Slayer

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