Interview with JOSHUA REYNOLDS

ReynoldsJ-AuthorPicLet’s start with an introduction: Who is Joshua Reynolds?

I’m a freelance writer and semi-professional monster movie enthusiast. I’ve had around twenty odd novels published, and around two hundred or so short stories, over the past decade, since I began my career. Which is a lot, now that I think about it.

You’ve got a few novels coming out this year, so I thought I’d split this interview into sci-fi and fantasy.

Sounds good!

Black Library recently published Fulgrim, your latest contribution to the Horus Heresy series. In December, your second Fabius Bile novel, Clonelord is also due out. Both focus on the Emperor’s Children traitor legion. How did you approach the two novels, and were there any challenges to addressing the same Legion during different eras?

Not really. It was mostly a matter of building on the work of authors like Graham McNeill, Aaron Dembski-Bowden, James Swallow and Nick Kyme regarding the characters. I tend to approach all work in a shared universe – whatever universe it happens to be – the same way: I like to make sure that what I’m working on slots neatly into the meta-story set out by others, while still going in the direction I want it to go. Why write tie-in fiction, if you’re not going to tie-in to anything, after all? Continue reading

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Quick Review: CITY OF SECRETS by Nick Horth (Black Library)

HorthN-AoS-CityOfSecretsA fast-paced Warhammer novel with a classic feel

Excelsis is the city of secrets, a grand and imposing bastion of civilisation in the savage Realm of Beasts. Within its winding streets and shadowy back alleys, merchants deal in raw prophecy mined from an ancient fragment of the World That Was, and even the poorest man may earn a glimpse of the future. Yet not all such prophecies can be trusted. When Corporal Armand Callis of the city guard stumbles upon a dark secret, he finds himself on the run from his former comrades, framed for a crime he did not commit. Only the Witch Hunter Hanniver Toll knows the truth of his innocence. Together the pair must race against time to save Excelsis from a cataclysm that would drown the city in madness and fear.

I’ve been reading fiction based on Games Workshop’s IPs for a very long time. One of the classic themes or premises of early fiction set in the Warhammer fantasy setting was that of a Chaos conspiracy in an Empire city or town. City of Secrets offers a well-composed spin on this trope, albeit set in the Age of Sigmar — a time when Chaos won, and dominates the majority of the world. Continue reading

Review: THE LORD OF THE END TIMES by Joshua Reynolds (Black Library)

ReynoldsJ-ET5-LordOfTheEndTimesThe Warhammer World… Ends.

The End Times have come. Archaon Everchosen marches on the city of Middenheim, and if he captures it, the key to the Chaos gods’ ultimate victory will be his. The last heroes of men, elves and dwarfs gather to stop him, but to stand against the hordes of the Ruinous Powers, they must turn to darker allies. Against all reason, the last hope for the world may be the Undying King, Nagash himself – if he and the mortal races can find common cause and work together. If they cannot, Archaon’s plan will come to fruition and the world will be consumed by Chaos.

It’s been a fun and interesting few weeks, getting caught up with Black Library’s End Times series. After decades of interest in Warhammer (though, I must admit that I never played a proper game), and especially the novels, finishing this novel was something of a bittersweet moment. Reynolds does a great job of bringing the various threads together, and dishing out plentiful death and destruction. Not only that, he does it with some tongue-in-cheek humour, and an awareness of how big, bold and brash (and just a little over-the-top) this story has become and needs to be at its conclusion. I enjoyed this a lot. Continue reading

Review: SLAYER by David Guymer (Black Library)

GuymerD-G&F-SlayerThe Dooms of Gotrek & Felix…

With their friendship in tatters after a series of betrayals, Gotrek and Felix 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.

I’ve said it many times on CR, but I’ve been a fan of the Gotrek & Felix series since the early-1990s. In Slayer, David Guymer, the fourth author to work on the series, brings everything to a close. Tied in with the End Times, it’s a fantastic, even moving farewell. After I turned the final page, I felt genuinely sad and just a little bit lost for what to do now… Despite one niggle, this is an excellent finale. Continue reading

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

Review: THE FALL OF ALTDORF by Chris Wraight (Black Library)

WraightC-ET2-TheFallOfAltdorfThe March of Chaos continues, pushing into the heart of the Empire

The End Times are coming. With the hordes of Chaos marshalling in the north, Emperor Karl Franz leads his armies in defence of his realm. But when the worst happens and the Emperor is lost, it falls to Reiksmarshal Kurt Helborg to return to Altdorf, capital of the Empire, and prepare to meet the forces of the Ruinous Powers in a final battle for that ancient city. As plague spreads and the defences weaken, all seems lost, until help arrives from a most unexpected source… if Helborg can bring himself to accept it.

Picking up where The Return of Nagash ended (more-or-less), Chris Wraight’s The Fall of Altdorf is a grand continuation of the End Times series. This is a must-read for Warhammer fans, and perhaps Wraight’s best fantasy novel yet. I very much enjoyed this. Continue reading

Review: KINSLAYER by David Guymer (Black Library)

GuymerD-DoG1-KinslayerThe Doom of Gotrek Gurnisson begins…

Once companions on the greatest of adventures, Gotrek and Felix have long since gone their separate ways. Felix, married and settled, secretly craves the excitment of his youth. And when the opportunity arises, Felix embarks upon what might be his final journey. As the chaos of the End Times engulfs Kislev, Gotrek and Felix are reunited, battling the hordes of the Troll King alongside Ulrika, Snorri and Max. But when long-hidden secrets are revealed, these old friends will be torn apart, and not all of them will leave Kislev alive…

Long-time readers of CR will know that I’m a huge fan of Warhammer heroes Gotrek Gurnisson and Felix Jaegar (because I mention this fact a lot). The characters and series were created by William King, back in the late 1980s, and the series has continued pretty much uninterrupted ever since, until March of this year, when David Guymer brought it to a close with Slayer. Kinslayer is an interesting first half of a finale, tied in nicely with the Warhammer End Times storyline. It is not without its weaknesses, but it is also a must-read for fans of the series. Continue reading