Category Archives: Declan Walters

Book Review – Mortis

Book 5 The Siege of Terra by John French

John French returns to the Siege of Terra series having written one book. And this is a big one… Titans come to Terra; and the Dark Mechanicum are here for war.

Black Library – Ah an Imperator Titan!

From the book:

The victories of Saturnine and the sacrifices of the Eternity Wall space port have faded into the hope of yesterday. Denied but not defeated, the Traitors intensify their assault on the Imperial Palace. With the principal space ports in Horus’ hands, the Warmaster now drains the heavens of his reserves.

As the pressure of the assault increases, the power of Chaos waxes. The waking lives of the defenders are filled with despair, while their dreams pull them in search of a false paradise. As the fabric of the defences fails and the will of those who stand on them cracks, Horus commands the Titans of the Legio Mortis to breach the walls. Against them stands the might of Mercury Wall and the strength of the Legio Ignatum. Ancient rivals, the god-engines of both Legions meet in battle, while within the walls a few desperate individuals seek a way to turn back the tide of the warp’s malign influence. Across Terra, lost warriors and travellers make their way through wastelands and gardens of horror, towards home and an unknown future.

Gosh, book 5 already, and the Death Engines of the Mechanicus are unleashed on Terra… but the Dark Mechanicus have embraced chaos and their engines have changed, and they are coming for the walls.

The globe spanning conflict continues as Horus gets closer to the end, and his inevitable conflict with the Emperor of Mankind, and Dorn holds the walls. As with the other books in this series, there are a lot of characters, and storylines and they all entwine to make a story of war which is not only gun shots and death (although it is mostly that!). The Siege of Terra series would certainly be difficult to follow if you didn’t know the overall story but I have missed a lot of the Horus Heresy series and am following the story in Siege of Terra with interest.

Another great addition – but one for the fans only!

Rating: 4 out of 5.

— Declan

Check out the full list of Book Reviews we’ve done on Woehammer here

Book Review – Saturnine

Book 4 The Siege of Terra by Dan Abnett

They couldn’t keep the author of so many Black Library books away and Dan Abnett comes into the Siege of Terra with a tour-de-force very different (but earily similar) to the Gaunt’s Ghosts series.

Black Library – a great example of movement and scale!

From the book:

The Traitor Host of Horus Lupercal tightens its iron grip on the Palace of Terra, and one by one the walls and bastions begin to crumple and collapse. Rogal Dorn, Praetorian of Terra, redoubles his efforts to keep the relentless enemy at bay, but his forces are vastly outnumbered and hopelessly outgunned. Dorn simply cannot defend everything. Any chance of survival now requires sacrifice, but what battles dare he lose so that others can be won? Is there one tactical stroke, one crucial combat, that could turn the tide forever and win the war outright?

Dan Abnett brings his own special writing style to the Siege of Terra series and it is a tour-de-force. The defenders of Terra are trying to delay their defeat, in the hope of rescue from the other loyalist legions, and Dorn is at the head of the defense.

In common with the other books in the series, the Primarchs are incidental in most cases, and the battles are seen through the eyes of Space Marines, humans, and Sisters of Silence. It’s great to have more female representation in warhammer and Abnett succeeds with a truely scary representation of a Sister.

Although not the last book in the series, it is a powerful stand alone book and definitely not a bridge between set pieces – a great read.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

— Declan

Check out the full list of Book Reviews we’ve done on Woehammer here

Book Review – Sharpe’s Assassin

Book 22 by Bernard Cornwell

As I have recently been reading through Gaunt’s Ghosts recently by Dan Abnett, which is effectively Sharpe in space… and then Cornwell released a new book in the Sharpe series… so I rushed out and grabbed it.

The cover…!

From the book:

SHARPE IS BACK. Outsider. Hero. Rogue. And the one man you want on your side.

If any man can do the impossible it’s Richard Sharpe . . .

Lieutenant-Colonel Sharpe is a man with a reputation. Born in the gutter, raised a foundling, he joined the army twenty-one years ago, and it’s been his home ever since. He’s a loose cannon, but his unconventional methods make him a valuable weapon.

So when, the dust still settling after the Battle of Waterloo, the Duke of Wellington needs a favour, he turns to Sharpe. For Wellington knows that the end of one war is only the beginning of another. Napoleon’s army may be defeated, but another enemy lies waiting in the shadows – a secretive group of fanatical revolutionaries hell-bent on revenge.

Sharpe is dispatched to a new battleground: the maze of Paris streets where lines blur between friend and foe. And in search of a spy, he will have to defeat a lethal assassin determined to kill his target or die trying . . .

Sharpe is back… in France and fighting the French after Waterloo. And it’s all page turning stuff of the best traditions of the previous books.

Sharpe is of course joined by his two constant companions – Sergeant Harper, and Sergeant Harper’s volley gun – as together they search France for missing artwork and for a plot to assassinate the Duke of Wellington.

…but is a triumphant return? – in short, yes! As a fan of Sharpe (this is the reason I’m interested in the Napoleonic era) its a great addition to the series, and its good fun to be back following the characters. Cornwell even throws in a small set-piece battle or two just to get the juices flowing before the heroes go to France searching for the Fraternity – a group of French soldiers dedicated to avenging Napoleon’s defeat at Waterloo.

Its a great fun story, a page turner, and definitely won’t be a classic of the genre, but if you’ve read other Sharpe’s then you’ll definitely want to pick this one up… if you’ve never read Sharpe then start at the beginning with Sharpe’s Eagle!

Rating: 4 out of 5.

— Declan

Check out the full list of Book Reviews we’ve done on Woehammer here

Book Review – The First Wall

Book 3 The Siege of Terra by Gav Thorpe

It’s Book 3 and of course the reigns had to be passed to Gav Thorpe at some point. A safe, dependably write who seems to really care for the Warhammer 30k story line… and produces cracking books as well.

Black Library – Always Excellant Cover Art

From the book:

The war for the fate of mankind blazes on. Though the outer defences have fallen, the walls of the Palace itself remain inviolate as Rogal Dorn, the Praetorian of Terra himself, uses every known stratagem and ploy to keep Horus’s vast armies at bay. In Perturabo, the Traitor siegebreaker, Dorn faces an adversary worthy of his skill. A terrible, grinding attrition ensues. The crucial battle for the Lion’s Gate space port is at the heart of this conflict. With it in their possession, the Traitors can land their most devastating weapons on Terran soil. Dorn knows it must not fall. But with enemies attacking from all sides, and the stirrings of the Neverborn drawn to the slaughter, can the Imperial defenders possibly prevail?

Gav Thorpe brings characters from Terra and Terra orbit together from Imperial Guardsmen, Rememberancers, Traitors and Primarchs… and knits it all together in a satisfying progression of the story… as the Space Port comes under attack from Perturabo.

Not every novel can include Sanguinius and his Blood Angels, and so this one brings in the battle of the greatest strategists within the Primarchs together in the first for the Lion’s Gate space port. As with other books in the series, Gav Thorpe ensures that he includes ‘normal’ citizen in the form of Imperial Guardsmen and Rememberancers to give us – the simple reader – a change of understanding the super-human conflict which is raging on Terra. And he does a good job of it too.

There are times when the battles stall a little, but it is barely noticable as you quickly dive into another ‘set-piece’ battle as part of the conflict. It’s another great addition to the end of the story!

Rating: 4 out of 5.

— Declan

Check out the full list of Book Reviews we’ve done on Woehammer here

Book Review – Honour Guard

Gaunt’s Ghosts – 4 – By Dan Abnett

Continuing my re-reading of the Dan Abnett series – Gaunts Ghosts – next up is book 4, Honour Guard.

Gaunts Ghosts – Honour Guard – Black Library

‘Commissar Gaunt and his Ghosts are back in the thick of the action in a battle to defend a vital shrine-world. But the vile forces of Chaos will never allow them to hold their prize for long and as the counter-attack rages, Gaunt is sent after the most priceless relic of all: the remains of the ancient saint who first led humanity to these stars.

In Honour Guard, Gaunt and his Ghosts are tasked with taking a Holy Sabat city, but given impossible deadlines by the General in charge, they have to capture the city quickly… allowing chaos to blow up the city.

Gaunt is blamed for the failure and given the opportunity for one last mission before command of the Tanith First and Only is taken from him – he must recover the bones of the Saint and evacuate them from the planet before it is left to Chaos.

The Ghosts fight through an enemy who shouldn’t be there, in numbers unexpected whilst trying to reach their goal. Meanwhile some injured Ghosts try to join up with the rest of the Tanith to be with Gaunt for his last mission.

More lasguns, big guns, tanks, transports, and fighting! All with Abnett’s characteristic page turning style. This book is a great addition to the books of the Imperial Guard / Astra Militarum and shows how humans can overcome the seemingly impossible in a far future where there is only war.

Another great novel and a good read.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

— Declan

Previous Gaunt’s Ghosts Book Reviews on Woehammer:

First & Only
Ghostmaker
Necropolis

Check out the Woehammer Book Review Archive for more reviews!

Tournament Preparation – Tri-Wiz (One Day – Warmaster)

There are a few more Warmaster tournaments being run in the UK at the moment, with resin armies being a great way for players to get back into Warmaster (or to play it for the first time).

Saffron Walden (just south of Cambridge) is a long-running tournament ran by Janners and Jim the Gent and had been growing before COVID interupted the world. Well it was back on Saturday and I planned to take along my Goblins. But what to take…?

From the Tri-Wiz Facebook page

For me Goblins need to be a horde army, and Warmaster delivers this option in spades. I’d also recently got some new squigs and painted them up for the tournament (more on those in a future Hobby Update) and so came up with this.

Created by the Warmaster Army Builder webpage

Characters

The army is led by nine (9!) characters because Goblins fail command rolls a lot… and I mean a lot! So I’ve got a general (only command 8), 4 Heroes (2 riding Wyverns) and 4 Shamans (1 with a Scroll of Dispelling). The Wyverns are really the force multipliers here; being able to add 3 attacks to a combat and potentially reduce your opponent’s attacks due to terror is great – and with 100cm move they can wiz from one side of the battle line to the other reasonably easy.

The shamans bring a number of spells not available in most armies (most are limited to 2 wizards) and the fantasic Gerroff (move opponent’s units backwards) and Waaagh (extra attacks for Goblins and characters) can bring some unexpected punch or annoyance for the army.

Units – Goblins and Squig Herds

Warmaster games at Tri-Wiz would be timed or break point only, so I needed to ensure I could afford to lose units – to this end I brought 10 Goblins and 9 Squigs. For 30 points each these are a great way to get the break point to a good high level, and they can do some damage in combat – the Squigs especially are great value although the lack of armour can mean that an opponent rolling well will beat you in combats. Trust to the dice!

Units – Trolls

Although very expensive in a horde army and with -1 command in an army with shockingly low command the Trolls a much needed punch unit. With 5 attacks, 5+ save and a small regeneration ability they will cause a lot of mayhem and still only count as one break point. I’ve learnt with Trolls to only expect them to charge on initative though, so you are often limited in what you can charge – but when you succeeed with an order they will often steam roller anything in the game.

Units – Wolf Riders

I find 6 units of Wolf Riders to be the perfect number – they can harrass and their abilty to evade in any direction and set up more shooting is great – however the recent changes to fast cavalry rules mean that they can now be pursued by other cavalry, and so I would need to be more careful with them than previously.

Units – Pump Wagon

These little terrors don’t count towards break but at 50 points they are expensive… so I take one to cause people to think – Some goblins players take lots of them and do multiple charges into the same unit; however with D6 attacks (+2 for charge in open) they are the epitomy of dice; and I don’t always roll well – 1 is fun though and very Goblin themed.

Units – Spear Chukkas

The Goblin army is also allowed 4 units of Spear Chukkas but I think this is too many for the points, and so I just take 2. This is enough to cause significant damage to units in column (12 attacks) with no armour save allowed and can even scare off cavalry (8 attacks), with a good range (40cm). They suffer that if an opponent can kill my 2; they can easily kill another 2, which is a lot of easy break.

I’ll let you know how I got on later in the week! Happy Warmastering.

— Declan

Book Review – Bossgrot & Fangs of the Rustwood

Short Fiction from Black Library by Eric Gregory & Evan Dicken

I like short fiction, so this week I thought I’d branch out a little and review two of Black Library’s short stories from their previous releases.

Regular readers of Woehammer will know that I love Goblins and Grots and will read almost anything that includes them… so both my short stories this week are about the diminutive little devils.

Bossgrot – by Eric Gregory

This book can be picked up on E-Book from Black Library.

Unfortunately the price point for these stories is high (£1.99) for a story that can be read in an hour… still it lasts slightly longer than a pint of beer!

Gribblak is having a rough time. A disastrous battle against a Khornate horde has robbed his skrap of its morale (not to mention two dozen Fanatics, two troggoths and a gargant called Hurg). Worst of all, when he fled from the blood-soaked ‘umie boss, Gribblak lost his dignity, his pride and the respect of his grots. He needs to get them back, and draw the attention of the Loonking if he is to achieve his goal of being the most powerful bossgrot ever. He needs to do something magnificent – so he leads his skrap against the most heavily defended enemy outpost in all the Loonking’s lands: the famed Glinty Crown. There’s no way his plan can fail…

This is a great first person view into the strange world of the Loonking’s Skrap, and one of his Loonbosses who has a little bad luck in his battles. Having been scared by a ‘umie Big Boss, and accidentally letting his followers know that he wasn’t a boss, Gribblak then pulls an ‘Emperor’s New Clothes’ storyline on us to hear what he Grots think of him.

Their diminished opinion brings him to promise to destroy the Glinty Crown… an enemy outpost which has been built in Grot territory.

This story is a great view of the world of the Grots and their fearless (or should that be hapless) leaders. A great introduction into Age of Sigmar Gloomspite Gitz.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Fangs of the Rustwood – by Evan Dicken

Also available from Black Library as an E-book

I picked this up because of the cover, and the Fangs… who doesn’t love a very large Spider.

Kantus Vallo, witch hunter of the Order of Azyr, escorts a caravan of prisoners back to civilisation for trial. Their path takes them through the Rustwood, a great untamed wilderness, menacing and foreboding. Each prisoner is a suspect in the murder of an influential governor – sorcerer, poisoner and guard captain, each has their means and motives. Vallo’s attempts to discover the truth are derailed when the inhabitants of the Rustwood attack. Enemies quickly become allies, but can Vallo truly trust three potential killers?

So there may not be as Gitz in this one, as it does take place with them threatening to kill Vallo, his soldiers and prisoners. As the Grots and their Spiders emerge from the woods and attack with poisoned arrows, spears and fangs (see AoS rules writers… poison! …) and start to kill the guards. Will Vallo be able to keep his prisoners safe and escape the Rustwood?

Whilst this has limited Gitz background it is good to have a view of the Gitz from the humans and to see what they can do from ambush. A fun read, but difficult to justify at the cost.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

— Declan

If you’ve enjoyed these reviews you can see our back catalogue of them here!

Book Review – Project Hail Mary

By Andy Weir

In our occasional series of looking outside the Worlds of Warhammer, I recently finished Andy Weir’s book which follows on the success of The Martian.

Cover from Goodreads

From Goodreads:

Ryland Grace is the sole survivor on a desperate, last-chance mission—and if he fails, humanity and the Earth itself will perish.

Except that right now, he doesn’t know that. He can’t even remember his own name, let alone the nature of his assignment or how to complete it.

All he knows is that he’s been asleep for a very, very long time. And he’s just been awakened to find himself millions of miles from home, with nothing but two corpses for company.

His crewmates dead, his memories fuzzily returning, he realizes that an impossible task now confronts him. Alone on this tiny ship that’s been cobbled together by every government and space agency on the planet and hurled into the depths of space, it’s up to him to conquer an extinction-level threat to our species.

And thanks to an unexpected ally, he just might have a chance.

Part scientific mystery, part dazzling interstellar journey, Project Hail Mary is a tale of discovery, speculation, and survival to rival The Martian–while taking us to places it never dreamed of going.

First up and to be honest — this is not a follow up to The Martian. It is a stand alone book. That said it includes all the styles and things that made the Martian so successful. Science… and lots of it – with some Engineering thrown in for good measure. There are also two story-lines here — one of Ryland Grace and his new companion trying to find the reason why the star they have visited is safe – and the second of the build up to the Earth mission.

This method is well executed by Weir and allows us to find out information at the same rate as the hero. It also allows for twists and turns in the story and some suprises and ‘ohhhhh’ moments which is great fun.

Meanwhile the main story is all about the difficulty of communication, new technologies, space, and science and Andy Weir does it superbly. It was a great read and definitely one worth considering if you’re looking for stories outside the Warhammer worlds.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

— Declan

Book Review – Necropolis

Gaunt’s Ghosts – 3 – By Dan Abnett

I read Gaunts Ghost’s on their first release, but lost track of the books after a while. When Black Library offered the first trilogy on ebook at a discount I picked them up and have started to re-read them. You can read my review of the first book First and Only here; and the second Ghostmaker here.

The last book of the opening trilogy is Necropolis:

On the world of Verghast, a grinding war between two hive cities – one loyal to the Imperium, the other fallen to the worship of the Dark Gods – is bolstered by the forces of the Astra Militarum, spearheaded by the Colonel-Commissar Gaunt and the Tanith First and Only. But bitter rivalries and treachery threaten to derail the defence of Vervunhive, and it falls to Gaunt to take command of the Imperial forces and forge victory from an almost certain defeat.

Necropolis is the third book in the Gaunt’s Ghosts series and it is getting closer and closer to being Sharpe in Space…! Or at least Sharpe does Warhammer. Whilst the first two books were essentially collections of short-stories about the Ghosts this is the first story about one battlefield from beginning to end.

Vervunhive is under attack from a neighbouring hive and the Warmaster has sent a few Imperial Guard regiments to shore up the defenses – but Gaunt and his fellow commanders are about to find that there is something more troubling is behind the attack – and that the defenders are not all fully invested in ensuring Vervunhive stands.

Abnett keeps all the action clear despite dotting around about the various combat zones. He also brings short vignettes of soldiers and hivers fighting and dying for minimal gains – or none at all. The Gaunt’s Ghosts novels are beginning to show the randomness of combat in the 41st millenium and the cruelty of it, the Imperium and the luck (or lack of it) that dogs the Ghosts.

Another great novel and a good read.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

— Declan

Check out the Woehammer Book Review Archive for more reviews!

Book Review – Ghostmaker

Gaunt’s Ghosts – 2 – By Dan Abnett

I read Gaunts Ghost’s on their first release, but lost track of the books after a while. When Black Library offered the first trilogy on ebook at a discount I picked them up and have started to re-read them. You can read my review of the first book First and Only here!

Having finished the second book, let’s have a look at it:

On Monthax, Colonel-Commissar Ibram Gaunt and his Tanith First-and-Only await the order to advance into the sweltering jungle and drive the alien eldar from the world. As battle approaches, Gaunt walks the lines, raising his men’s spirits and remembering their most heroic deeds – and the tragedies that have dogged Gaunt’s Ghosts from the day of their founding on lost Tanith. The day that Gaunt became known as the Ghostmaker.

Dan Abnett’s classic series of Sharpe in the Warhammer 40k universe continues with Ibram Gaunt and the Tanith First and Only regiment.

Gaunt returns with the Tanith First and Only in their second book and this one – similar to the first – is essentially a series of short stories. Each story covers one of the main Tanith characters, their relationship with Gaunt and within the Tanith Ghosts and as a solider.

As this is my second time reading the series, it was great to read the background and history of the main characters who we grow to know so much about later and this is a fun way to introduce… but it is a collection of short stories, and if that isn’t your thing this will likely be a disappointing book, that you may want to skip and return to later when you have more emotional investment in the characters.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

— Declan