Category Archives: Black Library

Book Review – Echoes of Eternity

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Book 7 in the Siege of Terra Series – by Aaron Dembski-Bowden

The Siege of Terra is reaching it’s climax, having been promised 8 books in the series although it does appear that book 8 will be in a number of parts! Such is the difficulty of writing an ending.

Echoes of Eternity from Black Library

From the book:

The walls have fallen. The defenders’ unity is broken. The Inner Palace lies in ruins. The Warmaster’s horde advances through the fire and ash of Terra’s dying breaths, forcing the loyalists back to the Delphic Battlement, the very walls of the Sanctum Imperialis. Angron, Herald of Horus, has achieved immortality through annihilation – now he leads the armies of the damned in a wrathful tide, destroying all before them as the warp begins its poisonous corruption of Terra. For the Emperor’s beleaguered forces, the end has come. The Khan lies on the edge of death. Rogal Dorn is encircled, fighting his own war at Bhab Bastion. Guilliman will not reach Terra in time. Without his brothers, Sanguinius – the Angel of the Ninth Legion – waits on the final battlements, hoping to rally a desperate band of defenders and refugees for one last stand.

Wow… how do you fit all that in? There are so many Primarchs still left on Terra or interacting with Terra, and there must have been a strong temptation to tell these stories, but Dembski-Bowden doesn’t – or rather he does, but through the eyes of others.

The book starts with a setting of the scene of war – which is essentially a series of short stories of those fighting. The author gives a superb view of the war, with pockets of soldiers fighting, tanks under attack, titan deaths and attacks on the Eternity Gate. These short stories bring the war to the gates, as the defenders (mostly Blood Angels) prepare and await their fate.

The second part is the attack itself, interspersed by the story of Vulkan and Magnus, and has the fight between the Blood Angels and Ka’Banda; and between Sanguinius and Angron. Meanwhile the Eternity gate is still under threat and the Emperor’s shield against the forces of the warp (The Neverborn) starts to weaken under constant assault.

It’s a great addition to the series – and my favourite one so far. We are approaching the end, and it’s great to have the iconic fights included but still see the battle and fighting from the view of more normal people — if ‘normal’ includes the Space Marines!

Rating: 5 out of 5.

— Declan & Eeyore

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

Book Review – Double Eagle

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A Sabbat’s World Novel by Dan Abnett

Dan Abnett has made a new warzone with the Sabbat Worlds in his Gaunt’s Ghost series and he returns to the same series, but with aerial combat in Double Eagle.

Black Library

From the book:

While the Space Marines and Imperial Guard rule the battlefields of the Sabbat Worlds, the skies belong to the Imperial Navy. On Enothis, the enemy are threatening to halt the Imperial advance. Daemonic forces push into Imperial territory, thousands of refugees flee across the deserts and an infamous Chaos-tainted pilot, Khrel Kas Obarkon, rules the sky, his skill in the cockpit matched only by his kill tally. The ace pilots of the Phantine Twentieth Fighter Corps are the Imperium’s only hope for victory.

Have you ever wondered what the Battle of Britain would look like but set in the Warhammer 40k universe. Well have no fear, Dan Abnett has thought about it as well and he brings you the answer!

The Phantine Twentieth are a strange breed, being part of the Imperial Army (Astra Militarum) and not the Navy, because the world they come from has very little land and lots of sky! Of course there are rivalries with the Navy and with the local airforce and transfers between the three groups as planes are shot down, pilots are stranded and rescued, and others are promoted.

It’s a fast moving, well designed story with a few story lines but not too many as to be confusing. Abnett has also avoided the temptation to mention the Ghosts, as an aerial wing would not be concerned about a unit they have no link to. The combat is well described and you can imagine you are in the middle of the combat or watching an old WWII film.

Great fun, and definitely recommended if you like Gaunt. It’s also a great introduction into the Sabbat Worlds if you’re not sure you can commit to the entire Ghost’s series.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

— Declan & Eeyore

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

Book Review – Astorath Angel of Mercy

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A Novella by Guy Hayley

The Primaris Space Marines have well and truly arrived and are making their mark in the Warhammer 40k universe and timeline. But there have been doubts about the gene-seed and whether the changes designed by Belasarius Cawl may have removed Sanguinius’ curse.

Black Library

From the book:

Following the Devastation of Baal and the arrival of the Primarch Roboute Guilliman’s Indomitus Crusade, Commander Dante of the Blood Angels has been appointed Lord Regent of all Imperium Nihilus. Working with the successor chapters of the Blood Angels, Dante commands that the area around the Red Scar be scouted in preparation for reconquest. The Red Wings’ sweep has led them to the foetid world of Dulcis, dangerously near to the Cicatrix Maledictum itself. Decimated by the tyranids during the war for Baal and only lightly reinforced by Primaris Space Marines, the Red Wings Chapter are in no position to deal with the events that unfold there. Strange psychic phenomenon and a deadly xenos enemy threaten the great hope of all the Chapters of the Blood – that the flaw in Sanguinius’ geneseed has at last been tamed. Drawn by the Black Rage to Dulcis, Astorath the Grim, Lord High Chaplain and Redeemer of the Lost, comes to aid the Red Wings. But what he discovers there will shake the Chapters of the Blood to their very core.

Astorath has one role; to keep the secret of the Blood Angels and to tame the savage beast of the flaw of the Blood Angels. He comes to Dulcis and the Primaris Space Marines of the Red Wing chapter who are encountering changes in their fellows that they don’t understand.

This is a much needed novella length story for the Blood Angels to confirm if we need to paint Death Company Primaris and whether the flaw still exists within the Primaris Space Marines who have recently joined the chapter following the Devastation of Baal. It’s brilliantly written, flows well and is a nice quick read. It also has a Xenos peril thrown in and a local threat from the planet of Dulcis that we have not seen before in the Warhammer universe. I really like seeing these possibilities that you may see in a role-playing game but not on the battlefield.

Definitely a key novella if you are a Blood Angel fan and recommended for anyone else who likes a good roaring Warhammer 40k but fancies a novella length.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

— Declan

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

Book Review – Fury of Magnus

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A Novella for The Siege of Terra by Graham McNeill

With The Siege of Terra in full swing, Graham McNeill takes us down a little cul-de-sac to see what happens to Magnus. It’s not critical to the direct path taken by Horus, Sanguinius and the rest but is a very interesting journey none-the-less.

There’s a lot of red Primarchs… Magnus is one of the largest! — from Black Library

From the book:

Of all the Emperor’s sons who fell to Chaos, it is perhaps Magnus the Red whose tale is the most tragic. Sanctioned because of his desire for knowledge, chastised, judged, and shattered to his very elements – there is much for the Crimson King to feel vengeful for. Yet revenge is not the only thing that draws him to Terra alongside the Warmaster’s besieging armies. He seeks something, a fragment, the missing piece of himself that lies within the most impregnable place on the planet – the inner sanctum of the Imperial Palace. As the greatest conflict of the ages reaches fever pitch, Magnus fights his own inner battle. To be whole once more, he must not only overcome the fiercest of defences, but also face the one being whom he loves and hates with equal fervour more than any other – his errant father, the Emperor of Mankind.

Ah… poor Magnus. All the Crimson King wants is knowledge… can he be convinced that this knowledge would better serve the side of the Emperor or will he fight with the Warmaster for control of Terra?

Magnus begins by placing himself and his legion at the front of an assault planned by Perturabo, when he offers his legion as a distraction so that Perturabo’s real target will be more lightly defended. It works, and Magnus is able to enter the Palace hidden in plain sight and intent on meeting his father and The Sigilite.

I can see why this is not one of the main stories of the Siege of Terra, but it is great fun none-the-less. The story of Magnus includes and intertwines with the stories of many of the people featured in the Horus Heresy series which came before – as such it does help if you have a rough knowledge of the stories outside Terra. It features Malcador, The Sigilite, and Olivia – an eternal – and Magnus’ own personal battles on Terra. And it’s all great fun.

If you’ve picked up the other Siege of Terra books then this is a great addition, despite not being part of the main 6, and definitely worth picking up. Recommended.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

— Declan

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

Book Review – The Magos

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Book 4 of the Eisenhorn Series by Dan Abnett

I think Warhammer novels are at their best when they leave the Space Marines and superhumans behind and concentrate on more relatable characters. And Dan Abnett has made a great character in the form of Inquisitor Eisenhorn, here returning for Book 4.

The Magos – Black Library / Dan Abnett

From the book:

Inquisitor Eisenhorn returns in a stunning new novel that pits him against his oldest foe, forcing him to finally confront the growing darkness within his own soul.

Inquisitor Gregor Eisenhorn has spent his life stalking the darkest and most dangerous corners of the galaxy in pursuit of heresy and Chaos, but how long can a man walk that path without succumbing to the lure of the warp? Pursuing heretics in the remote worlds of the Imperium, Eisenhorn must confront the truth about himself. Is he still a champion of the Throne? Or has he been seduced by the very evil that he hunts? The Magos is the brand new, full-length fourth novel in the hugely popular Eisenhorn series. This paperback edition also includes the definitive casebook of Gregor Eisenhorn, collecting together all twelve of Dan Abnett’s Inquisition short stories, several of which have never been in print before. These additional stories have been compiled by the author to act as an essential prologue to this long-awaited new novel, while also serving as an indispensable companion to the original Eisenhorn trilogy.

Dan Abnett has brought together a number of short stories (12) and a novella length tale in this novel to tell of some of the adventures of Gregor Eisenhorn and his followers. It’s great to have stories to dip into, and finish in an afternoon of lazy reading and the 12 stories definitely deliver on that promise. They’ll be some you may not like, but you’ll be back on fire on the next one as the Warhammer 40k universe encounters all the Grim Darkness through Gregor’s eyes.

The Novella – The Magos – is a great ending to the series though. Concentrating on the story of a Magos trapped in a backwater planet with no means of escape Gregor’s team kidnap him to ‘ask’ for his assistance in investigating some animal attacks. But things are not as they seem. It’s a great story told at break-neck speed but with not too many characters so it is easy to keep up. Sure, some of them die early, but that just makes everything easier to follow.

It also helps to bring the 40k universe to life – it’s not just epic clashes for the future of Terra – it’s people trying to survive, documenting species for the future, and making a living… and into that walks Eisenhorn to cause or solve mayhem and destruction.

A great ending to the Eisenhorn series, but Dan Abnett does have a number of other books featuring the Inquisition, so if you like this there’s definitely other books you can give a go.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

— Declan

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

Book Review – Neferata: The Dominion of Bones

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by David Annandale

After a few Horus Heresy: Siege of Terra reviews, I decided to take a break with Age of Sigmar, and what better way than to take a step into Nu-Lahmia.

Neferata, from Black Library

From the book:

Neferata is besieged. To the east, the daemon prince Graunos gathers the legions of the Blood God, seeking to tear the Mortarch from her throne. To the south, Sigmar’s storm heralds the coming of the Anvils of the Heldenhammer, intent on pressing the God-King’s claim. All the while, an ancient enemy grows, hidden within Neferata’s lands. Never has her power seemed so fragile. But, within the dominion of bones, the Mortarch of Blood controls all, and even the champions of the Dark Gods will find themselves puppets in her schemes.

Black Library have more Warhammer 40k/Warhammer 30k releases than Age of Sigmar, but this is slowly improving this as the Age of Sigmar gets more and more background. However, this is almost back to the Old-World as Neferata (brought back by Nagash) is the main protagonist in the book. But caught between the Heldenhammer (Stormcast) and the Blood God how will she retain control?

Lahmian vampires may not be the best vampires on the table top but they are one of the most interesting narratively. Better suited to an RPG than rolling battlefields these creatures are great centre-pieces whilst they manipulate others. And Nu-Lahmia and Neferata have not changed at all – and it’s great to have the stability of knowing the characters.

David Annandale manages to bring this together with Stormcast and Khorne (with a little Nurgle thrown in for good measure), whilst still ensuring that this remained a book about Neferata. It’s a great read, runs at a good pace and has action throughout. Great fun, and perfect for people wanting to bring Lahmian’s into their Age of Sigmar RPGs.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

— Declan

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

Book Review – Warhawk

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Book 6 The Siege of Terra by Chris Wraight

Chris Wraight has written a few books on the Khan of the White Scars and he enters the Siege of Terra when the Khan decides that attack is the best form of defence and attacks Mortarion and the Death Guard for the Space Port… hoping for the arrival of the Ultramarines and Gulliman.

Warhawk Cover from Black Library

From the book:

The Inner Walls are breached.

Traitor vanguards tear towards the heart of the Palace, sensing victory. Desperate gambits are attempted: an unwilling saint is released into the ruins, as well as an enthusiastic sinner. A black sword rises, forged from spite, ready to create a legend. But amid the slaughter, Jaghatai Khan, Warhawk of Chogoris, prepares to launch the most audacious strike of the conflict. His goal is nothing less than the liberation of the Lion’s Gate space port. Cut off from any help, he stakes everything on one desperate counter-offensive, launched against an old enemy who has been made far greater than he ever was before. As the White Scars ride out against the newly crowned lords of life and death, they know that defeat for them dooms not only the Legion, but Terra itself.

As we approach the end of the end with the Siege of Terra things are definitely hotting up and it’s great to see Chris Wraight return to the White Scars and the battles with Mortarion and his Death Guard.

The Khan is stuck on Terra where he is one of the Primarchs facing the invasion of Horus in the final stages of the Heresy and it is not his natural environment, being trapped behind walls, unable to use the speed of his jetbikes. Eventually he grows tired of defense and goes on the attack… straight towards the Death Guard and the Lion’s Gate Space Port.

This is another great addition to the series, and one I liked a lot – which, considering neither of the chapters hold particular interest for me was down to the good writing and pace. The White Scars are introduced slightly in case you hadn’t seen or read of them before and then it’s quickly into the action – there are still lots of smaller stories whirling around here, so don’t be surprised if you find yourself getting a little lost! I certainly did.

That said, it is a fun addition to the story which slowly moves towards it’s conclusion and Chris Wraight does a good job of bringing in the White Scars, but keeping the underlying story moving as well.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

— Declan

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

Book Review – Mortis

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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

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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

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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