Tag Archives: Black Library

Book Review – Warhawk

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

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 – 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 – 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!

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Book Review – Gitslayer

By Darius Hinks

The Bad Moon is rising and Gotrek Gurnisson once again finds himself in the middle of the action, fighting his greatest enemies and trying to find his doom – although in the Age of Sigmar – his doom finding is a little more limited and currently is based around him wanting to remove the Fyreslayer rune from his chest.

The latest in a (very) long series of books!

Darius Hinks has once again been given the job of adding to the saga of Gotrek and his new companion – Maleneth Witchblade (an Aelf). If you read my review of Dominion, you will know that I like his writing, and this novel is no exception. This being a Warhammer Age of Sigmar novel I’m not pretending that it is a classic to rival some fantasy epics from yesteryear but it is a good fun yarn, with plenty of combat, some character development for Gotrek, Duardin and (more importantly than all that…) Gitz!

It won’t surprise regular readers to hear that I love the Gitz (Goblins) since I started Warhammer Fantasy Battle back in the late <cough> 1980s. Since then the little goblins (or Grobbi to Gotrek) have seen new developments, have conquered the World’s End Mountains, made Scrappa-spill and started to control the Bad Moon… all while worshiping Mork (or possibly Gork). And it is great to have them here.

The Gotrek books often spend a large number of pages building character and giving background to the ‘Big Bad’ of the book and Gitslayer is, fortunately, no exception. Unlike Dominion where the Kruleboyz were only seen from the viewpoint of the humans and Stormcast, or Gloomspite where the Gitz got limited ‘screen time’, Gitslayer puts them front and centre.

There are descriptions of mushrooms, magic, bottles, potions, squigs and, of course, the Bad Moon itself; all coming together to threaten the Kharadron Overlords who have promised to help Gotrek remove the rune from his chest. These descriptions are fabulous and I won’t spoil any of the fun of reading them for the first time, but if you like Gitz this is a great book and succeeds where Gloomspite failed.

The main character remains Gotrek, but we know how it is going to end, as he searches for his Doom, or Felix, or both. We know he’ll upset some locals, get drunk and then save the day… but still we read for the journey. And Gitslayer delivers on this journey.

Love it!

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

— Declan

Book Review – The Lost and the Damned

Book 2 The Siege of Terra by Guy Hayley

Guy Hayley returns to the Horus Heresy in the second book from the Siege of Terra. This is the follow on series from Black Library and was made as a great ‘drop in’ point for those who lost track of the Horus Heresy series. I previously reviewed book 1, which can be found here.

From the book:

With the solar defences overcome through the devastating strength of the Traitor armada and the power of the warp, Horus launches his assault on the Throneworld in earnest. After withstanding a ferocious barrage of ordnance, an immense ground war commences outside the Palace with every inch gained paid for in the lives of billions.

On the thirteenth day of Secundus, the bombardment of Terra began… With the solar defences overcome through the devastating strength of the Traitor armada and the power of the warp, Horus launches his assault on the Throneworld in earnest. After withstanding a ferocious barrage of ordnance, an immense ground war commences outside the Palace with every inch gained paid for in the lives of billions. The front lines are beyond horrific and the very air is reduced to poison and blood. Bodies are thrown into the meatgrinder but the outer redoubts cannot possibly hold for long, even with the loyal primarchs to reinforce them. For Horus has his own generals to call upon… Between the plague weapons of Mortarion and the fury of Angron, the defenders face a losing battle. 

The Lost and the Damned includes the three Primarchs defending Terra from Horus and the attacks from Mortarion and Angron. Guy Hayley continues to tie together the threads of the battle, and as this book is based on Terra it is much easier to follow than Book 1 (which concentrated on the battle for the Sol system).

Sanguinius also makes his first appearance at the Siege, ignoring his brother Dorn’s instructions to stay behind the Wall, and going out to take the fight to the Heretics. His presence rallies the defenders and brings them hope that victory may be achieved… his appearance is great from a personal point of view, as I collect Blood Angels!

And similarly to much of the Horus Heresy series there are stories of ordinary defenders either from Astra Militarum regiments or from local PDFs.

A really good second book in the series – and definitely leaving me wanting to read the rest!

Rating: 4 out of 5.

— Declan

Book Review – Beast Arises Books 2-4

Predator, Prey by Rob Sanders; The Emperor Expects by Gav Thorpe; The Last Wall by David Annandale

As mentioned in my previous book review on I Am Slaughter by Dan Abnett, The Beast Arises series is now available in compilation E-books. The first of these – Beast Arises Volume 1 – contains the first four books. If you missed that review it can be found here…

There are some spoilers for later in the series included below… you have been warned!!

If you’re keen to hear my opinion on books 2 – 4 just read on:

Predator, Prey by Rob Sanders

This is a great fun, quick to read addition to the story. The Orks are starting to threaten the security and survivability of the Imperium and the Lords of Terra are starting to believe that this may be a threat they need to engage. It’s unashamedly pulp-fiction but it’s fun pulp!

The Emperor Expects by Gav Thorpe

The Beast Ork invasion is ongoing and threatening the Imperium whilst the High Lords of Terra are being taken over by the Navy… who really need to be killing Orks.

More characters are being introduced, and some expansion on the power, prestige, and inertia of the High Lords of Terra continues to add interesting twists to the story. This is still very much about the Imperium though, and whilst the Orks are the greatest threat since the Horus Heresy, there is little included about them.

A great, fast paced addition to the Beast / Ork Invasion series.

The Last Wall by David Annandale

An Ork moon sits over Terra and the Space Marines designated to guard Holy Terra are destroyed… what’s worse, the Black Templars and other successor chapters of the Imperial Fists are too far away to make it back in time.

The High Lords call on volunteers and the Astra Militarum (Imperial Guard) to assault the Ork Attack Moon. With the help of the Imperial Navy, and their transport vessels can they make it through and destroy the Moon?

The fourth in the series – another short novella lengths story – they continue to be interesting stories from the 31st Millenium, but do lack for any overarching peril in the story telling. Whilst people and ships can die, we know that the Imperium eventually overcomes the threat.

Some interesting ideas, and fun set pieces – the first four books are an fun light read.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

— Declan

Book Review – I Am Slaughter

Beast Arises – Book 1

With Orktober well and truly upon us, it’s time for an Ork special of our irregular ‘Book Review’ series. One series has screamed ORK(!) in the last years and that is ‘Beast Arises’.

This is a multi-author series over 12 books released in quick succession in 2015 & 2016. It is similar to the Horus Heresy books and set in the 32nd millennium 1,000 years after the events portrayed during the Heresy series. However, the Beast Arises is different in that it is a new story (or nearly new, I don’t know enough about Imperial Fists), which means that the authors can tell their own story… however as the Imperium does reach the 41st Millenium, they can’t rip it apart or destroy it.

Within these limitations, the first book is written by Dan Abnett, who launches many of the series and is (I assume) one of the top selling authors within the Black Library group of regulars.

‘I Am Slaughter’ is the usual top draw sci-fi pulp fiction from Abnett. The Imperial Fists are responding to an invasion of ‘Chromes’. But, as they lose Space Marines, and the fleet is damaged by gravity distortions it begins to be clear that the Chromes aren’t the real problem.

Of course, as this is Orktober, the lurking horror may be obvious to a reader 6 years and 12 books later, but the introduction of them, and the attack of the Imperial Fists includes some great fight scenes, heroism, and some cameos from the Mechanicum of Mars.

It’s a great set-up novel and well worth picking up to see if you would like the series. It’s available from your local book shop, Black Library or Amazon.

As the series was published several years ago, you can also pick up the first four books in one compilation. If you’re interested in the Orks or Imperial Fists, it’s worth grabbing.

All four books in a great value compilation

A series with promise, featuring an Xenos fan favourite .

Rating: 4 out of 5.

— Declan