12 days of winter: day four, My top ten recommended Black Library books

Apologies for getting Day 4 of my seasonal blog post late, it took me some time to edit this post right before deadline schedule!

After four months of reading The Founding Omnibus for the Gaunts Ghost series, I felt like I’d achieved not only that I had read three books in a short space of time (very rare of me to do that). Ive also learned a lot more about the Warhammer 40k universe even more through the eyes of mortal characters. Dan Abnett is truly a master at writing very engaging and unique characters and stories that are relatable.

I’ve decided that I wanted to do my own top ten books I’d recommend reading for new and old readers. I’m a bookworm by heart, reading is one of my many hobbies in my past time.

My rules for picking this list goes like this:

  • Only one author per slot and only one book that they’ve written, if it’s in a anthology, I’ll mention where the book.
  • Can’t be multiple books/ series in one slot, for example, Gaunts Ghosts, Horus Heresy, The Beast Arises and etc. Only one title in the series can be chosen.
  • Must be books I’ve read and finished.

So with the rules set, I’ll now reveal my chosen top ten Black Library books I’d recommend. Enjoy!

10) Space Marine Battles: Slaughter at Giants Coffin, by L.J Goulding

My first pick is this novella story by L.J Goulding, featuring the near decimated chapter of the Scythes of the Emperor. This story is very action packed with one of the best Space marine vs Tyranids I’ve read so far. Following the fall of their home world of Sotha, the Scythes of the Emperor arrive on a Death world, where they prepare to rebuild their numbers after narrowly surviving the clutches of Hive Kraken.

This story is a sad tale of loss to he eyes of the space marines, what it truly means to be a space marine during times of darkness.

If your interested in reading more action packed stories with Tyranids involved, this book is certainly one to read.

9) The Dance of the Skulls, By David Annandale

A short Age of Sigmar story about Neferata and her ways of politics, this story focuses more on character motivation and discovering how the undead aristocracy functions. It’s an interesting insight into the lives of the living and dead celebrating and dine in the realm of death.

This short story is a great read if your keen to know more about the Soul Blight vampires, as well as the Neferatas personality and actions when dealing with obstacles from rival houses.

8) The Emperors Architect, by Guy Haley

One of my favourite traitor Primarchs got his own pre Heresy books a few years ago as part of the Primarchs Horus Heresy book series. Then about year ago or so, a short story Written by Guy Haley about Perturabo was included in the Sons of the Emperor Anthology.

It adds onto the early years of Perturabo and how the people of Olympia view him as either a monster or a saviour. Personally, this short story was by far the best one out of all of the stories in the anthology, as it added more mythos to character that isn’t widely known.

The Emperors Architect is a fascinating story about Olympia after Perturabo reunited with his father, the world now in imperial compliance. I’d recommend this book to anyone who wants to see what life was like during the Great Crusade.

7) Time of Legends: Malekith (part of The Sundering trilogy series), by Gav Thorpe

My first Black Library book was Time of Legends: Malekith, The Sundering Trilogy. This book got me started in the world of Warhammer and it’s fictional setting, a tale that grips me still to this day.

It’s a tragic story that not only shows what Malekith was like before he was corrupted, but it also showed the Warhammer World before the time of men.

I recommend reading the whole trilogy if your keen to learn more about the Durchii’s past, and what started the whole elven civil war.

6) The Labyrinth, by Peter

Need a horror story to read that’s not Genestealers? Well, The Labyrinth reads like an unfolding nightmare as it plunged one Sons of Malice marine into a nightmarish battle for survival.

I really liked the flow of this story as it unravels mysteries about the horrors that the Sons of Malice will face, the end twist is jaw dropping! I can’t spoil the story here, but I’d recommend reading it if your into horror/ Sci Fi Horror.

5) Fifteen Hours, by Mitchel Scanlon

This book to me feels very much like a Sci Fi story that is inspired by WWI, a young adult at a very young age joins the army to fight a war far away from his home. If I could describe this book in one word, it would be “tragic”. You see the Imperium not as a glorious force like the propaganda would have you believe, but instead a disorganised power that is slowly crumbling away.

Take my advice when reading this book, skip the first chapter and read on, and stop before the last chapter and read the first one. Trust me, it’ll make the story worth reading without spoilers, as it ruins the story by revealing too early the main protagonists fate.

4) The Horus Heresy- Vengeful Spirit, by Graham McNeill

I have many favourite books from the Horus Heresy series which I can’t include them all here, but I picked my personal favourite which is Vengeful Spirit. Drawing story lines from many books (by the same author and others) into a plot that would be epic in scale and drama that unfold.

Want full on Astarte action? Imperial knights? Titans? Lore? Mystery? Well this book has it all, as the battle of Molech sees the Sons of Horus take on the loyalist in a full on warfare.

3) The End Times: Return of Nagash by Josh Reynolds

It wouldn’t be right if I didn’t include the End Times onto my top ten list, even if I haven’t read many books from the series. This book is arguably my favourite so far, with unexpected deaths, more deaths and probably my favourite team up of Arkhan the Black and Mannfred Von Carstein.

It’s sad that the End Times (supplement gaming books) didn’t do well with the community, with only five books that hardly covered every faction and story plots. However, BL did the best it could to make the End Times enjoyable to read, with Josh Reynolds writing a the rise of Nagash.

Interestingly enough, Josh Reynolds had the opportunity to return to writing the undead in several AoS stories including the Realmgate Wars, Soul Wars and short stories.

2) Into the Malestom (part of the anthology book by the same name), by Chris Pramas

Now you may be wondering why I’ve picked this short story for second place. It’s a story that not only shows what Warhammer 40k is like in the grim darkness of the far future, but also how loyalty means nothing in a galaxy that neither cares nor remembers your sacrifices.

A lone Astarte named Sartak returns to his chapter after years of absence, that chapter is none other than the Red Corsairs. With a White Scar marine in on the plan, they attempt to take down Huron Blackheart!

Sartak considers himself to still be an Astral Claw, disowning his legions new identity. But his loyalty is tested as gradually the story takes a turn for the worse. The ending (which I won’t spoil) has got to be one of favourite endings where it really sticks with the theme of Warhammer 40k.

1) Necropolis, A Gaunts Ghost novel, by Dan Abnett

You’ll have already gussed I would put a Gaunts Ghost novel as my number one recommended book. I’ve chosen Necropolis as my chosen book due to it’s sheer gripping rollercoaster ride of a story of Hive city siege warfare, as Gaunt and his ghosts most defend a city against a vast chaos military might.

Dan not only writes characters that we already get aquatinted with in previous books, but also adds new characters that are funny, tragic, strong, intelligent and some being complete aresholes.

If your into grand scale siege warfare and want to see what Hive society is like when war hits home, I’d recommend reading this book!

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With that, my top ten book recommendation is done! I hope you have enjoyed this post and maybe interested reading a sample or two of the books I’ve mentioned. I haven’t read every single BL book and popular books, so I’m still reading so many books!

I’ll be back again today with day 5 of 12 days of Winter. See you soon!

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Ghosts

So very near to the end of book three in The Founding arc of Gaunts Ghosts (written by Dan Abnett), as well as one last short story to read before I’m done reading this book. I’m really hooked on the current third act of the story, probably one of the best siege warfare stories I’ve read!

For those of you who have read The Founding arc books, which one was your favourite and why? Also which character did you enjoy reading the most?

After reading this book I’ll be getting down to making my top ten BL books I’ve that I’d recommend reading. I would like to share my thoughts on the books I’ve chosen and why I picked them for my list.

“Try again”- Bragg

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Thank you for reading this post. If you have any questions, post a comment below and I’ll reply back as soon as I can. Thanks!

-Bjorn

Once a Red Corsair, always a Red Corsair

I found this a few days ago at a charity shop whilst I was looking for the second book to the Sundering trilogy (I past it off for a couple of weeks), sadly it was sold by the time I went in. However, this anthology book was nonetheless a good find as it’s a pretty old BL book published (and I don’t think it’s been reprinted either).

So far I’ve read one of the short stories, into the Maelstrom by Chris Pramas, which is story that really gripped me at the edge of my seat. It’s one of favourite Red Corsair stories that really paints a fearsome picture of Huron Blackheart as a rightfully titled tyrant.

I might read more into this book during road trips, as I like to read short stories when I’m out on long journeys.

I’m currently reading the last 100 or so pages of Necropolis by Dan Abnett, such a smashing book to read in my opinion so far. Soon enough I can finally do a top ten post on my favourite BL books I’ve read and recommend to read.

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Thank you for reading this post. If you have any questions, post a comment below and I’ll reply back as soon as I can. Thanks!

-Bjorn

I swear It wasn’t coincidental……also, pray to Malice the outcast God!

Yesterday I found another book from GW past (lucky me) this time being the anthology book, Heroes of the Space Marines. Published back in 2009, this book hosted a selection of short self contained stories about both loyal and renegade chapters. Notable authors include Aaron Dembski Bowden, Nick Kyme, Gav Thorpe, Graham McNeill and many more.

What’s unique about this book is that it contains the only story print about Malice/ Malal, the outcast chaos god. The story was called The Labyrinth (by Richard Ford), featuring the renegade chapter, the Sons of Malice who pray to Malice in ritual and cannibalism.

I won’t spoil the story, but I’d recommend it as one of my top ten all time favourite Warhammer 40k stories (especially a horror focused one!).

I’m still in the process of reading the book (I’m picking and choosing stories that interest me from the short synopsis), next being either Nightfall (by Peter Fehervari) or And They Shall Know No Fear (by Darren Cox). I’ll let you guys know what my thoughts are after reading either of the two short stories.

Since this was an earlier find than expected, I thought I’d share some other finds that I found going months and a year back!

The first story in the Nagash trilogy by Mike Lee, I found this at a second hand book shop a few months ago along with a HH book, Legion, by Dan Abnett.

Whilst I’m currently enjoying and still reading Gaunts Ghost (I’m on the first arc, The Founding, book two), my first introduction to the life of a Commissar was Ciaphas Cain.

Another second hand book found on a shelf with a few other Warhammer books, which I also sadly picked up Descent of Angels (by Mitchel Scanlon). I couldn’t read this book after a few pages, too many ‘scum’ and ‘Chaos scum’ was used…..

Finally, whilst not a first edition print, this book was part of BL celebration that was voted to be reprinted along with Dan Abnett’s Iron Snakes novel. I wish I could have gotten the Iron Snakes book too, as I’m currently reading books relating to the Sabbat Crusade. However, Drachenfels is a classic I couldn’t ignore!

That’s it for my second hand book collection. I’ve decided not to include the Hattchet BL reprint books as I think it deserves its own post, which will be something I’ll do for another time. If I do find more books relating to Warhammer 40k and fantasy, You can bet this hoarding blogger will dish out a new post soon!

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I hope you have enjoyed this post and if you’d like me to do more posts like these, I can do a new post on either a look back on old White Dwarf magazines, or Warhammer Fantasy Battles army books. Comment below what you’d like to see. Thanks!

-Bjorn

When the East takes West

When the East takes West

Last week I had finished reading United States of Japan by Peter Tieryas, Set in an alternative history where the Axis won the Second World War. The book explores what might happen if Japan had taken over West land America and ruling it in its authoritarian ideology.

This book was hard put down, every page was just too good to leave from the way peter writes his book. The flow of the story is what catches me, learning about the characters and the world they inhabit. There’s a lot of interesting concepts such as the George Washington’s, a group who believes in the values of freedom and pride of old America.

Beniko has an interesting role in the story, whilst he may seem like a slacker and a womaniser on the outside, but inside, there’s a lot more to him that makes you understand him, if sometimes he tells half truths. Whilst I can’t spoil the end of the book, he’s an entirely different person at the end of the story, you get to see man who gets live on because of others who would help him, wether for the greater good of the USJ or for justice sake.

I also like the world building in the story, Tieryas puts a lot of effort (but not too much exposition) in presenting America with Japanese culture and society. You get to see both the marvels of technology, health and prosperity in a clean city life in Japan (lucky for the Third Reich, they get the worst carbon monoxide choked cities in the East). However, the darker side of the USJ reveals how very ruthless the authoritarian rulership can be if anyone expresses freedom of will that’s against the God Emperor (before you ask, no it’s not the Emperor from Warhammer 40k)

I wish I could go into more detail about this amazing book, but I’d be spoiling a lot of the story. I’d recommend this book if you like alternative history and Japanese culture. For those of you who like mechas (like me), there’s a good sprinkle of mecha action and lore behind the developments of these colossal giants in USJ.

Before I finish this post, I’d like to point out five things that’s got me curious about USJ (warinig! Some major spoilers about the book will be mentioned!)

  1. Since this story is set in the later half of the 80’s, will future books be continuing the timeline of the USJ, or run parallel with this book?
  2. As the next book in the USJ series will be focusing on mechas, will it be set before or after USJ?
  3. I’m interested to know the fate of Akiko after USJ, will she be making an appearance in the next book?
  4. Reading about Kujira’s thoughts on the empire and how newer mechas are vastly more cheaper and heavily relies on simulation recruitment. Will the next book show division between the old timers against the new changes in mecha production?
  5. Seeing as USJ only focuses on the West side of America, it would be interesting to see how East side of America looks like in the prospective of the Axis controlled side.
  6. After the aftermath of the book, what happens to the George Washington’s?

overall, I’d recommend this book to anyone who enjoys alternative history and Japanese culture and mecha anime. Whilst the story has a lot less mecha action and more about character driven story and world building, the book is nonetheless a fantastic story to read!

-Bjorn

Grimaldus!!! (During course work break)

Having lunch now, I’ll be reading this glorious book during my break. I was inspired to read it after last night watching all of the fan made videos of (unofficial) series on Helsreach (I’ve forgot who the creator of the unofficial series was called, but you’ll be able to find some links on Aaron Dembski Bowden’s blog, or search Helsreach on YouTube). Seeing how badass the Black Templars are, I’m getting prepared to get back into painting my Black Templars Collection tonight.

For those of you who are new to the blog, here’s a photo of my best works in the collection.

Now if you’ll excuse me, there are some heretics to purge!

-Bjorn

12 days of winter [day 1]: For Sotha!

12 days of winter [day 1]: For Sotha!

Starting off my Calendar count down is a short but interesting look at a Black Library publication that I’ve been reading, Space Marine Battles: Scythes of the Emperor by L J Goulding. As part of the collection of short stories (including a novella) I’ll be sharing my thoughts on a short story called The Aegidan Oath.

Just to be clear, I won’t be spoiling the short story, as I think you’ll find it more interesting and absorbing if you read it yourself. However, there might be a small spoiler relating to Pharos and the 13th Legion after HH.

My thoughts on The Aegidan Oath

This short story is surprisingly filled with some interesting information and opinions on the Ultramarines, and how Robute Guilliman is described by both his greatest achievement, and his greatest failure. For those of you who know about the Imperium Secondus will know that it is in fact one of the Primarchs greatest failure, which his legion have tried to cover up post Heresy. This revelation was surprising to me, as I didn’t know much about the Ultramarines chapter apart from some basic information.

This story offers an insight into the Ultramarines and how they aren’t as perfect as current events would show them to be. The Imperium Secundus and the secret phantom 11th company, which, if found out by the High Lords of Terra, could not only Jeopardise the Legion branded as heretics , but also the Codex Astartes itself! I like how L J Goulding has fleshed out Guilliman for both his glory and faults, which makes him more relatable and more compelling as a character.

How is this story tied to the Scythes of the Emperor? Well first off, the story is set on Pharos, on the world of Sotha, which is very much part of the 3rd Successor chapters culture. This story takes place many centuries after the Horus Heresy, as well as the death of Guilliman (well, in stasis to be exact). It tells a tale about two Ultramarines who have come to deliver news to a certain “legend” on Pharos, news of which will lead to two major choices.

The story, whilst leaves many questions than answers, at least it gives you some prospective on events of then, and how the Scythes of the Emperor were established.

My overall thoughts on the short story

The story overall is a fantastic read for a short story, it shows you a historical event on how the Scythes were established, as well as adding more mythos to the cannon. Whilst I lacked much knowledge on Pharos during HH, I did however, enjoy the story which thankfully had some context on post HH on Pharos.

I’d recommend this as a good short read for traveling, or if you want to know more about the origins of the Scythes of the Emperor.

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Thank you for reading this post. This was my first attempt at typing my thoughts down on reading a short story, so I might be a little bit amateur on description and format of the post. However, it was difficult not to spoil the story.

If you have any questions or anything about this post that you want to ask me (no spoilers), post a comment below and I’ll reply back as soon as I can. Thanks!

-Bjorn