12 days of Winter|My top ten books of 2019

This year was my biggest reading challenge to date as I made myself a goal to read more books than I read last year. If I can remember my current reading checklist I’ve read about 20+ books, although I wanted to do a top ten list to make this post not too long.

So here’s my top ten books of 2019, enjoy!

10) Legacy of Dorn by Mike Lee

This book was a nice book to read at the start of 2019 to inspire me to build my Primaris Crimson Fists. The story takes place during the Rynn’s World War in the perspective of a few surviving Space marines who have to survive alongside surviving Rynn’s Guard troopers.

A very intense and engaging story of survival and struggles to keep order in check, this story explores what it means to be a son of Dorn, how a Space marine deals with loss and regret and how the Crimson Fists work alongside imperial Guardsmen.

9) Nagash The Undying King by Josh Reynolds

This AoS novel covers the events after Nagash’s defeat by the blade of Archaon, telling the tale of a tribe called the Rictus Tribe who have become the centre stage of the story’s plot. It’s an insightful look into who worships Nagash and how they’ve had to deal with the Great Necromancers silence after his defeat.

A nice novel to read, I’d say it’s one of the better AoS books out there with tons of interesting lore and themes that hobbyist might like to create. A noble army of Maggotkin of Nurgle Knights, a clan called the Rictus Clan who worship Nagash and even a skeleton Giant makes an appearance too! (Make a warscroll of that please GW).

Overall if your a fan of Nagash or just an avid fan of AoS and want to know more about Shyish during the Age of Chaos, this book is certainly a must to connect the dots for the Malign Portents and the Necroquake.

8) The Land Leviathan by Micheal Moorcock

Reading outside of Black Library books, I’ve been reading some Micheal Moorcock fiction. Whilst I’ve never read the first book in the series, the second book, The Land Leviathan is an amazing science fiction story about an alternate future where western society is destroyed as an African superpower takes over the world.

It’s a great story as it explains how an inventor solved world hunger with technologies that excelled the living standards for poor people. In a nutshell, society got too greedy and started a nuclear war thanks to the inventors own Warmachine creations. Western society goes downhill as the war destroys pretty much every governing nations.

But, whilst the western world is nearly wiped out, Africa rises up and uses the remaining technology to take over the world.

I won’t spoil the whole story, but there’s a lot of questions to ask, and the themes that run through this story. If you like science fiction that has a completely different style of presenting an alternative timeline, The Land Leviathan is worth read.

7) The Corum Trilogy: The Knight of the Sword by Micheal Moorcock

Another Micheal Moorcock book that I’ve added to my list due to its significance of being my favourite fantasy story that’s not GW related.

The Knight of the Sword is a fantasy story that follows the first book in Corum’s adventures, the last of his kind, Corum goes in search of revenge to destroy the first Chaos god of the Sword rulers. This book has some interesting lore about the universe that this story is set in, and how it connects to the grander scale of the multiverse.

6) The Fog by James Herbert

The latest book I’ve read from the master of horror writing by the late James Herbert. The story follows the events of an unnatural earthquake that opened a fissure in a small village, releasing a fog like cloud into the sky.

What follows is a string of physiological horror stories that lead up to a growing rise of murders and strange behaviour from those affected by the fog.

This is quite a good book to read that explores the concept of how everyone can be turned into the worst aspects of themselves. Hatred, love, regret, fear and deepest emotions can be triggered by the fogs presence.

5) A Knight and his Horse by Ewart Oakshot

As a hobby I like researching history that’s mostly a Medieval and the battle of Stalingrad, although I’m not fluent enough to give guided tours on these subjects.

But there’s one book that I really enjoyed reading this year that covered my favourite subject, Knights and Jousting. A Knight and His Horse is a book that explains the history of how cavalry was developed of the centuries, how Knights would be armoured (and their horses) and the types of horses that were used during the Medieval times.

Packed with some interesting illustrations and facts to understand what Knights really did. I don’t know if this book is still reprinted today but I’d highly recommend reading a copy for it’s easy to read guide on Knights.

4) Domain by James Herbert

The third book in The Rats Trilogy, Domain is probably one the most depressing books I’ve read from the trilogy. Set after a nuclear attack devastates London and the rest of the U.K., those that survived live in either well maintained underground fallout shelters or basements to survive.

Unbeknownst to the survivors that something vast and hungry has come to search for the survivors and devour them alive. The giant mutated rats are back, and they now rule the streets of London.

At this point in the series things get very same old as you know well enough what these mutant rats will do if they ever see you. That’s not to say it wasn’t interesting, having it set after a nuclear apocalypse is a great way of changing the narrative.

The short stories within this book highlight just how horrible the apocalypse can be for those that survived, as the rats catch their scent and on mass hunt the survivors down. I can’t spoil much here but be prepared for some really depressing stuff. One the bright side, the short story about a neighbour who built his shelter despite ridicule (and laughed at them in return as he survived the apocalypse) is stuck with a cat. It should have been its own story due to it’s well written humour and horror.

3) Storm of Iron by Graham McNeill

Iron Warriors are one of my favourite traitor legions from the first founding, their Horus Heresy stories have a lot of insight into the legions organisation and the flaws that defined their downfall to Chaos. I was especially pleased with Perterabo’s Primarch novel alongside the short story (in Sons of the Emperor) which fills in more information on Olympia. It was thanks to Angel Exterminatus (by the same Author as Storm of Iron) that I started reading HH books.

Storm of Iron is very much a sequel to Angel Exterminatus that features some of the most intense fighting of swift warfare. The Iron Warriors led by the Warsmith, have come to take down a highly fortified stronghold to find something which even the defenders don’t know about.

I was very impressed with the story and how Graham brought back my favourite Iron Warrior legends like Kroger, Forrix and the Warsmith.

Honsou is my new favourite Iron Warrior just for the sheer badass stuff he does!

2) Honour Guard by Dan Abnett

Whilst I’m still reading the Gaunt’s Ghosts the Saints Omnibus, I do have a favourite book in the collection that I wanted to add to my list. Honour Guard is a great story that continues off from Necropolis (one of my all time favourite Gaunt’s Ghosts book!), which sees the Ghosts and the Verghasties on the holy world where Saint Sabbat herself was rested. After a major error resulted in the destruction of a holy site, Gaunt must lead an honour guard on a mission to recover the remains of Saint Sabbat. A mission that may be his last……

Whilst it wasn’t as good as Necropolis I did enjoy this book for the narrative of a long road journey, a sort of final act of dignity and spiritual journey that Gaunt must take to succeed the mission. Surprisingly there was a lot of good humour especially from Major Rawne’s parts.

When judging the Saints arc I think Honour Guard is probably the best book so far in the omnibus, the others were fine although they didn’t have that quality that the former had. Straight Silver was good but I thought the first half of the story was jarring to read, the second half started to read like a proper Gaunt’s Ghost story. I didn’t like the third book in the series, it just felt like the other books I’ve read before.

1) The Rats by James Herbert

My top book for 2019 is The Rats, a story that’s chilling to the bone reading the most bloody graphic descriptions I’ve ever read. For such a small book with only a 100+ pages, I was captivated by the narrative and disgusted by the horror that the late James Herbert crafted.

This book was his first time publishing books, and that’s saying something for one of his most popular book in his career.

The Rats takes place roughly in the 1970’s, a string of deaths have occurred by hungry giant mutated rats, larger, stronger and hungry for human flesh. The victims are described by their background and what led them to where they are now before their fate is sealed as the Rats kill them alive. You feel connected to the victims, some good, some bad, but you want them to survive no matter what will come next.

I’ve made a few posts about The Rats earlier this year after I’ve found a copy of a Graphic novel, The City. It was by a random chance encounter that would lead me on to discover James Herbert and The Rats Trilogy.

So it was by no doubt that I wanted The Rats to be my top book of 2019.

_________

That’s all for today, check back tomorrow to see what my new post will be for my 12 days of Winter blog posts.

Until next time,

-Bjorn

Extract to part 1 of the fan made Fly on the Wall Podcast Post Apocalyptic Saga

As part of my 12 days of Winter daily blog posts, I’ve included the first part of my non cannon fan fiction story based on the Fly on the Wall Podcast Post Apocalypse saga. After completing my prologue story, a pilot of sorts, I did some writing on the first part of the story.

Luke and Woz enjoyed the prologue, and read it on their podcast for their Post apocalyptic saga special. I have no idea if anyone liked it or what the viewers thought about this alternative story. For all I know, Dexton might be my only fan…….

I heard the extract and found a few issues with my writing, some parts work others not so much. Whilst focusing on the characters and backstory for most of the prologue was good, I did however notice that it relied on people listening to the podcast series to get a better understanding of where I’ve gone with my alternative timeline.

Why write a fan made story? I have two reasons for doing this, 1) I wanted to try my hand at writing stories on my blog to see wether people will like it and wether my work is substantial. Ive done plenty of fictional writing on the blog before, but only as lore background to my homebrew work. I wanted to try writing fictional stories to broaden my blog into different subjects. If it goes well I might try doing more story posts for other projects. 2) Because I really liked the post apocalyptic saga that Woz and Luke have created, it’s a fun audio story that takes some twist and turns you wouldn’t be expecting. I’m hoping my contribution to the fandom will get others to add their own work into the podcast.

Anyways, as an early treat for you guys I’ve decided to reveal an extract to my non cannon fan made story of the Post Apocalyptic Saga. Enjoy!

~~~~~

In the distant future of today, life had changed dramatically after the outbreak of the virus, a plague that had struck the modern day society with one fell swoop. The virus was believed to have been similar to the Ebola virus, based on the physical signs that matched medical research into the Ebola virus. Anyone in contact with the virus would surely die slow and painfully, as the virus takes hold of the innocent, the damned and the foolish.

At first it was believed that the virus was Ebola, which somehow infected the world uncontrolled, and free to kill anyone in contact to it’s sickening spread. Those that lived past the first stages of the virus soon realised that it wasn’t Ebola, for the virus wasn’t just a disease, it mutated. The infected started to mutate, growing new limbs, animalistic features and reformed into monstrous proportions, like an accelerated evolutionary change of nature’s doing. Birthing a new variety of races of mutants, these. Creatures would form their own clans, warbands or isolated lives away from the rest of it’s kin.

No longer did the virus kill the weak, for the weak were all dead, and the strong were rewarded with new changes as they became mutants. However, these enhancements came at the cost of their own freedom of individuality and expression, mindless to the whispers of its new master.

But the survivors of Australia had not been easily defeated into misery like other nations, for this is a land of fighters and survivalists. They started to form communities, organised law groups, traders and hunters in this new and disturbing world.

As the wasteland recovered from the apocalypse and started rebuilding itself for over six years, a new threat emerged from the shadow of a vast army of mutant soldiers. They call their master the Dark Mind, the one they followed and enacted it’s will to kill and eradicate the human population to make war for the new earth.

Who is the Dark mind? What are its goals and how did it came to be for it to have outsmarted the government, the military and the world. No one knows for sure, it’s a spoken blessing by the mutants to give praise to this foul leader. Like a hive mind in the shadows it has so far not been seen by human eyes, more than likely to be in a safe place to be able to wove its malicious plans.

It’s army marches on as they raid settlements for fresh meat, Slaves and vessels to absorb. Mankind is now on the brink of extinction.

They proclaim that this act of atrocity will be heralded as the Final apocalypse, and the new mankind will flourish and prosper. Wether populated by the mutant army or something far more disturbing is as of yet up for debate.

Now in the wasteland desert of Australia, four travellers set off to find an old water purification power plant facility in the wastes. There they believe that this is the source of the virus that caused the apocalypse in Australia. Still producing clouds of pollution into the atmosphere and the lake it’s sited on. Pumping the virus into inland Australia where it can mutate or kill those inland that survived the apocalypse.

Soon, our race will die and fade into the desert like a forgotten civilisation of old, our history, linage, hate, war, achievements and prosperity will die along with us.

The Final apocalypse begins………

~~~~

As a bonus treat for you guys, I have a digital artwork done as a cover for part 2 (WIP writing that). I can’t spoil what it means, but for those of you who know my blog will understand what this pays homage to.

Anyways, I hope you guys have enjoyed this post and looking forward to the full first part. Check out the Fly on the Wall Podcast hosted by Luke and Woz, they do all sorts of topical subjects and host their Post Apocalyptic Saga series.

Until next time,

-Bjorn

12 days of Winter is back for 2019!

A yearly tradition I do each year celebrating the hobby each day up till Christmas day, with posts ranging from hobby projects, art, stories and random stuff.

This year I’m going bolder with my plans for the 12 day challenge! I’ve got some big posts that I’m currently working on, which means November will be very quite from me.

So what to expect for the 12 days of Winter? Well, I can’t reveal all of what I’ve planned, but here’s what’s in store.

  • A three part post on the lore of the Astral Bears, including artwork!
  • My top ten books of 2019
  • Fan fiction of the Fly on the Wall podcast, Post Apocalypse story part 1 (unofficial and fan fiction)

There’s a lot more to come, but for now mark your calendars for December 13th!

Because I like treating you guys with sneak peaks, I’ve got this WIP artwork of a certain Chapter Master who will be featured in my Astral Bears lore series.

Until next time,

-Bjorn

Books, books and more Warhammer books

Today’s post is another treasure hunting find that may or may not be worth much, but the history and content of these books are worth a lot to people like me! After months of nothing, my usual car boot hunting of items gone dry and my luck running I thought that would be it for me. But……a couple of weeks ago I’ve found some interesting findings!

Inferno vol 6 and vol 27, these books have some rare material that I haven’t seen be reprinted for years (well apart from GW’s limited reprint of Inferno issue in celebration of the return of the new Inferno).

Up next two very very old books that were published during the Boxtree years (old publication before GW set up the Black Library as their fictional book publication), Deathwing and Konrad. I also found other Boxtree books like Harlequin and Chaos Child. I picked the other two as I didn’t want to read the Ian Watson books as I’ll need the first book in order to read Harlequin and Chaos Child.

I’m currently reading Konrad which is so far a good book, still need some time to read it all and see who or what Konrad himself is. Is he the same Konrad as Konrad Von Carstein?

That’s all for tod……… wait, just today I’ve found this…..

I got Gileads Blood a few weeks ago and got Gileads Curse today. It was on sale at my local library as stock is changed over, only months ago it was still on the shelf. I’ll be reading this once I’ve done Konrad.

That’s all for today!

Until next time,

-Bjorn

Fly on the Wall podcast Post Apocalypse series: The Road Ahead, prologue [fan made story]

Fly on the Wall podcast Post Apocalypse series: The Road Ahead, prologue [fan made story]

Fan made prologue to the finale to the Post Apocalypse series featured on the Fly on the Wall podcast. None cannon story that takes place years later following the events from the podcast, following Woz, Luke, Keith and Glenn as they finally discover the source of the virus.

Inspired by the podcast, I wanted to create a non canon story using story elements that were laid out by Luke and Woz. Crafting these story lines into a conclusion that ties up many plots and events with a few twists (you’ll be shocked what I’ve got in mind for the main finale story if this prologue story gets a few positive feedback and the Luke and Woz seal of approval!). Imagine this as an alternative timeline.

Who caused the virus? What will happen to Keith and Woz in the future as mutants? Will Glenn redeem himself? And is Luke as fine as he says he is in the story?

All will be revealed in my fan made non canon prologue, with some artwork I did to better describe the four weirdos of the wasteland.

Please support the official Fly on the Wall by following IRO blog (ImperialRebalOrk) or check out the podcast on your favourite podcast station.

Just before you read this story, I recommend listening to Mitch Murders EP album, Hardwired. It fits well as a background music for reading this story, a bit of dark noir synthwave to immerse yourself in the post apocalyptic world. The single of the same name as the EP, Hardwired, is a must to listen to, a mix of synthwave and 80’s horror style. I listen to it when I read James Herbert’s books, including The Rats Trilogy.

With that, I hope you’ll enjoy this story. Enjoy!

(Be warned, I’m not the greatest story teller……….)

____________

In the dry deserts of Australia, there were four dark silhouette shapes walking across the blazing heat and dry earth. The post apocalypse had turned this once grassy and forested area into a desert corpse. Once there were trees as healthy as the highlands, grass as vast as the eye can see, birds, crocodiles, Horses and kangaroos making noises in a living and breathing nature paradise.

But the virus took that away, all of it. The trees were dead and hollow as a carcass, grass so grey it could be confused as grey clouds and the animals either killed, extinct or mutated into horrible abominations of perversion. It didn’t just affect the human population, it affected nature itself like a freak climate change that couldn’t be averted in time.

The mutated crows with two heads and four wings encircled high above watching these dark shapes move through the wasteland, like phantoms in daylight. Hoping for a tasty snack of dead meat, the birds wait until the time was right to feast on the corpses.

The dark shapes were in the far distance and Shimmering like water. Then the unidentifiable dark silhouettes slowly formed into humanoid shapes of different shapes and sizes, half looked human, the others odd shaped.

Soon they were clear as day, the sight would either make you gag until your intestines run dry, or your sanity gets messed up just by seeing the odd looking freaks. The first of the four was the sore thumb of the lot, a big muscled ape like man with four arms and two tusks. It’s body was covered in orange fur, skin as dark as a ripe grape, eyes golden green, ape like in looks. It walked on all six limbs as it carried crates of supplies, tents, food, and other supplies on its broad back.

This mutant was once known as Keith, now he’s known as Krakstrong, pack leader of his mutant family and ally of the roaming gang he now follows. The virus infected Keith and his family during the initial stages of the outbreak, falling prey to the illness with fever, headaches, pale yellow looks and as Luke would point out, “a rash ass”.

Luckily Keith survived the infection along with his family, recovering quite remarkably despite the blood loss that Keith had lost. But soon it was obvious that he and his family weren’t in the clear, for Keith had started to mutate with one of his arms getting swollen with muscle and strength.

The changes would result in Keith and Glenn, his long time friend, being spilt apart by Keith’s sudden primal outburst. He took a bite out of Glenn’s wife’s shoulder, blood dribbling down his chin as he chewed on the warm flesh. Glenn already being affected by the apocalypse went ape shit, swearing to kill the mutant that was once his friend. He nearly did too at gun point with his shotgun aiming at Keith’s head, but he couldn’t kill him in the end as he could still see Keith behind the mutants eyes.

Since then, both have not spoken to each other for awhile, six years to be precise. His relationship with Luke and Woz is a mixed bag of stable and absolute hatred. Luke, Krakstrongs man slave (translated to advisor and human ambassador), is the closest to retaining any verbal communication. Luke believes that Keith still lives inside the mutant ape, hidden behind the primal and primitive persona of Krakstrong. His efforts to bring Keith back as of yet are going nowhere.

As for Woz, Krakstrong despises Woz for his symbiotic bonding of man and machine, part man, part bike, part vibrating dishwasher, part anything electrical. He hates the sight of this abomination for it was not by nature’s design nor the virus’s doing, the machine is the enemy of the mutants and should be destroyed.

Krakstrong would soon evolve and change to become a four armed ape who is hardly recognisable anymore unless you knew him before the change. He has become the leader of his mutant ape family clan, beating his rival brothers and sisters in combat. Suited for this new world of the post apocalypse, Krakstrong has faced many dangers including bandits, cannibals, killer clowns, mutant rabbits (the second most dangerous creature in the wasteland), mutant creatures and the mysterious mutant rats.

Lately he has been looking south in a sort of day dream, even his family too in a strange hivemind like connection. Maybe he wants to move on with his clan, to resettle and grow his clan to be big and strong. Or, maybe he still seeks to find his nemesis and the only threat to his clan, the Silverback Chimp Tribe led by Gornicus, the face ripper.

Whoever wins in that war, will decide the fate of the wasteland and the new mankind’s survival.

The man he once was had died years ago, and the ties he had with his friends and none mutants have eroded for a few years now. Krakstrong and the soul of Keith

***

Next there’s the lone warrior of the group, Glenn. He had a serious alcoholic problem during the apocalypse when most of his friends, family and his pet dog, Keith, were perished by the virus. Losing all hope in life, Glenn wanted to give up and die in the wasteland. But he was denied death by his friends, an act that would result in the creation of the legend of the lone bounty hunter centuries later.

His only companion was his wife called Glenn’s wife, no one knows her name for they forget it as soon as they hear it. At one time, Keith tried solving this issue by recording what she said her name was on a recording tape, what came back was nothing but static noise…………..

Glenn would amass a small gang of ex working class construction workers, calling themselves the ‘Fixers’ as they fix the wastelands problems by killing the bandits with construction tools. They would be at relative peace with the caravan group that was set up by Luke and Woz. Although Glenn’s increasing consumption of alcohol and fighting some of the Fixers has caused damage to the small settlement. It was decided that by Luke and Woz that Glenn and his gang be assigned as a scouting party. The front line of both close assault and heavy weapon teams, assessing the enemies strength and weaknesses.

But disastrously, the Fixers were all killed by a mutant surprise attack led by the Butcher, a massive mutant brute who has been longing to kill Glenn and his gang for screwing his plans. In one awful turn of events all the gang members were killed, eaten or ‘bonded’ to the mutants as new sustenance to evolve.

Glenn hated all mutants from that day as well as some of his friends that had been infected by the virus. He would kill them all even if it meant killing Luke, Woz and Keith to rid the wasteland of its taint.

More tragedy would follow as Glenn lost his wife during the groups effort to save his wife from the Butcher, as he sliced her into meaty bits. In rage, he hold no sympathy or remorse as he tore the hood from the swollen deformed monster. Even as he saw the purest face of a youthful man with bright blue eyes and an expression of fear and confusion. Glenn let loose as much bullets as he can into the abominations complexion, 100% confirmed kill.

A man lost of hope, life, love and friendship of old, Glenn left the group to go solo to help the people in need. Bounty hunting criminals, monsters and bandits wherever he went. Years later however by chance, Glenn had an encounter with his old friends when he was hunting down a mutant named Jackson Creeker. Jackson was a serial murderer, pillager and a Slicer. Slicers were a mutant group who worked for the ‘Dark mind’, a mysterious player in organising raids on settlements and safe towns. They would act as the infiltrators poking weak holes inside the cities and towns of pure stock humans, ready for the main mutant army to flood into these well protected places.

There were three outcomes if you were a citizen of said town, you either die, sliced slowly, be a slave or be used as spare parts to produce new mutant soldiers.

Luke, Woz and Krakstrong were helping one such settlements defence against the mutant army, and rat out the Slicer before the chaos could happen. Glenn was on a contract to hunt down Jackson Creeker, and by chance he saw his old friends.

He was a different man than what he used to be for he was now a solider of sorts, gone was the depression, recovering alcohol addiction and letting go of life. Now he was a killer bounty hunter, a moral one at least.

He reluctantly helped the gang save the settlement as it nearly got overrun by a back door entrance. The Mayor had a secret entrance in his office where the mutants can raid at the heart of the settlement. It was only thanks to Krakstrongs instincts and Glenn’s investigations that led them to accuse the mayor of working against the people. With the old mayor dead in his own office as well as his sheriff who also conspired to help the invasion, two positions needed to be filled.

Glenn became the sheriff, a role he only kept as a temporary position until he and his gang locate and kill the Dark Mind. Luke became mayor of the settlement (turns out Jackson Creeker was actually the mayor of the town named after his alias, Moorton), a role he didn’t ask for but took on the mantle of responsibility, with the help of Glenn as sheriff, Krakstrong as the mutant ambassador and Woz as the Chaplin of the faith of the machine.

Now Glenn has one purpose, a journey that he must complete without mercy, emotion and second thoughts. He and his friends must find the source of the mutant virus and put a stop to it before their world is destroyed. The risks are too great to falter, to find the Dark mind and kill it before it unleashes the Final Apocalypse. Glenn hunter by the horror of the Butcher

***

Luke is Luke, he’s been the same from then to now. The core of the group (not leader, Krakstrong is considered to be the leader, though in name only), his humanity and moral philosophy is still very much alive despite everything that’s happened. He and Woz were the leaders of the caravan escape during the beginning of the apocalypse, taking their family and friends away to safer lands.

After many adventures to find supplies, scouting missions, bandit attacks and growing mutant sightings, the gang had bonded closer now that they had to survive together.

They established a small caravan town that knew relative peace for a time, until the mutants led by the Butcher attacked their settlement. Many would be killed or eaten, including friends of Luke who he knew decades ago. Even in his sleep he can still see the faces of the dead, cursing him and tormenting him for letting them die.

Only a handful of survivors escaped to go in search of a new and safer home. Luckily, they found land that was on a hill side with running pure water. Not the safest spot to settle but better than no water at all. Everything seemed to be finally on track as the community started to recover from the mutant attack.

But behind the facade of his over confidence, jokester jest, eagerness and never backing down, Luke is slowly dying from the virus. The Butcher took Luke on in a brawl during the downfall of the caravan settlement, pinning Luke down as he injected Luke with a degenerative disease of the virus into Luke’s bloodstream. At first Luke thought he was going to become a mutant like Keith, but luckily the changes never came.

However, the interior of Luke’s body fared worse as he suffered nerve loss from time to time, losing his control of limbs and in some cases eye sight. Using medication that’s available, Luke hides his degrading health to ensure he and his family and friends live long enough to find a safe place to live.

Only one person in his family knows of his health problems, and swore not to share this knowledge to anyone, even to Woz. As Luke continues his fight he is surely to pay dearly for what will come once the virus gets stronger.

He became mayor of a settlement after defeating the Dark Minds mutant army and ratting out Jackson Creeker. His new role has loosen his role as a fighter and group leader in supply gathering, which benefited him to hide his falling health. Wearing a pirate outfit with a taxidermy parrot named Frank, Luke would organise and build the settlement to become bigger, stronger and more open for trade with other settlements. He can now assure his family will be safe now that they have found a safe home.

At last, Luke must join his old friends one last time as they travel to a location far east of Australia, to an abandoned testing facility of water purification called ‘H.J Water purification facility’. There he and his gang will stop the source of the virus outbreak and save their homeland. Luke only has scarce supplies left to delay the inevitable as he is soon reaching the point of no return. This may be his last trip………….. Luke

***

Finally there’s Woz, half man half machine infused symbiotic bonding. Once he was the most human of all the gang as he placed his moral duty and belief before aggression and nihilism. A peacekeeper and Lukes twin by a brother to another mother quote, Woz handled the complex side of the affects of the apocalypse to the caravan settlers.

He unfortunately had a fatal incident with the Butcher as Woz had his hand sliced off, leaving a few fingers and a thumb left. But something miraculous happened as his arm bonded to machine parts, reforming his hand as organic and mechanical symbiosis. Woz by all accounts was not a mutant, for no other creature had the strain of bonding, but rather evolving by its own mutation and absorbing organic only.

Woz became half man, half machine, able to absorb from a fall of 8ft and more, reconstructing broken bone into new parts. Soon Woz was seen as a god by the tech nerds who saw him as a machine god. But Woz refused to be seen as a god, just a lucky bugger.

However, Woz would lose something in exchange for these enhancements as he slowly lost his humanity. The one biggest strength that Woz has was his humanity and moral ideals from right to wrong. But as he absorbs more machine parts, the more he has lost that which made him the man he was. His unemotional appearance, cold calculating plans and disregard for innocent life has made him a danger to his friends and family.

His family out of concern tried to get him the help needed to bring him back to normal, but the damage was done and nothing can be done to save him. Only those vague good memories are what keeps Woz from losing the identity he has left. He has now passed on the mantle of responsibility to his next of kin, to carry on the traditions and values that he himself had followed. With that, he left his family with such cold and unfeeling separation like it wasn’t Woz anymore, like a stranger.

He became a Chaplin to the faith of the machine, a cult of worshipers that use barely running computers to pray. Sermons start at 1pm with the first song of binary numbers of 1s and 0s. Members are required to use treadmills to run the computers as the power lines went dark during the apocalypse.

This cult would soon grow old to Woz after much grovelling by the tech worshipers, he only came as he needed to build his mind and machine soul to be stronger. Deification was a distraction from his intent to absorb as much knowledge as he can from the database archives. This was where he found the source location of the virus.

leaving the church to find his family who he hasn’t seen for a year. A hope of the old Woz returning, or just an error in his mechanical logic?

Now Woz joins his flesh mortals (friends) on their last trek to find the source of the virus, and save mankind from total extinct. Somehow after much research Woz found the location to the source of the outbreak at an old water purification site. Strange, he didn’t have evidence to suggest this was the location or even if it was still there. He just has this feeling in his mind that it is there, as if something is calling out to him. Telling Woz to go find it like a beacon transmission……… Woz, the man machine

End of prologue……..

Fan art of the Corum trilogy (Knight of the Sword)

For the past three months I’ve been doing some work on a side project, that I’ve been working on in between my usual miniature painting projects. After finishing the Corum book Trilogy by Micheal Moorcock, I was inspired to illustrate the characters, locations, Gods and events that took place in the trilogy.

The Corum book trilogy is by far one of my favourite Eternal Champion book series, a story of pain, war, sacrifice, destiny and the complexity of the God pantheons. Each book not only has its own amazing adventure story, but each one expands on the lore of Corum’s world (or time age, in the Eternal champion series).

So I did some illustrations of what I would imagine the first book, The Knight of the Sword, to look like in my perspective whilst respecting the source material. This book is one of my favourite out of the three for it’s story of Corums journey. From being the last of his race and physically tortured by the rising Mabden race led by Glandyth-a-Kae, to a powerful tragedy to use his new ‘gifts’ to defeat Arioch to restore balance to the five realms.

I wanted to share my fan artwork with you today, mostly from the first half of the Knight if the Sword book, and hopefully it might inspire you to take a look at the Corum trilogy book series. There are other fictional works by Micheal Moorcock that deserve a read too, I can’t list them all here (and I’ve got a lot to catch up on reading the Eternal Champion series) but they are just as good if not better. Enjoy!

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Corum Jhaelen Irsei, Prince in the Scarlet Robe

Glandyth-a-Krae, Earl of the Denledhyssi.

The Horned Bear (Mabden vassal God) The Dog (Mabden Vassal God)The Giant of Laahr

Knight of Moidel Castel Moidel Earl Moidel of Allomglyl, the Margrave returned from the depths of the sea Shool the wizard ???

The Eye of Rhynn and the Hand of Kwll Arioch, Knight of the Swords (Chaos Lord)

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I hope you have enjoyed this art filled post! If you want to see me do more fan art for the second half of the first Corum book, post a comment below and if I get enough feedback I’ll do some more!

Again, I’d highly recommend reading The Eternals Champion series and other Micheal Moorcock literature works.

Until next time,

-Bjorn

note: I do not own the names, locations, story nor creation of Corum and The Eternal Champion series. All works of fiction mentioned here were created by Micheal Moorcock. This post is only for free expression and none profit.

Yearly book reading challenge update and the Prince Corum book series

Back in April I’ve posted an update on my yearly book reading challenge, after reading a total of twelve books last year, I wanted to best that record by reading more books. Below is a recap list of what I read this year.

  • The Rats, by James Herbert
  • Lair, by James Herbert
  • Domain, by James Herbert
  • Chacarodons: The Outer Dark, by Robbie Mcniven
  • The Horus Heresy: Galaxy in Flames, by Ben Counter
  • The Horus Heresy: Crimson Fist, by John French
  • Nagash: The Undying King, by Josh Reynolds
  • Legacy of Dorn, by Mike Lee
  • Elric of Melniboné, by Michael Moorcock
  • A knight and his horse, by Ewart Oakshott

Today I can announce (a late one) that I’ve now passed my goal, with six more books read! This year I have so far read 16 books, three of which are part of a trilogy of books. Below is a list of what I’ve read since April’s update post.

  • The Knight of the Sword, by Micheal Moorcock
  • The Queen of the Sword, by Micheal Moorcock
  • The King of the Sword, by Micheal Moorcock
  • The Land Leviathan (the Oswald Bastable trilogy), by Micheal Moorcock
  • The Dark Powers of Tolkien, by David Day
  • The Fog, by James Herbert

The first trilogy in the Corum series written by Micheal Moorcock.

So now that my goal has been met, I’m going to read some more books and see how far I can go before the end of 2019.

After reading the Sword Rulers trilogy by Micheal Moorcock, I was really inspired by the story and creations by Micheal, a fun and interesting series relating to the multiverse. I think it’s a series that’s hardly been talked about with today’s generation (including me for a time before I found out about Micheal Moorcock). I’ve got an idea that I’ve been working on for weeks now, that will hopefully attract more new readers to the Corum series and other Micheal Moorcock books……

Until next time,

-Bjorn

How I would change The City (by James Herbert)

How I would change The City (by James Herbert)

The City by James Herbert is a mixed bag for many readers, who have read all of the Rats books this graphic novel offers nothing new, but for new readers it’s quite interesting if vague. For me, this is where I started reading James Herbert’s work on The Rats, and after reading the trilogy and discussing all of the books, I now return to the last book that ends this series.

I want to discuss what I would change for this graphic novel that would give it more purpose, and a finality to end the saga. This isn’t to disrespect James Herbert’s work on The City as I’ve enjoyed reading it for its unique visual journey into the nightmare world of The Rats. However, I would like to offer my criticism not out of knowing what would make it perfect or how my opinion is right, but to offer alternative ideas and suggestions that could improve the story.

Let’s begin!

The protagonist

In The City, we meet our protagonist named David who is a lone survivor by the name of ‘The Traveller’, who search’s for his wife and daughter in the warped post apocalyptic nightmarish city of London. Now ruled by the Black Rats, David search’s for his family whilst slaughtering the rats.

When he finds his family his daughter is nothing but a carcass and his wife has gone, too far lost in her delusion. When he discovers that she is nursing a White baby rat, he ensures the vermin is destroyed and sadly mercy kills his wife.

Then suddenly he has a new mission in which he kills the Mother creature who’s nest is in St Paul’s Cathedral. After he kills the beast, he leaves London to walk the wasteland alone.

The Character lacks any connections to the previous books and we don’t really get to know David in the story. His mission doesn’t really pull you in and make you sympathise with him, his story is a mystery. A mystery character can be written well in some stories with some hints here and there about their past, but David just feels vague with nothing to make you question where he came from.

How does he know where the Mother Creature hibernate? Who does he work for? How did he know his family might be alive? Was he an ex military man? How did he survive the nuclear apocalypse?

I have two alternative suggestions that could make The City a good send off to the franchise, and to bring the story full circle.

1. Have Luke Pender be the protagonist of the story, he was the main protagonist in the second book, Lair. He knows about the Rats and their ugly hierarchy during his time as a investigator for Ratkill. Have the story briefly explain his life after Lair, his marriage and how he left behind Ratkill and his vengeance went for the Black Rats. Then go into the apocalypse and how he and his wife were lucky to be in one of the safer areas that weren’t attacked before sees-fire. Skip a few years in the future and show Pender as a lone traveller who is now back with Ratkill. After his wife was killed by the returning horrors of the Black Rats, Pender seeks revenge for her death and kill the Mother Creature.

2. Second suggestion would be that Harris would be the main protagonist due to him being the first person alive to have witnessed the beginning of the Black Rats first outbreak. Although he has no military background or combat expertise, he did survive several rat attacks through the first book, The Rats. Last we know of Harris in the series was that he survived the attack in the nest and reported to HQ (Ratkill) of what he saw. After that there’s nothing, his story just ends in the series and not even if he survived the nuclear fallout years later. Having him as the protagonist in The City would make the story feel like a full circle, a finality to the series as Harris returns to London to face a old enemy one last time.

Post Domain story with reference to Culver and how society has fallen

Domain ends with Culver and two other survivors leave London by the military, who saved them during a gruelling battle on a boat against the rats. We’re told that there are some areas that weren’t affected by the fallout, chaotic but fairly ordered mostly. The story ends on a cliffhanger of sorts as the rats are still active in their goal to take over the world. By the time The City arrives we see humanity at the whims of the rats as society is completely destroyed.

Maybe explain post Domain what happened to Culver and the others. Was it China that dropped the nuclear bombs? Did they do a second wave of attacks months later? How did the rats took over?

There’s a lot to explain in just a single graphic novel with barely 70 or so pages, so it’ll either have to be a short 2-4 page explanation or a prequel story. Or alternatively, just show how the rats finally dominated the country, as in Domain they’ve just about took over London after the fallout.

The Ratkill as a Guerrilla task force

By the time the third book come around Ratkill had completely disappeared, no mention of the group nor of Howard. Domain’s story was a few decades (10-20 years) after the events of Lair, roughly in the 80’s or 90’s. It was almost as if this book wasn’t connected to the last two when reading the first few chapters, until later on we get exposition on previous events on the Black Rats.

During The City we see unknown groups of people who help the Traveler during his mission in London, they seem to be from an established group who knew who David was. Could they be from Ratkill, surviving inspectors who now work as a task force to take down nests? Or are they a retaliation group who were in one of the many safe nuclear bunkers?

It would be a nice nod to either Domain or the trilogy to include Ratkill as an existing group, who are fighting an eternal war against the rats.

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That’s all I can suggest for how I would change The City to make it more meaningful. It’s not to say that my ideas are perfect as I’m not the master of this fictional world, James Herbert is the only one who can ultimately write The Rats franchise. But unfortunately, he sadly passed away early this decade, so I doubt anyone could continue the franchise as good as James’s work

The City was released in the 1990’s, about two decades after his first book, The Rats, was published. The City was James Herbert’s last work on The Rats franchise as a fourth sequel in the rats saga. He had changed since his early days of writing as he moved away from violent and graphic horror into more complex horror.

In a way, James Herbert was moving on from his most famous fictional franchise and wanted to create new stories rather than milking his best work. Besides, by the time Domain came out the horror was becoming too familiar and less frightening.

How can you make a graphic novel end a well beloved horror series, and meet expectations? The answer is not that simple, and because James hasn’t done a graphic novel before or since, it’s understandable that The City would feel mediocre.

But then again looking back on The City, I have this strange nostalgia now that I’ve read all of the books. Seeing the Black Rats, the post fallout remains of London, the White Rats and the Mother Creature all being illustrated actually makes us see how horrendous and evil these things are.

I think the book was never meant to be the next best thing but rather a visual story to thank the fans for supporting decades of fiction by James Herbert. Instead of writing a fourth book, a visual story was made for us, the reader, to witness the horror for one last time. To see the mutant rats for the first time as they glare at us with their evil, cunning red eyes.

The Black Rats ultimately won the battle and dominated the earth, as humanity annihilates itself by nuclear fallout. Then we get to see what we created by accident decades ago (from atomic bombs ironically) destroy our species.

The final page of the traveller walking across the crimson red horizon after leaving London is the story’s end. Unlike previous books there’s no epilogue about surviving rats nor another White Rat mutant, just the main protagonist waking away as a broken man who’s lost everything in his life. He only has revenge against the rats as something to live for.

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I hope you have enjoyed this post, and I hope this final post on my thoughts on The Rats saga was enjoyable. I’ve been really inspired to write several posts on The Rats series after reading all the books, and I’ve done few post covering my thoughts on each book.

It’s been a pleasure to have found James Herbert’s fiction and The Rats franchise, it’s helped me to start reading more Horror book genre now. It’s a shame that James Herbert isn’t mentioned much in media and bookshops today, hardly much of his books are in my local Waterstones (only second hand shops have his books).

However, I hope that I’ve helped spread the word about James Herbert to a new generation of book readers. Hopefully we can still pass on the tales of horror of The Rats for decades onwards.

Until next time,

-Bjorn

The future of The Rats after Domain?

The future of The Rats after Domain?

After reading all three books of The Rats trilogy (and The City graphic novel), I’ve decided to look back and theories the connections of each books revelations to the end bomb shell book of Domain.

Below I’ll be giving brief catch ups with each books endings relating to the rats, and where there origins started. This will relate to my theory on the series finale, and how it effects the future in a post- apocalyptic world rule by the rats.

This post will have major spoilers for The Rats, Lair, Domain and The City!!!

In the first book we find out through the course of the story that Under-Secretary, Foskins, had found information about the Black Rats origins. They were created by an atomic bomb test in New Guinea, which a professor (Zoologist) by the name of William Bartlett Schiller took one of the rats back to the U.K.

He went to a canal in London in a small house and started breeding the brown rats with the black rats, resulting in the creation of the mutant breed. However to no ones surprise, the Black Rats break free and start breeding and infesting London’s sewer network.

Harris (protagonist), knew where this old canal house was went straight to it to reach Foskins in time, during the big purge against the rats in an abandoned city of London. When inside, Harris finds all sorts of stuff in a study room including a black board with a faint image of a rat. It’s only when he goes downstairs does he finally realise how significant this place is.

For within this house we find our first White Rat, a mutated monstrosity who’s obese, crippled, hairless and distinctly has two heads. We also find it’s mutated bodyguards who are much bigger than the Black Rats. After battling his way through the bodyguards (and found out the fate of Foskins), Harris kills the mutant rat king.

Meanwhile as the military massacres the hordes of Black Rats from their hiding places (using ultra sounds to attract them), a few however were trapped in a storage room unable to get out. The mother rat gives birth to a strange White Rat before she dies from stress, the White Rat leads its kin away from the city.

In Lair, the protagonist by the name of Pender, finds the new nest of the Black Rats, which reveals more about its hierarchy system. I’ve listed this below to quickly explain the lowest to highest in the rats lair.

  • Black Rats are the foot soldiers who deliver fresh meat to its superiors, decapitated heads are much needed to the brood.
  • Bodyguard rats are much bigger and stronger than the foot solider, who guard the mutated white rat and it’s group of similarly afflicted kin.
  • White Rats are mutated monstrosity’s who tend to be leaders or in place of authority to the Lair. They demand food on a constant basis to replenish their hunger, for their crippled affliction makes them useless to hunt for food.
  • White Rat (king) is the leader of the lair who bends all to his will and demands for more fresh heads to eat. Being bigger than its kin, this rat has two heads, one being useless apart from either eating or sniffing, sight is blind.

After a dispute with one of the Black Rats who the White Rat king was feasting on its new meal, the Black Rat strangely disobeyed its orders and attacked its king. Tearing its throat out and forging on its flesh, along with the rest of the Black Rats. The bodyguards and its White Rat masters were killed off too, making the lair go into outright chaos.

In the end, Pender managed to escape as the army destroys the abandoned house with rockets and explosions, supposedly killing off the Black Rats forever.

But a few survived and went back to the city…..

In Domain, it’s revealed that the rats have a Mother Creature, a massive White Rat who commands all to her commands. Not only is she like her white kin, but she can also breed to create more rats.

After the nuclear apocalypse the rats had grown bolder and left heir nest to find a world in ruin. Regaining their confidence they terrorise many survivors, killing them and taking food back to the nest.

By the end of the story, it’s revealed later on in the last chapter that when the protagonist looked back at the horror he witnessed seeing the Mother Creature, he realised that her litter looked awfully familiar. They were human in appearance with rat features, almost as if the litter were an evolution in the rats cycle. Did mankind evolve from rats, not apes?

Finally in The City, we discover yet another Mother Rat in illustration, and a first visual illustration of what this human/ rat looks like.

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So with all that information out of the way, what can this all mean?

From everything I’ve gathered from all three books, and how the author developed his stories, I have theory.

The Rats are a product of a nuclear blast which changed their DNA to make them abnormally stronger, smarter, more cunning than their smaller kin. However, it has caused a mutation where a few newborn become the white rats. Eventually these rats become deformed and crippled either by genetic failure or it’s part of the hierarchy gene that makes them above the Black Rats. Like bees, the rats produce a unique litter that will lead its nest if ever the King or Queen is slain.

One rat may become the mother creature, who breeds many rats including her own white kin. Unlike her own kind, her newborn are alien to the Black Rats who see them as a threat. But they won’t harm them for their Queen has total command over the nest.

These newborn are the next evolutionary step in the rats species to evolve into more humanoid beings. Wether they are the return of mankind’s ancestors or something entirely more disturbing will never be answered.

This is the true horror of James Herbert’s trilogy of The Rats. Whilst each book is horror filled with rat attacks and mutilations of victims, these pale in comparison to the real horror that connects all the books.

Domain ends the trilogy by showing mankind’s downfall for its recklessness with nuclear weapons, massacring everyone and everything on this earth. The rats, a product of nuclear bomb tests decades ago (the irony that mankind had created such horrors) were a mistake created by mankind’s recklessness (and a professors stupid idea to breed them). The rats took this opportunity to rise up from their long absence from the upper world.

They breed and kill the now weakened but surviving groups of mankind, whilst their queen breeds a new race to rule the earth.

The true horror is that the rats have become the next dominant species of earth, and theses new breed of humanoid rats will inherit this world once mankind becomes extinct. The rats hate them and are more than willing to kill them, but this new breed may live long enough to survive as long as their queen is still in power.

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Whilst the revelation of the new inheritors of earth is an interesting theory, it’s only what I think might happen. You may have your own theories on what The Rats trilogy ending could mean, I’m interested to hear your own theories in the comments below!

Thank you for reading this post. I hope you have enjoyed this post and, hopefully you may be interested to read more or James Herbert’s literature.

Next up I’ve got one more post on The Rats series with my own ideas to improve The City, and how I would give it more meaning as a finale to the series. I’ll explain the positives and negatives of the original story, and wether it could continue the saga with a sequel if James Herbert had continued the series.

Until next time!

-Bjorn

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Sources:

  • Herbert James, The Rats First published in 1974 by New English Library. Edition 1999 Re-published by Pan Books
  • Herbert James, Lair First published in 1979 by New English Library. Edition 1999 Re-published by Pan Books.
  • Herbert James, Domain, First edition 1984 published by New English Library.
  • Herbert James, Miller Ian, Balchin Judy, The City, First edition 1994 published by Pan Books.

The Rats Trilogy

Over the past three or four weeks this month, I’ve been reading all three of James Herbert’s books in the Rat Trilogy (well quadruple series If including The City graphic novel). After finding a copy of The City last month I was intrigued to learn more about James Herbert and his fictional works. Luckily enough I found myself a copy of The Rats early this month, and read it in just four days!

For my first ever read of a horror book, it added a sense of chill and visually disturbing imagery of the Black Rats, how they attack their prey with bloody mindless savagery. The wicked, the good, the bad and the innocent are all meals for the rats, as they care not for who or what you are so long as your flesh fill their stomachs.

The series follows the mutated Black Rats who unlike their inferior rat kin, are smarter, cunning, strong and measure at two feet and up to three including their long scaly tail. The Black Rats are not your average pest for they have a certain appetite for human flesh, which they constantly seek to gorge on their endless hunger for more.

The Rats

A short book that’s more of a novella sized story than a novel, but by no means is it lacking in quality. Set in the 1970’s, the story sees multiple perspectives of the victims that are murdered by the Black Rats, a touch of tragedy in their past life that is all to soon ended by a horrific bloody end.

There is a protagonist of sorts of a teacher named Harris, but he’s not the story’s main focus, but rather the one who has to deal with the pests. Interestingly, the story focuses on the Black Rats as they become incredibly uncontrollable in their bloodlust to the point of mass infestation.

This book was amazingly written, every chapter just wanted to pull you in and watch as the horror unfolds for each victim. Never shying away, James Herbert uses graphic and violent descriptions of the Black Rats attacks to the extreme. With blood and gore being James’s hallmark for the trilogy.

My favourite scene would have to be the underground subway attack, it was brilliantly written and I was on the edge of my seat all the way through the chapter. The combination of the dark tunnel and the rats swarming all over was bloody disturbing.

For a first book publication, this book was a good horror story, maybe some areas could improved (which in the sequel, Lair, James made a worthy successor). Some of the more seedy and lusty stuff may be too much for today’s readers, some parts even felt a slight bit misogynistic. However, because the book was set in its time in the mid 1970’s, it worked as a look back to the culture and lifestyles of the 70’s.

Get this book first if you want to start reading The Rats trilogy. Whilst the sequel books are sort of self contained books in the same cannon, it’s worth reading The Rats first to get a good understanding about the events that take place.

Lair

The second book in the series as a sequel to The Rats, Lair moves away from the city of London setting and takes us to the outskirts of the city in the countryside. Once again the mutant rats have bred in mass in their new hiding place in the country side, five years after their defeat during the London outbreak.

Like Ridley Scott’s Alien to James Camerons Aliens, Lair is a successor that amps the horror, violence and narrative of the rats revenge. Not only are the rats more vicious and cunning in their craving for human flesh, but the humans are better written in the story. This time focusing on Luke Pender, an inspector from Ratkill (an organisation who’s goal is to wipe out the mutant Black Rats) who is called upon to investigate reports of rodent sightings in Epping forest.

What’s makes this book so much more interesting is the way James Herbert had crafted his story, the environment and setting is used with great effect when used for setting up the rat strikes. You get the feeling that the forest is itself is fearful of the mutants that have made their Lair in the woodland, killing the natural cycle of nature. For they themselves are not a natural creation, but rather accidentally created by mans selfishness.

My favourite chapter is a tough one, as all the way through the book I couldn’t find much to criticise (well there are certain nitpicks in some areas), even the quieter moments are rather enjoyable to read. However, if I had to choose it would be when Pender finally finds the lair of the rat nest, I won’t spoil it, but I’ve found the whole event to be insightful on the Black Rats function in its nest hierarchy.

I see this book as James Herbert’s best book by far for The Rat trilogy in terms of the way the story was written, engaging and well written characters and far more gruesome ways with the rat attacks.

DomainThe last book in the trilogy, Domain takes a wildly different turn in the series as the situation turns in favour of the now fearful Black Rats. Set years in the not so far future in a time where tensions in the Middle East have escalated to breaking point, London is attached by five ballistic nuclear missiles that wipes out nearly all of London’s population.

However, a few were lucky enough to have survived from the nuclear bombs in time before the fallout could kill them. Unbeknownst to the survivors however, the Black Rats have finally come out of their hiding places sensing a shift in the balance. They aren’t the prey anymore, now they have become the rulers of this domain.

And they seek the fresh taste of human flesh.

The series by now has become too predictable as by now readers will have seen it all. James Herbert could probably tell the series would lose its charm if he kept churning out more of the same story of the rats. So to make this final book go out with a bang (literally) he decided to mix in a post nuclear story for his third and final book.

I think this was a very good choice, as by now the Black Rats has been written to the best that James could write them. Like Alien to Aliens it would be difficult to write a third movie (without interference by the high ups) that could be even better than its previous successor. Making a post nuclear apocalypse gave James much more opportunities to make the rats still a scare factor.

However, parts of the story sadly felt flat especially toward the end, where the story kinda felt same old with the rats. It felt like I’ve seen it all and wanted something fresh and interesting to read. That’s not to say this book didn’t add anything new, the Black Rats hierarchy is explored further with a far more darker revelation about their new leader.

The humans are okay, not stand out as Lair had, some of the characters felt like they were just there to be killed off. Whilst others felt lacking like Jackson and Kate who could have been developed better early on like D.R Reynolds, who had a fascinating chapter explaining how strong she was with her profession and her weakness for her loss.

Two stand out characters were the helicopter pilot Culver and a member of Government Dealey. Both characters are polar opposites who both survived the apocalypse together, tying them in a strange way as close but not close individual. You realise at the end of the story that both characters go through big developments from where they started. Dealey especially has changed from what he’s been through to survive.

The final bomb shell to end the story is a shocker, and was to me in my opinion the main horror point of the story, even the series it’s entirety. As the pieces come together we finally get the full picture as to what the future might be when the Black Rats take over the world.

Overall I think this final book whilst not as good as Lair, is still a fantastic book to read as an enjoyable post apocalyptic story.

The City

And so we reach the fourth and last of James Herbert’s Rats story, his final story takes place several years in the future where the ruins of London have become the rats territory.

This was my first look into James Herbert’s work and where this whole interest in reading his work started. I picked this up by chance not knowing anything about James Herbert and his bestselling horror book series. I’m glad to have found this graphic novel, as it’s opened my interest to try and read more variety of books than just Black Library.

This graphic novel doesn’t add anything to the ongoing story, an the story itself is not much to say. We don’t know much about the protagonist, the Traveler, and what happens to the character in the aftermath of Domain.

It’s sad to say that this final story is not worth reading unless your a collected and fan of James Herbert’s Rats series. The art however is gorgeous in the way Ian Miller illustrates a torn and ravaged landscape of post apocalyptic London.

Going back and reading this graphic novel after reading all three books has finally made some sense, parts before I isn’t have a clue about until now. It’s worth reading all three books before reading this if you want to know what game before.

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With that, I’ve finally finished reading this long and compelling series that James Herbert had created. I’ve really enjoyed reading this book series and broaden my tastes for more Sci-Fi/ horror fiction stories.

Although James had sadly died in 2013, and his fiction will not be as known as the more notable mainstream fiction. I’d like to think that James is still a well respected writer that still has a following of readers who praise his talent of work. I’m glad to have read his fictional work, and hope to read more of his books like The Fog and 48.

Thank you for reading this post, I hope you have enjoyed this post and learnt something new today. Are you a fan of James Herbert’s work? Have you read any of the books from The Rats Trilogy? Comment below and share your views on your favourite book by James Herbert, and which book from The Rats trilogy did you like most?

I’m not quite finished yet with The Rats trilogy just yet. I’m planning on doing a spoiler post on big plot points in the trilogy, and speculate on the revelations in the series finale.

Then I’ll be doing one last post on what I’d change and improve on the graphic novel, The City. So stay tuned for both posts soon!

Until next time!

-Bjorn