Month: August 2015

Books, short stories once again (again)

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so, another batch of short stories read through.

 
The Sleep of the Dead by Darius Hinks. Fantasy

A group of well to do individuals meet for a regular drink and smoke and to share stories of horror, chaos and other unseemly tales. One individual recounts the tale of his doctors journey north in the hunt for gold. The story was presented as a group of curious men with too much time and money looking into things they shouldn’t, yet the tale they heard (that scared them) was dull. It also gained little from the setting, and would have been better presented as just a standard tale over an anecdote within a tale.
Path of Warriors by Neil McIntosh. Fantasy

An origin story for the Stefan Kumansky books. I haven’t read them, but from the description I found they’re typical warriors. In this book the boys are young and face an invasion of Marauders. While they are hidden the men of the village prepare to fight off the enemy. The story was ok, but ended fairly quickly.
Rat Trap by Robert Earl. Fantasy

A mercenary is hired by a down on his luck merchant whose staff have been seeing strange ratmen in the well. Seeing easy money the mercenary heads down the well to look for the rats. I enjoyed this, the focus on the disbelief in skaven is always entertaining given the broade knowledge readers have of how serious a threat there is. The tension and danger is well placed too.

Rotten fruit by Nathan Long. Fantasy

A prologue to the Blackhearts novels (another series I haven’t read), setting a dirty dozen style suicide squad in amongst a beleaguered castle under seige by chaos forces. Seeing no way of victory the team look to escape and bring back reinforcements before they’re missed and killed. Unfortunately whilst they have the protection of their ‘controller’ the reinforcements may not be so lucky. I enjoyed this, the small squad focus is often fun and the not quite good guys allows for far more flexibility in its characters. 

Leechlord by Frank Cavallo. Fantasy

A fairly standard short story about Festus Leechlord, a character of the warhammer world Iv liked without knowing much about. A knight is recovered from a battle with horrendous wounds. His fevered shouting calls for his healers to kill him. Flashbacks show Festus enhancing the infections in the Knights wounds. Whilst the story itself was a little straightforward and predictable the sheer amount of description of Festus and his motivations and desires made it a really interesting one to read.

 
Necessary Evil by Rob Sanders. 40k

A sequel to the Atlas Infernal novels (another I haven’t read), as Bronislaw Cvezak lands on a world in the Eye of Terror in the hunt for a powerful relic. Taken in by the indigenous people/mutants he needs to find it quickly as the Thousand Sons are approaching to claim it for themselves. This was entertaining, I don’t know the history between the inquisitor and Ahriman but seeing another renegade from the imperium still fighting the good fight was nice. The open ending was interesting too, I may need to find Atlas Infernal to have a read.

 Faith by Robert Earl. Fantasy

A bretonnian knight is deep in the wilds with winter approaching and no sign of a visit from the lady, or of a suitable trophy to return home. With his brother recently having been graced by a visit the jealousy is driving him onwards to find glory. This story however is seen from the perspective of his servant, an ageing man who served the Knights father. Whilst the adventure is average, the point of view and observations are really good, and add some additional focus in the light of recent End Times events. There’s a semi twist at the end which highlights the pride of the Knights.

Portrait of my Undying Lady by Gordon Rennie. Fantasy

A worn out, out of favour artist is employed by a vampires to paint her portrait, if it’s perfect she’ll reward him, of its not he’ll be ‘rewarded’ in another way. These stories that focus on the non war elements of the warhammer world are often a nice distraction and this definitely provided that. If have maybe preferred a slightly longer story with more delving into the vampiress’ character as I feel this would have enhanced the painters finding her ‘true’ self.
The Rite of Holos by Guy Haley. 40k

A beleaguered female imperial guard / planetary defence force is reinforced by a force of Blood Drinkers in a a battle against Genestealer Hybrids, but as the Astartes head into battle they’re fighting their own red thirst too. A fairly standard storyline though the collateral damage and loss to guard life is well covered.
Death Stares Back by Alex Helm. 40k

Not strictly speaking a black library publication, but the winning entry in a spoken short story competition. A tank crew on a standard mission against tyranids suffers engine failure and are soon swamped and surrounded by ‘nid forces, slowly hacking through the armoured panels. This was over quickly (not surprising given the word limit) but the closed environment and issues that causes were well handled.

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Books, Earth air fire and custard by Tom holt   

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So, my third read of Tom Holt’s fantasy comedy series- earth air fire and custard. It has become apparent that Tom holt has written these books with a very vague plan, as events shift and continue to become more and more convoluted as they progress- even more complicated book to book.

It’s amazing to realise Paul Carpenter only took his job a year ago yet has managed to die several times and become tangled up in various events where office politics has moved from backbiting to outright violence and murder attempts. After the events of the previous books everything begins to settle into place for Paul, with a promotion and pay rise before a goblin christening sees him in trouble as events become more and more overwhelming for him and he ends up in a sideways universe called custard space where everything’s just a little different.

I enjoyed this one, the regular deaths were well written- as was the dialogue between Mr Dao (deaths gatekeeper) and Paul getting sharper with every visit. The love story between Paul and shoe felt a little weak as it was the third time revisiting the same struggles. It all feels a little too copy paste and I’d rather they just broke up if they couldn’t develop themselves further.

The custard space bit was wacky and added a new element to the story (and existence) allowing for the usual chaos to become increasingly more manic with multiple Paul’s running around and a mysteriously appearing goblin called Colin appearing at the wrong moments. I’d have liked to have seen more of Rosie Tanner as she’s always a fun element to the books, but hopefully she’ll see more pages in the next one 

Guild Ball, Expanding the Union

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so, after getting Fangtooth and the starter set painted it was time to fill out the team. Games of Guild Ball are played with six players (seven for the Union strictly speaking) so I needed to get two more painted up. I opted for

  
Hemlocke and Rage.

Rage was an easy choice, having played demos using the Butchers team I really enjoyed the sheer killing power of the models and Rage provides that for these guys.

Hemlocke was a tougher decision, as there are so many other good characters to add. In the end I opted for her because she’s near impossible to hit and provides a lot of area effect options, as well as being a decent goal threat.

   
 
As with the starter set the models are nicely detailed with only a few bits to attach. Helocke’s leg was a little tricky to fit but no real problem.

   
    
 
The plan was to get both painted simultaneously, but I had so much fun painting Rage that he got finished well ahead of hemlocke. 
  
In the end I got the base colours in place and got the first wash on her, but it may be a little wait to finish her as the rest of the week looks pretty busy.