vampires

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, the return of Nagash by josh reynolds

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So, I put aside the various series of books I’m currently reading through (Gotrek and felix, malus darkblade, the original Nagash trilogy) as well as the huge pile of other books I want to get through to finally read my first Warhammer end times book- the return of Nagash by josh Reynolds.
And wow, what a way to mash game of thrones with the warhammer world- people die- many many people die. And not only people of coursea characters die.

I will do my best to avoid spoilers but I can’t promise anything

The beginning was brilliant, no world of peace with a book or two to set up the full prologue (I’m looking at you horus heresy). Some bodies looking over the world and seeing death, war and destruction in pretty much every corner of the warhammer world. Some of this is implied or set in the future but many of the events are current setting you into the middle of the story.

The story then moves onto Mannfred Von Carstein and Arkhan the Black meeting up and planning to bring Nagash back from the dead/undead/not dead, whilst they are both haunted by a ‘ghost’ from their past- Vlad and Nagash respectively.

Alongside this is a secondary focus on the High Elves, Dwarves and Humans (with a little of the Wood Elves) and their response to the forces of the Undead doing evil things.
It’s hard to review without spoilers, but it was really good to see an undead themed book that didn’t end with the leader being killed and therefore the army crumbling- though many people died/redied. It was also nice to see Nagash missing from the early parts of the book. The real success of the book was expanding upon Mannfred and Arkhan- as well as the vampires on the whole- and giving them a little more personality than just being evil masters of armies of skeletons. Seeing them with weaknesses and doubts that were covered up with arrogance was a nice aside to the politics and scheming of every vampire that appears in the book.

I’m now of course left with a new dilemma- move onto the second End Times book or carry on with a different series.

Films, Abraham Lincoln vampire hunter

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So, with my attendance of the local gaming night occurring on our traditional date night- not that traditional, but we’re trying to maintain it- Saturday became our date night. After a day out with the kids and my partner we were tired so I let her choose the film without any input from me, and she chose abe Lincoln vampire hunter.
Now, I hate vampire films, or at least the vampire films she likes (twilight and that sort of crap), but I was ok with a historical approach. The film actually turned out to be quite enjoyable, the approach felt original enough, and the action scenes were well done (not all in darkness this is a big deal for me )- specifically the horse stampede fight was a cool approach to the traditional fight on a train.
What was also enjoyable was the links to reality, the names, dates and events were all true to abe Lincoln’s life and the American civil war, with the addition of hunting vampires.

It was also nice to just cuddle up on the sofa (a very new, very expensive sofa I should add) have a beer and some pleasant time with my partner, Iv been struggling and exhausted, whilst she’s always exhausted and having a bit of a downer at the minute, so to switch off to trash that turned out to be quite good was a nice end to a good family day