so, despite my issues deciding what I want to read I’m still hitting the short stories regulary
The first in a related trilogy published in The Carnac Campaign, this story focuses on Illic Nightspear and his eldar exiles attempting to ambush an awakening necron force. Unfortunately it goes wrong and becomes a race back to their webway portal before the Necron Deathmarks kill them all. This story was basically pants. There was no real insight into a major character of the Eldar, no real background or insight into the history of the exiles, Rangers or characters and no actual story. Illic lines up a kill shot, necrons disappear, necrons ambush the ambushers. Beyond that point it became an exercise in introducing an Eldar before having him killed by necrons, there wasn’t even any detail to that. I’m hoping it was acting as a prologue to a meatier story in the other two short stories but I’m not holding my breath.
Sky Hunter by Graeme Lyon. 40k
Well that’s the way to drag me right back into interested. Set fairly soon after Nightspear this story focuses on the pilots of Eldar- the Crimson hunters and the pilots of the hemlock wraith fighters which apparently the Eldar consider to be anything from heretical an abomination, but that have a use against such foes as the Necrons. The story jumps quickly from character to character opening up so many distraught personalities before a segment in which a spiritseer jumps (mentally) from mind to mind of various warriors on the battlefield of Carnac witnessing death and destruction through the eyes and bodies of basically every kind of Eldar warriors in the armies Codex army book. Far better than Nightspear with a large set up for the final story of the noon. However I’m leaving that one for the moment to catch up on a different book.
The Sound that Wakes You by Ben Chessell. Fantasy
A small forgotten village on the outskirts of Bretonnia is ruled by a tyrannical former knight and his henchmen. Everyone accepts this as the norm except the troublesome son of a blacksmith, he gets a bit overexcited and attempts to start a rebellion by burning a rose bush and his father is killed before he realises acceptance isn’t the same as patience. It was ok, no real surprises and the ending was too obvious, but it was an ok little tale of Bretonnia. It feels a bit weird reading these now that The End Times are coming and the relevance will be gone, it’ll be interesting to see where the background is taken.
Spirit War by Rob Sanders. 40k
After reading the previous two stories in the Carnac Campaign book I’d had a poor experience and a better one so was interested to see where a longer ‘short story’ would go. This one sets an army of Wraithguard, Wraithblades and Wraithlords against a Necron invasion force. The ‘dead’ warriors are sent to hold back the Necrons until Eldar civilians can retreat from the world via a Webway portal. This story could have been an interesting conflict between two unliving forces, but instead just seemed to be a blur of action without giving enough detail to actually explain what was happening. When the story reached a ‘last stand’ of the Wraiths I really lost interest.
A geneticist in prison for breaking too many ethical boundaries is freed and whisked off to an obscure tropical island by a rich sponsor who wants him to complete his research, but his motives aren’t purely financial. This was a four page short story (so genuinely a short story) and initially felt a little too much like a standard accusation levelled at big pharmaceutical companies funding research outside of the law, but the twist midway through suggested some additional potential consequences of genetic manipulation. The twist made it very enjoyable.
When you’re trusted with showing a potential donator a good time and he’s assassinated what do you do? Strap him to you and fight through a city of other assassins of course. This one was stupid, but a really fun read- as well as revisiting Dubnitz of Mananns blades.
The Mouth of Chaos by Chris Dows. 40k
An Elysian Imperial Guard force drop into a fortified volcano to take out a rebel force. The idea was very James Bondesque, and it worked well initially as the high speed drop allowed for a fast pace, however the lack of breaks in the text meant it felt too much. Perhaps if I’d read it through in one sitting I’d have enjoyed the non stop pace, but as its a human force I don’t want superhuman stamina. There was a nice Imperial Guard moment at the end as the debriefing leads into the briefing for the next war zone as the survivors are directed into another battle.
The Butchers Beast by Jordan Ellinger. Fantasy
A unit of Imperial Greatswords hold the line against the forces of chaos, post battle a chaos monstrosity rampages through their camp, bringing the attentions of a vindictive Witch Hunter. The story felt too much as though it had been taken from 40k, with the witch hunters replacing the inquisition.
so, another batch of photos from Salute 2015. Again, a mix of my own and those Iv found online.
Not many cosplayers about, the Darth Vader and Stormtrooper escort seems to be a standard thing now. The Warhammer 40k Space Marine was quite good, though the guy was miserable. It also occurred to me that it’s a fun idea for the first ten minutes and after that you’re stuck with a heavy suit in a hot room surrounded by sweaty nerds who want their pictures taken- no wonder he was miserable.
More cosplay, Judge Dredd this time.
Wild West Exodus had two tables, one independently and one alongside Wayland Games so lots of interest drummed up hopefully.
stingray game, it looked fun, if a little simple
So, as you may be aware I’ve been unable to avoid starting series’ of books whilst leaving others unfinished. It’s now at a point where I want to get them finished in order to move on to even more books.
These are the next in line of the series of books Iv got in my pile at the moment.
Master of Sanctity by Gav Thorpe. Dark Angels. One do my favourite chapters of space marines, partly because they’re clearly not as ‘good’ as they’d suggest but also because of the secrecy in which they operate as nobody knows anything until they reach trusted levels and a closely monitored revealing of the truth is allowed to them. It’s a real reminder of working for games workshop. I read the first book of the trilogy Ravenwing about 18 months ago and whilst the story has largely gone from my memory I do remember the focus being on a new member of the Dark Angels vanguard force dealing with the revelations his new position has revealed to him, whilst having to hunt down chaos marine forces and fighting Orks. I also remember a cool vision of bikes racing around a space station as the mysterious dark angel Cypher evades capture or lays a trail depending on point of view.
Men from the Boys by Tony Parsons. If you read my previous posts on Tony Parsons books you’ll know that whilst i empathised slightly with being a new dad I was outraged by the characters attitudes and bitterness. The second book was worse than the first and honestly I have low expectations of the third. I do however have a curiosity as time has moved on faster than my life has so there may be some insights for me to prepare for.
Nagash the Unbroken by Mike Lee. Warhammer fantasy books about the undead invariably follow the same plot- undead army devastates all before them before the leader is destroyed or incapacitated and everything crumbles. The first in the Nagash trilogy wasn’t much different yet I know Nagash becomes more powerful than at any point previously. Again it’s curiosity that means I’ll be reading this one soon.
The Doom of Dragonback by Gav Thorpe. Another origin of the Warhammer world, this one isn’t strictly speaking part of a series (aside from the large time of legends books) but it ties in very closely with the war of vengeance books of which Iv read two and am waiting for the third and final one later this year. These books establish the reasons for the hatred between the dwarves and elves and so are an important background to the major races of the Warhammer world.
Gotrek and Felix book 2 by William King. I’m actually halfway through this one so I suppose I should really list book 3, but as the pair have a big hand in the end times I feel it’s one of those series I need to get through sooner rather than later.
Lord of ruin by Dan abnett and Mike Lee. A Malus Darkblade book- the last of the series. Except it’s not, the end times has added a sixth (and potentially final) darkblade book, so I’m going to need to get to this one in order to read that one. So far alls gone Malus’ way- not at all as planned but he’s recovering what he needs to and has killed off a good number of his enemies at the same time, so this one will be interesting as a conclusion (even if it’s no longer the conclusion.
The Devils Graveyard by Anonymous. The anonymous books so far have been really enjoyable- the first was theBook with No Name followed by The Eye of the Moon. Known as the Bourbon Kid series there are now four books and I have the third to read. The books aren’t linked beyond a few crossover characters and locations but they’re really enjoyable.
Manhattan in Reverse by Peter F Hamilton. This is the short story anthology I got from the in laws at Christmas, you’ll have seen previously Iv been working through it and have been enjoying them. I think because he’s keeping it simple by using the current world and changing minor things before exploring what that would do to society rather than attempting to create a whole new world.
Tales of the Old World by various authors. A fairly old anthology of Warhammer fantasy stories from a variety of settings. Being a large collection from a variety of authors the stories vary in content and quality but there have been some good reads in there so far. It’s interesting to read them because they’re from a time before there was any concerted effort to link stories and establish a timeline so it becomes something of a free for all with regards the themes and settings.
The Fall of Altdorf by Chris Wraight. The End Times books were a series I was resisting but I finally gave in and read the first one after seeing a few spoilers as well as knowing that the new edition of Warhammer fantasy this summer will require me to know what’s been going on if I’m to have any hope of continuing to read the books, let alone collect a new army. The first book The Return of Nagash was intense ade major characters started dying and major events in the future were alluded to, such as the fall of the imperial city of Altdorf, so the name of this book suggests we’ll be seeing some of this events first hand.
Hammer and bolter volume 2 by various authors. Similar to the Tales of the Old Times anthology this gives a selection of stories from both the Warhammer World and the Warhammer 40,000 universe, but from a slightly more recent selection meaning the stories aren’t so loose and are (mostly) written within a framework.
So I’m interested in your opinion, what should I read next?
Because of course Iv got these to get through too
So, in between the various series I’m reading I picked Straken by toby frost up with some birthday money whilst at Cribbs Causeway (not a birthday trip believe me).
The catachans are an interesting imperial guard force, manned entirely from their jungle death world and working far outside the standard template of an imperial guard army, yet stunningly effective at what they do. Straken himself is the pinnacle of this, the best of the best.
In the book Strakens force the catachan 2nd is pulled from a victorious battleground and thrown straight into another, tasked with infiltrating an ork infested underground city and open the gates for the main imperial guard force. Typically it all goes wrong and when the gates are opened the armoured force rolls in manned by orks not guardsmen, leaving Straken and his men alone against a planet full of orks.
The stories well written, and Tony Frost has an interesting style of shifting perspectives from individuals within the same area without breaking up the flow, which is something I try (unsuccessfully) to do in my writing.
Cameo appearances from fan favourites Sly Marbo and Snikrot also provide enjoyable moments, as well as preventing the story being about just another ork warlord.
My only issue with the book is that it’s another (yet another) criticism of Commissars. Yes they are arseholes – for the most part- but every book involving imperial guard at the moment seems to be heavy on the anti commissariat agenda. I’d wonder if perhaps a commissar codex or similar might be in the works in the future.
So, I’m a big fan of the Thousand Sons, and of their chief librarian Ahzek Ahriman, and John French’s trilogy was something a long time coming for me. Of course I’d read the two Horus Heresy novels ( thousand sons and Prospero burns) enjoying them a lot, though of course the space wolves account was a little anger inducing. Then came the battle of the fang, a loosely linked follow up to the destruction of Prospero as the Thousand Sons launch an assault on the Space Wolf home world Fenris. This one I enjoyed less; there was no Ahriman – him being exiled following the Rubric- and although the story was quite good and the ending left me in no doubt the Wolves were the bad guys, the actual climax ruined it for me. Even if it was funny to see Bjorn the Fell-handed in a dreadnought for the last time (him of course suggesting he’d rather be dead than entombed that way during the heresy).
This left me a little uncertain, and from an unknown author too (actually upon checking it turns out I’ve read a lot of John french’s short stories).
Ahriman: Exile was a good start to a trilogy, Ahriman is in exile -surprise surprise- and has abandoned his powers whilst hiding amongst a host of chaos space marine sorcerors. An encounter with a Thousand Sons sorcerer outs Ahriman who then embraces his powers again and seeks to reclaim his position amongst the thousand sons. I won’t provide any further spoilers, except to say the only problem I had with the book was the number of times Ahriman ‘died’ yet repaired himself using his psychic powers. Whilst it allowed for Ahriman to be injured, the reparations were a little too frequent and quick.
The second book, which I have finished just moments ago, was an even better story than the first. There were far less instances of Ahriman getting hurt and repairing, and in fact some of his injuries (physical and mental) are/will have long term effects. The style of this book was different enough that I had to check it was the same author (it was) and it made some good progress in expanding the scale from an individual with a small entourage in exile, to a fleet in sorcerer. The scaling up of the betrayals and politics of a chaos fleet were well handled also, as well as the larger scale sacrificed (of others) that Ahriman had to make.
Another interesting aspect was the flexibility of time within the Warp. This has always been referred to but never really exploited, however here if was used to allow for big changes in a comparatively short amount of time.
So overall, an improvement on the first one – which was also good- and after some major events towards the end I’m very much looking forward to the final book in the trilogy.
Not so keen on the probable wait until September/October release date though
So, yet another batch of role play posts
Lorenzo was in a bad way, Palgrys could see that even without his apothecary experience.
The countless breaks and cuts from fighting the carnifex were bad enough, the lost hand an issue, but nothing I’m comparison to the hole burnt through his chest. His second heart had been torn apart and a hole burnt clean through to his armour generator.
He was alive and his body had clotted the blood, but he’d entered a coma, likely unconsciously.
Palgrys’ own injuries were severe too, although he’d escaped major injury against the carnifex, the beams from the necrons weapon had caused some serious damage both to his armour and body. And his narthecium had been damaged against the ‘fex.
Things were not looking good, and emperor knew where D’Antine had gone. Something was unusual too, when he’d first seen him his armour had been red and battered by the tyranid, when he’d gone it was blue, and intact.
Lorenzo first, Palgrys told himself. Fix him up and we’ll do it together
THIS IS APOTHECARY PALGRYS OF THE SOUL DRINKERS CHAPTER BROADCASTING ON AN OPEN FREQUENCY IN NEED OF AID AND EXTRACTION.
HOSTILE TERRITORY. ENEMIES LOOSE. NECRON PRESENCE.
Palgrys had been openly voxing his request for some time, not expecting a response, but hopeful of extraction from somewhere. Lorenzo was stabilised, though he’d need extensive bionics if he survived his injuries.
D’Antine had disappeared and Palgrys didn’t expect him to return anytime soon. In the meantime he had collected up as many Boltgun shells as he could from various stasis chambers and damaged “exhibits” and was ready to move once he could get Lorenzo conscious and coherent again
“I am Apothecary Palgrys of the Soul Drinkers chapter, this is Sergeant Lorenzo of the Crimson Fists, I’d rate his chances of survival at roughly 30% without assistance, my narthecium was damaged taking down a Carnifex and I can only administer basic aid. My injuries are also substantial, so any protective aid you can offer will be most appreciated. Sergeant Lorenzo seems to be rousing and I can keep him moving at a slightly slower pace, at least for the foreseeable.
We must find communication with outside forces or in failing that a method of destroying these necrons”
“Your help is appreciated,” Palgrys said diplomatically, keen to avoid further tension, with the grey area that was his chapter still a potential issue, and the potential for real trouble if D’Antine reappeared he knew he needed all the allies he could get, “rendezvousing with imperial forces would seem the best option.”
Palgrys helped the rousing Lorenzo to his feet and supported his walking as they prepared to move out. Lorenzo was barely coherent but his marine biology was doing it’s best. Palgrys himself knew his body was at it’s limit too, but with additional forces future exertions should be less intense
D’Antine could have been walking moments, or an eternity, it didn’t matter. He needn’t trouble himself with any concept as basic as time now. Not now he was refreshed and restored.
The voices in the immaterium has promised much, he wasn’t stupid, he knew he couldn’t trust them, but they thought he could be trusted, so why not use him.
Why not let them think he’d be their pawn, the only truth was his body had been close to death, his armour useless. But his mind was alive, and it had bargained, it had fooled the voices into healing the body, replacing the armour, and filling his memories, all those gaps ten thousand years of Imprisonment created. He now saw what had come of his legion, smashed by those filthy wolves, Russ and his dogs. Let down by the emperor, fooled by the voices.
But he was better than that, he knew,.
He knew he was capable of beating them, because he was loyal to the emperor, and he would not falter.
He had reached his destination
D’Antine had done it.
He’d found what he’d been sent for.
He’d flicked the switch on a bank of lights and completed whatever requirement the voices had demanded for the restoration of his body and armour.
Daemons, not voices, he knew that. And he’d used their promises against them, what was flicking a few switches compared to being restored.
Ahead of him a light grew stronger, something was happening, a green glow was building.
This must be what the daemons wanted. Never mind, he was restored, now he could go about contacting the imperium. Perhaps he’d go back for the other space marines
this is the end, at least for now. The other participants haven’t been active and I don’t want to go nuts on posts, so we’ll see what happens
so, another load
Palgrys was climbing to his feet as another bolt sliced through his ceramite armour, lancing into his side and throwing him down again
Lorenzo reloaded his Boltgun and charged firing at the lychguard, his power weapon buzzing with electrical energy
Palgrys raised himself up, knowing his injury was bad, feeling blood running down the inside of his armour, his marine biology slowly clotting, but somehow restricted by the energy of the blast that his him.
Raising his bolter he unleashed shells at the necron lychguard to cover Lorenzo.
Lorenzos power sword thrummed as he reached the lychguard and swung the blade heavily at the necrons waist.
D’Antines armour had finished it’s knitting, the pale blue colour now shining over the armour. Gold trim had been finished and his proud looking helmet floated from the rubble and attached at the neck.
He raised up feeling more powerful than he ever had, his deal with the voices in the immaterium having fixed up his body and armour.
Rising from the ground he summoned his psychic powers to him, testing his body and feeling energy thrum through him. His attention switched to the necron Lorenzo was engaged with, unleashing a blast of flame hotter than anything he had ever summoned before
As Lorenzo charged the lychguard a white light enveloped it, and his helmet display when white. Immediately he pulled up not wanting to get close, he saw the necrons weapon slam into the floor infront of him, taking just a second to realise it would have cut right through him, he slammed his power sword straight forward at the off balanced necrons exposed face.
D’Antine stopped blasting and stepped towards the necron. He could see Lorenzo was in no fit state for a close quarters battle and had to help, refocusing he sent deadly energy coursing through his force sword.
Palgrys stepped gingerly forward, not in any position to help anyone right now, he slammed his narthecium into his exposed side and injected a painkilling drug into his scorched flesh.
Looking back up he was shocked to see D’Antine blasting flame at the necron, his injuries shouldn’t have taken that exertion. His armour was also fully repaired inexplicably. He then took in Lorenzo, in a far worse state engaged with a necron. Palgrys held his breath as the necron very nearly cut Lorenzo in half, only for Lorenzo to back out at the last second.
Hefting his narthecium and bolter he moved painfully forward ready for a fight
Lorenzo backed away from a swing at his hands, unfortunately his already damaged body and armour slower him and his right arm was sliced clean through at the wrist.
Grunting in pain he hefted his power sword (in his left) and swung it in and the chest of the necron.
D’Antine saw lorenzos gauntleted hand bounce away and disregarded it has the necron infront of him came into reach, psychic energy thrummed through the blade as he slammed it through the chest of the creature
Palgrys stumbled, the painkillers had kicked in and his body finally clotted, but he was weakened, the blast has done some serious damage to him, he watched Lorenzo lose a hand and D’Antine step in beside him. He was angry at himself for being too slow to reach them
Lorenzo felt his body clotting his wrist as his power sword thrummed through the necron, before he could drag his blade away a metal fist clamped around his throat, crushing the already damaged joint. Making to pull away he lost balance as the necron pulled the other way and dragged him onto his weapon. Lorenzo dropped his sword as the necrons rod smashed through his ceramite and through his second heart, continuing and stopping only at the power generator on his back
D’Antine powered energy through his force sword before lurching backwards from the flailing grip of the necron. Lorenzo wasn’t quick enough and had been impaled through the chest. Tearing his force sword from the necron he aimed a downward thrust at the creatures neck.
Palgrys staggered to the combat, just in time to see Lorenzo dragged onto a necron weapon, he aimed his bolter and unleashed more shells at the necron before moving to lorenzos side
The necron disappeared and D’Antine allowed his energy to seep away, his breathing heavy but his body restored
Lorenzo dropped heavily to the ground as the necrons staff disappeared, leaving a void through his chest which was immediately filled with blood.
Palgrys dropped down painfully next to Lorenzo, straining to roll him to his front
“D’Antine help me…”
D’Antine lowered his gaze, taking in Lorenzo and the apothecary, his cold voice grated from his helmet, “you can’t help him apothecary, he will die shortly.”
“D’Antine, he helped you, now help me.”
“Apothecary, you’ll be better served helping yourself, your injuries look serous too. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a task I will return later.”
D’Antine stalked away and Palgrys was left to tend Lorenzo alone.