Black Library: Looking Back at 2017
Another year is down to its embers, ready to burst back to life like a phoenix as 2018 dawns. But before that happens, let us look back on 2017, and the flames it lit in the heart of all Black Library fans – because it was one hell of a year. Here are some month-by-month highlights.
The year dawned in suitably brutal fashion as Robbie MacNiven shed some light on the sinister Carcharodons in the novel ‘Red Tithe’, and Imperial Knights waged war in Andy Clark’s ‘Kingsblade’. Speaking of kings, the crimson one got his Primarchs outing in ‘Magnus the Red: Master of Prospero’ by Graham McNeill. Meanwhile, a year of awesome Warhammer Age of Sigmar releases started with ‘City of Secrets’ by Nick Horth. Quite a beginning to quite a year, we’re sure you’ll agree!
February may be the shortest month, but it wasn’t short on great fiction, such as James Swallow’s ‘Garro’, which collected all the existing stories of the Knight Errant into a hardcover volume, and added new material. There was plenty more Space Marine action too, with ‘Slaughter at Giant’s Coffin’ by L J Goulding, and Ben Counter’s ‘Cassius’, both bringing new tales of tyranid-hunting action to the table.
Next up was a themed month focusing on the March of the Titans – a host of short stories, reprints and the brand new novel ‘Warlord: Fury of the God Machine’ – not to mention the audio drama ‘The Binary Succession’ – saw it celebrated in epic fashion. There was plenty more too, with the Ultramarines, Dark Angels and Blood Angels all getting some limelight, with the latter – Guy Haley’s ‘Dante’ – being particularly acclaimed and among many readers’ favourite books of the year.
In April, the Sisters of Battle took their first starring BL role for some years in ‘Cult of the Warmason’ by C L Werner. A week of audio dramas saw some sneaky setup for what was coming in Warhammer 40,000 with ‘Hand of Darkness’ and ‘Eye of Night’, and the Dark Millennium came firmly to Terra in Chris Wraight’s acclaimed novel ‘Vaults of Terra: The Carrion Throne’.
In May, we were spoiled by a pair of titles that would be a centrepiece in any other month. First up was the second in Gav Thorpe’s irregular Phoenix Lords series. ‘Jain Zar: The Storm of Silence’ centres around the legendary founder of the Howling Banshees. David Guymer’s ‘The Eye of Medusa’ put the Iron Hands in the spotlight like never before, in the first of an ongoing series.
June began a whole new era for Warhammer 40,000, and Black Library were at the forefront with Guy Haley’s ‘Dark Imperium’, the first Warhammer 40,000 novel to star a loyal primarch – and also perhaps the year’s most popular title. The Age of Sigmar also received a significant title in Josh Reynolds’ ‘Hallowed Knights: Plague Garden’, which explored a Stormhost in unparalleled depth as well as delving deep into Nurgle’s realm.
Past the halfway point of the year, July explored the early years of the Golden One in ‘Lorgar: Bearer of the Word’, and got into the inner workings of the Inquisition – and brought back a familiar face to old Warhammer 40,000 fans – in ‘The Horusian Wars: Resurrection’ by John French. ‘Shroud of Night’, a novel set in the heart of the Cicatrix Maledictum, explored the new Dark Imperium, and the Battle of Tallarn was laid bare in a new Horus Heresy novel.
August brought a highly anticipated novel by Aaron Dembski-Bowden, in the form of ‘Black Legion’, the follow-up to ‘The Talon of Horus’. John French returned to the Inquisition in the first of a new audio drama series, ‘Blood and Lies’, and Ian St Martin told a twisted tale of Lucius the Eternal, swordsman of the Emperor’s Children. Meanwhile, the annual Summer of Reading saw seven new Quick Reads hint at delights to come in the future…
In September, ‘Eight Lamentations: Spear of Shadows’ launched an ongoing Warhammer Age of Sigmar series by Josh Reynolds, and Chris Wraight delved into the secrets of the Adeptus Custodes in ‘Watchers of the Throne: The Emperor’s Legion’. ‘Cadia Stands’ by Justin D Hill also tied up the story of Ursarkar Creed as it told of the fall of the fortress world in unprecedented depth.
October saw Roboute Guilliman’s dream of Imperium Secundus come crashing down and the march towards Terra reach its height in the Horus Heresy novel, ‘Ruinstorm’. That was just one of many intriguing titles though, as the prideful primarch of the Emperor’s Children got his titular novel, ‘Fulgrim: The Palatine Phoenix’, the White Scars rode on ‘The Last Hunt’ and Gav Thorpe returned to the aeldari for ‘Ghost Warrior: Rise of the Ynnari’.
In November, the Black Library Weekender returned! In the words of Neil Coombe, Black Library manager:
“The return of the Black Library Weekender after a three-year absence was my highlight of 2017. Authors, artists and actors (21 of them in total!), plus staff and our passionate fans, descended on Nottingham for two solid days of seminars, signings, celebration, fun, games and silliness. I can’t wait to host the Black Library Weekender 2018! It will be back and it will be bigger than ever.”
Can’t say it any fairer than that! In terms of new books, the C L Werner-penned ‘Overlords of the Iron Dragon’ took to the skies for a high-flying tale of the Kharadron Overlords, classic Necromunda titles were reprinted to celebrate the new game, and Guy Haley returned to the Blood Angels with ‘The Devastation of Baal’, which filled in gaps from a story in the new Warhammer 40,000 rulebook in truly epic style.
And then came December. The Advent Calendar was a triumph, bringing 24 tales from across the Warhammer universes, including the first-ever stories from Shadespire. Josh Reynolds’ second Fabius Bile novel, ‘Clonelord’ also hit the shelves in sinister fashion, and of course, we released ‘Nagash: The Undying King’ and ‘Sons of the Hydra’ early as a Christmas present for you all. We don’t think we’re missing anything major there…
Just kidding! December also saw probably the biggest release of the year, as Dan Abnett made his triumphant return to the Gaunt’s Ghosts series with ‘The Warmaster’ – and the most lavish and extras-packed special edition Black Library has produced all year!
Another highlight across 2017 was the Black Library audio range going from strength to strength. With more than 40 audiobooks and audio dramas released across the year, delivering somewhere in the region of a whopping 250 hours of storytelling, this was a great year to get into audio. (Not sure where to start? We have a guide for that…)
And that’s 2017 in a nutshell. It’s been a year of incredible releases, exceptional events and above all, fantastic stories. And as we move into 2018, we reckon there’s plenty more of all of that to come. What are you looking forward to next year? Let us know on the Black Library Facebook page – and have a happy new year.
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