For many of us, the Black Library is an essential part of our Heresy/40K experience. This summer has been no exception…I have been a reading fool!
When I wonder why I don’t have the time to hobby and play, I just have to look at the stack of books I have piled through. Since May, I have read/re-read 10 books, six of which are new. How do I find time to do so much reading? It’s obviously at the expense of other activities such as model building and playing the game. That being said, it is an important part of my hobby life. The backstory/narrative part of the 40K universe is as important to me as the gaming aspect. It also gives me plenty of subject matter for all the conversation that goes on when I get together with mates that have a similar passion. It’s great just sitting around drinking a cold one (that would of course be enough) while discussing the latest installment of the Horus Heresy or the exploits of the infamous Ciaphas Cain. So here are a few recommendations; either read this summer or in the past…
Ciaphus Cain (Commisar)
I actually listened to an audio book about Cain called The Devil You Know before embarking on my dead tree binge. It is voiced brilliantly by Toby Longworth; he is by far my favorite Black Library voice actor; Sean Barrett runs a close seconds. Cain’s self-depreciating personality really was apparent, but there is a humorous aspect to the stories as well. His malodorous aide Jurgen is also an essential part of the story. After listening to the audio I was intrigued, and spent the next six weeks digging though the two Cain omnibi (latin plural). Hero of the Imperium is the first. Defender of the Imperium covers the next 3 books. I don’t think there is a single race/faction that the author, Sandy Mitchell, does not include somewhere in this collection of novels. Even Tau figure prominently in one of the stories. Sandy has a very relaxed style of writing. Not too grim and a touch of humor…perfect for Cain. However, the fight scenes are crammed full of detail. His stories are written in the first person from Cain’s perspective.
Books From Dan Abnett
I re-read a couple of Dan Abnett novels this summer; Double Eagle and Titanicus. Although both are “classics” from the perspective that they have been around for a while, their subject matter seems particularly applicable to today’s 40K hobby life. Double Eagle concerns a squadron of Imperial Navy fighter aircraft facing off against a nasty Chaos fighter ace. Can you say Death From The Skies? If you have found a new/renewed interest in the flyer aspect of the game, this novel would be a great read. As a side note, I also read the novella Medusan Wing (Iron Hands flyers vs. Orks) by ebook. Both of these are sure to fire up your need for speed!
The other Abnett re-read was Titanicus. For those not in the know, there have been significant rumors about the rebirth of an Epic scale titan game. Titanicus would be the book version of the game. Plenty of politics and intrigue also included for your reading pleasure. If you are a Gaunt’s Ghost fan as I am, it is a nice break from Gaunt and his crew, while retaining the Abnett writing style. If you have any interest in gigantic, walking, mechanical temples of doom then Titanicus should be a good read.
Having once played a Wolves army, my interest in the destroyers of Prospero has never waned. I read the ebook version of Warzone Fenris (8 “Quick Reads”) and count this as a single book. The total read is about 250 pages over the course of the eight “quick reads”). Lots of intrigue, treachery and inter-chapter conflict in this one. Not to spoil anything, but any novel that puts the Dark Angels in a bad light is fine by me (The Lion is a total and complete ****…IMO). The author is new to me; his name is Robbie Macniven. Great read if you are a Wolves fan, or just for a change of pace from other 40K activities. The Wulfen are in this one too! If you have an interest, the first installment, The Lost King, is a free download.
Angels of Caliban
Gav Thorpe knocks it out of the park again! This latest installment in the Horus Heresy series made my head spin; there is so much going on. Flashbacks, dreams, visions, Imperium Secundus, Luther, Caliban, Curze, Horus (pre-Heresy)…whoa! What I liked best about this story is that, at least as I read it, it finally gives the Dark Angel story from Luther’s perspective, and the perspective of the those left behind on Caliban. Before this book, the Imperial version of the Dark Angel story is the fall of Luther to the Dark Gods. In Angels of Caliban, Gav really causes you to consider another side of the story. Interesting that the subtitle is “Emperor and slaves.” It also paints The Lion with a very different brush (my feelings about this chump were expressed earlier in the article). By the end of the novel, Gav has you wondering who is more insane…Curze or Johnson? An excellent addition to the Gav Thorpe repertoire. Also, you may want to give Pharos a read before this novel, as key concepts from Pharos are carried over to Angels. Note: I read this by ebook. The hardcover is available now, but the softcover, I have been told, will not be out until around Christmas.
Hope this provides a bit of motivation to hit the pages of 40K history. I know that backstory is not important to many, but it really does add another aspect to our 40K gaming experience.
Have you done much Heresy/40K reading this summer?