Saturday, July 02, 2011

Black Library “Storm of Magic” (e)Novellas


With the release of the new game expansion, Storm of Magic, Black Library has commissioned three novellas based on magic in the Warhammer world written by three of their best fantasy authors. Below are the details of the three stories, all three of which I will review as they become available – the first, by Darius Hinks, will probably be reviewed next week.

The expansion to the game focuses on those moments when the winds of magic blow at their strongest, unleashing a considerable, perhaps unsustainable, amount of power throughout the world. Considering the Warhammer novels I’ve read thus far don’t really feature too much magic – at least, not overt displays of extreme, flashy power (although, there is some in the Gotrek & Felix series) – it’ll be interesting to see how a little more magic in the Warhammer world changes the stories set within it.

Writing on Black Library’s blog, the series editor Graeme Lyon had this to say about the three novellas:

“The idea was to tell three different stories by three different authors, all of them linked by the common threads that are to be found in the Storm of Magic game. To this end, each of the tales revolves around the events that occur when the Winds of Magic blow out of control – arcane fulcrums erupt from the ground, monsters fill the sky and wizards find themselves imbued with incredible power.  However, it was also important that each story should have its own style. The three authors for the series were carefully chosen to help achieve this.”

Graeme also explains why each author was chosen for the task, and I’ve included excerpts of his thoughts, below, with each title after its synopsis. The three authors have all made their mark on Warhammer fiction: Darius Hinks, for example, has written some of the most popular recent Warhammer novels, and also is this year’s winner of the Gemmell Morningstar (newcomer) award – his next novel will be Sigvald, published in July. Chris Wraight is the author of a couple of novels in the Warhammer Heroes series, documenting the struggles of some of the most famous and skilled Empire heroes. C.L. Werner is one of my favourite authors writing BL fiction, and his novels have always been deliciously dark and twisted (and therefore thoroughly entertaining) – he is currently writing the Thanquol & Boneripper series, and will publish The Red Duke later this year.

All three of the novellas will be available as physical books as well as eBooks. Razumov’s Tomb is already available for purchase from Black Library’s website, with Dragonmage following later in July, and The Hour of Shadows available in August.

Hinks-RazumovsTombRazumov’s Tomb – Darius Hinks

As the Chaos moon of Morrslieb veers wildly off course, the Old World is wracked by a series of bizarre plagues. From a lofty spire of the Celestial College, the Empire's Grand Astromancer, Caspar Vyborg, scours the heavens for an explanation, seeking guidance in the stars. But as the Empire sinks further into madness and violence, his order is forced to search stranger places than the night sky - the investigation leads them to the grave of a long-dead sorcerer named Razumov and an ancient, half-remembered prophecy. Caspar decides that his only hope is to complete the dark rituals that killed Razumov centuries earlier, but as Morrslieb waxes full and ferocious magical storms begin to tear the very fabric of reality, Caspar learns the true, terrible nature of Razumov's tomb.

Graeme’s Thoughts: “Darius Hinks is great at extremely mad stuff, and his tale… embodies the ultimate weirdness of the Warhammer World perfectly, being packed with completely mental things...”

Wraight-DragonmageDragonmage – Chris Wraight

Magic is stirring across the world. A storm is coming. On Ulthuan, the Phoenix King of the high elves nears death and competition for his position has erupted into open war. Lord Rathien of Caledor seeks to awaken the dragons from their long sleep and use their strength to ensure his ascent to the Phoenix Throne. Meanwhile, Prince Valaris of Ellyrion, aided by a powerful but naïve mage, wants to harness the power of the storm of magic to defeat his rival and achieve his goal. As their forces clash, greater powers manipulate events to their own purposes, leading the two elf nobles into a conflict that threatens to destroy them both… and the world with them.

Graeme’s thoughts: “Chris… focuses on two elven heroes vying to become the next Phoenix King. And a lot of dragons. No, really, a lot of dragons. It ends with possibly the biggest and most insane battle ever to appear in a Warhammer novel. And, seriously, a lot of dragons.”

Werner-HourOfShadowsThe Hour of Shadows – C.L. Werner

For thousands of years, the Golden Pool has been a source of malignant energy within the forest of Athel Loren. The wood elf spellweaver Ywain, secretly entrusted with the stewardship of this magical fulcrum, prophesises the coming of a terrible enemy to the ancient realm – even now, the undead hordes of the Black Seer Huskk Gnawbone approach. As the elves marshal their forces against him, the power of the pool grows and an eternal evil rises to corrupt even the very forest itself.

Graeme’s Thoughts: “C.L. Werner’s idea for a skaven necromancer fits the Storm of Magic idea perfectly. The Hour of Shadows is full of undead skaven, battle under the eaves of Athel Loren and the best use of skaven magic ever. Also, there’s a cockatrice fighting flocks of warhawks and a treeman, and if that’s not awesome, I don’t know what is.”

All three of these sound pretty entertaining, so as I mentioned above, I will be reading and reviewing all three as they become available. First up will be Darius Hinks’s Razumov’s Tomb sometime next week. [I’ve decided to do a Novella Week.]

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