THE WISHLIST: Black Library 2021 Releases

Black Library have been printing Warhammer 40,000 tie-in fiction for over two decades now, and for the past few years have been making regular appearances on my TBR Tower. They put out dozens of books a year, around a third of which I would say are of interest to me. As well as hardbacks and paperbacks, they are one of the few publishers putting out physical omnibus editions of some of their more popular series. On top of that, they release audio dramas that are quite frankly some of the best work in that medium. But one thing they’re not particularly good at is keeping readers up to date on upcoming releases. Despite having a dedicated Coming Soon page on their website, updates from Black Library/Games Workshop are few and far between. Books tend to be announced at odd times, and only get official pre-order dates a month or two in advance. This has become increasingly apparent in the past year, with COVID-related delays pushing dates around significantly. But this week was WarhammerFest, so we got a glimpse at a massive amount of books being worked on right now. The list I’m compiling now is by no means complete, but most of what I saw is of great interest to me so I’m making a note of it here. You won’t find any Horus Heresy works in my list, but if you’re a fan of the Astra Militarum/Imperial Guard, then I think you’ll be very bit as excited as I am.

First of all is a quick comment about things I didn’t see. I never really was grabbed by the Warhammer Horror line, but it’s a shame not to see any new releases on that front. Black Library’s continued diversification of content has been a great thing to see, and hopefully there’s more on the horizon. I was also disappointed at the lack of audio dramas on display. It’s been a while now since John French’s Cypher boxset was teased, and now I’m starting to doubt it’ll ever see the light of day. Black Library audios are every bit as good as their novels, so I’m hoping it’s an unfortunate effect of COVID rather than a scaling back of their media offerings. There was also no word on Pandaemonium or the near-mythical Interceptor City, but as we’ll soon see, Dan Abnett has been a very busy man.

Kicking off the upcoming releases is the Warhammer Crime range, My only delve into this has been Alec Worley’s brilliant Dredge Runners, but it’s nice to see continued enthusiasm for the city of Varangantua. Marc Collins’ debut novel Grim Repast will be the third novel in the line, and its existence has tempted me to pick up previous offerings from Chris Wraight and Guy Haley. There will also be two new anthologies to go alongside No Good Men, which will hopefully continue to be a home for newer Black Library authors.

Turning our attention to the main Warhammer 40,000 setting, the book that immediately catches my eye is The Twice-Dead King: Ruin, by Nate Crowley. This will be the second Necron PoV novel, after Robert Rath’s The Infinite and the Divine, which I will have to get the paperback of next month after the original hardcover sold out in phenomenally short time. Crowley has written Necrons before in the novella Severed, so he has pedigree here. This is also the first in a series, which promises plenty of xenos action. Hopefully the success of these non-Imperial books will see more xenos material being released, though my dream of a tyranid PoV novel may have to wait a while yet.

Remember I said Dan Abnett has been busy? Well that’s because there’s a new Gaunt’s Ghosts novel on the way. It’s not a continuation of the story after Anarach though. It’s called The Vincula Insurgency, and it’s a set in the early days of the Tanith First and Only, which I imagine puts it around the time of the first two novels. The Vincula Insurgency is going to be one of Black Library’s limited edition releases, with a whole load of extra material and a price tag to match. I expect this will be a Christmas release, which unfortunately means we might have to wait until 2022 for a regular hardback. As well as penning a new novel, Abnett is also editing a third Sabbat Worlds anthology, entitled Sabbat War. Hopefully this means the previous anthologies will see a reprint, as I am one of many who missed out on their first outing.

Most interesting of all is the fact that the Sabbat Worlds have been opened up to authors beside Abnett. Not just in the anthology, but in a pair of new novels. Nick Kyme’s Volpone Glory follows the Volpone Bluebloods, while Matthew Farrer’s The Serpent and the Saint takes us back to the world of Urdesh. I’m not the greatest fan of Space Marines (Iron Snakes is currently the only Sabbat Worlds novel I haven’t read), but the setting is so rich I’m likely to pick it up, while Kyme’s offering promises plenty of Guard action. On top of all this, there’ll be a limited edition reprint of the Sabbat Crusade source-book, an in-universe guide to the campaign that will doubtless appeal to Abnett’s readers. I myself am more interested in it from a roleplaying perspective, as it provides a brilliant idea toolbox for military SF gaming in general.

The Imperial Guard action doesn’t stop at the Sabbat Worlds, however. Andy Clark will be launching a new, as-yet-untitled series with Steel Tread, chronicling the exploits of a Leman Russ tank crew. I’m all for a bit of Imperial armour, but given the lack of series title and finalised cover art, I suspect this one may be some way off. The final novel of interest is one I thought may have been lost in production somewhere, as Justin D. Hill returns to the Cadian arc with Traitor Rock. Interestingly, this is now officially the Minka Lesk series rather than the Cadian series. I was lukewarm on Cadian Honour, but Cadia Stands was excellent, so this is a quick purchase for me.

I’m hoping all of these books (and more) will see release in the coming year, but COVID is likely to see a few more delays along the way. Even so, it looks like we’ve got a lot of grimdark military SF to look forward to, and I’ll be reviewing whatever I can get my hands on.

Published by Alex Hormann

I'm a writer, reader, and farmer, with an interest in all things speculative.

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