This Chapbook was given to me on entry to the Black Library Live 2012 event. The price on the back says £6.00. BEWARE! If you are expecting a novel or at least a novella for that price you could feel short changed. This Chapbook contains two short stories. Bellathonis and The Shadow King by Andy Chambers and Reaper by Sarah Cawkwell. It is limited to one thousand copies and four hundred or so of those went at the BL Live event.
That’s the warning and negative out of the way. On to the fun stuff. Why on earth would you want to read this?
If you have played Warhammer 40k for as long as I have then you know the name Andy Chambers very well. I think it was something like three editions of the game that he was a major part of the development team. The man clearly knows the world setting. At the BL Live event Andy Chambers gave some really interesting advice to aspiring writers on seeing things from a Xenos point of view. I found that talk just as interesting as a reader and so was fascinated to read a story by him about the Dark Eldar. The cruelty and capricious nature of the race were masterfully allowed to fester in my imagination with the minimum of description and without making the story cumbersome. I really enjoyed this story and regret not picking up a copy of Path of The Renegade whilst I was at BL Live. I’m going to have to add it to my want list.
The second story is by an author you may not have heard of. Sarah Cawkwell is a relatively new author in the BL stable but her short stories have impressed enough that she is on her second novel. Her first The Gildar Rift is a 40k Space Marine novel. Her second is due to be release in the summer and is a Warhammer fantasy story called Valkia the Bloody. It is the Deamon Princess Valkia that we get a glimpse of in this short story and to quote the author herself “Chaos is where the cool kids are at”. Valkia tries to persuade the fallen captain of the enemy to join her cause and serve The Blood God. From what I have read in this story and The Gildar Rift, Sarah Cawkwell really does have a great way of expressing the fine line between the heroic and the chaotic nastiness.