Your top five favourite Black Library Novels

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Your top five favourite Black Library Novels

Postby Bane Of Kings » Fri Mar 04, 2011 8:25 pm

Okay, so what's yours? I'll start.

Number 1: Honour Guard by Dan Abnett. The best Gaunt's Ghosts Novel out there, and in my view, the best of the entire Black Library Range. Fantastic stuff.

Number 2: Soul Hunter by Aaron Dembski-Bowden. Fantastic stuff, fleshes out the Night Lords Legion and is a great read.

Number 3: Prospero Burns by Dan Abnett. Now, despite a few negative reveiws on this, it has become my favourite novel in the Horus Heresy series, partly because it focuses on the Vlkya Fenryka, but also because it's written by Dan Abnett, and is a great read.

Number 4: Fall of Damnos by Nick Kyme. I know this book isn't released yet, but I really enjoyed my advanced review copy from Black Library. Basically, for all of you who thought that the Ultramarines are boring, think again. This gets Number 4 on my list, by a long shot.

Number 5: Fulgrim by Graham McNeill, a tragic story of one of my favourite chaos legions (bar the colour scheme), great work done and a great read as well.

Honourable Mentions: Salamander / Firedrake, A Thousand Sons, Horus Rising and Helsreach.

Now you go.

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Re: Your top five favourite Black Library Novels

Postby Balhaar » Fri Mar 04, 2011 10:54 pm

Blackhearts Omnibus- Fantastic. Pure fantastic. I love the whole idea of the novels and the way it is written just made me (quite literally) beg Nathan Long to write more. Apparently it's not his decision. Darn you BL. Make him pen more of them!

Witch Hunter Omnibus- Witch Hunters are just so much better than Inquisitors in my opinion due to their prime weapons being faith, zeal and a sword. Matthias Thulman, now there's a real man.

Iron Company- I really enjoyed this. It was the first book of Chris Wraight's that I read and the first I proofread for BL. So it will always have a special plpace in my heart (and on my book case due to getting a free copy signed by Chris). Bloody good story and it would have been one of my favourite Empire Army novels with or without the bias from above.

The Burning Shore- Because it was a brilliant story that features a brilliant (and underused) foe in the Lizardmen. The opening that describes Florin and Lorenzo's flight from their lives and how they end up on the ill-fated expedition is very good and a nice change of pace. I am too used to BL books (mainly 40k) starting off in some battle nobody has been given a chance to care about.

Thousand Sons
- This was the first thing I really read about them. Had neve rbothered to look them up and I really enjoyed it. It was slow going for someone not clued up to their ways but when you got in it was very difficult to put down.
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Re: Your top five favourite Black Library Novels

Postby J D Dunsany » Fri Mar 04, 2011 11:12 pm

I'm going to be boring here. I'm sorry. The fact of the matter is that I've read relatively little of BL's output - although that situation is improving. (Although they keep printing more of the stuff - it's so annoying!) Abnett features heavily on my list, simply because he's easily the most skilful and intelligent of BL's current crop of writers. That said, first place has to go to...

1. Space Marine by Ian Watson. Not read his Inquisition series yet, but this is what I want BL fiction still to be now. (I know I'll always be disappointed on that score, but never mind, eh?)

2. Horus Rising by Dan Abnett. If ever a BL novel could be called 'seminal', this is the one.

3. Necropolis by Dan Abnett.

4. Legion by Dan Abnett.

5. Trollslayer by William King. The only fantasy on here, I know, but it's excellent - a lovely collection of loosely connected stories, showcasing King's considerable storytelling talents.

Like I said, boring. But you did ask.

Honourable mentions would go to Double Eagle, Guardians of the Forest, A Thousand Sons, Masters of Magic and Soul Hunter.

There are glaring omissions here, I know - but that's mainly because I haven't read what you probably think I ought to have read.


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Re: Your top five favourite Black Library Novels

Postby Insomniac » Fri Mar 04, 2011 11:52 pm

Inquisitor by Ian Watson: This is exactly how I picture the 40K universe - full of hyperbole and a grim nature no amount of showers can get rid of. I enjoy the rest of the Inquisition Wars omnibus, but this one is the closest to perfection I've read (Regarding GW that is).

Enforcer by Matt Farrer: This series was refreshing after being bombarded by umpteen Space Marine novels. There's a level of depth and exploration that few books in the genre can match. The looks at the Mechanicus and Rogue Traders was interesting, giving you a slice of 40K that really isn't too defined.

Soul Hunter by ADB: Generally I'm not too big on Space Marines, but I've always liked the Night Lords. There are a lot of 'that's freakin' awesome' moments and the SMs have a much more human quality whilst retaining their genocidal tendencies. Perhaps my favorite scene is when Konrad turns into Kurtz.

Salvation by C.S. Goto: I don't know exactly why but I always used to get this great Kafka feeling when I read this. It was probably due to that the almost hyperbolic bureaucratic madness the main character has to deal with. The Necromunda series, besides books like "Lasgun Wedding", was surprising well done and it was unfortunate that it came to such a early demise.

The fifth spot is reserved for when BL finally publishes Chun.
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Re: Your top five favourite Black Library Novels

Postby Mossy Toes » Sat Mar 05, 2011 12:00 am

Insomniac wrote:The fifth spot is reserved for when BL finally publishes Chun.
Or Launcifer or Sholto--but with that addendum, I wholly agree with your statement.
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Re: Your top five favourite Black Library Novels

Postby Boc » Sat Mar 05, 2011 1:58 am

I'm copping out immensely and posting series rather than individual novels...

In no particular order:

Legion - Abnett

Gaunt's Ghosts - Abnett

Soul Hunter - ADB

Thousand Sons - McNeill

Angels of Darkness - Thorpe

Honorable mentions: Horus Rising, Inquisitor Trilogy, Salamander
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Re: Your top five favourite Black Library Novels

Postby Duke_Leto » Sat Mar 05, 2011 1:40 pm

Very hard to pick just five, a top ten was proving easier. However, also in no particular order:

Traitor General - Dan Abnett = The whole Gaunt's Ghost series is a great achievement as Abnett has attempted to make each book different by focusing on different types of warfare or situations the Imperial Guard might face. As time has gone on the "world building" around the Sabbat Worlds and the Crusade has become quite something. For me the third arc (The Saint) is by far the best in terms of the four stories/novels and the quality of the writing. However, for some reason Traitor General really jumps out due to being behind enemy lines and the experience of living on a Chaos conquered planet. Really eerie.

Eisenhorn trilogy - Dan Abnett = The ultimate "Domestic 40k" set of novels. Nice to be away from the frontline and battles with xenos enemies! Really brought alive the whole Inquisition and the complex set of internal politics and different belief systems. Truly excellent (actually this is probably the Number 1 book).

Ravenor trilogy - Dan Abnett = More "Domestic 40k" this time as the counterpart to Eisenhorn, a literal spin off series. Great story arc and wonderful characters. Only fault (for me) was the time traveling bit (I do not like time travel in SF - ever!). Can't wait for the Bequin trilogy to wrap this all up nicely PLEASE!

Enforcer (omnibus) - Matthew Farrer = Yet more "Domestic 40k" this time focused on the inner workings of the Adeptus Arbites. Crossfire had the Ministorum and Mechanicum as antagonists exploring both nicely. Legacy focused on Rogue Trader Dynasty and the Imperial Navy. Blind was a brilliant "noir whodunit" dealing with the Astra Telepathica. Farrer is an excellent "world builder" and this series is a must for fluff junkies.

Execution Hour - Gordon Rennie = W40k space combat has never been so vivid. Really gave you a good feel for what it must be like to be in the Imperial Navy. Shame this trilogy only ever stretched to two books (Shadowpoint was also very good but certainly Act 2 out of 3 acts!)

Just noticed someone above "cheated" by giving honourable mentions :D

Titanicus, Only In Death - Dan Abnett
Nemesis - James Swallow
Storm of Iron, Thousand Sons - Graham McNeil

to round out my top ten with a runner up...

Double Eagle - Dan Abnett
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Re: Your top five favourite Black Library Novels

Postby Raven » Sat Mar 05, 2011 2:03 pm

01) Rynns World: I loved this story, I loved the way it was written and I really got into the characters I felt Steve Parker did an excellent job with creating the tension between Pedro Kantor And Cortez, The story was fast paced and thrust straight into the action with some great discription. It helps that I am a big fan of the Crimson Fists. But so far this is my favourite BL book to date.

02) Soul Hunter: been a fan of the Night Lords also helps, but the reason Soul Hunter is my second favourite BL book is because the story was great the book itself was very well written and AD-B shows his talents as a class A writer throughout the story.

03) Only In Death: For me this is one of Dan Abnetts best books especially in the Gaunts Ghosts series, I liked how Major Rawn took centre stage as the main character and how the story was far darker than the previous stories in the series.

04) Flight of The Eisenstien: The story of Garro flee to warn the emperor will probably always be one of my favourite HH books I remember buyung the book I could stop reading it. I loved the whole story and how Garro not only had to evade the traitors but would also have to battle in the warp with old foes decayed. He then had to find a way out of the warp to finally get to his goal he never once expected Dorn would disbeleive him to finally battling a deamonic beast.

05) Blood Pact: I really liked this book, it was a nice return to gaunt after Only In Death and the whole story took me a couple of days to read which for me is very fast.

Honorable Mentions
Chapter War/Sabbat Maytr/Horus Rising/Cains Last Stand/Maleus
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Re: Your top five favourite Black Library Novels

Postby Mossy Toes » Sat Mar 05, 2011 9:15 pm list is ending up rather odd. I suppose that this means that the richer an environment is portrayed the more I enjoy it... (plus, well, I've not read nearly the number of BL books as I would like)

So, in no particular order:

Liber Chaotica - Richard Williams and Marijan von Staufer

Xenology - Simon Spurrier

Enforcer (Omnibus) - Matt Farrer

Wine of Dreams - Brian Craig

Angels of Darkness - Gav Thorpe

Runners-up: The Burning Shore (Robert Earl), The Eisenhorn Omnibus (Dan Abnett), The First Heretic (AD-B)
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Re: Your top five favourite Black Library Novels

Postby Tim the Corsair » Sun Mar 06, 2011 9:10 pm

I'm doing a Top 10, sue me :P

Soul Hunter (ADB)
Legion (Abnett)
Eisenhorn Trilogy (Abnett)
A Thousand Sons (McNeill)
The First Heretic (ADB)
Ravenor Trilogy (Abnett)
Blood Pact (Abnett)
Traitor General (Abnett)
Cadian Blood (ADB)
Horus Rising (Abnett)

HM: Necropolis, every other GG novel, Fulgrim, Nemesis
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Re: Your top five favourite Black Library Novels

Postby Corrigan Phoenix » Mon Mar 07, 2011 2:17 am

1) Flight of the Eisenstein

2) The First Heretic

3) Necropolis

4) Horus rising

5) Malus Darkblade Series
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Re: Your top five favourite Black Library Novels

Postby Atlantic » Mon Mar 07, 2011 3:21 am

No particular order

Flight of the Eisenstein

Eisenhorn Series

Prospero Burns

Dead Sky Black Sun

Gotrek & Felix Series
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Re: Your top five favourite Black Library Novels

Postby Chun the Unavoidable » Mon Mar 07, 2011 8:13 am

Space Marine, The Inquisitor War (omnibus, but I'll count it as one), Eisenhorn (omnibus), Enforcer (omnibus), and, uh, the The Founding (though it could have been either of the Gaunt's omnibuses). That, to be honest, is almost all the BL books I've read.

And, Insomniac (glad to see you're back to your old name here), Mossy: I'm touched. Mentally.
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Re: Your top five favourite Black Library Novels

Postby davij038 » Mon Mar 07, 2011 10:34 am

The Genevieve Ohmnibus, wins hands down for me. Funny, dark, original, compelling, I read the entire thing in one day, just superb.

Guns of Tanith A really tense gripping story where you tend to know a bit more about the supporting characters.

Ravenor This book is just EPIC, everything is perfect, the only bad thing about is that IMHO the next to books in the series are soul destroyingly terrible....

Eisenhorn Although a let down on the last book, and despite a few dodgy abnett moments this bpooks pulls through by being generally awesome and having some top not characters in it.

Manslayer just for being so wholeheartedly fun to read.
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Re: Your top five favourite Black Library Novels

Postby Athelassan » Tue Mar 08, 2011 12:46 am

I find it difficult to judge all-time favourites, because I'm sure my experience of some novels has been altered by nostalgia, or having read them at a particular time in my life, or because they were my first exposure to the topic, or whatever. Not to mention that what I consider to be some of the best pieces of fiction BL have published are in fact short stories (Rattenkrieg, The Dark Beneath The World, Unicorn Ivory, etc.) Even a top five is difficult; I feel I could construct one list based on affection and another on my perception of its quality, and I'd still be struggling. Not to mention that sometimes it's not just one book from a series. I really enjoyed the Sword of Justice books, but I'm not sure they'd justify two spots out of five in an all-time list. Likewise, I'd want to put either Malekith or Shadow King in, but probably not both... yet choosing between them would be all but impossible because they were written as part of the same story. I'll have a stab at it, anyway. I've subscribed to some fairly arbitrary rules here: no more than one book from the same author in the same setting; no Black Flame or Black Industries stuff; no omnibuses, anthologies, short stories, graphic novels, artbooks or sourcebooks. Just novels.

In no particular order:

1. Drachenfels. Speaks for itself. Marginally edges out Beasts in Velvet.
2. First and Only. The first BL 40K novel, the first 40K novel I read, and still (imo) the best of the Ghosts novels. I still think Dan Abnett has yet to surpass it, but, as I say above, I think that might be the nostalgia talking.
3. The First Heretic. Tough call between this and A Thousand Sons, but I think it's probably the best and most engaging Heresy novel so far.
4. The Wine of Dreams. A controversial pick over the Orfeo trilogy, but I find those three to be near-impossible to choose between, and in the end TWoD wins out simply because it was a new BL production rather than a GW books reprint. It showed just what was still possible in this world, even if the ending was a bit tacked-on.
5. Lord of the Night. Ah, Si Spurrier, your BL star burned so brightly yet so briefly. Suffers, like TWoD, from a poor ending, although in this case it was more of a Flash Gordon-esque "To Be Continued?" rather than the conclusion to the actual plot. In any case, qualitatively, rather than affectionately, this is comfortably the best 40K novel I've read (although it's worth bearing in mind there are many 40K "classics" I've not read) so gains points for that.

Honourable mentions go to Gav Thorpe and C.L. Werner, who would be some of the first picks for my "favourite BL authors" list... However, they suffer slightly because I find them to be consistently very good rather than sporadically excellent, so their novels are harder to choose between. There's the aforementioned problem regarding trilogies, too- I couldn't justify putting, say, Shadow King or Witch Hunter in the list on their own, even though the series as a whole might be well deserving of a place...

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Re: Your top five favourite Black Library Novels

Postby BL Graeme » Tue Mar 08, 2011 2:02 pm

Not so much a "Top 5" as just "5 that I'm digging at the moment":

Blood of Aenarion by Bill King
Seriously, seriously good. Sitting checking the typesetting, I found myself getting drawn in and reading it instead. Always a great sign.

Sigvald by Darius Hinks
Darius is so good a writer that it's scary. When he lets the craziness in, his writing is the equal of anyone's.

Promethean Sun by Nick Kyme
You'll see.

Blood Reaver by The ADB
Hell yeah. First Claw and Huron Blackheart? The ultimate buddy movie. Or, y'know, not.

Path of the Seer by Gav Thorpe
I loved, and I mean LOVED, PotW, and PotS didn't disappoint in the least. Awesomesauce.

Also, Nagash Immortal, The Red Duke, Sons of Ellyrion (it's a good year for Fantasy fans!) and Red & Black.
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Re: Your top five favourite Black Library Novels

Postby narrativium » Tue Mar 08, 2011 2:06 pm

BL Graeme wrote:Not so much a "Top 5" as just "5 that I'm digging at the moment":
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Re: Your top five favourite Black Library Novels

Postby BL Graeme » Tue Mar 08, 2011 2:11 pm

It's all the whipping.

At least, I think that's part of the training.
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Re: Your top five favourite Black Library Novels

Postby Xisor » Tue Mar 08, 2011 2:21 pm

As I'm spoiled by choice from the existence of omnibuses, I'll take full advantage of that.

1: Xisor's Top of the Pile - Enforcer by Matthew Farrer

Sheer excellence across the board. The 'extra material' is simply wonderful too. Without the other two, or the extra material, I think Legacy could hold the topspot on its own.

2: The Gothic War by Gordon Rennie

Though Shadowpoint tails a little, I find the arc to be one of my continual favourites. I expect there's a massive amount of nostalgia in here too, but it is an exceptionally done story and one which I feel could benefit from continuation. I'm looking at you, A D-B.

Honourable Mentions

The above takes me to five novels, I guess I'm happy with that as it means I don't need to worry about the others.

First of all, Werner's Wulfrik, Earl's The Burning Shore and Thorpe's Malekith really need highlighting. There are few books I've essentially raved about quite like them.

In Heresy terms, I think I'd have to peg A Thousand Sons/The First Heretic as being top of the pile, but not that The Flight of the Eisenstein is perhaps one that I get (and got) most excited about whilst actually reading.

I'd also be keen to note Steve Parker's Gunheads as being particularly excellent too.


I'd like to pinpoint some short stories, nameably: After Desh'ea, Seven Views of Ulghuth's Passing, Mortal Fuel, The Voice and Deus Ex Mechanicus as being quite profoundly enjoyable stories amongst everything I've read.
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Re: Your top five favourite Black Library Novels

Postby Mossy Toes » Tue Mar 08, 2011 3:45 pm

Listen to Xisor, folks, his taste is impeccable.

It really seems to me that Enforcer is receiving a much higher billing here than one would expect based on its critical reviews. It's in an awful lot of "top 5s" for having had, I's estimate, an average review score of 3.5 out of 5. Ah well, I guess that means I can trust the Bolthole to have good taste!
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