Welcome to my weekly segment, Waiting on Wednesday, where I look at upcoming books that I am planning to order and review in the next few months and which I think I will really enjoy. I run this segment in conjunction with the Can’t-Wait Wednesday meme that is currently running at Wishful Endings. Stay tuned to see reviews of these books when I get a copy of them. For my latest Waiting on Wednesday column, I look at four awesome upcoming novels set in the turbulent and grim future of the Warhammer 40,000 universe.
Readers familiar with this blog will know that I am a massive sucker for tie-in novels, and I am very well acquainted with several fandoms who have extensive expanded universes. One of the more interesting ones that I have recently been getting into are the amazing and deeply exciting Warhammer extended universes. Built around the various table-top games of Games Workshop and published by the Black Library, the Warhammer novels, are a massive collection of compelling and action-packed novels that add some outstanding backstory and extended universe inclusions to the already well-established lore introduced in the background of the various races and factions.
Throughout the last year or so I have been really getting into the Warhammer fiction, having read some incredible and fun novels, including the first three Gotrek and Felix novels, Trollslayer, Skavenslayer and Daemonslayer, from the Warhammer Fantasy franchise. However, I have primarily been getting into the incredible science fiction adventures that make up the Warhammer 40,000 universe. Warhammer 40,000 fiction is set far in the future and envisions a dark and gothic universe, filled with constant warfare between a range of colourful and chaotic groups. I have had an outstanding time with several great books set in this universe, including Deathwatch: Shadowbreaker, Kal Jerico: Sinner’s Bounty, Fire Made Flesh and The Twice-Dead King: Ruin. Each of these novels has been pretty epic, and I am very much in the mood to read more of these books. Luckily for me, there are huge number of new releases on the horizon, and four interesting books coming out here in Australia in the first half of 2022 have already caught my attention.
The first of these books is the intriguing and intense sounding Steel Tread by Andy Clark. Steel Tread will be part of the Astra Militarum series, and will follow a group of Imperial Guard, the basic human soldiers, as they face off against the forces of Chaos. In particular, the book will follow a tanker who is transferred to a new unit and must learn to command a new tank with an unusual crew.
The Astra Millitarum are a blunt instrument of violence, wrought on a galactic scale. This new series from Black Library will explore some of their regiments.
On the war-torn world of Croatoas, the armies of the Astra Militarum do battle with the twisted servants of the Ruinous Powers. Against the backdrop of this increasingly desperate conflict, tanker Hadeya Etsul finds herself consolidated into a Cadian regiment, and placed in command of the Leman Russ Demolisher Steel Tread. Haunted by nightmares, surrounded by a dysfunctional crew and striving to find her place amidst a proud and insular regiment with a culture so different from her own, Etsul must guide her crew to victory. But, as her regiment rolls out beneath the poisonous light of the Great Rift to join a death-or-glory offensive, the crew of Steel Tread are about to face the fight of their lives. If they cannot learn to work as one, how can they hope to survive?
This cool first novel has a lot of potential and is set for release right at the start of 2022. Steel Tread looks set to be a classic and powerful war story and I am extremely excited to once again get to grips with the common human solider in this universe of gods, monsters and demons. I love the idea of an awesome tank-based story, especially as the author, Andy Clark, has a great deal of experience writing some cool science fiction and fantasy Warhammer stories. I cannot wait to see how this book turns out, and I am expecting a dark and brooding science-fiction version of Fury.
The next Warhammer 40,000 novel that I want to read is The Bookkeeper’s Skull by Justin D. Hill. The Bookkeeper’s Skull will be an inclusion in the Warhammer Horror sub-series, which sets terrifying and creepy horror tales in the wider Warhammer universe. This is a bit of a win-win for me, as I have been keen to read more horror and Warhammer books, so this should be a good opportunity for me. The Bookkeeper’s Skull will be set on an agricultural world in the Warhammer 40,000 universe, which has descended into madness as one young man attempts to stop the horrors and blasphemy of Chaos.
Spine-chilling tales set in the Worlds of Warhammer.
On the capital world of Potence, young enforcer cadet Rudgard Howe is caught up in a bitter internecine feud to inherit his father’s position of Chief Enforcer. As the tithe fleets approach, he is sent on his first mission to ensure that the planet’s distant agri-facilities fulfil their quotas to the God-Emperor.
Farmed with serfs and managed by ex-Militarum soldiers, the agri-facilities are places of shocking brutality and hopelessness. But when he is sent to the outlying farmstead of Thorsarbour, Rudgard discovers a community where the crops are left to rot as the inhabitants indulge in the bloody ecstasy of a sanguinary cult.
As Rudgard imposes the strict Lex Imperialis upon the farmstead, he begins to uncover a place where sanity is rapidly slipping. But he is just one step along this nightmarish mission when a series of cruel deaths threatens to dismantle everything he has ever known about the Imperium, his faith in the Emperor, and the strength of his very soul.
This is another awesome sounding novel with a really interesting plot to it. Deranged Chaos cultists are a fantastic part of Warhammer lore, and I am extremely intrigued to see a dark and trippy horror novel written around it. The Bookkeeper’s Skull is a relatively short novel, so this will no doubt be an extremely fast-paced read, with a lot of nightmares and insanity compressed into it. I am very keen to read my first Warhammer Horror novel, and I cannot wait to see how dark and scary a horror novel in this universe can be.
The third book I wanted to highlight in this article is Day of Ascension by bestselling science fiction author Adrian Tchaikovsky. Tchaikovsky is an extremely highly regarded science fiction author best known for his epic Shadows of the Apt series, and I have been really keen to read some of his work for a while. Day of Ascension will be Tchaikovsky’s first Warhammer 40,000 novel and will examine one of the more unique and terrifying creatures in Warhammer canon, the Genestealers.
Exciting new Warhammer 40,000 novel from Adrian Tchaikovsky
On the forge world of Morod, the machines never stop and the work never ends. The population toil in the mines and factoria to protect humanity from the monsters in the void, while the Adeptus Mechanicus enjoy lives of palatial comfort.
Genetor Gammat Triskellian seeks to end this stagnant corruption. When he learns of a twisted congregation operating within the shadows, one which believes that the tech-priests are keeping the people from their true salvation – a long-prophesied union with angels – he sees in them an opportunity to bring down Morad’s masters and reclaim the world in the name of progress.
But sometimes, the only hope for real change lies in the coming of monsters.
Now this sounds like a very intriguing novel, and it will probably end up being one of the more unique and compelling Warhammer reads of 2022. I absolutely love the plot for Day of Ascension described in the synopsis above, especially as Tchaikovsky will be combining a planned revolution with the introduction of a Genestealer Cult. Genestealer Cults are the forerunners of the Tyranids, an insidious and unstoppable alien species, that range ahead of the wider Tyranid fleets infiltrating societies, infecting human populations, and causing rebellion and chaos. The Genestealers are some of the most dangerous and scary Warhammer creatures, and storyline about an idealistic revolutionary becoming involved with them while not realising that they are planning to consume the entire planet and kill everyone, sounds pretty damn awesome. This novel has an insane amount of potential, especially in Tchaikovsky’s very capable hands, and I cannot wait to see this fantastic and incredible story unfold.
The final book in this article is the very cool Gaunt’s Ghosts prequel novel, The Vincula Insurgency by one of the most highly regarded and prolific authors of Warhammer fiction, Dan Abnett. The Gaunt’s Ghosts books are wildly considered to be one of the best and most iconic pieces of Warhammer 40,000 fiction, perfectly highlighting the many battles and issues surrounding the Imperial Guard. Following a small and tragic Imperial Guard regiment, the Tanith First and Only, the Gaunt’s Ghost series ran for years, and only finished in 2019 with the release of the 16th and final book. I read the first book in this series, First and Only, earlier this year, and it was an exceptional and clever military read, perfectly capturing the many issues of the common solider in the trenches. As such, I am extremely keen to read a new entry in the series, especially as it contains an interesting prequel narrative.
Gaunt’s Ghosts are back in a fresh new look at the beginning.
The war may be over, but duties remain for the brave soldiers of the Astra Militarum. In the ruined border town of Vincula, the newly formed Ghosts of Tanith, along with their commander Ibram Gaunt, find themselves in a thankless police action, trying to establish a permanent peace. But what exactly is stalking them through the shadowed streets, and what dark secrets will the untested, new-founded Ghosts learn about themselves? The Vincula Insurgency is an intense new combat thriller of the Ghosts’ early days, pulled directly from the ultra-classified Ghost Dossier.
This should be another captivating and interesting inclusion in the Warhammer 40,000 canon from Abnett. Another relatively shorter entry, this first book in the Ghost Dossier series, is currently set for release in May 2022 (although a version was released earlier this year) and will no doubt be a fantastic, fast-paced read. I love the idea of a very early Gaunt’s Ghosts story set right after the tragic loss of their planet and before they fully come together as a regiment. There should be some really interesting and compelling storylines in this novel and I cannot wait to see what early horrors the Ghosts were forced to face.
As you can from the above, there are some extremely cool Warhammer 40,000 novels coming out in the next few months. Each of the above sound extremely amazing and I am really keen to check them all out. I think the above collection of books really highlights the fascinating and fantastic range of this franchise, and I look forward to expanding my Warhammer 40,000 knowledge very soon.