Top Ten Tuesday – My Favourite Horror Novels (Updated – 2022)

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme that currently resides at The Artsy Reader Girl and features bloggers sharing lists on various book topics.  In this latest edition of Top Ten Tuesday, readers get a Halloween Freebie, meaning that they can list whatever topic they want, although a horror or Halloween theme is encouraged.  So, with that in mind, I thought I would take this opportunity to update a previous list where I highlighted my favourite horror novels of all time.

Back in 2020 for Halloween, I came up with a list where I looked at my top ten favourite horror novels.  While horror is not my favourite genre, I ended up producing a rather interesting list with some unique entries that I was pretty happy with.  This list got a bit of interest, and I decided I would make a bit of effort to come back to update this list every Halloween, especially if I had some new horror novels to add to it.  I did an update last year with several awesome novels, and I have decided to come back to it again in 2022, especially as I have had the opportunity to check out some excellent and intense horror reads.

To sort out this update, I took a critical look at the previous version of the list and made some hard decisions about whether any of the horror novels I read in the last year might fit in better.  I ended up making a few changes, with new entries replacing some of the existing books (all new entries in red).  While I was sad to see some of the previously featured novels removed, I honestly felt that the new entries are better horror novels.  This resulted in a fun new version of this list, and I am pretty happy with how it turned out.

Honourable Mentions:

Later by Stephen King

Later Cover

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The Sandman by Neil Gaiman

Sandman Act 1 Cover

I had to include the audiobook version of Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman here, as it has some great horror elements to it.  While more of a fantasy/comic story than a pure horror comic, The Sandman did have some amazing horror sequences in it, which are really enhanced in the full-cast audiobook.  The Sandman features several great horror scenes, but the most disturbing would have to be the infamous diner scene.  Contained within the sixth chapter/issues, 24 Hours, this epic extended sequence shows a group of customers in a diner slowly driven insane and then brutally killed by the villainous Doctor Destiny using Dream’s stolen ruby.  This entire chapter is masterfully portrayed and you cannot help but shudder at every atrocity the innocent patrons experience during the worst 24 hours of their lives.  This trippy diner sequence was recently adapted in the recent The Sandman television series, and while that was good, especially with David Thewlis playing Doctor Destiny, I felt that the version in the comics was even darker and creepier.  This, and a several other dark scenes, ensure The Sandman an honourable mention on this list and this comic and its audiobook adaptation are highly recommended for all horror fans.

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A People’s History of the Vampire Uprising by Raymond A. Villareal

A History of the Vampire Uprising Cover

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Death of the Black Widow by James Patterson and J. D. Barker

Death of the Black Widow Cover

Another entry that is not a full horror book, but which features amazing horror elements is the recent novel by James Patterson and J. D. Barker, Death of the Black Widow.  Following a young cop who becomes obsessed with a mysterious woman he encounters on his first day on the job, Death of Black Widow is a twisty and intriguing read that takes the protagonist on a dangerous journey to the edge of sanity.  Initially portrayed as a compelling thriller story, this book eventually develops some excellent horror elements, which led me to include it as an honourable mention.  Extremely addictive, I loved this thriller/horror blend and I look forward to reading more books from this excellent team of writers.

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Top Ten List (unranked):

Into the Drowning Deep by Mira Grant

Into the Drowning Deep Cover

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Patient Zero by Jonathan Maberry

Patient Zero Cover

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The Dark by Jeremy Robinson

The Dark Cover

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Warhammer 40,000: The Bookkeeper’s Skull by Justin D. Hill

The Bookkeeper's Skull Cover

One of the more recent horror books I had the pleasure of reading was The Bookkeeper’s Skull by Justin D. Hill.  Part of the intriguing Warhammer Horror subseries, The Bookkeeper’s Skull is a haunting and brilliant tale that makes full use of the grim Warhammer 40,000 setting.  The book follows a planetary enforcer as he investigates a mysterious and cursed agricultural community plagued by a series of gruesome murders.  Hill creates a spooky and malevolent atmosphere, and you are constantly left wondering who is going to end up dead next.  Tightly paced and featuring some brilliantly dark examinations of the Warhammer 40,000 universe, The Bookkeeper’s Skull was an amazing read and I look forward to exploring more Warhammer Horror books in the future.

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The Anomaly by Michael Rutger

The Anomaly Cover

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Code Zero by Jonathan Maberry

Code Zero Cover

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World War Z by Max Brooks

World War Z Cover 2

After years of hearing how awesome it was, I finally got around to enjoying the iconic zombie novel, World War Z by Max Brooks.  One of the more unique zombie books out there, World War Z recounts the history a devastating, world-wide zombie apocalypse and the various people it impacts.  Told through a brilliant chronicle method where multiple interesting characters recount their distinctive personal stories, you get an impressive, multifaceted narrative that covers the beginning, middle and end of the zombie wars.  Epic in its scope and filled with some great stories and characters, it honestly does not take long to get extremely addicted to World War Z.  While the focus is more on exploring the impacts a zombie apocalypse would have on the world, World War Z does have some pretty creepy moment.  The darker tales of underwater zombies, massacres of modern armies, and the mental turmoil suffered by zombie survivors, are excellent horror material that makes this an easy book to include here.  An epic and outstanding book that lived up to all the hype surrounding it.

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Star Wars: Death Troopers by Joe Schreiber

deathtrooperscover

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Devolution by Max Brooks

Devolution Cover

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Ink by Jonathan Maberry

Ink Cover

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That’s the end of this latest Top Ten Tuesday list.  I think that the new horror novels were great additions to the list, and I think this new version of the list turned out really well.  Each of the above novels, both new inclusions and existing ones, are outstanding reads that come highly recommended to all horror fans.  I look forward to seeing how this list evolves once again this time next year, especially as I am sure some amazing and spinetingling horror books are likely to come out in the next 12 months.

Top Ten Tuesday – Hilarious Book Titles

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme that currently resides at The Artsy Reader Girl and features bloggers sharing lists on various book topics.  For this week’s Top Ten Tuesday participants are tasked with listing their top ten favourite hilarious book titles.  This was an intriguing topic that I was quite interested in having a go at.  There are some fun book titles out there, usually associated with some entertaining books or comics, and I had a great time going through some of my favourite books to figure out which titles were the most amusing or hilarious.

This proved to be a slightly difficult list to come up with, and I had to dig deep to find a full ten books to feature on this list.  However, I endured and managed to pull together a full list, as well as a good honourable mentions section, and all the entries featured below have fantastically entertaining titles, as well as some great stories to match them.  I love all the titles of the books below, although in a few places I used a bit of context of both the specific book’s story and the rest of the series.  I am pretty happy with the results below and I think this represents my favourite books with the most hilarious book titles.

Honourable Mentions:

Star Wars: Doctor Aphra: Doctor Aphra and the Enormous Profit by Kieron Gillen

Doctor Aphra and the Enormous Profit Cover

This comic series has several great titles for its volumes (Unspeakable Rebel Superweapon is one of my favourites), however I think Doctor Aphra and the Enormous Profit was the most entertaining, especially if you know how much Doctor Aphra loves money and how likely her plans are to backfire.

 

The Trouble with Peace by Joe Abercrombie

The Trouble with Peace Cover

Yeah, peace is never really an option in one of Joe Abercrombie’s dark fantasy books, so this was a rather apt and fun title.

 

Firefly: The Magnificent Nine by James Lovegrove

Firefly The Magnificent Nine Cover

Who doesn’t enjoy a title that parodies classic western film, The Magnificent Seven? This time we have it with the cast of the iconic Firefly television series, with a fantastic matching plot to boot.

 

Runaways: Rock Zombies by Terry Moore

Runaways - Rock Zombies Cover

Refers to the Runaways facing off against literal zombies created by rock music, love it!

Top Ten List:

How to Rule an Empire and Get Away With It by K. J. Parker

How to Rule an Empire and Get Away With It

The first book on this list is the fantastic fantasy novel, How to Rule an Empire and Get Away With It.  Part of Parker’s Siege series, which features two other books with fun titles (Sixteen Ways to Defend a Walled City and A Practical Guide to Conquering the World), however, I love this book’s title the best.  How to Rule an Empire and Get Away With It is such an eye-catching and humorous title, especially when the narrative literally shows how a simple actor and writer was able to take over his nation and eventually escape from the responsibilities in some entertaining and hilarious ways.  A truly awesome book with an outstanding title.

 

Equal Rites by Terry Pratchett

Equal Rites Cover

There was very little chance I wasn’t going to feature any of Terry Pratchett’s Discworld novels on this list, as Pratchett came up with some amazing titles for all his books.  Most of these titles are strongly connected to the stories they are associated with, and that context generally adds to the cleverness and comedy of the book’s names in some great ways.  I honestly could have featured 10 Pratchett books with hilarious titles on this list alone, but I figured I would limit it too only a few.  The first example of this is Equal Rites, the third book in the Discworld series.  While this isn’t my absolute favourite Discworld book, I love the title, especially as it is a very clever pun that ties into the story extremely well.  The book Equal Rites is about a young girl gifted with a wizard’s staff and magic, which is completely the wrong sort of magic for a woman in this universe.  Determined to gain this power, she, her sentient staff and the witch Granny Weatherwax, travel to male-only Unseen University so she can try and learn wizard’s magic, only to experience ridicule.  As such, Equal Rites refers to both the female magic user trying to get equality with her male peers (equal rights you could say) and access to their magic (or magical rites).  I love the simple, but very clever, pun of this book, and the novel itself is a very fun early entry from this supremely talented author.

 

The Bookkeeper’s Skull by Justin D. Hill

The Bookkeeper's Skull Cover

Now this Warhammer 40,000 book might a dark horror/mystery novel about a science fiction farming community experiencing a series of brutal murders, but it has a very fun title to it.  The Bookkeeper’s Skull definitely made me chuckle when I saw it for the first time, and it fits into the resultant story really well.

 

A Comedy of Terrors by Lindsey Davis

A Comedy of Terrors Cover

I love puns, what can I say!  Most of Lindsey Davis’ Flavia Albia novels (and her preceding Falco series) have fun and entertaining titles, but my favourite is A Comedy of Terrors, which, with a simple one letter addition to a classic phrase, gives an apt new meaning to it.  I had fun with this book, and it was a clever little change that fit the story very well.

 

Witches Abroad by Terry Pratchett

Witches Abroad Cover

I also had to featured Witches Abroad on this list as it is such a fantastic title as well as being one of the more entertaining Discworld novels.  The title of this book, Witches Abroad, continues the naming conventions associated with the sub-series around the Lancre witches started in Wyrd Sisters by using quotes from Macbeth.  However, rather than being a reference to the witches being out and causing mischief, the title of this book literally refers to the witches being abroad on a holiday.  This was a continuation of a joke in Wyrd Sisters, and I always have a chuckle at how this name came about.

 

X-Factor: Invisible Woman Has Vanished by Peter David

X-Factor - Invisible Woman Has Vanished

Throughout its awesome run, the X-Factor comics had some of the most entertaining stories going in Marvel comics at the time.  Loaded with fun and entertaining stories based around the mutant private investigators known as X-Factor, this is one of my favourite comic series of all times and is really worth a read.  This series had several great titles, but my favourite and the most hilarious was Invisible Woman Has Vanished.  A play of a fun joke at the front of the story, this title is very catchy with its ridiculousness, and I loved it so much.  It helps that its associated volume does have a great story about the Fantastic Four’s Invisible Woman literally going missing and is definitely worth a read.

 

Nuking the Moon: And Other Intelligence Schemes and Military Plots Best Left on the Drawing Board by Vince Houghton

Nuking the Moon Cover

The title says it all when it comes to this great non-fiction book about the stupidest military plans, technology and intelligence gathering plans in history.  There are some really insane plots in the book, and spoiler alert, they really did consider nuking the moon.

 

Going Postal by Terry Pratchett

Going Postal Cover

The final Discworld title I have on this list belongs to the very entertaining and impressive Going Postal.  This is another great title, especially when seen in the context of the story about a notorious conman forced to reopen a cursed post office.  Initially very reluctant to join into the insane postal process, he eventually becomes a dedicated postman as the book progress, while also losing his mind to a degree.  As such the title cleverly references both his change in demeaner, and the craziness of postal work that the saying usually refers to.  Not only do I deeply enjoy Going Postal’s very fitting title, but it is probably one of Pratchett’s better books with a unique and fantastic style to it.

 

Redshirts by John Scalzi

Redshirts Cover

Anyone who knows anything about Star Trek will appreciate the fun title for this John Scalzi science fiction parody novel.  Redshirts does exactly what it says on the tin, providing readers with a fun tale of death and destruction from the perspective of the lowly redshirts, the ultra-expendable crew who find themselves getting killed off on every away mission.  The moment I saw this title I knew I was going to have a hilarious time with this book, and I really did as it was a great and funny book.

 

The Constant Rabbit by Jasper Fforde

The Constant Rabbit Cover

Finally, I had to include this awesome book from Jasper Fforde on this as it has a great title to it.  The Constant Rabbit is a very eye-catching and entertaining title, but even after seeing it you are still unprepared for the exceedingly funny book about sentient, human-sized rabbits who have been created in England and have started a whole new race war there.  I loved the title of this book, and it is a very clever and hilarious standalone novel to check out.

 

 

Well, that’s the end of this latest list.  I hope you enjoyed the fun titles above, I honestly find them all pretty hilarious, and these entries are great reads to check out.  Let me know in the comments which titles you liked the most and link in your versions to this list as well.

Warhammer 40,000: The Bookkeeper’s Skull by Justin D. Hill

The Bookkeeper's Skull Cover

Publisher: Black Library (Audiobook – 18 January 2022)

Series: Warhammer 40,000/Warhammer Horror

Length: 4 hours and 32 minutes

My Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

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Get ready to dive back into the crazy and terrifying Warhammer 40,000 universe with the clever and exciting read, The Bookkeeper’s Skull by acclaimed author Justin D. Hill, which serves as a great entry in the Warhammer Horror sub-series.

Despite not being even halfway done yet, 2022 has already produced some epic new entries in the Warhammer 40,000 universe, including Steel Tread by Andy Clark, Reign by Nate Crowley, Day of Ascension by Adrian Tchaikovsky and Krieg by Steve Lyons, just to name a few.  After these awesome reads, there was no way I wasn’t going to check out The Bookkeeper’s Skull, especially when it had such an intriguing name.  The Bookkeeper’s Skull is an awesome book that forms part of a sub-series of Warhammer tie-in fiction known as Warhammer Horror.  This series unsurprisingly presents the reader with horror-based stories in its various universes and has already produced some very cool sounding reads.  The Bookkeeper’s Skull is my first brush with this horror series, and I was very excited to read one, especially as it was written by Justin D. Hill, a fantastic author who has been impressing recently with several great novels, including his Cadia series.  I loved the unique and clever story that Hill came up with for The Bookkeeper’s Skull.

Throughout the Imperium of Man, many planets serve the God Emperor in different ways.  For the agri-world of Potence, its only duty is to meet the iron-firm food quotas levied upon it by Imperial hierarchy, ensuring that the armies of the Imperium are supplied with all the food they need to fight the aliens and the heretics.  The enforcers, implacable lawmen with the ability to deal out death on an arbitrary basis, roam the planet and the farms of Potence, ensuring that the populace and serfs do all there is to produce the appropriate amounts.

Rudgard Howe is a new enforcer recruit who has just reported to duty.  The son of the planet’s chief enforcer, Rudgard faces a deadly future which will eventually force him to kill his older brothers to claim his dying father’s position.  But before he faces his family, he must learn the ropes by journeying out to the farmsteads of the planet and ensuring they can meet their quotas.  Travelling with a veteran enforcer, Rudgard learns the hard truths about life in the Imperium and the necessities of justice in keeping the planet running.  However, no lessons will prepare Rudgard for the horrors awaiting the enforcers at their final destination, the far-flung farmstead of Thorsarbour.

Located out in an ancient and unknown region of the planet, Thorsarbour is a cursed settlement, with its overseers poorly led and its serfs living in terror of the strange presences they claim to feel.  Finding the settlement far behind its quotas, the enforcers attempt to whip the farm into shape, but between the unnatural feeling of the land surrounding Thorsarbour and the dangerous presence of a bloody sanguinary cult amongst the serfs, they have their work cut out for them.  Worse, a series of unexplained and brutal murders are occurring around Thorsarbour, each one accompanied by mysterious strawman placed near the body.  As Rudgard tries to uncover the cause of these mysterious deaths before they destabilise their work, the enforcers begin to discover something unnatural behind them.  Can they discover the culprit before it is too late, or will the horrors of Thorsarbour consume them all?

This was a really interesting first dive into the Warhammer Horror series for me and it is one that I am very glad that I undertook.  The Bookkeeper’s Skull is an excellent novel that very quickly grabbed my attention with its clever storytelling and fantastic, fast-paced plot.  Hill manages to do a lot with this story in a very short amount of time as The Bookkeeper’s Skull has a pretty short run time.  Despite this, the reader is quickly and succinctly introduced to the main character and narrator, Rudgard, and the world of Potence, in a great couple of opening chapters, before dropping them right into the horror of Thorsarbour.  Once the narrator arrives then you are quickly struck by the unnatural and freaky nature of the location, as they encounter several of the unusual issues surrounding the farmstead.  Following the initial discovery of a multitude of bodies and death, the protagonists encounter one dangerous situation after another, as they contend with religious fanatics, terrified serfs and overseers, monstrous farm animals, mysterious strawmen, a strange and prophetic girl, and a mysterious force brutally killing off everyone in the compound.  Even with so much happening, the pace of this novel never slackens, and there is a very high death count as everything goes wrong in some very brutal way.  I was pretty hooked on this novel from the very start, and I loved where the story went, even if it did get a little predictable towards the end.  I had a fairly good idea of who was going to live and die from the start, as well as who the killer was likely to be (the title is very suggestive).  I do think that the novel slightly fell apart at the very end, as Hill chooses to leave a little too much mystery behind what sort of force might be ultimately responsible for the events of the book, but this was still an amazing story that I had a lot of fun with.

The Bookkeeper’s Skull turned out to be a pretty good Warhammer 40,000 novel, and I liked how it fit into the wider universe.  This novel is closely related to one of Hill’s other novels, Cadian Honour, which is also set on the world of Potence and features an older version of the protagonist.  I love it when a novel provides an interesting connection to an author’s previous work, especially one that provides some exciting context and personal history, and this was a great example of that.  Despite this, people interested in checking out The Bookkeeper’s Skull don’t need to have any pre-knowledge of Hill’s writing or any other Warhammer 40,000 novels to enjoy this excellent book.  Indeed, this is a fantastic introduction to both Hill’s writing and the wider Warhammer universe and could be an interesting first book to readers curious about either.

I was very impressed with how the author was able to meld horror elements into this Warhammer 40,000 novel to create a unique and impressive story.  Hill did a beautiful job of creating a powerful and creepy atmosphere for this novel right off the bat, especially as the opening chapter features a sinister and freaky toy/companion that the protagonist had as a child (seriously, WTF).  This dark atmosphere only increases as the book continues, especially once the characters arrive at Thorsarbour.  Between the brutal conditions imposed upon the serfs, the unsettling atmosphere, the undercurrent of fear, the crazed religious cult of self-mutilating fanatics, the graphic murders and the haunting presence of several otherworldly characters, you have all the elements you need for a truly impressive and memorable horror tale.  The pacing of the killings is excellent, and the reader finds themselves drawn in by their cruel and bloody nature as the bodies keep dropping in even more elaborate ways.  These killings also work well with the presence of the cult and the appearance of all the strawmen and other agricultural elements, and the book ends up with vibes reminiscent of films like The Wicker Man or Children of the Corn, especially with a pale and potentially psychic child talking about a supernatural figure responsible for the killings.  This ended up being an awesome horror read, and I find myself getting really drawn into the creepy story thanks to some of the freaky elements it contained.

This proved to be a particularly good Warhammer 40,000 novel due to the distinctive setting.  The Bookkeeper’s Skull takes place on a seemingly peaceful agri-world, which gives the reader some intriguing insights into this wider universe.  I loved the cool look at the various archaic ways that this spacefaring civilisation gets food and other resources.  The entire agri-world acts in a mostly feudalistic manner, with practically enslaved serfs doing much of the work on farmsteads.  The blend of gothic science fiction with modern and ancient agriculture elements works really well and it serves as a brilliant background for this darker tale.  Indeed, many of the book’s horror elements are derived from just how bleak and harsh the Imperium of Man truly is and just how badly they treat their own citizens (and they’re the good guys, apparently).  Hill paints some truly shocking pictures of the conditions on this world, including some very gruesome depictions of a rabid self-mutilating cult and some brutal scenes of violence that the enforcers inflict upon the people.  However, the most disturbing part of this world is Gambol, a being who is revealed to be a former criminal who had their arms and legs amputated, his mind modified by technology, and then dressed as a clown to become the protagonist’s childhood toy.  This disturbing figure, equipped with his festering flesh-plugs (shudder!), is sprung on you in the first few pages of the book and really helps to set the horror mood for the reader, as well as just how dark and horrific the Imperium can get (they do this sort of thing to a lot of people).  I loved how grim and dark Hill made this Warhammer story and you really get a sense of just how messed up everything is.

I quite enjoyed the character of Rudgard, who serves as the central protagonist and narrator.  The Bookkeeper’s Skull is told from Rudgard’s point of view in a chronicle format, so you get a real sense of this excellent character both as an experienced enforcer and the young rookie he is in this novel.  This version of Rudgard is a young and inexperienced man who is trying to live up to his family’s legacy, which includes a cruel father, two murderous brothers and an insane mother.  Sent out on routine mission with veteran enforcer Tarrini, Rudgard quickly learns all the terrible truths about his job as he essentially becomes an executioner.  Because of his past and the terrible events of this book, you get to see Rudgard turn into the no-nonsense figure from Hill’s previous novels, and I liked the continued change in his character.  I enjoyed the excellent mentor/mentee relationship he forms with Tarrini, as well as the narrators continued comments attempting or excusing some of his actions.  These considered and compelling notations from the older Rudgard give some interesting context to both the younger and older versions of the character, and it is interesting to see how much he has changed and developed over the years.  While I did think that parts of his backstory were wrapped up a little too quickly, this was still a fantastic examination of a great character and I look forward to seeing more of him in some of Hill’s other works.

I made sure to grab the audiobook version of The Bookkeeper’s Skull, which proved to be an incredible way to enjoy this brilliant novel.  Due to the shorter length of the story, this is a relatively quick audiobook with a rough run time of four and a half hours, which can be powered through extremely quickly.  I found that the audiobook format was highly conducive to the powerful horror mood of the novel and I personally felt that it really enhanced the tension and fear that the story produced.  A lot of the reason why I enjoyed this audiobook was the excellent voice work from narrator Matthew Hunt.  Hunt, who has lent his voice to several Warhammer audio productions in the past, had an excellent voice for this audiobook, and I felt that he captured both the main character and the overall tension of this novel extremely well.  Hunt moved this audiobook along at a swift and compelling pace that really grabs the attention and ensures that you keep listening as events get darker and darker.  Throw in some fantastic and fitting voices (Gambol’s near childlike voice is pretty damn freaky, and I loved the sly and manipulative voice given to the cult leader), and you have an outstanding audiobook that is really worth checking out.

Overall, The Bookkeeper’s Skull by Justin D. Hill is an outstanding and epic Warhammer Horror novel that I had a brilliant time reading.  Hill came up with a clever and captivating story that does an excellent job combining freaky horror elements with the expansive and fun Warhammer 40,000 universe.  I loved my first taste of the Warhammer Horror brand and I look forward to checking out more of it in the future, as well as some more exceptional writing from Hill.

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Waiting on Wednesday – Upcoming Warhammer 40,000 Novels

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.

Steel Tread Cover

Synopsis:

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.

The Bookkeeper's Skull Cover

Synopsis:

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.

Day of Ascension Cover

Synopsis:

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.

The Vincula Insurgency Cover

Synopsis:

 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.