Mode – August

This month I’ve started doing a little bit of writing for Mode; a site that provides short and useful tips and advice from everything in fashion to food and (more relevant for me) ‘male’ culture.

Although the topics I’ve written about are not exclusively the domain of men, it is where they best fit in.

This month’s articles are:

The Grand Master Strategy – The best strategy games currently available on the PC

Role Up, Role Up: Dungeons and Dragons for Beginners – a topic close to my heart and with a smattering of some gaming in there with Baldur’s Gate and Neverwinter.

Beyond the Tour de France: Races You Need To Know About my main sports passion – who doesn’t love watching a race through nice countryside for 6 hours…

 

Hopefully there will be a few more every month – let me know if you have any suggestions!

 

 

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Thoughts on Armageddon

This week’s thoughts are on Armageddon by Aaron Demski-Bowden; two stories specifically following Black Templars Chaplain Grimaldus and his efforts during the third war for Armageddon.  Aaron is one of my favourite authors and this book does not dissapoint.

Setting the Scene

As the short blurb from the Black Library website says: A pair of tales from Armageddon. Black Templars Chaplain Grimaldus defends Helsreach Hive and tries to prevent the extinction of the Celestial Lions Chapter

The book includes two stories:

Helsreach – An awesome siege battle with a handful of Black Templars fighting alongside the Imperial Guard to save Helsreach Hive.

Blood & Fire – A change of pace following Grimaldus as he tries to find a way to save the Celestial Lions Chapter from the machinations of the Inquisition.

My Thoughts

It is a cracking read from start to finish.  As usual with the author, there is just the right amount of balance between carnage, intrigue and relationships.  This makes it an engaging and easy read, as well as highly enjoyable.

Avoiding spoilers, my top 5 highlights were:

  1. Grimaldius’ doubts about his ability
  2. The Salamanders intervention
  3. The final charge of the Celestial Lions
  4. The reawakening of an awesome Adeptus Mechanicus weapon
  5. Grimalduis’ relationship with the Adeptus Titanicus

Also a special mention to the fight at Helsreach’s docks with the volunteer dockworkers fighting alongside Black Templars.

Read this if you like…

  • Armageddon (…)
  • Black Templars
  • Orks
  • Sieges
  • Titans

Where to Get

From the Black Library website as either an ebook or a premium paperback

http://www.blacklibrary.com/all-products/armageddon_ebook.html

Further Reading / Listening (All Third War for Armageddon)

The Eternal Crusader by Guy Haley – The battle in the skies above with the Black Templars High Marshal Helbrecht

Blood in the Machine (Audio Book) by Andy Smillie – Flesh Tearers vs Inquisition vs Orks in a story full of carnage and intrigue

Dante’s Canyon by Josh Reynolds – Static and cornered White Scars in a battle for survival – cracking read.

Angron’s Monolith by Steve Lyons – A rather darker tale following the occasionally line-crossing Relictors chapter searching for a rather large axe…

Thoughts on War of the Fang

This week’s thoughts are on War of the Fang by Chris Wraight; a journey back in time to the 32nd Millennium and the enmity between the Thousand Sons and the Space Wolves.  I read this on a holiday to Copenhagen in the winter, which seemed appropriate with the freezing cold weather at the time!  If you are a fan of Space Wolves then this book is an absolute must to read.

Setting the Scene

As the short blurb from the Black Library website says: Magnus the Red leads an assault on Fenris, in revenge for the long-ago burning of Prospero. Leading the defence is Bjorn the Fell-Handed. The scene is set for a clash of legends.

The book includes two stories: first of all the novella The Hunt for Magnus and then the Battle for the Fang.

The Hunt for Magnus follows the obsessions of the Great Wolf Harek Ironhelm in his hunt for Magnus (unsurprisingly).  It also shows the complexities of Wolf Lord politics and how all are not entirely in agreement with the Great Wolf.

Battle for the Fang is the epic invasion of Fenris by the Thousand Sons and the valiant defence by only one Great Company against all odds.  It is a great story that will keep you hooked until the end.

My Thoughts

The book had me hooked right from the start and I was left in Copenhagen without a book to read on the final day.  The pacing is fantastic and The Hunt for Magnus sets up the events for the Battle of the Fang perfectly.  Chris Wraight is fast becoming one of my favourite BL authors.

Avoiding spoilers, my top 5 highlights were:

  1. The complexity of the politics between Wolf Lords
  2. The web of deceipt weaved by the Thousand Sons (although you’d expect nothing less from them)
  3. A dark and shameful secret that turns out to be a trap for the Great Wolf
  4. Lots of Dreadnoughts in the final battle
  5. The human defenders of the Fang

Also a special mention to the character Haakon Gylfasson and his quest on the ship Nauro.

I always have to give at least a small negative and in this case the only thing I can say is that the Thousand Son sorcerers felt rather one-dimensional.  That might just be a symptom of their extreme loathing and bitterness for the Space Wolves but I would have liked a little more fleshing out of who they were and their motives.

Read this if you like…

  • Space Wolves
  • Thousand Sons
  • A Primarch fighting a Dreadnought (!)
  • Intrigue

Where to Get

My copy was an ebook from the Black Library website where you can also order a paperback version – http://www.blacklibrary.com/all-products/war-of-the-fang-ebook.html

Further Reading / Listening

A Thousand Sons by Graham McNeill – If you want to delve further in to the Thousand Sons then you have to start here with their beginnings in the Horus Heresy.

Prospero Burns by Dan Abnett – One my favourite Black Library novels and probably the best insight in to what makes the Space Wolves what they are.

Parting of the Ways (Audiobook) by Chris Wraight – This focuses on one of my favourite ever characters, Bjorn the Fell-Handed, and his final battle before entombment as a dreadnought.

Thoughts on Damnos

I’ve just finished the Space Marine Battles Novel Damnos by Nick Kyme and a thoroughly enjoyable read it was.  The book includes the novel Fall of Damnos and the novella Spear of Macragge.

Setting the Scene

As the short blurb from the Black Library website says: When Damnos is hit by cataclysmic earthquakes, an ancient force is awakened. Deep beneath the earth, the necrons rise from their slumber to decimate the human populace.

Fall of Damnos begins with the Necrons rising from their slumber below Damnos and their attempts to wipe humanity off of the planet. The next part then focuses on the Ultramarines arrive in time to delay such an eventuality and try win an impossible war.

Spear of Macragge is a continuation from Fall of Damnos but instead focuses on the attempts of legendary tank commander Antaro Chronus to crush the Necrons.

My Thoughts

I must admit I started off slowly with Damnos but once it got going, I struggled to put it down.   It is a novel I will definitely go back to and it has made want to explore the Necrons even further – infact next to read will be The World Engine by Ben Counter.

Avoiding spoilers, my top 5 highlights were:

  1. An armoured engagement between Ultramarines tanks and Necrons battle barges (!!!)
  2. The humanity shown by the Ultramarines towards the guard and militia units they fight alongside
  3. The complex loyalties and relationships of Captain Sicarius and his Sergeants
  4. The even more complex relationships and machinations of the ‘sentient’ Necrons
  5. Chief Librarian Tigurius whenever he turned up

Special mention also to the Ancient Agrippa – he was epic.

The only negative I can say is that sometimes with one side essentially being automatons, this can lead do a few rather dour battle scenes.

Read this if you like…

  • Ultramarines – I surely can’t be the only one to?
  • Necrons
  • Armoured warfare
  • Fights against impossible odds
  • Space marines being more than simple killing machines

Where to Get

My copy was an ebook from the Black Library website where you can also order a paperback version – http://www.blacklibrary.com/all-products/damnos-ebook.html

Further Reading / Listening

Veil of Darkness (Audio Book) by Nick Kyme – This is essentially the follow-on from Damnos and follows Captain Sicarius recoveing on Macragge.

The World Engine by Ben Counter – I’m only half-way through at the moment but it probably gives the best insight in to the Necrons so far.

The Everliving Legion (Anthology) – For those who want to delve further in to the Necrons.  Also includes a reading version of Veil of Darkness.

Blades of Damocles by Phil Kelly – This shows Sicarius prior to his promotion to Captain as a Sergeant in the famous Damocles battles against the Tau.

Changing Times

Games Starter finally came to an end 3 months due to the joy of life commitments and a severely broken wrist.

From the ashes rises (slowly) Geek Bobbage – a site that will be a lot more general in its focus, with articles on gaming, rpgs, literature (fantasy & sci-fi) and sport.