Sunday 10 March 2013

Brian Craig: Old School Warhammer Author's Pawns of Chaos

The original cover to Brian Craig's novel. Not quite as bad as most of the truly appalling covers that the Black Library put out in the late '90s, early '00s.
Just a quick update today... 

Those of you who frequent my other blog, Realm of Chaos 80s, will know that I am a fan of the old school Warhammer Books novels from the late '80s. Last year, I wrote an article detailing the fantasy ones here

One of my favourite authors from that early range was Brian Craig, who of course wrote the superb Orfeo trilogy (Zaragoz, Plague Daemon and Strom Warriors) as well as a number of highly regarded short stories.

Much of the fiction is required reading for Oldhammer enthusiasts, though I have yet to chronicle the Rogue Trader era novels that were published, mostly written by Ian Watson. The big difference between Warhammer Books and the Black Library is quality of writing. To be fair, very few of the authors now writing for BL are 'proper authors' while many of the voices from the early Warhammer book range were, and still, respected writers; Ian Watson, Kim Newman and Brain Stableford to name but a few.

Now Brian Stableford is also Brian Craig.

I wonder if you knew that?

Anyway, in the late 90s he wrote a 40k novel that, well, didn't go down too well with early BL fans. Too much plot, character development and layers of metaphorical meaning and not enough 'kill, maim, slaughter' I suspect. He also produced a new fantasy volume called the Wine of Dreams. 

But I digress. 

The Black Library have made the 40k novel, the Pawns of Chaos, available as an expensive eBook. If you are after something different from the usual BL hackery and fancy something with an old school whiff, you will probably find yourself enjoying this one. 

The new eBook cover.


  1. It was released some months ago being part of the print on demand series. I purchased it and I must say that I totally enjoyed it. It's original and refreshing, specially once you're used to the ususal kill-kill action scenes novel. Just the fact that the plot is told 'from the other side' makes the book worth enough. Absolutely recommended!

  2. Not read it but I am tempted I shall consider adding it to my reading pile when I finally finish this Ravenor Omnibus

  3. Have just finished reading it, having snagged the original printing for dirt cheap.

    Given that I love both Plague Daemon, and The Wine of Dreams, I found myself somewhat disappointed at this one.

    Having thought about it, it wasn't the setting details, I think the author was trying to get too many character viewpoints in, so to me it felt a little muddled.

    Especially compared to the others I've read by him - they focus on a small group of 3-4 characters, whereas this one flipped between characters and groups, each trying to show their various machinations and complexities.

    In the end it doesn't feel like theres a strong single narrative thread through it, and I found it almost impossible to care about any of the characters as a result.

    Just my 2 pence worth.


  4. Pawns is one of my favorite 40K novels....the battle scenes were written so that one could see them visually.
    I just didn't like the part where I think the villian cuts off his own member.

    1. U wot m8? Tha' sounds like some right Slaanesh stuff. Not Tzeentch at all.

  5. Utilisez le kamas pour aider votre arme à devenir la meilleure en dofus