The Black Library is a division of Games Workshop (formerly a part of BL Publishing) which is devoted to publishing novels (and has previously produced art books, background books, and graphic novels) set in the Warhammer Fantasy Battle and Warhammer 40,000 fictional universes. The publishing company took their name from Warhammer 40,000, where the Black Library stored knowledge of Eldar race, the sinister Chaos, and the haunting Necron. Some of Black Library's best known titles include the Gaunt's Ghosts and Eisenhorn series of novels by Dan Abnett and the Gotrek and Felix series by William King and Nathan Long.
The authors of these novels, graphic novels, and comics created original storylines and characters that are based on playable armies in the main Warhammer 40,000 game and its many spin-offs (such as Inquisitor or Epic). These works are then promoted with contributions of stories, plot synopses, and rules in the White Dwarf magazine and at the official Games Workshop website. The result is a fusion of tabletop gaming with science fiction and fantasy writing.
Short stories and other pieces of fiction were created for the White Dwarf magazine, for Warhammer 40,000 rulebooks and gaming guides, for other publications, such as the Citadel Journal, and for each of their official websites. Later, these evolved into larger novels and other works.
A series of Warhammer 40,000 comics were first created for the Games Workshop magazine, Warhammer Monthly as short background filler. In 1999, the first miniature and game tie-in was released as a joint project of Warhammer Monthly and its publisher, the Black Library. This model was the bounty hunter Kal Jerico of the "Specialist Game" Necromunda.
Including rules and a certificate of authenticity, the Black Library created many more limited edition miniatures and expanded the small comics into larger collections while adding many new ones. These novels and graphic novels are accompanied by cross-promotional articles that connect the characters from the novels to the Warhammer 40,000 miniatures game.
While Warhammer Monthly was discontinued in 2004 (although still listed at the Black Library website), there was a short lived continuation under the title Warhammer Comics. However, with the discontinuation of these magazine projects, the Black Library still continues to produce graphic novels and collections that expand upon the fiction behind the tabletop game.
Fiction of the Black Library
Most of these stories take place thousands of years after the fall of the Emperor of Mankind at the hands of his favoured son Horus, once loyal but corrupted by the malevolent forces of Chaos. Many millennia has passed since then but the Imperium is still at war with the Chaos Space Marines, along with many new enemies.
The majority of these stories are written in the perspective of humans, primarily those of the Imperial Guard, the mechanics of the Adeptus Mechanicus, the female warriors of the Sisters of Battle, the holy Inquisition, and the superhuman Space Marines, although some have been written from the perspective of the Eldar, Chaos and Tau. They span the complete Warhammer 40,000 game with occasional expansions into the spin-off games, such as Necromunda or Inquisitor, or use vehicles and equipment only found in Epic or Battlefleet Gothic.
Titles in the Warhammer 40,000 univer include:
Gaunts Ghost series created by Dan Abnett
Ravenor trology by Dan Abnett
Ciaphas Cain novels by Sandy Mitchell
These stories take place in the Warhammer World, a single world set in the Dark Ages. Humanity here is mainly based in the nations of the Empire (a version of medieval Germany) and Bretonia (Medieval France). In a world filled with Orks, Trolls, Chaos and other monsters, humans often ally with the Elder Races; the Dwarves and the Elves.
Often stories set in the Warhammer World will follow the perspective of a human as he or she explores the dark world around them, often encountering monsters and cultists along the way.
Titles set in the Warhammer World include:
Gotrek & Felix created by William King