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Fabius Bile: Manflayer - HYPE THREAD (by Josh Reynolds)

Manflayer Fabius Bile Fabulous Bill Josh Reynolds Emperors Children III Legion

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#26
nagashnee

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Cannot wait for this, tho it will be  a sad read knowing its the last one.


The Mechanicum Never Deletes Anything.


#27
Sandlemad

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The Ahriman comparison Petitioner's City made is apt, I think, because we know that Manflayer will ultimately come with a reset to the status quo of Bile's activities or something like it, at least for big plot points. That's an oversimplification, mind, Bile does have his arc through Primogenitor and Clonelord. But Manflayer has to close off a bunch of threads and do things like account for why, in-universe, the gland-hounds aren't a prominent Thing in the 41st millennium or at least mothball them in such a way that GW/another writer can pick them up.

 

Beyond its qualities as fiction, the whole trilogy will have added depth to Bile's character but probably won't provide great direct hints about "what GW plans to do with Bile" on a metaplot scale (some fans talk up the

Spoiler
but I honestly think that is what it is and won't be a grand hint of anything in the future).

 

Same with Ahriman, French's books were amazing and did a lot for his backstory but there's not much there that featured prominently in the 8th edition background or the Thousand Sons codex. They're historical fiction, if you like.

 

EDIT: should have been Clonelord in the spoiler


Edited by Sandlemad, 09 June 2020 - 01:22 PM.

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#28
nagashnee

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But thats perfectly fine, adding depth to a character is what the books SHOULD do. Leave the metaplot to the studio. The bile books are the only bit of actual characterisation i have seen him get, other then 'evil scientist dude'.


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The Mechanicum Never Deletes Anything.


#29
Sandlemad

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Couldn't agree more. Paradoxically having a closed off metaplot result is probably rather freeing, means it doesn't have to be tied to whatever the latest studio developments are.

 

And yeah, this is a better portrayal of Bile than we get anywhere else. Kyme's 'Chiurgeon' had a good germ of some of what Reynolds developed and Ian St. Martin's portrayal in Faultless Blade was characterful but there's not much that compares.


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#30
DarkChaplain

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I think a few of Kyme's shorts added a good bit to him, by approaching the whole near-extinction Emperor's Children pre-Fulgrim stuff. It's just nowhere near close to what Josh did with the character.


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#31
Sandlemad

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So the Manflayer ebook and audiobook are up for preorder: https://www.blacklib...ebook-2020.html

 

The extract has the prologue, the first chapter, and a bit of the second, which I mention because it features the return of a character I was not expecting: 

Spoiler
I'm excited.


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#32
Bobss

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So the Manflayer ebook and audiobook are up for preorder: https://www.blacklib...ebook-2020.html

 

The extract has the prologue, the first chapter, and a bit of the second, which I mention because it features the return of a character I was not expecting: 

Spoiler
I'm excited.

 

I just listened to the abstract on the main site and it seems to follow

Spoiler


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#33
hopkins

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Pre order from FLGS got cancelled, can't see the book on BL site, so now have to order from GW?

#34
theSpirea

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Pre order from FLGS got cancelled, can't see the book on BL site, so now have to order from GW?

 

Yup, that's the only option now. This is the message GW sent to the retailers "We want to inform you that we will not be making Fabius Bile: Manflayer (Hardback), available for independent retailers so please do not continue to take orders for it."

 

I'm honestly getting tired of how incapable they are at managing the book releases.


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#35
DarkChaplain

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Just another nail in the coffin of one author's mistreatment, it appears to me...


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#36
Sandlemad

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Pre order from FLGS got cancelled, can't see the book on BL site, so now have to order from GW?


Yup, that's the only option now. This is the message GW sent to the retailers "We want to inform you that we will not be making Fabius Bile: Manflayer (Hardback), available for independent retailers so please do not continue to take orders for it."

I'm honestly getting tired of how incapable they are at managing the book releases.

They’re not very good at this whole ‘publishing’ thing.
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#37
Taliesin

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Luckily their core business is bed & breakfast though, so its not like they need it.



#38
Sandlemad

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Working through this now and damn but it’s good to see Reynolds writing dark eldar again. Just like in the Lukas book, they’re hilarious. I like how one archon ostentatiously namedrops “my friend Aurelia, you know, Lady Aurelia Malys? I’m certain you’ve heard of her”.
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#39
RedDragon

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Powered through this, this morning and afternoon.

It's excellent - If not what I was expecting.
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#40
Morovir

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*slow applause*

 

Just finished it - a fitting swan song for both Fabius Bile and Josh Reynolds.


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#41
mc warhammer

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i'm torn between buying it and knowing i have no time to read it for at least the next month or just straight up begging for spoilers

It always amused me that the GW Mail Order ‘Trolls’ as we (starting with me) had always styled ourselves insisted as being rebranded ‘Space Marines’. Why anyone would want to be associated with semi-lobotomized, hypnotically indoctrinated slave-soldiers in thrall to an uncaring (and possibly non-existent) god I couldn’t imagine. - Rick Priestley

 2019

#42
Bobss

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I'm surprised there isn't a bulletpoint-spoiler-thread on Reddit, but then again that would require someone over there to actually read a Black Library book to write one

 

I've just gorged on spoilers and flicked through the digital version because my hardback is coming in the next few days and I can't wait, and as brilliant as this looks, I can easily recognise what got stripped out when compared to Josh's Tumblr notes. Definitely looks just as, if not more amazing than expected though!


Edited by Bobss, 21 June 2020 - 03:51 PM.

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#43
SkimaskMohawk

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Spoiler

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#44
Bobss

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Spoiler

 

Josh Reynolds isn't one to bulldoze previous material, even if said previous material is bad or mediocre

 

One of his many talents now lost to the Black Library stable!


Edited by Bobss, 21 June 2020 - 05:48 PM.


#45
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I liked this. 

 

Really, really liked this. 

 

Spoiler


Have a lovely daybiggrin.png

 

Incidentally, I like to commit the cardinal sin of writing fanfiction: https://forums.space.../#post-41266642


#46
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The humour in this book is 10/10

‘Death is but a transition, Duco,’ Khorag said cheerfully. ‘And Grandfather would not pluck a flower before its time. Even one so crooked as you.’ He clapped the Night Lord on the pauldron, and Duco grimaced. He sprayed an antibacterial solution on the spot, filling the air with an acrid odour.

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#47
SkimaskMohawk

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The humour in this book is 10/10

‘Death is but a transition, Duco,’ Khorag said cheerfully. ‘And Grandfather would not pluck a flower before its time. Even one so crooked as you.’ He clapped the Night Lord on the pauldron, and Duco grimaced. He sprayed an antibacterial solution on the spot, filling the air with an acrid odour.


The dark eldar's monologue (well, one of them);

‘We were the masters of this galaxy, you know. Every world was but a garden for our pleasures, and every species a source of entertainment. And then it all came apart in our hands. And as we lay in pieces, you ugly little mon-keigh came down from the trees and decided you were in charge.’
‘There used to be a saying on Terra, about possession being the whole of the law.’


Not only was the dark eldar channelling some major frieza, but the interjection about obscure, ancient terran knowledge has been established by like 3 other books to be a thing the EC did.
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#48
Lord_Caerolion

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Ok, having Reynolds writing Dark Eldar in this book has pushed it up to a must-read for me.

 

EDIT: I'd read the first two, and liked them well enough, but the Lukas book is one of my favourite Black Library books, because he gets the Dark Eldar so right


Edited by Lord_Caerolion, 22 June 2020 - 02:34 AM.

"And then Horus landed on the Moon, which looked like the moon. Funny that, isn't it?"


You're hired.


#49
Sandlemad

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I liked this a lot. As a novel overall, I'd say I liked it more than Primogenitor or Clonelord while thinking that it's quite a different kind book by virtue of wrapping up the trilogy. Rambling thoughts below.

 

Felt more personal than the last two. The stakes are considerably lower on the galactic stage, no broken craftworlds or cloned primarchs, but more significant for Bile himself.  I think this probably comes at the cost of some other characters? The expanded cast still has more vividly drawn randos than most BL books, the dialogue is seldom less than sparkling, and many of them are genuinely likeable, but those other characters get maybe a little less in this final book than I would have liked.

 

There's a lot more about fatherhood, legacy, inheritance, sacrifice, love... Bile and Fulgrim (the scene between them was one of the best). Fulgrim and the Emperor. Bile and Melusine, Bile and Igori, Igori and her granddaughter. It's excellent stuff. Melancholy. There's a lot of excellent character work about this weary, worn-down Bile, he's genuinely changed since the last two books. And that character work is what this book is about, it's not like the final Ahriman book where it builds and builds to an apocalyptic crescendo at the end. I'd put the battles of Lugganath and Solemnace over what we see on Belial IV. Hexarchiles and his DE are a threat but, y'know, he's not Trazyn.

 

As a specific example about Bile thinking about his legacy, I really liked the bit where Bile compares himself to Magnus and emphasises that unlike the primarch, he is not going to let his ego take precedence over his work. This isn't Prospero and if he has to die, so be it, as long as his grand project endures.

 

 

Fabius was silent for a moment. ‘Do you recall Prospero?’

‘The world?’

‘Yes. When Russ and his curs burned it, a wealth of knowledge unequalled in the galaxy burned with it. I have always held that Magnus’ greatest sin was not what he did to his sons, or to his world, but that he allowed the Space Wolves to erase all that wisdom from the universe.’

He fixed Skalagrim with a hard stare.

‘I am not Magnus. The knowledge I have gathered, it will live on. In you and the others.’ 

And then too how he's switched from constantly transferring his brain/mind/unique person to increasingly short-lived clone bodies to instead 

Spoiler
Bile's no longer concerned about his own personal survival and has moved on to solutions that prioritise the continuation of his philosophy and his schemes. It's still monstrous and egotistical but it's development from the previous two books. Bile's scheming but he's not trying to escape trap after trap himself. He's tired, defeated, self-critical, regretful. Did he let his children grow up when they should have? Could he have? Is this his chance to put things right? 

 

There's a bit more of a cosmological bent here as well, picking up on Clonelord's discussion of the gods' paying so much gleeful attention to Bile. The IIIrd legion geneseed growing into some sort of proto-daemon, no longer just a physiological thing that creeps back into his body. This I think I'll need to re-read to fully grasp. It was interesting and led to some wonderful scenes - that bit where Narvo Quin talks to Fabius about what the gods 'want' is good - but I think some of what Melusine and Fulgrim and Veilwalker was a bit unclear to me. 

 

Spoiler
 

 

I liked how dangerous the DE are. Still funny, still disorganised, but Manflayer makes no bones about them being Bile's most dangerous foe. More than any of the traitor legions, more than the imperium, they're able to come after him. A bit like with Ulthwe hunting Talos in Void Stalker (and maybe the growing threat was slightly less well-conveyed than that) but as a reminder that actually the eldar are very, very dangerous, it's solid. There were a few instances where Fabius would mention or bring up a bit of tech or some gruesome innovation, and then the next scene would have the haemonculi casually display something similar but better (e.g.

Spoiler
), showing how far beyond him in certain regards they are.

 

Lots of excellent little moments, thoughts and characters as well. 

Spoiler
 

I also liked the epilogue. It does what we discussed earlier in the thread, wrap things up such that the status quo is sort of maintained, albeit in a pleasingly meta way.  

Spoiler

 

As a last note, there were a few lines that I couldn't help but read as freighted with meaning beyond what they have in the context of the story, for all that they touch on themes Reynolds has shown an interest in in the past. Lines that feel like they touch on bigger points about the nature of licensed fiction and shared universes and readers' expectations and editorial oversight from a miniatures company. They're not quite fourth-wall breaking and it's irresponsible to read too much of the background situation with this being Reynolds's last book for BL but when you read things like this from Narvo Quin:

 

 

Sometimes the gods wish us to be as insects in amber – preserved for all time, so that they might take joy from our unceasing struggle. Maybe that is your fate.

 

or this from Bile himself about the Primaris:

 

 

‘Ezekyle wants something to counter them, doesn’t he? How predictable. They make oversized warriors, we make oversized warriors.’ He shook his head. ‘A galaxy of children, squabbling over their toys.’

 

or this rather good one from Syndri Veilwalker:

 

 

‘The story never ends. It goes round and round, through infinite permutations. Each one closer to perfect than the last. The moment you see before you has already happened, and will happen again and again and again. Because the gods are easily bored, and forget what they’ve seen. Like children, they demand to be told the same story over and over.’

 

It makes you go hmmm and think about what can change and what can't, what ideas get dusted off and reused again, what gets proposed to editors and what gets published. But I may be reading too much into it.

 

TL;DR: Excellent book, 'smaller' in some ways and much more character-focused than the previous two Bile books, wraps up the trilogy very well.


Edited by Sandlemad, 22 June 2020 - 05:30 PM.

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#50
Roomsky

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Fabius Bile: Manflayer – Josh Reynolds

 

Well if you weren’t feeling the big sad about Reynolds leaving BL before reading this book, you certainly will after you’re done.

 

This is exactly what a finale should be, bringing the characters to dramatic and logical conclusions without unnecessary galaxy-shattering events as a backdrop. The excitement comes from the cast we’ve grown attached to, rather than how the stakes have “never been higher.” Fabius is dying again, and Reynolds has a clever way of making that have actual stakes. Arrian has set further into his role as Fabius’ right hand, and Saqqara has some surprises up his sleeve this time round. Igori, Savona, and any other significant character appearing previously generally get a very solid conclusion this time through, including a few faces you may not expect.

 

The Thirteen Scars Dark Eldar are the baddies here (mostly), and everything great about Reynolds’ DE writing present in Lukas The Trickster is on full display here (and with protagonists who aren't Space Wolves this time round (this is a positive)). As always, Reynolds is balancing surprising character depth and intriguing ruminations about the universe with taking the piss, and it works great with such a comically evil faction. As others have mentioned, it’s also nice to see them as a genuine threat rather than a nuisance; Fabius’ small, hidden redoubts and vast network of contacts work against him here.

 

Plot-wise, it’s an excellent finale but has a couple weaknesses as a story. A few characters get lengthy introductions and then essentially disappear from the story, while others are exposited about and suddenly have payoff without much setup. Again, this isn’t an issue with the core cast, but there are a few surprises that come more from missing scenes rather than anything intentional by Reynolds. I can only assume this is because the final version was cut down from his initial drafts, so I don’t lay the blame on the author. As noted in this thread, there’s also a few major plot points that happened off-screen, and it makes me wonder if this was intended to be a trilogy in the first place, rather than 4 or 5 books. I’ll also say that while the character work is stronger than ever, the premise of Clonelord was a tad more intriguing.

 

I could say more but I wanted to do up a spoiler-free review for any curious about the book. If you liked the previous entries you’ll probably like this, and while Clonelord remains my favourite, it’s a very close thing. Final chapters are the most difficult part of the story to make satisfying, and Reynolds hit a home run here. It’s incredibly frustrating we won’t get more from him moving forward (maybe he’ll return one day, if Mitchell and King did anything can happen.)

 

Must Read

ANR: 9/10


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Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: Manflayer, Fabius Bile, Fabulous Bill, Josh Reynolds, Emperors Children, III Legion

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