23 May 2018
'We haven't watered down anything – we just added a shallow end'
The grim universes of Warhammer are being turned into a new young adult fiction series of novels. Wait, stay with us.
The Warhammer Adventures books will take place both in Age of Sigmar’s fantasy Mortal Realms and Warhammer 40,000’s grimdark science-fiction galaxy, and are aimed at readers between the ages of eight and 12.
Obviously, a number of novels based on the worlds have been released by the Black Library over the years, but they’ve always been aimed at an adult audience in line with the game’s dark and often extremely violent exploration of topics such as xenophobia, fascism and genocide.
The presence of those elements in the universes make Warhammer an intriguing choice for children’s novels starring younger heroes but, to its credit, Black Library has responded to fans’ confused reactions with the level of self-awareness and humour you’d hope for.
“We're not saying there's not a place for decapitation and dismemberment, Mark – but this series is aimed at kids age 8 and up,” it told one commenter. “It's still the grim darkness of the far future, but there's a night light on.”
“We haven't watered down anything – we just added a shallow end,” it replied to another critic. “Some kids will of course choose to read whatever they like - but for those who want a story written with kids in mind, and as the key participants, they can now have it.”
When asked how it would manage to retain the mature themes embedded in Warhammer 40,00 in particular, it said: “How about heroism, brotherhood, danger, honour, anger and courage – you don't have to have gratuitous violence to tell a good story.”
It also reassured those concerned that the move would mean a lightening of tone in the main Black Library range or the miniatures games themselves that this was simply an opening up of the worlds, rather than a complete change of direction.
The first book based on Age of Sigmar will be Realm Quest: The City of Lifestone, while the Warhammer 40,000 series will start with Warped Galaxies: Attack of the Necron. Authors Tom Huddleston and Cavan Scott, who are penning the two novels respectively, previously worked together on a series of Star Wars books. Both novels are due for release in 2019.