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Your Questions Answered - Part 2

This is the second part of the Q+A I did to celebrate this blog getting over 10,000 views. You can get Part One over here.

I have tried to answer all the questions here in a way that will only mean something to people who have read the stories they concern 
There is still the possibility that if you have not read Praetorian of Dorn or Grey Angel, that you might consider some of the later answers as spoiling your enjoyment of reading those stories for the first time. Please don't read further answers if that is the case. 

Will we see more about Ahriman? 

Ahriman, oh you poor soul, you...

I would love to do another series with him, and I think Black Library would like that, too. I always thought of his story as a series of endeavours aimed at furthering his ultimate goal of fixing the rubric. Exile, Exodus, Sorcerer, and Unchanged were the first of those endeavours. I have an idea of what the next one would be, but it's not quiet fully worked out in my head. I also have a full schedule between The Horus Heresy and the Horusian Wars Series that will keep me busy for a while. After that? Lets see.

Cerberus is a wonderfully soulful character filled with wisdom, but after listening to Grey Angel for more than 100 times over the years, I still don't understand beyond the reasons stated in the story, why Loken chooses his course of action. What are the wider implications that I am apparently missing?
'Questions are never dangerous, only the answers' - John Le Carre 

Simply put he considers telling Luther what the wider context of events are, but detects a danger in Luther, a shadow of secrets, and that both by going to Caliban and by revealing more he might be having an effect that is not what the Sigilite wants. It's a bit like the observer effect – – and Cerberus realises that there is more at play than simple loyalty and ignorance.
 Not sure that I can say more than that.

Note: The question was edited slightly to avoid as many spoilers as possible.

Praetorian of Dorn is an amazing read. It heralds some pretty big changes to what we thought we knew in the 30K timeline. Was it difficult to pitch and get the powers that be to go along with these ideas ?

Alpha to Omega indeed

It did take a few careful conversations and discussions, but I had given the book and all of its implications a lot of thought and was prepared. I had conversations with other authors. I went over all of the what had been written about Sol, the Alpha Legion, and the Imperial Fists. So, yeah, when it came to pitching it to the editors and lords it was actually quiet simple because I had gone through most of questions already.

A lot of what made it work as a pitch was what the book did for the drama of the overall Heresy. In the novel series there is a big strand of secret history, and 'the truth of what happened' vs 'what is remembered'. A lot of what we do with the novels is about giving insight that is lost from other points of view. What I pitched for Praetorian of Dorn fitted with that. It also, importantly, did not change the in universe truth of what people know, or think they know, from the view point of the 41st Millennium. That was a big thing too, when it came to talking to Laurie (Goulding) and the other editors and stakeholders. It was confirmed fact neutral, but with lots of revelation.

Would you like to explore the more immediate consequences of what happens?

I love writing about these factions, but I don't think I am going to zoom in again to do a direct follow on. Not to say that we won't see consequences, but I think that for me it won't be in a close in point of view from the involved parties.

Can we expect more new stories about the Alpha Legion, or was Praetorian of Dorn the omega story, bookended to Legion?

I am sure they will crop up again - it's a habit of theirs :)

It seems that the Remembrancer from the flashbacks of Archamus was the one from your short story The Last Remembrancer – why you decided to use him?

Solomon Voss - the first and last Remembrancer

Part of it was as an Easter egg for long term readers of the series, the other part was so that would act as a mirror to The Last Remembrancer. The Lord of Conquest flashback in Praetorian of Dorn is all about Dorn and the Imperial Fists at the height of the great Crusade. It's about their idealism, and how they make war, and why. Hopefully, it works in the book to show their character,  but if someone has read The Last Remembrancer it has an additional resonance.

In Praetorian of Dorn, who was the old man in the Kye's cell? Was it Malcador?

Hmmm… Not Malcador. I think I will answer this way:

"The man brought up a hand and rubbed his right eye. Strands of tattooed feathers criss-crossed his fingers. [...]

'You’re not really from the same place as me, are you?’ he said to the man. ‘You look like you are, you talk like you are, but you’re here for whoever took me.’ He looked up at the man, eyes hard in the flame light. ‘I’m right, aren’t I?’
The man gave a small smile.
'Sharp and quick,’ he said, and let out a breath. ‘But no one put me in here, [...]

'You are a liar,’ said the boy carefully.
The man laughed, and the sound ricocheted around the cell.
‘In a sense,’ he said. ‘In a sense that is exactly what I am.’
‘What do they want? Why am I here? Why did they send you?’ 
'They want you to become something that you cannot imagine,’ said the man softly. ‘And I already said that no one sent me. I am here because I wanted to be sure my choice was right.’ He looked at the boy and nodded. ‘Still not afraid?’ [...]

'I won’t submit,’ growled the boy. The man smiled. A tattoo of a hound snarled on his temple as the skin folded.
‘That is why I chose you, Kye,’ said the man.
The boy froze at the sound of his name. Needles of cold ran up his skin.
‘How...?’ He began to ask, but the cell door swung open with a clank of releasing bolts. Light poured in. [...]

'Stand,’ said a voice. He looked up, eyes stinging, moisture run- ning down his cheeks. A golden giant stood above him, a bladed pole in one hand and a crimson cloak falling from its back to the  floor.

Then later when he is with Dorn:

‘It is a gift. A gift from a father to a lost son. It is also a symbol, of unity, of purpose, of change.’ He put the gauntlet down on the table exactly where it had been. ‘I am the son, and the father, whom I did not know until now, is the Master of all Mankind.’ [...]

He turned to Kye. ‘You are also a gift. You were marked and taken when the Emperor conquered your world. You would have gone on to serve Him, but now are marked to be among the first of a generation of warriors raised under my command. You are intended to be a symbol of a new age.’"

Does that help?

Just curious - after the loses of Phall - how it happens that IFs has so many ships? 

The Battle of Phall was not light on casualties

Good question. The simple answer is because prior to Phall the Imperial Fists had a huge fleet, probably in the biggest of all the legion fleets at various times during the Great Crusade (these things fluctuate after all).  Even though majority of the Fists' void power was sent as part of the Retribution Fleet, there were still hundreds of warships left. Laurie (Goulding) and I actually figured out how many ships were sent, how many were at Phall, and how many were lost. So, yeah, in the void the Imperial Fists were and are one of the premier forces of the age.

What class of ship is the Monarch of Fire?

I didn't really imagine The Monarch of Fire being a particular class, but more a relic of technologies and lost during the Age of Strife. It's a one off, a weapon taken as a spoil of conquest. At least that was what was in my mind.

It's big though.

Is he really, you know, dead? 

Yes, he is.


  1. The fun thing about the Heresy series is even though 'He who dies at the End' is deceased, stories can still be written with him as a character in flashbacks. There is the Primarch series after all. Ferrus Manus had his best stories after Fulgrim.

    I must say though, his ending was utterly perfect because it's utterly in keeping with Dorn's character.

    "Brother, give me a chance and I can help you truly win this terrible war and avoid the terrible future I have foreseen."

    "Don't care. For the Emperor."
    *chainsword noises*


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