Landscapes with Dragons

Posted: February 26, 2013 in Uncategorized
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This has been the most incredible couple of months for me, what with three books being released one after the other. I’ve never experienced the like, and I am fully conscious of just how lucky I am. I truly wish that the struggling writer of my past, who couldn’t seem to get himself arrested, could have known that this day was coming. And so now, after the two novellas, my first novel with the Black Library, The Death of Antagonis, hits the shelves. A few days ago, over at the Black Library blog, I talked about why I love the Space Marines Chapter of the Black Dragons (check that out here), so over here I wanted to write just a few words about some of what I was hoping to achieve conceptually.

One of my favourite sequences in Nick Kyme’s Firedrake takes place on the planet Moribar. I love that setting: an entire world given over to a cemetery, with a perpetual snow of ash falling from the crematoria. I was reading that as I worked on the outline for what would become The Death of Antagonis, and it was an exciting, inspiring experience. It is an example of one of the great riches of the Warhammer 40,000 universe: its embrace of the grandiose and the macabre. Depending on the tone of the individual work, the most surreal, fantastic images can find their place. This is what I was hoping to capture in The Death of Antagonis. I wanted it to be a space opera with a heavy emphasis on the opera. Or, to change metaphors, I wanted my Black Dragons to struggle across a colossal, eldritch canvas. And the thing about the 40K universe is that its rules and nature, far from being any kind of limit on the imagination, are rather the means of spurring creativity, and that freedom took me to some very strange landscapes indeed. I enjoyed my time there immensely, and I hope that readers will share in that dark fun with me.

  1. bernd says:

    hey david! i just want to tell you that yo succeeded in creating that “opera” feel
    … so…. what is next for volos? corrupted boneblades….hmmmm….setheno…do not abandon these 2 characters… they have a lot of potential.
    i think your createst success besides these two cool figures was that you brought back a little of that old school 40k flair…where the lines between good and evil are black and white…. they are forced, or they think they are, to do horrible things to achieve something “good”.
    nice read!!!

  2. Thanks very much — too kind. I’m really glad you enjoyed the read, and especially that you liked those two characters. I had a hell of a lot of fun writing them.

  3. Jim says:

    Hello David,

    I just wanted to let you know that I thoroughly enjoyed “The Death of Antagonis”. There hasn’t been much in the way of fluff for the Black Dragons, so it’s really nice to see them getting some much needed attention. I hope in the future we’ll be seeing more of Volos and the Black Dragons 2nd Company as well as Setheno.

    Once again, A highly enjoyable book!

  4. Liliedhe says:

    Hi. I finished Death of Antagonis last week. A very awesome book. I liked how you addressed the topics of knowledge vs. faith and pragmatism vs. idealism. I keep finding new angles to it all the time. As I have worked on a science project about the nature of knowledge and what different cultures would call knowledge or not I found it very interesting that you dealt with this topic in the 40K galaxy…

    I was also very impressed by the seduction of Toharan *gives him a hug*. And then there were all the names – you got me downright paranoid and looking for references all the time (Aighe Mortis in the Camargus sector? And the black horned Dragons fighting there? That’s brilliant. I *lol*ed). And S(e)theno the Gorgon. Or the dragons Vritra(s) and Nithigg (Nidhogg) *giggle*. I couldn’t place Volos, though.

    So, thank you for the great book. I hope there will be more about the Dragons from you. *hugs Volos, too*

    • Thanks so much! It’s a real treat, as a writer, to know that the themes I was hoping to explore were coming through for readers, and I very much appreciate the close reading you gave the book. And I took Volos’s, by the by, name from Slavic mythology.