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.