Welcome to this instalment of Rapid Fire, my ongoing series of quick interviews with Black Library authors talking about their releases. These are short and sweet interviews, with the idea being that each author will answer (more or less) the same questions – by the end of each interview I hope you will have a good idea of what the new book (or audio drama) is about, what inspired it and why you might want to read it.
In this instalment I asked Gav Thorpe about his new Primarchs novel Lorgar: Bearer of the Word, which was first released a few months ago in limited edition format, and is now available to order in standard edition. Without further ado, over to Gav.
Track of Words: What’s the elevator pitch summary for Lorgar: Bearer of the Word?
Gav Thorpe: On a desolate world abandoned by the gods, preacher Kor Phaeron discovers a miraculous child who will pave a way to the return of greatness, and become the doom of Mankind.
ToW: Without spoiling anything, who are the main characters and what do we need to know about them?
GT: We have Lorgar, who will become the Primarch of the Word Bearers. Kor Phaeron, the priest that becomes his adoptive father. And there’s Nairo, one of Kor Phaeron’s slaves, who also sees salvation incarnated in Lorgar, but of a different kind.
ToW: Where and when is it set?
GT: It is set on the world of Colchis before the Great Crusade and the arrival of the Emperor.
ToW: Is there anything that you’d recommend readers check out before reading this?
GT: Have a look at The First Heretic, and maybe Aurelian too, both by Aaron Dembski-Bowden.
ToW: Why this story? What made you want to write about Lorgar in particular?
GT: I like stories about faith and power, and Lorgar is both of those things in one body. Also, the idea of going right to the roots of what will eventually set the galaxy ablaze with the Horus Heresy. We may never know what the Emperor intended for Lorgar, but it is here, during these events, that the Bearer of the Word becomes corrupted, and everything that comes afterwards stems from these times.
ToW: What were your main influences when writing this? Did you draw upon any real-life experience to help you plan or write it?
GT: It’s a mix of Mad Max, Dune and the rise of Lutheranism. Not my personal experience but I did a bit of research on abusive behaviour and the effects on victims, so that I properly frame the relationship between Lorgar and Kor Phaeron. There are some quite difficult scenes in that regard, but important to the development of both.
ToW: How does the final product compare to your original concept? Has anything changed much from your first ideas?
GT: The major difference is that Lorgar is not a point-of-view character, which was part of the original idea. It ended up being a better story if we never saw anything from the Primarch’s perspective and all we see is through the lens of Kor Phaeron or Nairo’s own faith and goals.
ToW: Did you make a conscious effort to set this apart from a ‘normal’ Horus Heresy book? If so, how did you do that?
GT: There are a few interstitial chapters set in the later timeline to link it to space marines and the legions, but other than that it is entirely self-contained on the world of Colchis. This is an ancient civilisation at the end of its long decline, its worlds devoid of all but the most basic resources, its society similarly drained of all vitality. The idea of there even being any other humans beyond the shell of their world is an alien concept.
ToW: How does this story compare to the rest of your work? Is it a familiar style, or a departure?
GT: It is its own beast, that’s for sure. Most folks will recognise it as my work, although structurally it is unique, arranged into a kind of book, chapter and verse sort of presentation. The themes are common to a lot of my work, but the world building is more intense and the story rather more epic in scope.
ToW: Do you have plans to continue any aspects of this story, or is it a standalone piece?
GT: It’s already been continued, in a way, by Aaron and Ant Reynolds with their Word Bearers work in the Horus Heresy and Warhammer 40,000. This is the prequel before all prequels!
Many thanks to Gav for taking the time to answer these questions. If, like me, you didn’t pick Lorgar up in limited edition, I hope this has got you interested in reading it now it’s fully available – you can also check out my review here.