Welcome to this instalment of Rapid Fire, my ongoing series of quick interviews with Black Library authors talking about their new 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 David Annandale about his new Horus Heresy novel Ruinstorm – book 46 in the series! It’s available to order now, so let’s get straight on with the interview.
Track of Words: What’s the elevator pitch summary for Ruinstorm?
David Annandale: Guilliman, Sanguinius and the Lion know now that Terra must still exist. But if they are to reach it, they must somehow defeat the Ruinstorm. And the ruin they face is not just a physical threat.
ToW: Without spoiling anything, who are the main characters and what do we need to know about them?
DA: The main characters are these three primarchs, though Curze is also along for the ride whether he likes it or not. Our three protagonists wrestle with guilt for their role in the Imperium Secundus, which they have realized was a form of usurpation, unintentional though the crime might have been. Sanguinius, in particular, is also dealing with visions of his ultimate fate.
ToW: Where and when is it set?
DA: It picks up where Angels of Caliban ends, with the end of the Imperium Secundus and the beginning of the quest to reach Terra.
ToW: Is there anything that you’d recommend readers check out before reading this?
DA: Definitely Angels of Caliban. Ruinstorm also continues the plight of the Blood Angels set out in Fear to Tread. So those would be the most critical. But there are some significant links, too, to The Damnation of Pythos.
ToW: Why this story? What made you want to write this in particular?
DA: This was my first opportunity to write a book that furthers the main action of the Heresy, so that was pretty exciting, especially once Laurie Goulding described the kind of turning point that would be involved. It was also my chance to bring to fruition some some elements from Pythos that I’ve been itching to return to since that book.
ToW: What were your main influences when writing it? Did you draw upon any real-life experience to help you plan or write it?
DA: Given a lot of what goes on here, I’m happy to say I did not draw upon my real-life experience! James Swallow’s Fear to Tread was crucial in showing me where I needed to go with the Blood Angels, as well as inspiring me with the immensity of scale of its set pieces.
ToW: What do you find are the best and worst aspects of writing a Horus Heresy novel, compared to writing a 40k or Age of Sigmar novel?
DA: Continuity is certainly a big challenge, given how many threads there are to the narrative by now. I hope I’ve been able to write a story whose characters are consistent with their previous portrayals. So with the Horus Heresy, I’m always aware of the story being part of a gigantic, overarching narrative, whereas it is possible (depending on the project) for the narratives to be a bit more contained in 40k and Age of Sigmar. But the huge importance of this narrative is also a big part of its appeal, for me, and this was the chance to write not just one, but FOUR primarchs, and that was a hell of an honour.
ToW: How does the final product compare to your original concept? Has anything changed much from your first ideas?
DA: The end result is pretty close to the initial outline Laurie and I hashed out. There are a few… fateful (I use the world vaguely but deliberately) … elements that came in later in the writing process.
ToW: How does this story compare to the rest of your work? Is it a familiar style, or a departure?
DA: There’s plenty of the darkness and Chaos that should be familiar to readers of my work. I love the grandiose set piece, and they’re here too, though they’re perhaps, in terms of sheer cosmic scale, the largest I’ve ever attempted for Black Library.
ToW: Do you have plans to continue any aspects of this story within the Horus Heresy series?
DA: There is a companion story that will be appearing, which picks up after the ending. For now, though, this is the end of the story for me.
Huge thanks to David for taking the time to answer these questions. Keep an eye out for a review of Ruinstorm coming soon! If you fancy taking a look at some other Rapid Fire interviews, just click here.