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 Josh Reynolds about his new Horus Heresy Primarchs novel Fulgrim: The Palatine Phoenix, which is available to buy in Limited Edition format now. If you’d rather pick it up in standard hardback, that’ll be available in January.
Without further ado, let’s get straight on with the interview.
Track of Words: What’s the elevator pitch summary for Fulgrim: The Palatine Phoenix?
Josh Reynolds: It’s about the systematic deconstruction of a corrupt aristocracy by a duelist who happens to be a demigod.
ToW: Without spoiling anything, who are the main characters and what do we need to know about them?
JR: Fulgrim, obviously. Representing the Emperor’s Children, we have Lord-Commander Abdemon, Apothecary Fabius, and Legionaries Narvo Quin, Grythan Thorn, Kasperos Telmar, Flavius Alkenex, and the swordsman, Cyrius. Besides Abdemon, all of these warriors are, like Fulgrim, at the start of their respective journeys into legend – or ignominy. This is the beginning of the end, or the end of the beginning, depending on how you look at things.
ToW: Where and when is it set?
JR: It’s set on the pre-compliance world of Byzas, at the beginning of the 28th Expedition, i.e. Fulgrim’s first solo foray into the Great Crusade.
ToW: Is there anything that you’d recommend readers check out before reading this?
JR: Fabius Bile: Primogenitor might be interesting, if you want to see the future adventures of two of the characters – Bile himself, and Kasperos Telmar. Fabius Bile: Clonelord will also re-introduce Flavius Alkenex.
ToW: Why this story? What made you want to write this in particular?
JR: Mostly I just wanted to explore the ways in which the Imperium might bring a recalcitrant world to heel, without simply dropping a Space Marine legion on their heads.
ToW: What were your main influences when writing it? Did you draw upon any real-life experience to help you plan or write it?
JR: I drew inspiration from a variety of sources – empires of the type that run Byzas are fairly common in history, and their falls are well documented. There was a lot of information to pull from, really.
ToW: Did you approach Fulgrim in the same way as any other character, or was there anything in particular you wanted to do in order to set him apart from/above the other characters as a primarch?
JR: What I set out to do was to give the reader a good idea as to why Fulgrim might make the decisions he does early in the Heresy series (without actually foreshadowing anything in particular), and to show that even the darkest deeds might come from the best of intentions.
ToW: How does the final product compare to your original concept? Has anything changed much from your first ideas?
JR: Not really. There are a few tweaks – character names, etc. – but nothing major. This was pretty much what I wanted to do. I wish I’d had another 10,000 words or so to play with, to build some of the characters up more, but I’m fairly satisfied.
ToW: How does this story compare to the rest of your work? Is it a familiar style, or a departure?
JR: I think…if you like what I’ve written previously, you’ll like this. If you don’t like what I’ve written previously, well, this ain’t gonna change your mind.
ToW: Do you have plans to continue any aspects of this story, or is it a standalone piece?
JR: Some of the characters will pop up later, as mentioned above, but beyond that, I think the story is pretty much standalone.
Thanks as always to Josh for taking the time to answer these questions. I know I can’t wait to read Fulgrim, and I hope this has given you a taste of what to expect. If you fancy taking a look at some other Rapid Fire interviews, just click here.