Welcome to the first 2018 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 spoke to David Annandale about his new novel Castellan, the second in the Castellan Crowe series (after Warden of the Blade), which is available to buy right now.
Without further ado let’s crack on with the interview – over to David.
Track of Words: What’s the elevator pitch summary for Castellan?
DA: Castellan Crowe and his fellow Purifiers are caught in the Cicatrix Maledictum. They emerge to find a transformed Imperium, and daemonic machinations that they thought they had defeated are instead on the verge of fruition.
ToW: Without spoiling anything, who are the main characters and what do we need to know about them?
DA: Garran Crowe is, of course, the protagonist. In the wake of Warden of the Blade, the resolve and strength he needs to combat the perpetual assaults of the Black Blade of Antwyr have been renewed. The surviving characters from the first book are back as well, the most important of which is Knight of the Flame Sendrax, who has long fought at Crowe’s side.
Joining the narrative are Justicar Styer and his squad, last seen in the Sons of Titan collection, and Canoness Setheno, the cold-blooded, driven Sister of Battle who was a supporting character in The Death of Antagonis and my Yarrick novels.
ToW: Where and when is it set?
DA: The book begins immediately after Warden of the Blade, and I mean immediately — we are in the battle on Sandava III that concludes that book. Once the Grey Knights escape the Cicatrix Maledictum, and find themselves in an Imperium where Guilliman has returned, the action shifts to another planet, but I won’t say more than that.
ToW: Is there anything that you’d recommend readers check out before reading this?
DA: Definitely Warden of the Blade, since this is a direct continuation. Also Sons of Titan, as plot threads from those stories are resumed here.
ToW: Why this story? What made you want to write this in particular?
DA: I wanted to bring the different strands of my Grey Knight stories together, and this was an excellent opportunity to do just that. There were some ideas that I have long had in mind for Styer and his squad that, in an altered form, finally saw the light of day here.
ToW: How does the final product compare to your original concept? Has anything changed much from your first ideas?
DA: It’s fairly close to the original outline, and to the story as I first conceived it, though there was one significant change that I had to deal with, which brings me to the next question!
ToW: Did the decision to set the story in the Dark Imperium bring any particular challenges with writing it, compared to Warden of the Blade?
DA: When I first thought up the story, I had no idea the Dark Imperium was looming. Fortunately, I did have all the necessary information about it when I drafted the outline. So as things turned out, the Dark Imperium helped me shape an initial idea into an actual story, and the concept I had come up with blended very easily with the new realities of the 40K universe.
ToW: How does this story compare to the rest of your work? Is it a familiar style, or a departure?
DA: Readers familiar with my work will know what to expect here. Lots of daemonic horror and large-scale cataclysms. But where Warden of the Blade was primarily a kind of origin story, Castellan moves Crowe’s tale forward.
ToW: Do you have plans to continue any aspects of this story, or is it a standalone piece?
DA: I do indeed. I am working on the third volume of the Crowe trilogy right now, and it picks up right after the conclusion of Castellan.
Massive thanks as always to David for taking the time to answer these questions. You can check out my review of Castellan right here! If you fancy taking a look at some other Rapid Fire interviews, just click here.