The third Dan Abnett novel to be included in the series so far, book eight in the Warhammer 40,000 Legends Collection from Hachette and Black Library is First and Only. In 40k terms they don’t come much bigger or popular than Gaunt’s Ghosts, so the first book in the series is another complete no-brainer, the sort of book that long-running fans will enjoy revisiting and brand new fans will love reading for the first time. It’s also, fact fans, the first ever Black Library novel – previous books, including classic novels by the likes of Ian Watson, were published by various imprints before Black Library was launched.
This is where it all started, back in 2006 – Horus Rising by Dan Abnett, the first novel in Black Library’s ever-growing Horus Heresy series. It’s the start of the 31st millennium, and the Great Crusade is almost complete. A year after the Triumph at Ullanor, after the Emperor returned to Terra, the newly-elevated Warmaster Horus commands the 63rd Expeditionary Fleet and his Luna Wolves in the continuation of the Crusade and the promulgation of the Imperial Truth. Along their path are set two long-lost human civilisations, each wildly different, who react to being reunited with the rest of humanity in contrasting ways. Hope is still preeminent, but change is in the air.
Regular readers will have seen my recent interview with Dan Abnett, and may also be aware of my Forgotten Texts series, where I look back at stories from the earlier days of Black Library. I recently covered Dan’s short story Ghostmaker for Forgotten Texts – you can find that article here – and while I was chatting to Dan for the main interview I asked a few questions related to that short story to use as an accompanying interview.
In case you missed it, I recently posted the first part of an interview with prolific author Dan Abnett, whose work for Marvel, DC Comics, 2000AD and Black Library (among others) has earned him a (much-deserved) huge fan base. In that first part, we discussed Dan’s early career and influences, and looked at the craft of writing, and the implications of working across multiple mediums.
A prolific author of comics and novels, Dan Abnett has been writing in one medium or another since the late ‘80s for publishers including Black Library, Marvel, DC Comics and 2000AD. Since his early work for Inferno! magazine, he has become one of most loved of Black Library’s authors, with the fourteenth novel in his Gaunt’s Ghosts series due to be published later in 2017. That’s not to mention the countless other novels, short stories, audio dramas, comics and so on…
I recently had the chance to chat to Dan and ask some questions about his work over the years. Given that Track of Words is primarily a website dedicated to books (and largely Black Library books) I wanted to focus on that aspect of his writing, but I was keen to talk about his career as a whole and to delve into the craft of writing as he sees it. I didn’t want to focus too much on any one book or series, so while we did chat about things like Eisenhorn, Gaunt’s Ghosts and the Horus Heresy, we covered a wide range of topics that I hope are a little different to the usual interview questions.
“You’re Imperial Guard, servants of the Emperor first and nothing else second.”
His second Black Library short story, Dan Abnett’s Ghostmaker introduced the world to Colonel-Commissar Ibram Gaunt and the proud soldiers of Tanith, who would become Gaunt’s Ghosts. Given the command of three freshly-raised regiments, Gaunt barely has time to reach Tanith before a Chaos splinter fleet forces him to gather whatever fragmentary resources he can and escape to Imperial lines. Haunted by the loss of their world, the Tanith are resentful of not being allowed to stand and fight, but Gaunt is determined to begin the process of putting their unique skills to use on the battlefields of the Sabbat Worlds.
Available as an e-short for the first time, 11 years after its publication in the Let The Galaxy Burn anthology, Dan Abnett’s The Fall of Malvolion is a standalone ‘Astra Militarum’ (that’s Imperial Guard, to you and me) story featuring the Mordian Iron Guard. When troopers of the Mordian 15th uncover a nest of genestealers on the agri-world of Malvolion, it becomes a race against time to evacuate the population before the inevitable waves of tyranid monstrosities descend upon the planet to feed. Malvolion is well defended, but against the tyranid hordes even the staunchest Imperial defenders are hard pressed.
Issue Five of the Warhammer 40,000 Legends Collection from Hachette and Black Library returns to the Horus Heresy with Horus Rising by Dan Abnett. The opening novel of the Heresy series, first published ten years ago, this is where it all began for what’s become the biggest and most popular series that Black Library have ever published. After a further 40+ novels (and counting) this is still generally held as one of the series high points, and is an obvious entry in the …Legends Collection.
It’s day one of Black Library’s 2016 Advent Calendar, and the first story is Perpetual by Dan Abnett, a Horus Heresy audio drama. Continuing the story of Oll Persson, first introduced in Know No Fear, it picks up where the short story Unmarked (in Mark of Calth) left off with Oll and his companions journeying through time and space in search of Terra, only now they’re becalmed, unable to go forward. Time is passing – not normally an issue for a Perpetual, but with his mission to complete and dangerous foes in pursuit, Oll knows he will have to find a way to keep moving eventually…
Issue 2 of Hachette’s Warhammer 40,000 Legends partwork series features a stone-cold 40k classic in the shape of Xenos by Dan Abnett. Originally published way back in 2001 and intended to tie in with Games Workshop’s latest game Inquisitor, it subsequently spawned two more books to complete the Eisenhorn trilogy, several short stories and audio dramas, a further trilogy featuring Eisenhorn’s protégé Ravenor, one book of a potential further trilogy (Pariah, which may or may not end up with two more novels to form a third trilogy), and computer game. Suffice to say it’s been quite popular.