Know No Fear Trailer

A little slow off the mark with this one but here’s a rather groovy trailer for the upcoming Horus Heresy novel Know No Fear by Dan Abnett.

An extract from Know No Fear can be found here.

You can also read my interview with Dan Abnett, including a bit of goss about Know No Fear here.

Know No Fear

Over on the Games Workshop website someone thoroughly nice put up an extract of Dan Abnett’s forth coming Kniw No Fear from the Horus Heresy series.

And because I’m thoroughly nice, I’ve knicked it and put it up here:

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Roboute Guilliman returns to Ultramar to muster his Legion for war against the orks massing in the Veridian system.

Without warning, their supposed allies in the Word Bearers Legion launch a devastating invasion of Calth, scattering the Ultramarines fleet and slaughtering all who stand in their way. This confirms the worst scenario Guilliman can imagine – Lorgar means to settle their bitter rivalry once and for all.

As the traitors summon foul daemonic hosts and all the forces of Chaos, the Ultramarines are drawn into a grim and deadly struggle in which neither side can prevail.

— –

Guilliman steps onto the hololithic plate as it starts to come to life. The tiered stations of the flagship’s bridge rise up around the vast plate like the stalls of an amphitheatre.
Light blooms around him. Figures resolve, there but not there at all. Light has been captured, folded and twisted to give the illusion of reality.
Guilliman knows that, somewhere, millions of kilometres
away, other deck systems are fabricating images of him out of light. He is appearing as a hololithic presence on the lithocast decks of other stages, for the benefit of the august commanders whose ghosts are manifesting to him here. One in particular.
‘My worthy brother!’ Lorgar exclaims. He steps forward to greet Guilliman.
The simulation is remarkable. Though luminous, there is true density and solidity to his flesh and his armour. There is no lag to his audio, no desynchronisation between mouth and sound.
‘I did not expect to meet you like this,’ Lorgar says. His grey eyes are bright. ‘In person, so I could embrace you. This seems premature. I was informed of your request. I have had no time to dress in ceremonial attire-‘
‘Brother, ‘ says Guilliman. ‘You see that I greet you in regular battleplate too. There will be time for personal greeting and full dress ceremony when you arrive. You are just a few hours out now?’
‘Decelerating fast,’ Lorgar replies. He looks at someone not caught inside the hololithic field of his bridge. ‘The
shipmaster says five hours.’
‘We will meet together then, you and your commanders. Me and mine.’ Guilliman looks at the warlords whose images have appeared around Lorgar’s . They are all connecting from different ships. He’ d forgotten the imposing bulk of Argel Tal. The lipless sneer of Foedral Fell. The predatory curiosity of Hol Beloth. The hunched gloom of Kor Phaeron.
The lightless smile of Erebus.
‘Some of you are already here,’ Guilliman notes.
‘I am, sir,’ says Erebus.
‘We will meet shortly, then,’ says Guilliman.
Erebus inclines his head, more an accepting bow of the
head than a nod.
‘My vessel is entering orbit,’ says Kor Phaeron.
‘Welcome to Calth, ‘ says Guilliman.
The light phantoms salute him.
‘I’ ve asked for this brief communication,’ Guilliman says, ‘to discuss a small technical matter. I do not wish it to mar our formal conjunction, nor do I wish it to create problems for your fleet during approach and dispersal.’
‘A problem?’ asks Kor Phaeron.
There’s a stiffness to them, suddenly. Guilliman feels it, even though they are only present as handfuls of light. When they first appeared, he realises, they seemed like a pack of dogs, padding into the firelight, teeth bared in smiles that were also snarls, gleefully inquisitive. Now they seem like wild animals that he should never have brought so close to the hearth.
The Word Bearers have been fighting brutal, heathen wars of compliance in the ragged skirts of the Imperium. They’ve been fighting them dutifully and ferociously for decades, since that fateful day on Monarchia that changed the relationship between XIII and XVII forever. There is something coarsely barbaric about them. They have none of the praetorian nobility of Guilliman’s men. They don’t even evince the passionate devotion of their misguided days.
They look sullen, world- weary, as though they have seen
everything it is possible to see and are tired of it. They look hardened. They look as though all compassion and
compunction have been drained out of them. They look like they would kill without provocation.
‘A problem, lord?’ Argel Tal repeats.
‘A machine code problem,’ Guilliman replies. ‘The
Mechanicum has advised me. There is a malicious scrapcode problem in the Calth datasphere. We’re working to eradicate it. I wanted you to be aware of it, and to take steps accordingly.’
‘That could have been summarised in a databurst, sir,’
remarks Foedral Fell.
‘A connected matter,’ Guilliman says carefully, ‘is that the source of the scrapcode remains unidentified. There is a strong possibility that it is a data artifact that has been inadvertently brought in from outside the Calth system.’
‘From outside?’ asks Lorgar.
‘From elsewhere,’ Guilliman agrees.
There’s a look in Lorgar’s eyes that Guilliman hoped never to see again. It’s hurt and it’ s anger, but it’ s also injured pride.
Lorgar raises his hand and draws it across his neck in a cut-throat gesture. It takes Guilliman a moment to realise that it’ s not a provocation, a curt insult.
The hololithic images of his officers and commanders freeze.
Only Lorgar’s remains live. He takes a step towards
Guilliman.
‘I have suspended their transmissions so we may speak
plainly,’ he says. ‘Plainly and clearly. After all that has passed between us and our Legions, after all that has been toxic these last years, after all the effort to engineer this campaign as a reconciliation… your first act is to accuse us of tainting
you with scrapcode? Of… what? Of being so careless in our data hygiene we have infected your precious datasystem with some outworld code- pox?’
‘Brother, ‘ Guilliman begins.
Lorgar gestures to the frozen light ghosts around them.
‘How much humiliation do you intend to heap upon these men? They want only to please you. To earn the respect of the great Roboute Guilliman, a respect they have been lacking these last decades. It matters what you think of them.’
‘Lorgar -‘
‘They’ ve come to prove themselves! To show they are
worthy to fight alongside the majestic Ultramarines! The
warrior-kings of Ultramar! This conjunction, this campaign, it’ s a point of the highest honour! It matters to them! It matters very much! They have waited years for this honour to be restored!’
‘I meant no insult.’
‘Really?’ Lorgar laughs.
‘None at all. Brother Lorgar Aurelian, why else would I have communicated informally? If I’d saved this matter to sully our ceremonial greeting, then you might have considered it an insult. A private word, between trusted commanders.
That’s all this is. You know scrapcode can develop
anywhere, and adhere to the most carefully maintained
systems. This could be us, this could be you, it could be an
error from our datastacks, it could be some xeno code that’s been stuck to your systems like a barnacle since you left the outworlds. There’s no blame. We just need to acknowledge the problem and work together to cleanse it.’
Lorgar stares at him. Guilliman notes just how thoroughly his brother’ s flesh is covered with inked words.
‘This was not meant to spoil our long- overdue reunion,’
Guilliman says. ‘This was my attempt to stop the reunion
being spoiled.’
Lorgar nods. He purses his lips, then flashes a smile.
‘I see.’
He nods again, the smile flickering in and out. He raises a palm to his mouth. Laughs.
‘I see. Then very well. I should not have spoken that way.’
‘I should have been more circumspect,’ replies Guilliman. ‘I can see how it might have seemed.’
‘We’ ll check our systems, ‘ says Lorgar. His smile is back. He nods once more, as if convincing himself.
‘I should have been more circumspect,’ Guilliman insists.
‘No, you’re right. There is clearly a tension here that needs to be overcome. An expectation. ‘ Lorgar looks at him.
‘I’ ll get to it. We’ll see if we can trace the code. And then we will meet, brother. In just a few hours now, we will meet, and everything will be put right.’
‘I look forward to it,’ says Guilliman. ‘We will stand side-by-side, we will take down this ork threat that our brother Warmaster has identified, and then history will be rewritten between us.’
‘I hope so.’
‘It will be so, brother. If I had not believed that the
unfortunate rift between our Legions could not be healed by good society and the companionship of shared martial effort, I would not have agreed to this. We will be the best of allies, Lorgar. You and I, and our mighty Legions. Horus will be pleased, and the Emperor – our father – will smile, and old slights will be forgotten.’
Lorgar smiles.
‘They will be forgotten completely. They will be put to rest,’ he says.

An Interview with Dan Abnett

Yes that’s right folks, a chat with the big man, the king, the don of Science Fiction. I’m so happy that I set this blog up that I could kiss myself…ahem…

So, anyway, 10 questions with the man responsible for my passion for the 40k Universe, my own love  of writing, and why the bookshelf in my games room is going to collapse any day now…

TSC: I’ve heard a couple of different stories of how you came across the Games Workshop and the 40k Universe and then put pen to paper/fingers to keyboard and created the awesome Gaunt’s Ghosts. Can you tell me how it really happened?

Dan: It was about 1996. I was an established freelance writer (mainly comics), and I had a long-standing interest in RPGs, so I knew all about GW and 40K, though I hadn’t played much – D&D and Traveller had been my games (TSC: For shame!). Black Library was just being set up, and they were looking for likely people, and the artist David Pugh had seen a Conan I’d done for Marvel and suggested me. So, I got an invite to write… comics first, then short fiction, then novels.

TSC: And the rest, as they say, is history. How much planning went into Gaunt’s Ghosts and had you always intended for it to be a long running series?

Dan: At the start, none. I think the first Gaunt short was the second or third thing I wrote, and it was just an exercise in finding a way into 40K. The first stories were shorts for Inferno. I chose Imperial Guard  because I didn’t have a handle on Space marines, and I wanted ‘real’ humans. It just grew from there. Needless to say since, ooh, Necropolis, there’s been a LOT of planning.

TSC: Once those fine Tanith chaps were established you wrote the Eisenhorn & Ravenor trilogies which are, to this day, 6 of the best books I’ve ever read. Am I right in saying the Bequin trilogy is in the pipeline? Can you tell us anything about it?

Dan: Thank you. Yes, that’s my job for the start of this year, the first Bequin book. It’s called Pariah. The Bequin trilogy will conclude the Inquisitor books, so you’ll have a trilogy of trilogies. Each trilogy lifts to prominence a character from the previous one, though this is also “Eisenhorn versus Ravenor”.

TSC: Eisenhorn verses Ravenor? Okay, awesome… The hugely successful Prospero Burns redefined the Space Wolves legion, from their culture to their place in the galaxy. How did you go about creating such a vibrant group whilst still holding true to what had already been established in existing canon?

Dan: Honestly? A lot of hard work and research, balancing established canon with the way I needed or wanted them to feel. There were things I simply couldn’t do because it would take them too far away from what Space Wolves are. Don’t get me wrong, I love Space Wolves, but – like Orks – they’re great on the gaming table and harder to make ‘work‘ in straight-faced fiction.

TSC: I’d agree with that. And you didn’t a cracking job. Although you have totally ruined the Ragnar Blackmane books for me forever. Know No Fear is your next Horus Heresy title out in March 2012 and being an Ultramarines player I can’t wait. Are you able to give us a few of the juicy details we won’t see on the Black Library website?

Dan: It’s the biggest, loudest and most violent BL book I’ve ever written. It’s bolter porn…in the best way (TSC: Is there a bad kind?). Shooty death kill on Calth. Ultramarines versus Word Bearers. I was exhausted by the time I’d finished writing it. It felt like I’d been yelling all the time. I thought it was too much… but the BL staff went a little nuts when they read it. I think they liked it.

TSC: Sounds awesome. Reading that might give me the kick up the bum I need to paint my 1st & 5th companies…maybe. On of the things I’ve always admired in your work is your ability to create engaging characters…and then kill them off. Are these dramatic exits planned or is it more organic than that?

Dan: Sometimes they’re planned. Sometimes they’re necessary. Sometimes they just happen. These are war stories. If people didn’t die, there’d be something wrong. And if only people who weren’t interesting died, there’d be something dishonest.

TSC: Tell that to Bragg… You’re talent has meant you’ve got to work on a variety of IPs including DC, Marvel, 2000AD, Doctor Who and, of course the Games Workshop. Do you ever find it hard jumping between universes and have you ever inadvertently had IP cross-over?

Dan: Sometimes, with high-laaarious results. On the whole, moving between ‘franchises’ (including my own for Angry Robot), keeps my imagination fresh and stops me getting bogged down.

TSC: My argument with the wife over my ten or twelve hobbies. Doesn’t seem to work with me… Anyway, considering everything you’ve written, what’s the book or story you’re most proud of?

Dan: Eisenhorn. Or my 17 year run on Sinister Dexter for 2000AD. Or Guardians of the Galaxy. Or Necropolis. Or Legion. I dunno.

TSC: All good choices and all brought something different to the table. Out of the 3 Black Library novels you suggested I couldn’t pick a favourite. What’s the one thing you’d like to work on that you haven’t yet had the chance?

Dan: That’s hard to say, but the one big franchise I’ve never worked on at all is Star Wars…

TSC: I’m sure George would give you a pop at the franchise. You might be able to undo some of the damage done over the recent years. Finally, and because I have to ask, what advice would you give someone wanting to follow in your footsteps?

Dan: Read a lot. Write a lot. Be confident in your own ability, but don’t be deaf to the remarks of others. Grow a thick skin.

TSC: The latter point I could certainly benefit from with my work. And finishing something too… Thank you for taking the time Dan, I really appreciate it.

Keep your eyes peeled on the Black Library website for Dan’s upcoming releases and read his book, Embedded because it’s awesome.