We've managed to pin down the authors of the first three storming novels in the Horus Heresy series - Dan Abnett, Graham McNeill and Ben Counter - and asked them their thoughts on the Horus Heresy series.
We're kicking off with Dan Abnett.
. What are the main differences between the Imperium of the current Warhammer 40,000 timeline and that of the Horus Heresy?
Dan: It's very similar, except it's more positive. There is a grandeur and a sense of genuine, progressive energy at work. This is a young and vital empire. For all it's scope and scale, the Imperium of 40k is stationary and moribund. The struggle is just to preserve what is rather than to expand. In 30K, it's an age of expansion and enlightenment. It's kind of sad to see what they lose in terms of ambition and ideals.
. Your special effects budget is effectively infinite, how did you go about conveying the sheer epic scale of the Horus Heresy conflict?
Dan: I used a bigger than usual pen.
. In a nutshell, give us a rundown of your novel Horus Rising.
Dan: Mine's the set-up, Graham's is the fall, and Ben's is the moment when the lit fuse reaching the powder keg. My job was to establish the climate and times and 'feel' of the 30K universe, and set up some of the principal characters, plus seed in some doubts and gathering, ominous plot lines. Graham said that I 'put a lot of balls up in the air for him to hit". And he meant that in a nice way. I guess my book is a primer for the whole cycle.
. Horus is the ultimate bad guy, but we've seen that this wasn't always so. Do you think that his downfall was inevitable or is he basically a good guy lured/pushed towards evil?
Dan: Everything's inevitable. Or is it? Maybe his story is a genuine tragedy of a great man brought low by a tiny flaw that permitted corruption. It's possible to read the story that way, there's certainly some pushing and shoving by others. Equally, you can say that he was a flawed character to begin with, and it was just a matter of time before he climbed the proverbial water tower. There is a third view: like Lucifer, like Leviathan, like Judas, he is just a necessary instrument, neither good nor bad. Destiny needed him so it could accomplish a greater whole. In the great scheme of things, it is essential that someone falls. Horus is an instrument of fate.
. Being the author of the Gaunt's Ghosts novels, do you root for the loyalist forces or the hordes of Chaos?
Dan: I'm on the battlements of the Palace with Dorn and the Fists, me. But the bad guys get all the best lines.
. Is this reflected in your storytelling?
Dan: I don't think so. In my novel, the forces behind the fall are so exotic, so unknown, they're not even perceived as evil at first. The characters in my book aren't necessarily good or bad, though you may guess (or know) where the centrifugal whirl of the Heresy is going to drag them.
. Can you give us any glimpses of your upcoming projects for BL Publishing?
Dan: I'm midway through the next Gaunt - The Armour of Contempt, which will be followed this year by the third Ravenor - Ravenor Rogue, and, by popular demand, the sequel to Double Eagle, which will be called Interceptor City. There's also an Iron Snakes Space Marine novel on its way, and my Warhammer pirate novel, Fell Cargo just came out. That was so much fun to write. There's a couple of other secret projects that I'm not allowed to talk about yet because they're... well, secret.