Aaron Dembski-Bowden

Don't worry. None of this blood is mine.

Brett Duckley, Agent to the Stars

The First Heretic hits the halfway mark this week. There’s still a chance it’ll be the length of Horus Rising rather than Fulgrim.

I didn’t really notice the chapter headings much in the previous Heresy books, but conversely, it’s one of the things I’m having the most fun playing about with. I like the teasing snippets of what’s to come, which isn’t as clever as some decent foreshadowing, but is still just a little bit haunting if you nail it right. I can show the first six chapters, but I think it gets into spoiler territory if I go into the seventh and beyond. (I’m on the eleventh at the moment.) With that in mind:

—   —   —

The Perfect City / False Angels / Day of Judgement

Serrated Sun / Devastation / Aurelian

Blood Demands Blood / Sigillite / The Master of Mankind

A Legion Kneels / If Ultramar Burns / Grey

Voice of the Emperor / New Eyes / The Soul’s Fuel

The Old Ways / Never Human / End this World

—   —   —

Now, onto business. There’s been a few  developments rattling around behind the scenes of The Aaron Show since I last crossed paths with a human being that wasn’t my fiancee. The fact is, I’m tired of dealing with you. I’m a professional now, and it’s time to act like one. I’m doing what Marketing wants. I’m focusing on hitting deadlines instead of hitting readers in the solar plexuses (plexus…es? Plexi? Plexiius…) with construction hammers, and I’m taking classes to learn how to smile without blood smeared all over my lips.

To that end, I’ve hired an agent.

An agent is useful for many things, such as telling my editor Nick: “Uh, it’s almost finished, just need one more week”, or replying to the many beautiful women that send me photos of themselves in their underwear. I’d do those things myself, but frankly, I’m enslaved to do a job, and it’s time to get it done.

So for the rest of this entry, the questions that people won’t shut the fuck up about will be answered by my agent, Brett Duckley, from Duckley & Pondsworth Literary Services.

“Hi, kids.”
  • Aaron said he’d never do a Night Lords novel in the Horus Heresy. What’s the deal with that?

Ha, yeah, he’s a joker. Listen, babe. Wait… are you a girl? Whatever. Listen, babe. I see where you’re coming from. I really do. But you have to understand, when my client said he’d never do a Night Lords book, he was really, really drunk. And high, too. He walked in the wrong circles for a while, y’know? He was hanging out with these Red India– uh, Native American shaman guys, and he was rocked off his balls on this weird whiskey made from buffalo milk, as well as some really brutal peyote.

I’m not even kidding. He tried to fucking scalp me with a tomahawk axe he found in his car. “Stay cool,'” I told him. “It’s me, man. It’s Brett. I’m just a duck.”

So let’s just say that he came back to Earth and changed his mind. We’ll leave it at that. His next Horus Heresy book will probably be a Night Lords book, set in the Age of Darkness period – the several years after the Dropsite Massacres and before the Siege of Terra.

He likes the name The Shadow Crusade (or The Silent Crusade), but doubts Marketing will, because they never like his names. He wanted Soul Hunter to be called In Midnight Clad.

And no, he doesn’t think that’s gay. Shut the hell up.

  • Does he still want to write a new Grey Knights series?

Obviously, I can neither confirm nor deny whether it’s happening at this stage, but let’s just say that my client – according to the man himself – is “reasonably certain” he can nail this one down, and that if he did get a shot at “the Grey fucking Knights, man” then he’d be writing it “like, I don’t know, next year maybe”.

  • Will Book X have Character Y in it, from author Z’s book?

I like you, kid. So this one’s for free: That question? That question you asked right there? My client finds that literally the most bastardly annoying question in the world. If you want to finish this interview with your balls attached to your body, you should probably stop asking it. Different writers have different interpretations of the 40K setting. Just… just get over it. We can still be friends.

  • What short stories does he have out this year?

Too many. This is killing his novel flow, for real.

  1. ‘At Gaius Point’ is in Legends of the Space Marines, and is about the Flesh Tearers.
  2. ‘The Core’ is in Fear the Alien, and features First Claw, from Soul Hunter.
  3. Throne of Lies is his audiobook, also featuring First Claw.
  4. ‘Regicide’ is his story for the Sabbat Worlds Anthology, which is almost finished.
  5. ‘Savage Weapons’ is his story for the Horus Heresy anthology, Age of Darkness.
  6. His story for the working-titled ‘Favourite Recipes of the Space Marines’ may or may not have a working title itself, and that title may or may not be ‘Despoiler’.
  7. …and a secret one, too.
  • I emailed him to ask if Loken was alive, but he never answered.

Jesus feathery Christ, boy. Let’s clear this up, shall we? My client is tired of being messaged on Facebook about this. He’s tired of the emails. He’s sick of the private messages on Warseer, Bolter & Chainsword, and Heresy Online. Mostly, he needs to stay the fuck off those forums, because they take up too much time and he needs to be writing instead of image-searching for Black Templar conversions. Lazy bastard. But whatever. Let’s wrap this bad boy up once and for all.

Loken is alive. Dan Abnett has said so himself, in terms as plain as my client’s first girlfriend. Stop asking. Just… just stop asking. If you keep asking, my client will be forced to choke some people, and really, no one needs that. No one wants to die by his hands. He’s a man of peace now. He’s done killing.

For the record, at his first Horus Heresy meeting, my client argued that it looked too much like Loken had died in Galaxy in Flames, and it wasn’t written vaguely enough for a convincing return. Ol’ Loken’s story looked finished. But this goes above one little opinion. Loken was always intended to survive, which is why Dan says on his videos and at numerous signings that “Loken is alive” and “Loken was always intended to survive”. So stop asking me. I mean… Aaron. Stop asking Aaron. Yes.

  • Aaron’s cat is called Loken. Are you suuuuuuure you’re not being vague and playing a trick on us?

What are you, a masochist? Look at me. I’m a duck. Just looking at a duck makes people happy. Why aren’t you happy? Why do you keep asking these mentalist questions? Aaron’s cat is alive, and so is Garviel Loken, the Horus Heresy character. Now stop going on about it.

  • How will Loken return?

Shut the hell up. That’s how.

  • What mandatory public appearances will Aaron be making in the near future?

As few as possible. He leaves his house three times a day. Firstly, for an hour, to drive Katie to work. Secondly, for half an hour, to beat up his punchbag. Thirdly, to pick Katie up from the playgroup/school/child-building where she looks after stunted Irish goblins.

Apart from those necessary adventures, he’ll be in Chicago at the end of the month for Adepticon, and maybe in Belfast/Dublin at the GW stores, if Marketing can talk him into it. But they probably can’t. He wants to beat up his punchbag and play D&D with his friends instead.

  • What advice can he give a new writer?

My client feels that needs an entire post to itself, and will likely be done next week, now that these annoying questions are done with.


Brett Duckley – Duckley & Pondsworth Literary Services.

March 2, 2010 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , ,


  1. Hhahaha omg I just love your answers to questions like this. 😄

    Comment by Forkmaster | March 2, 2010 | Reply

  2. Since Mr Duckley doesn’t seem to have his own web site, I’ve decided to reach him here.

    Well, Brett – may I call you Brett? – I have to say you are exactly the kind of duck I’ve been looking for. I feel that your straight-to-the-heart-of-the-matter no-nonsense approach is so refreshingly different enough that I would seriously consider hiring you myself.

    You’re the Duck, Brett.

    Comment by Nick | March 2, 2010 | Reply

  3. But I don’t want Loken to be alive.


    But First Claw short in Fear the Alien makes me happy inside.

    Comment by Xhalax | March 2, 2010 | Reply

    • Neither did I, but I came around quickly at that first HH meeting, largely because of what Dan said about what Loken was always supposed to get up to, post-Dropsite Massacre.

      But yeah, beforehand, I was all “It reads too much like he’s dead, without a doubt” and “It serves the tragedy storyline with him being dead”, etc.

      Comment by aarondembskibowden | March 2, 2010 | Reply

      • Well that whole ‘blast in the face’ thing was part of it….the rest, and
        biggest part of why I want him dead dead dead is just that I don’t really like him.

        Compare to other members o the Mournaval (or however you spell it) be was a little dull. Though I understand why he is the way he is, that doesn’t mean I have to like him. And it always boils down to “Why wasn’t it Torgaddon instead?”

        But I guess you’d have to have been there to be taken in. But I still feel a pout coming on.

        Comment by Xhalax | March 2, 2010

  4. First of all:
    Aaron, you should’ve scalped the Black Library twits.
    “In Midnight Clad” would have been a PERFECT title for the opening novel of your Night Lords series, with “Soul Hunters” as the follow-up.

    Comment by Nick Risley | March 2, 2010 | Reply

    • Naw. I think they had a point. While BL does tend to sort of… underestimate… its readership, especially their average age, I think Marketing were dead right about the name for the first in the series. It needed to be short and violent. More “cool” than deep, I guess.

      Comment by aarondembskibowden | March 2, 2010 | Reply

      • But are they going with more “deep” than “cool” for the second book in the series?

        Comment by Bill | March 2, 2010

      • In Midnight Clad sounds more like the title for a short story.

        Comment by Xhalax | March 2, 2010

      • That’s true. “In Midnight Clad” just has a gorgeous tone to it, but I might be biased. “In Amber Clad” was my favorite level from the Halo games, and it’s stuck with me since then.

        Maybe slip it past the BL goons as a Night Lords vessel’s name?

        Comment by Nick Risley | March 2, 2010

  5. Just finished Soul Hunter and had to apply to the “Become an Aaron Fan Boy” club! Excellent book sir! You deserve much beer in Chicago should Mr. Duckley convince the black library folk to let you out for some.

    Comment by Bill | March 2, 2010 | Reply

  6. Well, I hope First heretic will be as long as fulgrim. The more pages the better I suppose ……..

    It would be nice to get some extra pages, because we still have only 3 heresy books this year ( because prospero burns has moved to januari ).

    Comment by Bastiaan Vergoossen | March 2, 2010 | Reply

  7. “He wants to beat up his punchbag and play D&D with his friends instead.” Yay!

    “In Midnight Clad”
    Might work for an Inkkubus Sukkubus album, but not for a novel.

    Now, we’ve established that both Lokens are alive, is the cat one any better behaved? Read that as, is my face safe?

    Also, in them there chapter headings, are you deliberately dropping Dark Angels hints, knowing that none of the old 1st legion appear? “False Angels,” “Voice of the Emperor?” More about the shifty Lord Cypher or just lies and deception to muddy the water?

    Looks like I’m getting Legends of Space Marines, too. Incidently, I’ve still got half a Flesh Tearer bike dude in my bits box that you left at my old flat in St. Annes. Ah, painting night, listening to OMD. It was almost enough to keep me sane.

    Comment by G | March 2, 2010 | Reply

    • G, when you regain gainful employment, you should consider joining the army-raising fools among us for 40K weekends. Looks like a nice crowd building up, and any excuse to hang out with you is a welcome one.

      Plus, you wouldn’t play fucking Space Marines like everyone else.

      Comment by aarondembskibowden | March 2, 2010 | Reply

  8. Hey any shot you’ll have an army with you in Chicago? It would be great see you out playing games and not just doing readings (you reading at the BL Live was classic by the way) and signings.

    Any shot you’d be interested in doing some podcasting too?

    Comment by HuronBH | March 2, 2010 | Reply

    • I’m still cutting my new army from sprues, and gluing them together. While they’ll definitely be raised (this time…), it won’t be in time for Chicago.

      I’d be cool to do a podcast or two (I think some are being lined up already), though I can’t guarantee how eloquent I’ll be.

      Comment by aarondembskibowden | March 3, 2010 | Reply

      • That is to bad you won’t have an army with you, I was hoping to see you on the table playing as I always enjoy seeing how those that influence and are associated with the hobbies we all love enjoy those hobbies themselves. And it’s clear you were a 40K fan like the rest of us before BL and as I am sure you still are now.

        So about Podcasting. I’m one of the Hosts of a new Podcast called Gamers Lounge. We are a hobby centric Podcast based on promoting Sportsmanship and fair play when playing 40k. Now that is not stay we don’t enjoy playing competitive hard fought games, just that there is no need to be a dick while you are doing it. So far we only have one episode published but by Adepticon there will be 3 out there and we will be bring our gear to Adepticon to hopefully get some material for episode 4. You can find us on iTunes or the Gamers Lounge blog at http://gamerslounge.coda.net.

        We’d love, if you had sometime to sit down with us and get your take on 40K and working in the gaming industry. I also would be interested in having you jump in on one of our topics for Episode 4 and share your thoughts on the matter and your take. We can work out what that topic might be before the show so you can “prepare” if you want.

        Our schedule is flexible and we would love to have you on.

        Comment by HuronBH | March 3, 2010

  9. Glad to hear you’re coming to chicago! Right in my hometown! I’m getting my ticket to Adepticon this year, as i always do and Speaking of the Heresy-Online shout-out. lol I did send you the start of the interview that we were corresponding about. You still interested?

    Comment by Commissar Ploss | March 2, 2010 | Reply

  10. Bring on First Heretic! Really looking forward to seeing what you do with the Heresy lark. Also very keen to keep reading the shorts you have planned too. Bring them all on!

    Comment by Tim Kenyon | March 2, 2010 | Reply

    • Well there’s one in Heroes of the Space Marines.

      Comment by Xhalax | March 2, 2010 | Reply

      • I’m working on it!

        Comment by Tim Kenyon | March 2, 2010

  11. I just finished soul hunter, and you son of a …

    you managed to make me think kindly of the Night lords…
    you made them inspirational for potential hobby projects, the same way how Dan Abnett managed to make Imperial guard my main 40k army.

    Comment by Jerry | March 2, 2010 | Reply

  12. You are the worst sort of bastard! One of the few times you’re in the states in a region near me and I’m going to be on another fucking part of the continent?

    Seriously, you and your dick moves. I hope you slip on the stairs and smash your teeth!

    By now I hope you realize that I’m joking and that while I regret not meeting up with you while you are in Chicago, I do hope we can meet up again! 😉

    Still I get to go to PAX so it’s not all bad.

    Comment by John the Great | March 2, 2010 | Reply

    • Also, I like your new agent. Maybe he’ll add a sense of class to your work that has previously been missing since RotF!

      Comment by John the Great | March 2, 2010 | Reply

  13. Never, ever think you shouldn’t write. You are a very, very good writer and have a lot to tell. Please, please don’t give it up. I will cross all my fingers, toes, eyes etc that you get it all back. But, if you don’t, maybe wait a while and then get back to re-writing the lost part.

    Comment by Bolanka | March 2, 2010 | Reply

  14. Dear Mr. Duckley

    Would you represent me as well? You come highly recommended, although many people have said ‘he overcharges – have you seen the size of his last bill’?


    Sarah Cawkwell

    Comment by pyroriffic | March 2, 2010 | Reply

  15. Like I said before I think Soul Hunter was terrific and it is a no brainer for them to give you a shot at them for the HH series.
    I said you were going to be doing more than 3 Night Lord books.
    And I think In Midnight Clad is the classier title.

    Comment by Bigwill | March 3, 2010 | Reply

  16. Brett darling, what you doing representing this schmoozer? I don’t know what he’s said to you to convince you he’s going places but not even you can make this kid a star. All you’ll get is hassle. Take the dosh and waddle Brett this guy is bad news I’m telling you. I’ll get my people to phone your people we have to do lunch some time. Love to your mother.

    Comment by schaferlord | March 3, 2010 | Reply

  17. Two words: duck job.

    Comment by Ilmarinen | March 3, 2010 | Reply

  18. Some items for Aaron’s wish list can be found in this comic


    Comment by Jerry | March 4, 2010 | Reply

  19. That duck is way too kewl for just an agent.

    Should use him as your familiar 😉

    Comment by Sam Spiteri | March 5, 2010 | Reply

  20. Hey Aaron. I’m gonna admit, i haven’t read any of your stuff. To be honest, after the Guard ‘series’ of 15 Hours, Rebel Winter and the like, I thought that your Cadian novel would simply be another marginally above average offering to placate Guard fans, because obviously not enough authors write about them.

    However, came on your blog on a link from Dan’s, and, well, you strike me as a fairly awesome guy. In Flames? Excellent man, favourite album? Also, i burst out laughing several times while reading down, particularly loved the horoscopes.
    What with this, plus my friend going on about Cadian Blood every time I’ve seen him for the past…century or so, I’ll be picking up a copy next time I’m near a workshop, and probably Soul Hunters as well.

    Not entirely sure what the point of this was…just wanted to say that, well, having a blog this funny and well written has gained you a new fan, without even reading any of your books. That sounds a little odd, but anyone who can make me laugh that hard in twenty mintues or so definately deserves a read, at least.

    Thanks for the laugh mate, I’ll be looking out Cadian Blood next time I see it. Keep up the good work. 🙂

    Comment by TheLieutenant | March 7, 2010 | Reply

  21. “Savage Weapons’ is his story for the Horus Heresy anthology, Age of Darkness.”

    I know im a bit late to the party here… but when was this shit announced?

    Or is it some lame ass joke?

    Or a fuckup by your dumbass of an agent?

    Comment by Ragnar blackmane | March 18, 2010 | Reply

  22. Wait, what?!?! Loken is alive?!?! You mean I can stop mourning his loss now? Man, I grow way to attached to book characters. Heh. Stupid vivid imagination. I’d be happy though because in my imagination Loken survived anyway. That’s how I roll. I don’t like the ending of a book? Pfft, I just change it in my mind.

    And boy, I’d be extremely excited to have a HH novel about the Night Lords. There’s so much awesomeness about them.

    You know who doesn’t get enough love though? The Imperial Fists. Seriously. I mean a chapter with something as badass as a pain glove deserves much more than 2 books.

    Comment by dorian | October 25, 2010 | Reply

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