Aaron Dembski-Bowden

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

Night Lords Ruminations

I got mail today asking about the Night Lords story in Fear the Alien, regarding why “it’s so weird”. That’s a quote, like. Hence the quotation marks.

Allow me to explain.

The story, called ‘The Core’, was sort of part-experiment, part-risk, part-gimmick. It was a gimmick in the sense that it links to another story in the anthology, and it was a gimmick in the sense that it’s set after Blood Reaver, meaning it has spoilers for what happens in the next Night Lords novel. Apparently, and I’m quoting, “This is a bit too weird.”

I’m not going to argue that point. It is pretty weird. I also wanted to try to write a short story tied into another story’s plot (which was a struggle, actually) and I wanted to do a story that – for once – wasn’t clever or twisty, and was just a solid A to B situation, showing familiar characters and basically helping people get to know them a little better. But what matters here are the spoilers, so let’s deal with those.

Blood Reaver will have some pretty massive and story-changing revelations. Soul Hunter set First Claw and co. up, and in true, classic second-act style, everything is going to go to Hell in Blood Reaver. The opening trilogy is essentially about the Night Lords doing all they can to get back to the Eye of Terror, and survive well enough to make existence, and vengeance, worthwhile. Soul Hunter showed that they were in pretty dire straits where that was concerned. In Blood Reaver, everything gets worse. They have to fight harder, take a long look at just how corrupt they may or may not be, consider the Legion’s future, and weigh up the merits of betraying before they are betrayed.

Add to that, the fact that it’s based around the Fall of Vilamus – when the Red Corsairs and Night Lords lay siege to the fortress-monastery of the Marines Errant – and you can probably guess that things are going to get a bit nasty.

Now, seeing as I knew all of this beforehand, I was careful with the stuff I showed in ‘The Core’. The “spoilers” that were “too weird” in the Fear the Alien story are all basically things I would (and will) say when it comes time to discuss the novel, anyway. Reading ‘The Core’ will show some pretty significant changes have occurred, but none of the major revelations from Blood Reaver are spoiled. I’m not that mental.

Incidentally, ‘The Core’ won’t be in any future Night Lord anthology. It was a very fun gimmick, but I’d rather the anthology stories answered the really tricky questions, like the kind of training Talos went through (as in ‘Shadow Knight’); what happened to Secondus; or how Talos stole the Blade of Angels. In short, the really inspired stuff. For the rumoured Favourite Recipes of the Space Marines, I’m thinking of doing something that I get a lot of mail about – like the aforementioned Blade of Angels scenario.

I have the Blood Reaver cover, by the way. It’s even better than Soul Hunter.

Oh, yes.

July 19, 2010 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , ,


  1. Aaron, my name is James Gray and I live in Canada. I am an avid Warhammer 40k/Horus Heresy novel reader and I am currently in the middle of reading Soul Hunter (with Blood Reaver in the mail). I must say I am a huge fan of how you write, especially how you turn such traitorous characters such as Talos and the members of First Claw into likeable characters. You can’t help but feel for Talos, laugh when Xarl or Cyrion make a remark, and feel for Uzas who is slowly becoming corrupted. If I may make a suggestion of something I would really love to see in one of your books? I would like to see an interaction between Zso Sahaal (Talonmaster), Talos & First Claw, Krieg Acerbus, and the Exalted in one way or another. I think it would be an interesting mixing of storylines. Let me know your thoughts if you can, otherwise keep up the amazing authorship and I will continue to read. Death to the False Emperor.

    Comment by James Gray | May 23, 2011 | Reply

  2. loving soul hunter im about half way thru. konrad curze has always been far and away my favourite of all the primarchs and by extension his genetic sons. they have always had a kind of frank miller batman vibe to them that i love. im just wondering is there any chance we will see a nightlords novel within the heresy series? savage weapons, the dark king and the first heretic have only given us glimpes of the night haunter and how truly bad ass he is. corax is terrified of him, the lion couldnt get the best of him despite the sucker punch and he gave dorn a whipping like he was his daddy. You my good sir shud petition the paymasters at black library and claim this project for yourself. Aaron my man your the only one who can do it justice.

    Comment by Stuart Hynes | June 19, 2011 | Reply

  3. Zso Sahaal, write about him.

    Comment by Uriel Ventris. | September 25, 2011 | Reply

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