Aaron Dembski-Bowden

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

First Claw Concept Sketches

Oh, look. Some concept sketches.

Mercutian. He will most definitely fuck you up with all that Dakka.

Variel, the new guy. The doctor will see you now.

Uzas. When life gives you lemons, BLOOD FOR THE MOTHERFUCKING BLOOD GOD.

Cyrion. "So. How are you?"

April 30, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | 24 Comments

GrimDark III – Race War

For you, my dearies. Third monthly article.


April 29, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | | Leave a comment

Short Extract from The Emperor’s Gift

1,000 Facebook friends today. Admittedly, 200 of them are just normal Facebook friends rather than readers, but I thought the other 800 might find this interesting.

Here’s an extract from Chapter Eight of The Emperor’s Gift, my Grey Knights novel in progress.

First draft, obviously. And as always, it may never show up in the final book.

But I like it lots, so here it is.

—   —   —

—   —   —

I still recall the first time I trained in the void, wearing a featureless, honourless suit of thin ceramite only barely approximating a knight’s true armour. To look down was to see the nickel-dull skin of the strike cruiser Unforsaken; to look up was to stare into the far reaches of absolute space, where distant stars winked in reply to my silent stare. I hadn’t been human in some time – the Emperor’s Gift wrought too many changes in me even then – but such a sight couldn’t fail to move me. Nothing prepared me for it. And how could I be ready? I’d seen little beyond my cell within the monastery and our fortress’s great stone chambers, forever ringing with the sound of crashing weapons, even when all voices fell to whispers.

I looked into the dark for a long time, hearing nothing but the slow, uneven rhythm of my own two hearts. Never had I felt so alone, so unsure of my worth in the endless, hostile expanse of space humanity claimed as its galaxy.

Saturn was a tilted orb to my left, oppressingly vast despite its distance, its curdled skies making my stomach coil. I remember how I raised my hand to it, as if it was a bauble to be drawn from the night sky. From so far away, it looked no larger than my palm. Deep below the cruiser’s hull, I could make out the curvature of Titan itself: milky with poisonous cloud cover, yet the only home I knew. To fall from my footing would be to plunge through its rancid atmosphere, ending my training as ashen particles enslaved by the nitrogen winds.

I looked away again, out into space. Far, far beyond Saturn lay the sun itself, and even with its corona crown it was a remote, pulsing speck.

In that moment, I felt what ancient generations must have felt when they first sailed to the stars. Should we have come here, so far from humanity’s cradle? Was this manifest destiny, to reach out into the black and carve an empire upon the rocky bones of conquered worlds?

Our masters tell us that to consider every perspective is a dangerous virtue. On that night, I learned why. Blessed is the mind too small for doubt. Humanity’s champions should never question our right to own the stars.

I carried that lesson with me when I first swore to serve the Inquisition. I carry it with me now, as a knight in the war our species must never see.

April 26, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , | 21 Comments

22 Days

The power came back on about an hour ago. I’d spent my morning and afternoon in the Dark Ages, tidying the house, moving furniture, going for a walk and doing my requisite daily 20 mins of cardio, in a vain effort not to be such a fat sack of crap.

No kidding; I was working it out the other day – I’ve hated the way I’ve looked for so long now that practically the only photographic evidence of my existence for the last five years is the stuff taken by people at signings and conventions. That said, the weight’s been falling off for a while (lost 10lbs since Games Day), it’s just with interminable slowness. So I’m trying to speed that shit up, for the sake of my wedding photos (in the short-term) and my self-esteem (in the long-term).

I mean, believe it or not, I used to be handsome. Sort of. A bit. Kinda. Maybe.

I’m only 30. I should still be handsome, damn it.


A few minutes ago, as I was going through the usual forum scans, I heard a loud chorus of meow-meowowowow-meowwwwww from outside. It wasn’t one of the local farm cats, as they’re variously silent, shrieky or whiny. It also wasn’t our neighbours’ (Katie’s parents) cats, as they’re usually much quieter when they make any noise at all.

I knew this sound. I knew it well. I hadn’t heard it in a while, though.

I trudged downstairs, and there he was, sat on the windowsill – outside looking in, despite the fact the front door was open and every window was wide to suck up some of the Spring love.

Our eyes met – mine, arctic blue; his, the green of good jade.

“Hello Loken,” I said. “You look fatter.”

He said nothing, but I felt that he was thinking the same about me.

Silence reigned between us for several moments. Then, with astuteness I’d not come to miss, he said “Meowowowowowowroaaoaoaww.”

I said “Indeed”, and picked him up. “The door is open, you know. I mean you can see that, right?”

“Purrrrrrrrrrrrr,” he said, and began an intensive campaign of head-bumpies and paddy-paws, in a quest to be carried around until a worthwhile human would sit down and form a lap-based feline throne.

“You saved me buying three weeks’ of catfood,” I told him. “I appreciate that. I spent it on Forge World toys.”

He seemed to know, deep down, that I’d do such a thing. His knowing eyes told the truth.

So here he is again. Sat on my lap as I type this, purring and bumping his head against me, grumbling in the quest for attention he doesn’t deserve.

So he's not dead then. That's two Lokens who survive against the odds.

And so ends my 22 days of peace.

Where have you been, little traveler? Wherever it was, it looks like they bloody fed you well enough.

April 22, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , | 24 Comments

First Claw, by Shane Cook

Shane Cook just finished the painting of First Claw, and I figured that maybe some of you ladies and gents might want to see it.

I really want to be glib about this. I really, honestly do. I just can’t. It’s so completely awesome that I’ve got nothing to say except that it rocks my world.

The detail on this really has to be seen to be believed. Zoom in, and take your time. Blood Reaver is about to be released, so the guys aren’t going anywhere for a while. Void Stalker is another year away.

I should add (with an alarmed glare) that Blood Reaver right now seems to be one of the best-reviewed Black Library books on the blogosphere, in the history of ever. So no pressure for the third one on the trilogy, then.





Anyway, let’s do this.

40Ks most badass cowards.

Here’s the thumbnail for actual zoomings. And you really have to zoom into this, because the attention to detail up close and personal is insane:


You’ll notice, from left to right, that this is set after ‘The Core’. You can tell by their distinctive features:

Variel the Flayer, with Red Corsair helms; a lot of flayed skin; and a bionic leg.

Xarl, with his Executioner chainblade; the most trophies; and his Legion crest helm.

Uzas, with his gladius and chainaxe; his flesh cloak; and his bloody palm-print faceplate.

Talos, with the Blade of Angels; the skull helm with his name rune; Malcharion’s double-barreled bolter; and prophecies scratched into his armour.

Cyrion, with his bionic arm; “stabby-class” bolter; and lightning bolt tears on his faceplate.

Mercutian, with his master-crafted heavy bolter; and his stylised horned helm.

***   ***   ***

And what was the first thing Katie said when she saw this? “Will he draw my WarCraft characters?”

I… could ask, I guess.

April 15, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | 28 Comments

Blood Reaver Review

The review blogsphere’s first Blood Reaver review (from the mighty Graeme’s Fantasy Book Review) is in.

I had to read this one twice, because it said 10 out of 10, which makes it my highest rating on GFBR.


I admit, I’m starting to feel a little less terrified about how this novel will be received. Review ratings like that certainly help.

April 8, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | | 7 Comments

I see a novel in this picture.

Last night, I fancied reading Gone with the Blastwave again, with a mug of green tea (with cranberry), which is surprisingly delicious, and replaces my beloved and much-missed coffee these past few weeks. On a whim, I went a-Googlin’ to see if there was any fan art to check out.

Now, I’m not exactly blessed with a lot of free time. I recently had to put WoW on (permanent?) hold while I finish The Emperor’s Gift, and I’m writing Annabelle’s Blood when I’m not doing that, while also (foolishly) making notes for a potential sci-fi/fantasy series that I’d quite like to write before I die.

So, really, I’m not looking for inspiration. If anything, I’m trying to avoid it. My brainjunk is full to the brim of volatile nonsense, crunching together and making skrash, skrash, skrash sounds, like a giant with no table manners eating Rice Kripsies.

But I totally see a novel in this picture.

"Red", by Morriperkele on Deviantart

April 7, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | 23 Comments