Aaron Dembski-Bowden

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

Void Stalker Reviews

I just remembered (after being told by someone, so “remembered” is sort of the wrong word) that Void Stalker is released in eBook in the next few days. Or even now, depending on whether you believe the liars, mongrels and charming souls on my beloved Facebook page.

I think the dead tree version is only about a month away, too. This all kinda crept up on me.

"Dear Diary. Today I killed many, many nice people and skinned them and ate bits of them and then told Uzas he was a cunt. It was the best day ever."

Here are 2 very detailed – but spoiler-free – reviews, for anyone who gives a fuck:

1. The Founding Fields:  “For its amazing story, fascinating and engaging characters, visceral battle scenes and endings that will have any fan of the Sons of Curze cheering in midnight clad, I give Void Stalker a score of 11/10, this is a story that breaks the mould and deserves a score that breaks the scoring rank.”

2. Civilian Reader: “I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again – Dembski-Bowden blows all tie-in fiction conceptions out of the water. Fifteen years ago, Dan Abnett reinvented WH40k fiction with his Gaunt’s Ghosts novels. With the Night Lords series (and also The First Heretic), Aaron DB has perfected it. He’s easily among my top five favourite authors. He is a genius at writing nuanced, complex characters. I will read anything he writes. Very highly recommended, Void Stalker is a masterful conclusion to a superb series.”

Woah. I mean… woah.

Y’know, the problem with seeing stuff like that is I always think “Oh, man. How the fuck do I beat that?”

No pressure, right?

April 6, 2012 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , ,


  1. Firefly Reference? If so, fucking A.

    I don’t think I’ve been this excited for a book since A Dance With Dragons.


    Comment by Bryce | April 6, 2012 | Reply

  2. Excellent – looking forward to reading it! I am also looking forward to you and the other black Library authors visiting Alberta later this year. At the risk of sounding too “stalkerish”…I would love to share a meal with you guys while you are here in Canada. Please message me and let me know, as I have just learned about the Expo and will be making the trek down to participate with the great BL lineup.

    Comment by northernhomesteader | April 6, 2012 | Reply

  3. Normally I wait for the dead tree version, but I think that this might be my first foray into the scary world of intangible books.

    Comment by Valtlord | April 6, 2012 | Reply

  4. Worried about how you’re going to top it? Just keep doing what you’re doing, really.

    Comment by Dawley | April 6, 2012 | Reply

  5. Dead tree version will be mine. The others are dead tree, and I like dead trees in my library, so I shall be patient.

    Comment by Khestra the Unbeheld | April 6, 2012 | Reply

  6. The ebook version is indeed already available. It’s very tempting, but I am holding off because I want to re-read the rest of your Night Lords series first. I’ve finished re-visiting Shadow Knight, Soul Hunter, Throne of Lies, and am now on Blood Reaver. After that, The Core, and then I’ll be ready for Void Stalker. Unless I forgot one, then I’ll have to start the whole process over…

    Comment by Chinh Tran | April 6, 2012 | Reply

  7. I think all of these reviews are comming from the same place as a lot of sci fi fans of your work. Thank you for daring to write work of depth and complexity. There is a place for a good old bolter porn orgy, but I think there is quite obviously a gigantic niche for emotionaly engaging work in a beloved setting that actually challenges its readers to move beyond the expectations of themselves and their fiction with no apologies.

    Comment by Dave. D. | April 6, 2012 | Reply

  8. As soon as I read it was on Tsagulsa…I started salivating and wanting the book. My gf’s dad (who also reads the Horus Heresy and loves First Heretic) actually took away the ipad to see what had me so excited. He had no idea…..but it was fun watching get the super fanboy edition.

    I feel bad that you have people like me as fans….the super fanboy.

    Comment by Theodore Schiro-Miller | April 6, 2012 | Reply

  9. I have absolutely devoured Soul Hunter and Blood Reaver, amazing series so far. Its inspired me to start yet another army of toy soldiers, (40k tie in doing it’s job admirably) complex characters and a good humour level, I’m eagerly awaiting Void Stalker, I’ve had to get books out of the library to tide me over until then.

    Comment by Paul Wilson | April 6, 2012 | Reply

  10. Where are people getting the eBook? The BL website is still only showing “preorder”, not buy. 😦

    I’ve got the dead tree versions of Soul Hunter and Blood Reaver, but have since got onto Kindle and am a convert, so will get the e-version. The HH series are the only books I’ll keep getting hard copy because I like having the full set.

    Can’t wait for this to come out.

    Comment by Aegnor | April 6, 2012 | Reply

    • Can you get Soul Hunter as a Kindle e-reader version? I attempted it, but I thought it was unavailable.

      Comment by Aberrant | April 28, 2012 | Reply

  11. How do you beat that?

    Just keep going the way you are, man.

    Comment by bittermanandy | April 6, 2012 | Reply

  12. Bought an early dead-tree edition for a friend at BL Live! 2012 (He’s been a Night Lords fan since 2nd Edition), probably will get an e-edition for myself.

    Comment by Stuart | April 6, 2012 | Reply

  13. Out now – and purchased as e-book. Bye bye, time to go a-reading…

    Comment by Aegnor | April 6, 2012 | Reply

  14. Haha love the dear diary comment

    Comment by Tim Clowes | April 6, 2012 | Reply

  15. followed by loads of ooh ooh noises now that I’ve realised I can get it for my kindle

    Comment by Tim Clowes | April 6, 2012 | Reply

  16. Make a short about Corswain (the Primarch backstabber from Savage Weapons), you know you want to! 😀

    Comment by WCA | April 6, 2012 | Reply

    • I love the way you explained who he was in brackets – that’s adorable. Like I’m going to read the comment as say “Who the fuck’s Corswain…?”

      Comment by Aaron Dembski-Bowden | April 7, 2012 | Reply

      • So you replied! Shall I take this as a hint that you’ll heed my plea? 😉

        Comment by WCA | April 7, 2012 | Reply

  17. Thanks for the post ADB, you earned that score.

    And as for how to beat it, just keep writing and putting out new material. And of course we’re looking forward to Annabelle’s Blood to see what you can do with a universe that is all your own. That will be a real milestone for you.


    Comment by Lord of the Night | April 6, 2012 | Reply

  18. Aaron you’re an awesome author and I can’t wait to read this book!!!! Soul Hunter and Blood Reaver have been re-read so many times and I they blow my mind every time. Keep them coming bro!

    Comment by bigkingcurd | April 6, 2012 | Reply

  19. How do you beat it?

    Just by writing your next book. Simple.

    Comment by Sarah Cawkwell | April 6, 2012 | Reply

  20. So far Void Stalker is everything I’ve beenwaiti g for. I’m surprised at Talos’ reaction to Octavia’s ‘situation’ because I had gotten the feeling in the previous novels that Septimus was almost considered something of a sub-battle brother. Obviously I was sorely mistaken! But it’s entirely characteristic of a Night Lord to react thusly. Anyway, Im loving it do far and I just wanted to let you know how much I appreciate your take on the WH 40K universe. Great job!

    Comment by bigkingcurd | April 7, 2012 | Reply

  21. You’re awesome. I will keep buying and reading you’re books untill you get bad reviews. No pressure.

    Comment by ratmeatcuisine | April 7, 2012 | Reply

    • “you’re books” and to think i got decent grades in english once!

      Comment by ratmeatcuisine | April 7, 2012 | Reply

  22. Just finished! Really very good, and a fantastic twist with two particular members of First Claw. It really does show that there are no “good guys” in the 8th Legion. Bravo, sir!

    Comment by TheRaging Walrus | April 8, 2012 | Reply

  23. A quick question, Aaron, if you don’t mind. Does Tolemnion’s helm end up getting used as a shitbucket after all?

    Comment by TheRaging Walrus | April 8, 2012 | Reply

  24. Wow did’nt realise it was out yet,now I have something to read at work this week.
    Well until at least tuesday anyhow,I’ll be done with it by then and back to my Horus Heresy readathon
    I am starting at Horus Rising and going up through all of them.
    Hopefully by the time I am done the Primarchs come out.

    Comment by Bigwill | April 9, 2012 | Reply

  25. bought it at BL live – loved every moment of it… although in fairness u did sort of spoil the ending for me… but loved it anyway 🙂

    Comment by VDOG | April 9, 2012 | Reply

  26. Well I just spent a night reading some of the greatest fiction I have ever seen. Truly remarkable. In spite of the comments I see above me, I think of Talos as a ‘good guy” purley for his final act. It was a monument to you skill as a eriter that you manage to make me feel such adepth of emotion at pixals. The Prophet of the Eighth Legion will be for some time my new favoured charecter, but alas I do criticise his name. But onto happier things, the novel was conducted with such a realist sense in the most unreal universe I know that I must praise you for this. I will continue to do this and buy your new books until I dont want to anymore. I pray that will be a long time in coming.

    Comment by Angus | April 9, 2012 | Reply

  27. yeah, i mean he’s no good guy or even an anti-hero yet right at the end, he has enough humanity to do at least one decent thing…

    Comment by VDOG | April 10, 2012 | Reply

  28. Awesome shit bro. Loved every bit. Was Guilliman at Tsagualsa when the Primogenitors assaulted it?

    Comment by DarKnight | April 11, 2012 | Reply

  29. Well, I had fun realizing my copy of Soul Hunter took a walk so I ordered a new one of those and pre-ordered Void Stalker. Now I get to re-read all that I have for the night lords which is everything minus Shadow Knight. just have to wait for Soul Hunter to arrive at my store.

    Comment by Theodore Schiro-Miller | April 11, 2012 | Reply

  30. Great book what a way to wrap up the series.
    The Prophets name makes perfect sense,when a Night Lord Comes for You,there is no escape.

    Comment by Bigwill | April 12, 2012 | Reply

  31. Aaron,

    I was just curios – The Corsair frigate named Misery’s Crown in Blood Reaver – Dark Tranquillity reference or is that just a coincidence?

    Comment by Tim | April 12, 2012 | Reply

    • Totally a reference. Back in the mists of time, I had a conversation on my Facebook page about naming ships after references. I think that’s the only one I snuck in, though.

      Comment by Aaron Dembski-Bowden | April 12, 2012 | Reply

  32. If Talos was a Loyalist, what Chapter would he be? The end dream sequence from Void Stalker raises this question for me…

    Comment by TheSGC | April 14, 2012 | Reply

    • *end of the beginning dream sequence

      Comment by TheSGC | April 14, 2012 | Reply

  33. I love how you use numbers in this series! For example: “10” The new Prophet’s name is Decimus (meaning 10), the 10th slave of Talos, who leads the remenants of Tenth Company, which has fallen from it’s original preheresy squad strength of ten squads. Now, ten thousand years after the Heresy, the Prophet is ready to lead the Night Lords on a new ascendance. None of the Chaos Gods have ten as a sacred number and the Night Lords follow no Chaos God in particular.

    Also, Octavia the psyker (8 is Tzeentch’s favored number)

    Comment by goldenhorde | April 14, 2012 | Reply

    • Hi my name is Doofus,I like ruining the ends of books
      Guess what number I think you are?

      Comment by Bigwill | April 14, 2012 | Reply

      • Look for spoilers and you will find them.

        Comment by goldenhorde | April 15, 2012 | Reply

  34. It certainly made for some interesting if short reading. Among other things you managed to write a believable and rather tragic Khorne berserker. That is something I’m sure a lot of authors would not manage so elegantly. What annoyed me was the Epilogue III though. It managed to slap the first one in the face with a mailed fist. While not even hinting particularly at how the Atramentar managed to survive among other things.
    In retrospect I really liked your trilogy, though now I really feel like I had enough bolter porn to last for quite a while.

    Comment by transgressive | April 14, 2012 | Reply

    • Never heard my work called bolter porn, before. It’s usually described as the exact opposite.

      Comment by Aaron Dembski-Bowden | April 14, 2012 | Reply

      • Well, it’s the most bolter porn-ish literature I’ve read of late, so that might skew my opinion somewhat. What I wanted to say is that I have had my fill of 40k fiction for a while. I think Shadows of Treachery will be the next tempting morsel. I’m curious about that Sevatar starship surfing scene. If I remember that correctly.

        Comment by transgressive | April 14, 2012 | Reply

  35. Again sir, I have read yet another of your works in one sitting, moving only to cook, bake and clean, stumbling through with only one hand and one eye on matters not Void Stalker-ish


    There is a quality to your writing, different than any other BL stuff, that just reels me in. I do have a special love for the Night Lords, ever since I picked up ‘Lord of the Night’ out of curiosity and was hooked on the insanity that was the mind of Sahaal.

    Void Stalker, and the rest of your work are some of BLs finest, not because of the combat, nor the violence, it is because with every word and every sentence, the reader becomes the characters. The anger, the hopelessness, the betrayal, the self loathing, the hatred. It is felt and experienced in ways that most authors struggle to reproduce.

    It is like the difference hearing a story round a camp-fire one night (albeit a great and well crafted tale) and going for a ‘Total Recall’ experience at the local Rekall center.

    Comment by Nestersan | April 18, 2012 | Reply

  36. Looking forward to translating it 😉

    Comment by Ju | April 18, 2012 | Reply

  37. Aaron Dembski i think everyone would love it especially if you made a horus heresy book about Konrad. Savage Weapons was great and i am eagerly looking forward to Prince of Crows but a full length book about him and his legion of barely controlled killers would be awesome….. all your other books are fantastic and i hope you continue to write for them for many years.

    Comment by Harry | April 20, 2012 | Reply

  38. Aaron, could you possibly be a fan of xkcd? Could Variel moonlight as the man in the black hat?

    Comment by happothecary | April 21, 2012 | Reply

  39. Excellent book Aaron! I especially enjoyed the ending. I was a bit put off by how vicious Talos was with the colonists on Tsagualsa, since he’s always been more restrained than the rest of his legion, not committing violence for its own sake but for some higher purpose, which was what made him sort of noble and more likable.

    I took a couple notes in case any are helpful for a future anthology/edition:

    Chapter VI: “The prophet heaved breath in through a throat that that felt atrophied…” – repeated word
    Chapter XI: Lucoryphus is trying to convince Deltrian that they must get inside the ship before it jumps into the warp, but part way through the conversation it sounds like the reverse (Deltrian trying to convince Lucoryphus).
    Chapter XXII: I thought the Echo couldn’t use both the Shriek and Shields simultaneously, but they seem to be when they engage the Eldar.

    Comment by Chinh Tran | April 22, 2012 | Reply

  40. I just finished Void Stalker today and I wanted to mention how immensely enjoyable I found it to be.

    I was really please with how you described Talo’s aggressive nature in this book. Especially thought it potent when it puts him at odds with his longstanding “friends” like Octavia and Septimus. The tension it created was very tangible and really changed the tone an feel of the book. It reminded me that despite his melancholic nature, Talos is still this brutal trans-human murder.

    Also I am undecided in my opinion on wether not you should write a Night Lords Heresy novel. (Not that I have any say in your decision making process) But your writing already has constructed this very evocative description of Night haunter and the Eighth Legion. Describing the Heresy through the people that have witnessed it and live with its legacy has given the event gravitas and a alluring mystery. I’m concerned that a Night Lords Heresy novel might quash that.

    Overall its just phenomenal reading; thank you.

    Comment by Aberrant | April 28, 2012 | Reply

  41. Waiting on Void Stalker was totally worth it. I finished it in one sitting. Jolly good, sir.

    Comment by Khestra the Unbeheld | April 29, 2012 | Reply

  42. I’m not going to lie, kind of felt like crying at the end…bloody awsome book (as is everything of yours) and I realise there probably was no other ‘happy’ way to end it…but c’mon man, kill off people for sure*trying not to spoil too much hither*….but not them…

    Comment by Nick | May 14, 2012 | Reply

  43. Awesome. Thank you, Aaron.

    Comment by Pierre | May 15, 2012 | Reply

  44. Void Stalker was without a doubt the best book i have ever read. what would we Night Lords players do without Aaron Dembski-Bowden?

    Comment by D. Slye | May 18, 2012 | Reply

  45. Ok, so I read Void Stalker.

    Aaron seems to have pulled off some kind of American Psycho esque trick of basically getting his readers to relate to complete monsters, achieved here through the gradual escalation of Night Lord atrocities throughout the series. In Soul Hunter, if you judge by the actions in the book alone, there is basically nothing to choose from, morally, between the Night Lords and their Imperial counterparts. They treat their slaves comparatively well. They don’t like the chaos Gods, and they don’t much like Imperial hypocrisy either. They do some dickish things, but nothing Imperial Space Marines wouldn’t do in some circumstances.

    Then we get to Blood Reaver, and oh hey these guys are *chaos* space marines after all, what we saw in Soul Hunter was just one small part of the story. We zoom out, see a larger part of the picture. The raid on Ganges and the Marines Errant fortress monastery were pretty brutal but, well, a) this is 40k and b) those were military targets. We get hints now that what we saw in Soul Hunter was kind of a facade. But, still, they’re not as bad as other chaos space marines? The book makes the point, you’re better off as slave on a Night Lord ship than a Red Corsair one. And Talos is still an ok guy, in an only sane man kind of way?

    Void Stalker: we zoom out again, and we can see the Night Lords really are. Oops, they actually are as bad as other chaos space marines and probably a whole lot worse. We learn that Talos is a actually shithead of epic proportions. Wacky comedy sidekick Cyrion is also a shithead. Uzas is less of a shithead than previously thought. But still a shithead. Then they all get killed. Which they deserved. The Eldar did everyone a favor there. But many people talk about how sad the found the ending, because it’s not as simple as that and the characters are as tragic and as fascinating as they are loathsome.

    It’s probably an exaggeration to say we learn something about the nature of evil here, but I have been thinking about the book on and off for much of today which is a new experience as far as 40k fiction goes. Not even Dan Abnett.

    Keep up the good, if unnerving, work.

    Comment by Tim | May 22, 2012 | Reply

  46. Hello Aaron, i just finished Void Stalker a few minutes before and got a short question regarding the ending. Since you are present here, i recommend, i can ask you directly about it 🙂

    In the last Prelude you speak a lot of the 13th crusade and how the outcome will benefit the Night Lords through participating. Although this Crusade has already taken place and only was a minor win for Abbadon (even that is doubtly) i would like to ask you, if that was intended or a slight mishap of yours? Since i am not used to you making mistakes, all i would like to know from you if this was intended and you got a greater plan for this? I dont want to know WHAT plan exactly (i hope, i will live long enough to read the outcome then) but only want to know, if there is something great coming towards me. Thank you for your work, it is always a pleasure to participate and thank you for keeping up the Standard of the VIII for nobody else is doing it and they truly deserve it.

    Regards, your fan Steff

    Comment by Steff | June 5, 2012 | Reply

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