Aaron Dembski-Bowden

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

The Talon of Horus

I can hardly believe it, but I started The Talon of Horus today. The book I’ve been wanting to write since forever.

The rough plan (very, very rough, remember) is to open the Black Legion Series with a trilogy: The Talon of Horus, The Black Legion, and Chaos Ascendant. I’ve been saying it in interviews and on panels for years, and it’s such a rush now it’s finally coming to pass.

The sheer scale of possibility has had me delaying this series a few times, because it’s the story of… everything. It could last for years and years. I originally pitched it as 2-3 novels, but my editors have mentioned that it might work better as a long-running series. “Your ‘Gaunt’s Ghosts‘,” are the words being used.

The scale terrified me, the way it would terrify anyone with at least half an eye towards all the possibilities on the table. It’s the story of the Chaos Marines after the Scouring, from the first years of the Legion Wars in the Eye of Terror, right up to… well, that’s the thing. Right up to wherever I want to take it. It could go anywhere. The story of the Black Legion is the story of the Chaos Marines themselves, the Armies of the Damned, across 10,000 years of spite, sin, and war.

So. Here we go. The story of the last days of the Sons of Horus, driven to extinction by the Traitor Legions, yet reborn from the same bloodlines.


I love how even my own Microsoft Word doesn’t recognise my surname as a real thing.

March 29, 2013 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , , ,


  1. I would say “Give it some time!” but I think, you already have and you owe it to yourself to start! Also wait for it, Word will recognize you sooner or later!

    Comment by Forkmaster | March 29, 2013 | Reply

  2. Make it brutal.

    Comment by Robin | March 29, 2013 | Reply

  3. Don’t feel bad if you have to split it into several novels; we won’t mind. 😉

    Comment by David Pease | March 29, 2013 | Reply

  4. I very much look forward to reading this. You’re the best GW author when it comes to the Traitors. Much luck.

    Comment by Kyle J Davis | March 29, 2013 | Reply

  5. I’m looking forward to them. 🙂

    Comment by Jeremy Solel | March 29, 2013 | Reply

  6. This has the potential to be amazing , if its anything like the short in the games day anthology it’ll be astounding

    Comment by David Hunt | March 29, 2013 | Reply

  7. Utterly salivating at the prospect. A question, though – how are they reborn from those same bloodlines? As in, loads of the other Traitor Legionnaires will end up joining the Black Legion?

    Comment by Vijay | March 29, 2013 | Reply

    • Um. Of course. Who did you think the Black Legion were? The Sons of Horus are practically destroyed. You silly sausage.

      Comment by Aaron Dembski-Bowden | March 29, 2013 | Reply

      • Chill. There’s gotta be a few guys with XVI Legion gene-seed kicking about, I mean? Or are the Black Legion post-Heresy almost completely made up of guys from other bloodlines?

        Comment by Vijay | March 30, 2013 | Reply

      • Of course there are original Sons of Horus making up the bulk of the Black Legion. It would be crazy to say otherwise.

        I agree, you are by far the best writer BL has, especially in regards to Traitors. I am beyond excited to see where you take this!

        Comment by Resin Forge | April 2, 2013 | Reply

        • Soooorrrrrrt of. It would also be accurate to say otherwise. The Sons of Horus are almost annihilated in the Legion Wars. That’s been canon a long-ass while, now. You don’t go from being the smallest Legion with hardly any survivors, to by far the largest, purely on your own gene-seed.

          Comment by Aaron Dembski-Bowden | April 2, 2013 | Reply

          • I do see your point.

            My thinking though has always been after they were ‘handled’ in the Legion Wars, they resorted not only to taking in members from other Legions, but also to drastic gene seed implantation. They could take adults, not kids, and implant the gene seed, then in a short time, have fresh marines. It had a ton of drawbacks such as mutation but it would explain going from so few, to so many.

            Comment by Resin Forge | April 2, 2013 | Reply

      • I reckon that’s how it goes too, Resin Forge. (No idea why WordPress doesn’t allow more than 1-2 replies. Grrr.)

        The lore is very heavy into how they’re “driven almost to extinction”, “lose their main fortress”, and there’s even a mention of them having “one remaining space barge”. But it needs to bit more balanced than that, definitely.

        Comment by Aaron Dembski-Bowden | April 2, 2013 | Reply

        • Yea the fluff is pretty un detailed as is and you being the one to flesh it out is pretty awesome. I havent read about the single battle barge but do recall something about them having very few ships. I can easily see them being down to a single Barge though.

          I do love the main character being a former Thousand Sons, so dont get me wrong, I do like them taking in other Legions, I just also like the idea of crazy gene seed alterations, mutation, even tests with demonic possession, all in the hopes to increase numbers after the Legion Wars.

          For me the fun with Black Legion has always been how diverse they are.

          (and yes, boo to the limited replies)

          Comment by Resin Forge | April 2, 2013 | Reply

  8. I can’t wait to see what you’re gonna do with this series ADB. You’re the best author in this setting right now as far as Im concerned. You’re gonna do great bro. Just relax and do what you do. Im really looking forward to this series. I hope there ends up being way more than three books. Here’s to you man.

    Comment by bigkingcurd | March 29, 2013 | Reply

  9. Sic Incipit. I look forward to the beautiful hardcover versions of these stories.

    Comment by Ammonius | March 29, 2013 | Reply

  10. I think they’re ought to be some of the old Lunar Wolves still kicking inside the Legion. After all, if Night Lords could last this long…

    Comment by The_Flying_Dutchman | March 29, 2013 | Reply

    • Of course there are. It’s not all black and white. It’s not “No Luna Wolves” or “All Luna Wolves”.

      It’s a mix, you sillyface.

      Comment by Aaron Dembski-Bowden | March 29, 2013 | Reply

  11. And congratulations. You write Chaos Marines like no other. I’m sure you’ll do a fine job.

    Comment by The_Flying_Dutchman | March 29, 2013 | Reply

  12. Well ADB, I’m glad YOU are the one writing this.

    In my mind, the Luna Wolves were themselves very interesting, the Sons Of Horus were just involved in something interesting, and the Black Legion just kinda….are.

    For all complaints that anyone used to have about Ultramarines being plain and boring, even the most misinformed opinion of the Ultramarines was never as boring as the Black Legion’s portrayal actually IS.

    They’re said to be the main Legion of Chaos, but they’ve done exactly NOTHING interesting (that we’ve ever been told about) since Horus croaked.

    We’re told of Abaddon’s epic Black Crusades that actually amount to nothing of interest where his Legion is concerned. Any plot points in Black Crusades that seem to be interesting have to do with the fact that it’s NOT just the Black Legion. It’s all the other Chaos Legions banding together that’s interesting.
    It seems like they’re only especially noteworthy because Horus was their Primarch.

    Right now it seems like the Black Legion just hosts an awesome concert venue, and 13 times now they’ve had these giant festivals of death metal, where 8 of the most brutally badass death metal bands show up and rock the house.
    The Black Legion’s place gets a reputation of “yea, that place has some badass music”, but it’s the 8 guest bands that become legendary, because they’re the actual badasses.

    At least the Ultramarines are known for actually showing up and pretty unstoppably wrecking shop themselves everywhere they go….

    So, Aaron, it’s your job to make these guys interesting.
    Make them as awesome as the Luna Wolves, or at least as awesome as the Sons Of Horus.
    I don’t know -how- you might do it, but I have faith that if anyone writing for the Black Library can, it’s you.

    — TEC

    Comment by Phillip Calaway | March 29, 2013 | Reply

    • Yeah. For really reals, I know where you’re coming from.

      It’s hard to reply without saying too much, but where the Ultramarines are “generic” Space Marines (as much as I love them, that’s not an insult – they are 95% of the template for the concept itself, which in turn is one of the things I love most about their implementation), the Black Legion aren’t the generic template for the Chaos Marines. They’re not the “default” Chaos Marines in the same way. Instead, they’re everything about Chaos. The best and worst of it; the best and worst of every single Legion. You can point to an Ultramarine and say “That’s a Space Marine”. You can’t do that with a Black Legionnaire, and say “That’s a Chaos Marine”. Uh, is he a former Son of Horus? A Word Bearer exploring his faith in a new way? A Renegade newly sworn to the Black? A Thousand Son sorcerer? A guy who forgot his original Legion completely? A Khorne Berzerker? There’s no “generic” Black Legionnaire. Former Sons of Horus are as defined and unique as any other Marine in the Legion.

      Which is part of the appeal for me, too. The variety, and the insane tensions it brings.

      But yeah, I’m aware of the Black Legion’s presentation in the publications (and Abaddon’s), and judging from the new Chaos Codex, Phil Kelly is hardly blind to the famous memes of Failbaddon either, as he’s started to present it differently (properly…) as well.

      I can;t say if my work will be good, because I’m indifferent at best to the quality of my own stuff. But I hope I can show the Black Legion in a way that’s fresh, interesting, and nuanced; deep enough that people will look twice as what the Legion really is, rather than the 2D stereotype.

      The main character is one of the founding Black Legionnaires – one of Abaddon’s closest brothers over time, and he begins as a Thousand Son.

      The Black Legion: united in hate.

      Comment by Aaron Dembski-Bowden | March 29, 2013 | Reply

      • The main character is a former Thousand Son? Now I’m even more looking forward to the book. In all of your books so far you gave me a character(s) who managed to suck me into the story and I have a special place in my heart for darker characters so The Talon of Horus sounds awesome to me.

        Comment by dorian | March 29, 2013 | Reply

      • Aaron, do recent Chaos Renegades join the Black Legion? I always kinda assumed that, since most of the XVI are made up of guys from the Traitor Legions that they’d be quite inimical to more recent turn-coats, or ‘those filthy-throne worshippers’ as Lucoryphus calls them. Just like the way the Night Lords struggled to relate to the Red Corsairs in Blood Reaver, with those brilliant lines from Talos, Mercutian and Xarl that wind the Gatemaster up so much. So would recent Renegades be allowed to join the Black Legion?

        Then again, am I going to have to wait until your novel for the answer?

        The thoughts of a devoted fan.

        Comment by Vijay | March 30, 2013 | Reply

  13. To say I’m excited and thrilled would be an understatement.

    Comment by dorian | March 29, 2013 | Reply

  14. ***squeeeeee**** erhem… Enough of that silly fanboi-ness from me. This is awesome news. Absolutely cannot wait! How are you going to deal with the self hate in the luna wolves / sons of Horus as it changes to the black legion 🙂 ? Oooh it might be like reading about the SS in brazil / joining the foreign legion after ww2… But in space with bolters and daemons! I love 40k.

    Comment by Ed | March 29, 2013 | Reply

  15. Honestly. You floored me with the Night Lords trilogy. And this is coming from a guy who had to put down the Heresy novels at times for fear of my rage over the betrayals to lead me to kick a puppy through a window. I am confident and truly, truly excited. Kill it, ADB, kill it.

    Comment by godzigla | March 29, 2013 | Reply

  16. *Sleeps comfortable in the fact that ADB will be missing deadlines for the next decade or more until he is killed by Loken while sitting at his desk.*

    Comment by dcbrave | March 29, 2013 | Reply

  17. Right click red squiggle word, click add to dictionary. Now the computer will accept you for who you are!

    Comment by Andy | March 29, 2013 | Reply

  18. This will be a great storyline because “history is written by the victors” doesn’t mean the vanquished don’t just cease to have a storyline of their own. How would they feel? (If Space Marines even do feel.) Do superhumans follow the Kubler-Ross model? They were already bitter & disillusioned before the Heresy, but how would the loss twist them? What levels & sorts of resentment towards Horus/ the primarchs/ the daemons & Chaos gods would they harbor? Man, this is going to be a great series- congrats on the news!

    Vae victis

    Comment by Gil Fuhr | March 29, 2013 | Reply

  19. Excellent. A Chaos Space Marine series is great news on it’s own, but onewith the potential to become the new Gaunt’s Ghosts is the literary news of the year for CSM fans like me. Absolutely thrilled about this ADB, and it has made my most anticipated books list already. Can’t wait to see what Inaros Khayon is like, from your previous mention of him I thought he was a Black Legionnaire who spent time with the Thousand Sons during the Heresy and became a Sorcerer, not that he was an actual Thousand Son who signed on with Abaddon. I find the concept of the other Legions swelling the Black Legion’s ranks very interesting after considering your short story Extinction, seems like the only thing on every non-Black Legionnaire’s mind is killing every Black Legionnaire there is.

    Your choice of words also intrigues me. One of Abaddon’s closest brothers, Abaddon does not seem like the type of guy who cares about such things anymore, or that anyone could really be considered a brother to the Warmaster. Definitely something i’m interested in learning more about, and of course if BL: ToH (Black Legion: Talon of Horus) is on what I think it is about we may get glimpses of Fabius Bile and Horus 2.0. So that is exciting as well, not only because it’s cool but for the possibility of a hint that Fabius succeeded and actually created a Primarch. 😀

    Once again ADB you remind me why you are my favourite author, not just because I like your writing style the best, but because you write about the things I most want to see. Looking forward to hearing more about ToH as it comes closer and closer to completion. 🙂

    Comment by Lord of the Night | March 29, 2013 | Reply

  20. Nice, can’t wait.

    PS. What exactly did Mr.Swallow say to you to make you cry the other day ???

    Comment by cjp180 | March 29, 2013 | Reply

    • He didn’t. really. We were discussing The Walking Dead, and I was telling him what struck me so emotionally about it.

      Comment by Aaron Dembski-Bowden | March 29, 2013 | Reply

  21. I love how spell check is arguing that your name is wrong.

    If anyone can pull this off, you can.

    Comment by theredthirst | March 29, 2013 | Reply

  22. I love how spellcheck wants to argue that your name is spelled wrong.

    I have no doubt this series will be awesome

    Comment by theredthirst | March 29, 2013 | Reply

  23. I can feel your enthusiasm for this project coming through just from this post. That alone is enough to make me feel good about the upcoming end project. Very much looking forward to seeing what you do with the place.

    Comment by projectshadowlondon | March 30, 2013 | Reply

  24. “Your ‘Gaunt’s Ghosts’… OF EVIL!”

    Comment by greekojtac | March 30, 2013 | Reply

  25. Sounds like a lot of potential for you and you’re excited about it. Doesn’t really get much better than that in my opinion. I look forward to it.

    Comment by BBF | March 30, 2013 | Reply

  26. I’ve always been amazed at how you can take the factions I least want to read about and make them my favorite factions. I’m looking forward to having my opinions about the Black Legion similarly flipped.

    Comment by Valtlord@f% | March 30, 2013 | Reply

  27. Right click, add to dictionary 🙂

    Comment by Filip Janik | March 30, 2013 | Reply

  28. what formatting did you use for that title? was it ‘Book title’?

    Comment by Vijay | March 30, 2013 | Reply

  29. A series similar to “Gaunt’s Ghosts” made by you? That’s absolutely fantastic!,
    You have earned the right for this and anyone who’ve read The Night Lords series would agree with me.

    Ave Dominus Nos!

    Comment by Gedrath | March 31, 2013 | Reply

  30. *Nox

    Comment by Gedrath | April 1, 2013 | Reply

  31. don’t like those chaos pussies, as i am a space wolf player but i wantz to read it. so take your time and make it awesome as hell

    Comment by Geert | April 1, 2013 | Reply

  32. I just realized I started my new novel on the same day you started this! #greatmindsthinkalike

    Comment by Vijay | April 2, 2013 | Reply

  33. Good luck with this. I suppose we’ll get to see if CSM novels can engender the same market as the more traditional IoM -centered novels do.

    Comment by TheSGC | April 2, 2013 | Reply

  34. I need more dead black legion, where cant be satisfactory number of dead Sons of Horus. Need this book sooo much =)

    Comment by Anakwanar | April 3, 2013 | Reply

  35. Oh yeah, this sounds wonderfully full of potential. Best wishes with the books to come, definitely interested in this.

    One of things I was thinking about the other day is the balancing act involved in making sure there’s a real impact on the Chaos side for losing the Heresy. If everyone’s just gonna walk away with “Oh well, never mind, get ’em next time!” then that would just suck out all the drama from the situation. Now sure, SOME of the Chaos guys are going to feel that way. Khorne still gets his fighting, for one. But there have to be consequences, just as there would’ve been (and largely were) for the Loyalist forces. Otherwise what’s the point? For some, losing the Heresy has to be an appalling tragedy.

    The Black Legion have always been a great example for showing this, as they have some real tough times after Horus dies and the Heresy fails. They hit rock bottom and hit it hard. They become outcasts amongst a sea of outcasts, even to the humiliation of having their stronghold raided and primarch’s body stolen. They’re able to claw their way back but their struggles to do so, and to continue to do so, are fantastic fertile ground in the right hands.

    And now they are.

    Comment by DamonD | April 5, 2013 | Reply

  36. You haven’t added your name to your spell-check dictionary?

    Comment by Nurglitch | April 10, 2013 | Reply

  37. Can I say ‘Badass’? Highly anticipated already…

    Comment by ethanreilly | April 16, 2013 | Reply

  38. I keep reading your Night Lords series over and over, along with The First Heretic, and I’m midway through a second reading of Betrayer at the moment. Yep, already. It’s that good. News of another Chaos Marine Trilogy(at minimum) from you is the sort of thing that makes the brain ache in anticipation. Bring it on, and keep up the fine work!

    Comment by Seeker | July 6, 2013 | Reply

  39. define hell. and define it again

    Comment by Szabo Pascal | July 9, 2013 | Reply

  40. Please flesh out Abaddon being the Clone-Son of Horus. it would explain a lot of his bad-assness. Please make him a gift from the Emperor to his first found Primarch son. This will all tie in to the Emperor being a fool in thinking he could cross the God’s of Chaos and still live. And please, make him bigger and stronger and more ruthless than Horus could ever be. Abaddon was never pampered and perfumed by palace adept pussies from Terra like Horus was.

    Comment by Michael J Borunda | August 8, 2013 | Reply

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