Living in a stable and peaceful world is a great boon, but there is a corner of the human soul that revels in a bit of destruction. Why else would we turn out to watch massive waves pound the shore, or enjoy fireworks, or play wargames.
I’m talking somewhat obliquely about my book The Rise of the Horned Rat, which came out yesterday. This is my contribution to the ongoing saga of the End Times, that great cataclysm currently taking place in the imaginationsville of GW gamers. You may or may not know that I’ve been playing Warhammer since the very first edition of the game, since about 1984, in fact. So when I was asked to write this novel early last year and be involved with some severe sandcastle stomping, it was with a mix of sick excitement, dread and guilty glee. GW played its cards so close to its chest that even we writers, hired in to pen the books, had no idea where it was going.
By now we can all see that the Warhammer World is getting a real going over, so much so that it will probably never be the same again. A lot of people have died. None of them are real, of course, but some of them are very old friends. It’s all rather shocking.
The Rise of the Horned Rat concerns Skaven, as you’d expect. But it’s also got many dwarfs in it, and my old friend and yours, Skarsnik the real King of Karak Eight Peaks. Although this is an End Times novel, when I wrote it it was at the forefront of my mind to make the book also a sequel to Headtaker, by my friend and colleague David Guymer, and my own Skarsnik. David and I have told some fun stories set in and around the City of the Eight Peaks, and I wanted to finish them in fine style. To take Karak Eight Peaks through this most turbulent of times was a great honour and privilege (David got to write Kinslayer, so he can’t complain). I deal with a lot of my own characters, and a lot of David’s too, such as Kemma, and Gromvarl and the rest, as well as many established Warhammer heavyweights.
I actually can’t say much about this for fear of spoilers. It was the most difficult book I’ve had to write, for a whole host of reasons, but in the end I managed to put my own spin on the mayhem at hand. All I can say is read it, if you will. It affected me quite deeply. You’ll see why.