Typical. I’ve waited for more than a year for the chance to talk freely about Pandorax and now that I can, I’m worried that I’m going to give too much away and spoil it for people.
Here’s what I can tell you. It’s a book about a war and the people (and other lifeforms) that fought it. It’s about an inquisitor who becomes so blinded by obsession that he fails to see betrayal looming and the apprentice who has to uphold his legacy. It’s about the reformed villain who puts everything on the line in an attempt to protect a powerful relic and save an entire world. It’s about the man out of time, confident in his own abilities but uncertain of how former brothers will accept him. It’s about the Catachan colonel with a gut feeling that something isn’t quite right who rallies his man and gives the Imperium a fighting chance to take back a planet. It’s about the odd couple of an astropath and an Imperial Guardsman, both of them too brave to care. It’s about the admiral of an Imperial fleet given a final chance at redemption. It’s about the Chaos Warmaster playing the long game as he fights the Long War and the usurper who covets his mantle. It’s about the pilot who survives the space battle only to find herself playing a much larger role in the ground war. It’s about the Supreme Grand Master who has to blackmail his Dark Angels counterpart to secure his aid in the reconquest. It’s about the chapter master who will protect his chapters’ secrets no matter what the cost. It’s about the Deathwing destined to be Company Master taking his first steps towards ascension. It’s about the Fallen who overestimates his worth. It’s the heartwarming tale of a jokaero that falls in love with a 10,000 year old tank. It’s about the massive revelation that is never actually revealed. It’s the novella that became a novel that ran away from its author and became a monster. It’s about a monster.
Most of all, it’s not just the 40K novel I wanted to write, it’s the 40K novel I wanted to read. If the Warzone: Pandorax supplement is the history book of the Pandorax campaign then the novel is the Hollywood summer blockbuster version of the war with one exception: don’t expect everybody to get their happy ending.
Except for the monkey of course. I’d never harm a monkey.
There’s an audio drama, Trials of Azrael, to go along with the book and, although you don’t need to experience one to fully understand the other, it fits into the novel’s narrative quite neatly. And yes, that is Khârn on the cover. No, it doesn’t go well for Azrael.
The hardback version of Pandorax – along with Trials of Azrael – goes on sale this Saturday (2 November) in all Games Workshop stores and from www.blacklibrary.com where you will also find the ebook and audio book versions. It will also be on sale at the Black Library Weekender where I am a guest and will be happy to deface your books.
Still not convinced? Here’s an extract.
‘We’ll find you. We have to. Now stop arguing and get out of there.’ The vox link went dead in her ear. If the tau already knew that it was their human guests who were responsible for the break-in at the museum then her master and his cohort would have to make it off-world in a hurry. Just like she had to. She had never held a knife such as this – precious few throughout the history of mankind had – but she had been well-schooled in the theory of its application and, gripping it blade down in her fist, held it aloft as if she was making to stab thin air. Her forearm tensed as she waited for it to gain purchase but the knife sat there useless in her hands. With the noise of approaching Tau growing ever louder, she lowered the blade. Closing her eyes, she raised it again relaxing the muscles in her arm and letting the knife do the work instead. Within seconds she was rewarded and, as the first of the fire warriors reached the shuttered main entrance, the blade twitched as it came into contact with the edges of reality.
Tzula began to tear through it.