Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Eve of "Triumff"!

Tomorrow, "Triumff" will officially be on the bookshelves. Waterstones will have it, WHS will have it, heck, everyone will have it, and if they don't, jolly well ask for it!

To mark the occasion, it is my very great pleasure to introduce my latest guest blogger. (See, still not actually doing a whole lot of work over here, except for the several thousand words of "Prospero Burns" that I uploaded into my computer, today. So, thank you to everyone who is guesting and keeping you lot busy, here, so that I can get busy over yonder with more writing. That week off was very welcome, but now it's time to catch up.)

I digress. Let's have the guest blog. He is known far and wide for his wit and wisdom, and his all-around lovely-blokeness. Ladies and Gentlemen, it's Big... no really. Take it away, Big.

Cockspankingly brilliant!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Vivat Regina

Thanks to Matthew Churchill, I am able to indulge myself, once again, and hand over this column to another. Take it away, and thanks very much, Matthew.

Triumff: Her Majesty’s Hero is Dan Abnett’s long-awaited original fiction novel. Abnett has an extensive history of writing successfully for various science fiction and fantasy imprints, but Triumff is our first chance to see him playing with toys entirely of his own creation. Those familiar with Abnett’s writing will appreciate that such toys are likely to be full of whirly death, and will contain sharp objects not suitable for small children.

Its eponymous hero, Sir Rupert Triumff, drinks, cavorts and swashbuckles through an alternate version of present-day Earth where the sun never set on the Golden Age of Elizabethan England. Her Glorious Majesty Elizabeth XXX sits on the throne, along with a considerable weight of petticoats, bodice and pearls. A conspiracy is afoot to threaten the life of the Queen and taint the Magick that protects and prolongs her realm. And it’s down to Rupert Triumff to save the day.

The book is a rollicking good read. It has the easy grace and unpretentious style of Abnett’s Games Workshop novels, and shares his familiar blending of accessible prose, realistic characterisation, and resonant description. Triumff will expand your vocabulary with neat antique and obscure words if you care to look them up, but the writing never gets bogged down in flowery prose. Primarily, it is a comic novel, and its lightness of touch and playful language may surprise some who come to Abnett purely from the grim darkness of Games Workshop, although a deft comic sensibility has often been at the heart of Abnett’s work for 2000AD comics.

As an original novel, Triumff requires no familiarity with any of Abnett’s extensive back-catalogue. Comparisons to other writers are inevitable in the fantasy genre. Some are describing Triumff as a kind of Steampunk Pratchett, and it’s understandable. However, Abnett writes action considerably better than Pratchett, with several meaty fights and an explosive conclusion.

With its alternate Earth setting, much of the enjoyment comes from viewing our own world through a skewed mirror, and spotting the parallels. Triumff isn’t preoccupied, however, with playing this game to the detriment of the plot, but does allow for some nice cameos, including a Q’ute James Bond scene that had me laughing out loud.

Ultimately, that’s the important bit. Triumff is laugh-out-loud funny. The characters are strong and well-defined, and the neo-Elizabethan setting is handled carefully and without alienating those unfamiliar with all things cuffed and ruffed. It’s pacey, punchy, and highly enjoyable. Vivat Regina!

(This review was based on an advance proof copy. Triumff: Her Majesty’s Hero will be published in October by Angry Robot books and is available from and

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

GamesDay update and the Scottish tour

With only a few days to go before GamesDay, I'm really looking forward to it! I know I won't get to see you all, but I plan to have fun with the people that I do get to see, so buy a book and get in line.

For those of you with one of my hundred tickets, I'll see you there. I believe signing times are 11 - 12.30, 1.30 - 2.30 and 3 - 4.

For those of you who don't get a ticket, I'm really very sorry, and I will do my best to make it up to you, somehow.

The Scottish signing tour, which was to include Leeds and Gateshead has been trimmed down, so that I can only do the Scottish dates in Edinburgh, Glasgow and Falkirk. Again, my apologies, but I am unable to drive, and so I'm now flying straight to Scotland. I will add Leeds and Gateshead to my schedule as soon as I possibly can, hopefully in the spring.

Roll on GamesDay!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

A Mind is a Terrible Thing to Waste

I'm not saying I've wasted mine, but I'm certainly going to be rewrapping it more carefully every time I put it back in the fridge from now on. At the end of last week, I had an unpleasant little episode that landed me in hospital for the day. It was, in all likelihood, related to a mild pre-existing condition called Nocturnal Epilepsy, but it wasn't very nice. Well, it wasn't very nice for Nik, I didn't know much about it. In fact, that was probably the most distressing part of it from my point of view: short term memory loss and a general befuddlement as to what was actually going on.

Anyway, I'm fine now. I feel fine. My brain works... as much as it ever did. I fully intend to be getting on with all the things I should be getting on with (and yes, that includes making sure these novels and comics come out on time). However, I've been told to take it easy for a little while, and not to do anything that might exacerbate the condition. I can foresee having all sorts of tests and examinations in the near future as nice doctors make sure I'm flight-worthy.

The principal upshot of all of this is that it will effect some of the public appearances planned over the next three months. I'm not really supposed to travel at all, but I'm not going to sit on my arse. I will have to limit the events I do, somewhat. That will mean flying to Scotland for the Edinburgh/Glasgow/Falkirk signings, rather than driving up country, which means, I'm very sorry to say, Gateshead and Leeds will have to wait until I can make it up to them for a properly dedicated visit. It also means that my face-time at GamesDay has been rationed. I'm especially disappointed about this, because I love the annual opportunity to meet and chat with as many BL readers as possible. There's always next year, and Black Library day in the spring! I'll also see if I can devise some cunning and inventive ways of making it up to anyone who missed out.

For the time being, please check the BL website and Facebook page for revised details of GamesDay and the signing tour of the north as they relate to me. I'll try to post these new details here, too, as soon as I have them.

To sum up, I'm fine. I may simply have worked a little bit too hard. Prospero Burns, and everything else that's lined up, is still very much on-course. I simply need to take a little constitutional rest or risk the tuts of Doctors and the wrath of Nik. Normal service will be resumed as soon as possible. The Emperor Protects.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

That About Covers It!

The cover for "Triumff" has been finalised and I'm thrilled to be able to talk about it. Larry Rostant has done a fantastic job rendering our hero in all his muck and glory, and a very handsome man he is too - Triumff that is. (I'm sure Larry Rostant might also be considered a good looking man in some quarters, but, in this instance, I'm referring to the dashing adventurer at the heart of my tale.) I'm awfully fond of a good chimney, too, so all my requirements have been more than met. Thanks, Larry!

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Form an Orderly Queue...

...The countdown to "Triumff" begins here. It's less than a month (October the 1st to be precise) before Angry Robot releases my first novel for them: "Triumff"! I've spoken about this a little before, and I must say, I'm beginning to get very excited about its launch. But you don't just want to hear me banging on about it: I've sent a few PDF copies out to some friends and relations of this blog to solicit their opinions and previews. As the responses come back, I'm going to run them as guest blogs, and today we have the very first. Ladies and gentlemen, let's have a very warm welcome for the indomitable and rather lovely Xhalax!

Take it away, Xhalax:

"I’ve never been much of a fan of history, even though a lot of sci-fi seems to be based on the past in a ‘history repeats itself’ sort of way. But I’m not one to prejudge, so I read “Triumff” with an open mind.

"The concept is pretty straight forward, but I have to admit that I kept forgetting that this was actually ‘modern times’ rather than the 16th century. The idea is that the UK hasn’t ‘progressed’ in a manner we’d recognise since the 1500’s. It is Elizabethan London in all it’s grotty, grimy glory.

"The setting is done to the usual Dan Abnett standard, with broad brush strokes setting up Triumff’s London to the right degree, and, as per usual, I was dropped right into the very middle of the world, and felt like this was a place where the characters could really live.

"The characters all fit the story nicely with elements of Flashman and shades of Blackadder. Not to mention the more contemporary references thrown in for good measure, and a laugh too.

"All in all, I really enjoyed this jolly good romp through London, and found myself laughing out loud on quite a few occasions, especially at the modern media references, which could necessitate another read through to try and spot more. Plus, I liked the little twist at the end, didn’t expect that one!"

Thursday, September 03, 2009

What goes around comes around.

Hi all,

Our good friend, the digital artist and film maker, Matt Snyman is in the running for a YouTube HP competition. We love his work and want to support him, so if you'd like to visit the following tiny URL, and give him a thumbs-up, that'd be lovely. If you really like his work you can give him a thumbs-up every day. We will be!