Thursday, October 22, 2009

I Hate Dan Abnett

Wonders will never cease. The marvelous Mark Charan Newton, author of "Villjamur", read "Triumff", and liked it so much that he has written a few words to inspire others to read it too. What a very fine chap he is. Take it away Mr Newton.

Enough has been said about the plot already, so what I most of all want to add is this:

I hate Dan Abnett.

Why? Because having proved himself the king of noir-infused miltary SF, it takes quite a talent to move easily to something completely different - and this really is a triumffant leap in style. Such transitions really are difficult to pull off, and you would have thought that he's been writing books like this for the past decade.

Our foppish lead, Sir Rupert, heads on a rip-snorter of a ride across a steampunk alternate London that blends historical truth with the wonderfully bizarre. Half the time pissed, the rest getting down and dirty in duels (though the two are not mutually exclusive), this unlikely hero heads on the trail of Occult Goings On of the highest order. Whilst it's chock-full of nods-of-the-head to the finest of Culture and Art and History, it doesn't come over as pretentious – because most of all, "Triumff" is a great slice of British fun.

Anyway, back to the prose, which is the most entertaining aspect: Dan's style here is the bastard-son of, say, Scott Lynch and Tim Powers and all that's best of Blackadder. The depiction of the cityscape is a brew of heady descriptions, and written with a vast and esoteric vocabulary. And the humour is delivered with a wry smile that will have you guffawing boisterously from your armchair.

What's especially annoying, though, is that this pesky Abnett chap makes such a change of gear in writing and storytelling look so damn easy.


Adam Grose said...

Reads good... will look out for it ;)

Anonymous said...

I'd have to agree with the post. The book is an amazingly easy read and reminds me of the first time I picked up a Robert Rankin novel (Sex, Drugs, and Sausage Rolls) with as much humour, descriptive stuff, and nods to popular culture and a subtle shift of perception of an alternate reality.

Mr. A - I'm loving the book, as I've loved all the novels I've read so far. Now, how to worm my way into your affections so you can tutor me... Hmm...

Adele said...

Very easy read, even on the laptop.

Blitzspear said...

All i can add to this is excellent use of the word twonk.

Rob Rath said...

Dan and Nik:

Got a story for you, a story with a theme, and that theme is globalization.

Today I opened my mailbox to find a package from Belgium. This was frankly alarming, since I've never been to Belgium, nor do I know anyone who resides there. Given that I work in a job that involves me phoning up foreign consulates and asking probing questions, I admit that I stared at it for a few seconds before ripping it open.

Imagine my relief when I turned the envelope over and Triumff fell out.

See, I'd ordered Triumff through Amazon on the weekend of its release, thinking that it was coming out in the US on the same day as it did in Britain. When you informed me that the release dates were indeed different, I thought I had just misunderstood and pre-ordered it, and it would arrive in time for me to read it over Christmas.

Turns out, even though I was ordering through the US portal on Amazon, the mega-warehouse I'd bought it from was in the UK. The Gloucestershire warehouse-bookstore then took my order, packed up the British-printed book and airmailed it to Belgium, where it was processed, then re-stamped as a Belgian package before routing it to Texas.


So there's two morals to this story: First, that technology has enabled international publishing to become a mind-blowing network of cross-border business connections. Second, if you're in the US, you can indeed get Triumff now instead of waiting for the US release.

It's a bit more expensive (I think it came out to USD $17 or so) and takes about eleven days to ship, but you can do it. I'm sure that ordering though will have the same outcome.

Big said...

Rob - i was gonna say to you something about how we Britains seem to get all our Holywood films maonths after you guys do....but im just glad you got your book bro...........see im not bitter

Big said...

what the hell is maonth
due to a severe head injury please understand that i faze in and out of this reality at regular intervals, so please forgive the misunderstanding.
A Maonth is a Karvonian Shit Fly,
well known for its lack of respect for the English language and its constant need to babble...!lol

Rob Rath said...


Oh no, that's fine. I mean that's just the reality of distributing a book, there's no way that anyone but a publishing giant could do a release in the US and UK at the same time, and even then it's usually not worth it. Not only do they have to do a seperate "American edition," but America is just so damn big I'd imagine that publishers want to see how a book performs sales-wise in the UK before you decide how many copies to print for a US release. (Think how much money it would take to print 12-15 books for every American city with a population over 50,000.) Believe me, I'm a Bernard Cornwell reader and well used to being patient about book releases.

I just thought it was funny how Dan's book took such a circuitous route to get to me. I was so stunned to get a package from Belgium that I walked off and left my keys in the mailbox overnight.

Yeah, that delay with the movies sucks- I'm not sure I could stand it. I apologize on behalf of America.

HiWayRobry said...

Ladies and Gentlemen,
I've noticed a curious thing about the last few blog entries from Dan. More specifically, the comment section. It seems a long-standing tradition is being ignored, and I'll have none of it!
Therefore I submit to you:


That is all.

Ben said...

Oooh you managed to get Battenberg cake in the book, woo! Dare you to get it in Prospero Burns, Double dare you!

Big said...

Sorry to change the subject guys , but anyone going to see " The Wolfman" movie?

cor said...

wolfman is that the new biopic on your life Big lol, tbh i hadnt heard they were making a new wolfman movie could be worth a look looks like a good cast anyway

Big said...

I have a question at last, preluded by a statement.
Gereon isnt going away is it!?
can we expect to see a 3rd book in the "Traitor General " series...?
we all know you have story Archs , but is this the Arch that cover the other....well Archs?
Whilst i love massive battles an all that , sometimes a book on intrigues , deception and defections , sneaky beaky work, and down right criminal activity builds
I feel in way that we have started again and things have come full circle .Giving Dan the ability to start again.
It does bring up Questions to about the Arch Enemy , the Pact specifically, was this story the based on the last act of a Desperate Urlock Gaur, or a mere extenstion / expression of his unlimetless power, able to send a kill team onto an Imperial "safe" world?
Some people say that this book is not as good as say Honour Guard or Necropalis , others say it is the best they have read,
I say it is just a chapter in the ongoing saga with a turn of pace that has allowed us to see the characters that we all love/hate in all there glory!
Personally i love the fact that Rawne is a absoloute bad ass ! and to supplement that he is surrouded by an A-Team of of like minded individuals.
He reminds so much of someone in a former life hahahahahaha!

Xhalax said...

Big - Don't you jut live it when a plan comes together?

Roderick H said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Roderick H said...

It turns out a lot of you have already read Blood Pact, but I'm still going mad about it, so I have to say:


also, Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaagh!


I'm done.

Roderick H said...

more constructively, Big, Blood Pact is totally in the Gereon series.

It references, mirrors, and interlaces with Traitor General beautifully. To quote Gaunt: "The Gereon mission is precisely why I'm here, isn't it?"

Plus, we all know/pray that Mkvenner will be back at the pinch. Here comes the cavalry, so to speak.

If Gaunt and his team can get off a Chaos-occupied world back to Imperial territory, then there's no question as to whether Mkvenner and a crack team of partisans can get off an Imperial-occupied one.

But I think it's more likely there will be a return to Gereon at some point. It's too crucial, the fulcrum of so much of the current metaplot, and there's a lot of unfinished business there.

Gotta be a hint of Milo at some point as well. Maybe another spin-off novel? since Dan is pretty much the only 40K author to effectively expand the world beyond the front-line, maybe we'll get a beautiful, intimate love story about the growth of trust and understanding between a spooky boy and a living saint? :)

There'll still be full-auto lasguns somewhere of course. Can't live without 'em.

cor said...

my copy of blood pact is currently languashing in some royal mail sorting office due to the postal strike :(

Xhalax said...

Roderick H - in his YouTube videos, Dan has said that he will revisit Milo and Whatsherface (Sanian) within Gaunt's Ghosts rather than via a spin off series.

Roderick H said...

cheers xhalax - obviously I've not rewatched those vids *nearly* enough.

In fact, I think I'll go do that now! :)

Domo said...

Coming from being recently introduced to Dan's work on Eisenhorn via a friend, I saw Triumff the other day in Waterstones, recognising the name I snapped it up and was about as far from disappointed as can be!

I hope it is not too long before the next Triumff book :D

Phillip said...

Ordered it from Amazon after failing to find it anywhere else, really looking forward to reading it!

On the subject of Blood Pact, after a small lapse I devoured all the recent Gaunt's Ghosts books, however, what with the new annoying GW habit of releasing the Hardback first and only releasing the paperback after an age of the universe? Hardbacks are for collectors, bring out paperbacks first! I must now wait impatiently for the paperback, D'OH!

Roderick said...

Phillip - shame on you for not being a collector of Dan Abnett! ;)

I advance order from amazon a few months ahead, and it only cost me £11 this time instead of £15-18, they have a special guarantee whereby if you advance order really early, and the price goes up n down before it arrives, your copy will be charged at the cheapest price it's had in the meantime. well worth it.

I had a big houseparty for halloween, and now I can't find my copy of Triumff any more. nothing good ever comes from tidying things away, I was still only 50 pages in. bah!

Rob Rath said...

Speaking of Halloween and Triumff, I was at a zombie-themed party on Halloween and ran into a very elaborate Zombie Queen Elizabeth the First.

I mentioned Triumff to her... suffice to say, the Queen was amused.

Roderick H said...

Rob - does your town have a zombie walk? if not, you and the folk from that party should start one.

I caught this year's one on saturday, this is a promo vid someone made for it with the previous year's footage:

I've still yet to get ready for it in time, maybe next year :)

Rob Rath said...

Roderick H-

Awesome video!

Austin is very into the Zombie subculture. We were the Guiness Thrill the World champions for awhile, with 881 participants and the backing of the mayor. (Mexico city beat us recently with something like 13k.) There's also somtimes a walk as part of the Dia de los Muertos parade, and there was one over Halloween that was a part of a Zombie Film Festival. I'm mostly an observer rather than a participant, but Zombie Prom was too good to miss.

Even our city's electronic signs warn of zombies sometimes:

Anonymous said...

How to have a good week as a fan of Dan Abnett, being based in America:

Tuesday: Purchase Blood Pact, begin reading it.

Wednesday: Finish reading Blood Pact, having enjoyed it immensely, despite the gut punch at the end involving a certain character's health.

Thursday: Going to the mail box and finding the copy of Triumff I ordered through Amazon has arrived.

In short, a good week to be an Abnett fan here in America.

And while I'm not very far into Triumff and probably should wait to comment on it, let me just say, Dan, that when I realized just what Triumff's Swiss made weapon was going to be, I laughed harder than I've laughed in ages. Good show, sir.

Anonymous said...

Jack - that must deserve a "HUZZAH!"


Anonymous said...

Huzzah indeed! :D

I'm about 100 pages in at the moment, and I can't fathom, with all the silly, groan worthy yet hilarious puns, just how you wrote this book with anything remotely resembling a straight face, Dan. I know I can't read it with one.

Roderick H said...

Rob - that zombie sign was so good I cheered a little to myself, and it went straight on my facebook.

Many thanks!

And jack and nik - there's always space for another huzzah. I used to teach the little'uns at the science clubs I worked at to 'huzzah' every time I broke something, so the tradition could be carried on.

I agree on the japery as well. Every second paragraph for the first chapter I laughed out loud, mainly through the excellent use of the word shite.

Anonymous said...

Roderick - HUZZAH!


Anonymous said...

I’ve just finished my first initial read of Blood Pact along with the ritual beer, whiskey chaser and drum n bass/break beat music I listen too whenever a new GG book comes out. Arghhhh, I love meeting old friends again!


big said...

For thoses of you not on Facebook
Dan recently had an M.R.I. scan................and broke it!
No seriously Dans head broke the M.R.I.
The fathomless wonder that is Dans brain, can comprhend time and space, create entire galaxys and destroy them in an instant..(along with various hissing ,whizzpops, bangs and and sounds that can only be likend to breaking wind) can not be measured by a mere man made machine.
Foolish mortals they should know better than to venture where Angels fear to tread!

Roderick H said...

Big - perhaps the sheer amount of war pent up in Dan's skull has lead to a buildup of pschosomatic shrapnel, metallic in nature and anathema to delicate EM machinery?

Also, Dan, don't those things cost hundreds of thousands of pounds? Are they in any way cross?

Roderick H said...

PS Huzzah!!

Rob Rath said...

I can't help but connect it to Dan's intermittent problems with automatic sink faucets.

And for some reason I keep imagining it in comic form:

Panel 1: (Hospital corridor. Doctor in foreground, Nurse running toward him from behind.)

Nurse: Doctor Howard! It's the MRI machine! Something's awry!

Nurse: We put the patient from 22C in he machine. He's jammed it! Its power cycles are accelerating!

Panel 2: (Doctor, running alongside Nurse.)

Doctor: 22C? Fellow with the mustache? Dear God Emily, that's Dan Abnett. He's hooked into Total Clone Control, he's not supposed to go near anything with a magnetic field so high! It's in his chart!

Panel 3: (Corridor. Nurse grabs doctor by the arm.)

Nurse: Should we even go in there? What's going to happen?

Doctor: First, there'll be a massive loss of...

Panel 4: (Panel totally blacked out.)

Doctor: ...power.

Panel 5: (Corridor. Bathed in red emergency lights. Doctor and Nurse look around, frightened.)

Doctor: He's overloaded the machine! We need to rewire the entire power grid, cycle the energy supply down slowly before...

Panel 6: (Tight shot on Nurse, hand over her mouth.)

Nurse: Doctor! Your pen!

Panels 7-9: (Doctor looks down at his pen as it levitates out of his pocket.)

Panel 10: (Doctor and Nurse stare down corridor. Every small, metallic object is floating around surprised hospital staff. Scalpels, pens and bedpans clutter the hall, suspended in air.)

Doctor: I think we'd better get behind something.

Big said...

Dans IDD broke
It just reminded me of Forbidden Planet the Movie,hooking him up to the brain machine= Defcon 5
Nothing has been seen or heard from hospital security since.....................

cor said...

Spoiler warning (ive tried to be as obtuse as i can)

Just finished blood pact, took me a week to read and i really enjoyed it especially the bits with Rawne you got to love that bastard, towards the end im starting to think Larks aint had much action this time round and he goes and does more with one shot then anyone else in the book. Loved some of the new characters like Juame (think im spelling that right), Commisar Edur and of course Elodie. And i may never forgive you for your twist at the end concerning a certain characters health that was a sucker punch i wasnt expecting.

Xhalax said...

Cor - I think the ending of Blood Pact is the biggest sucker punch I've ever encountered.

I'm almost tearful jut thinking about it.

Damn you Mr. Abnett!
Why? WHY?

James Harvey said...

I love the Gaunt Ghost books but blood pact felt like a 'filler', you know those episodes you get in a series that just fill up the numbers needed to make it 13 etc episodes. Don't get me wrong it was well done and a good read but it didn't feel like a Ghost book for me.
Sorry to be so down, anyhow time to go read Triumff!