One of the biggest obstacles to doing these weekly updates is because I can only rarely talk about certain projects openly. But, since I got to talk about Book #6 at Black Library Live! 2016, I figure I can discuss it some here as well.
As of today, I’m about 22,000 words into the first draft of Eight Lamentations: Spear of Shadows (AKA Book #6). The book, which is set in Games Workshop’s Age of Sigmar setting, is a high-octane, interdimensional adventure. A band of heroes (some more heroic than others) are sent on a desperate quest for a long-lost daemonic weapon, pursued by vampiric spies, shape-changing assassins, and a murderous champion of the dark gods. Sounds simple enough, right?
Part of the brief for this book was that it include some elements of the intellectual property not yet explored in any detail. To that end, it has so far had scenes with members of the Ironweld Arsenal (an alliance of duardin and human engineers), the Stormcast Eternals of the Sons of Mallus Stormhost (specifically Gaius Greel, last seen in The Realmgate Wars: Fury of Gork), the Bloodbound (cannibalistic Chaos warriors who worship the Blood God), Deathrattle skeletons, Soulblight vampires, the Skaven (nefarious rat-men with a penchant for mad science and treachery), various flavours of duardin (fantasy dwarfs, with a twist or three), shape-changing Arcanites (another type of Chaos warrior, worshippers of the Changer of Ways) and at least one ogor (an ogre). And that’s just in the first quarter of the book.
One of the common criticisms levelled at this particular setting has been its relative lack of depth. We know who the factions are, and why they’re fighting, but not what they’re fighting for. Who and what are the various factions seeking to protect, conquer or devour? Now, anyone who’s read the various tie-in novels, audios and short stories related to the setting probably already has some idea as to the answer to that question.
But with this book, I’m getting the opportunity to really dig into HOW the realms work, and how a city in the Age of Sigmar might function. You want to know what people (and Skaven) eat? Got you covered. Want to know how the sewers work? Weird, but okay. Who patrols the walls? How do they brew beer? What’s a slum like in the Age of Sigmar (short answer: awful)? Where do the rich folks live? What sort of temples do they have? Where do all these people come from, if the armies of the dark gods are constantly attacking? These are all questions I’m hoping to answer. Satisfactorily, if not in detail.
More than that, I’m getting to explore how the various cultures of the mortal realms might interact – can the scion of a noble house of the Celestial Realm get along with a hard-bitten sellsword from the Realm of Metal? What does a librarian in the Realm of Beasts look like? What about a demigryph knight from the Realm of Life?
But, strip all of that away, and its a book about people, and the reasons they do what they do. It’s a book about family and expectation, trust and loyalty.
That’s what I hope, at any rate. But if you want to concentrate on the aerial battles, the giant war machine powered by thousands upon thousands of rats, and the giant spider nesting inside the trunk of a giant tree-citadel, I won’t hold it against you.
Anyway, that’s what I’m working on this week.