The Inquisitor will see you now…

Posted on November 11, 2013 | 29 comments

The Inquisitor will see you now…

Questions and Answers

It was Black Library Weekender II a couple of weekends ago, but you knew that already, right? A lot of people came and a lot of people asked me lots of questions. Which I  did my best to answer. Now, that’s all well and good if you got to go to the event, but perhaps the question you wanted to ask didn’t get asked on the day and nobody scribbled a hasty note in a panel to your satisfaction (though how anyone can make coherent notes during a panel when we’re off rambling is beyond me…). Perhaps the contradictory post on the various forums don’t make sense either, and ought to be taken with a pinch of salt…

Well, you can hear it from the horse’s mouth if you like.

If you have any questions you’d like me to answer, be it on writing, books, music, favourite colour, cats vs dogs etc, pop a comment after this post, and once I have enough I’ll sit down to give them a decent answer and post them up for you.

I look forward to hearing from you.


  1. Daniel Dolgos November 12, 2013

    Dear Graham!

    I have read Angel Exterminatus recently and I loved it, but there was a little voice at the back of my head, telling me that something felt wrong. I felt the end was a bit mindboggling, all the events seemed to point towards a different outcome, but that’s perhaps just me hoping things had gone different during the Great Heresy.

    ! Warning, minor spoilers ahead !

    What did bother me was how Perturabo (once misspelled in the book as Perturbo, made me giggle) contradicted himself. Okay, so Perturabo was pissed off at the Emperor for making him do all the dirty work without any of the fanfares. Sure, that might bother a demigod, but I feel there might have been other ways to solve this issue. Nevertheless, Perturabo joins Horus out of some obscure feeling of gratitude and goes along with the plan to partake in the Dropsite Massacre, ordering his Legion to shoot unsuspecting brother Astartes in the back, killing them by the thousands. Then, when he meets with Fulgrim on Hydra Cordatus and the assassination attempt takes place, he is outraged that the Emperor’s lackies would use such unhonourable methods. Umm, wait, what? Did Perturabo simply forget that the blood of several thousand loyal Astartes was on his hands? That on his (and Horus’) orders, a bunch of Legions were betrayed and almost completely massacred? Did he really feel that his actions were honourable?

    I don’t get it.

    • Graham McNeill November 12, 2013

      Aha…a good point, and one I gave some thought to when writing that scene. I’ll give this a fuller answer when I get enough comments to begin the work of answering them…

  2. Ant November 12, 2013

    Hi Graham

    One of my favorite books of yours is Guardians of the Forests, which I have quite often had in my bag as a book I don’t mind re-reading, but ive always wondered, have you ever been tempted to go back and explore Athel Loren again? Or explore the adventures of the unlucky bret knight?

  3. Devo November 12, 2013

    Hi Graham

    It seems to be a real minefield out there for budding writers trying to get something published!
    Assuming you have a sound story,any tips, advise or encouragement for those trying to get a foot in the door?
    I have seen many new comers publishing works online, for free, to get a name out there.
    Does this seem like a good strategy or would the more traditional route of sending samples to any relevant publishers seem a safer bet in your opinion?

  4. Aaron Spuler November 12, 2013

    I’d love to see The Battle of Maccrage.

  5. Terry Davis November 12, 2013

    Will the dragon of mars make an appearance in a 40k novel soon?

    • Daniel Dolgos November 13, 2013

      Oh, that reminds me!

      ! Yet another spoiler warning for Horus Heresy: Mechanicum !

      Just in advance, I haven’t read Mechanicum in awhile, so the names elude me, but towards the end, the new keeper of the Dragon takes the book and there’s a plot hook that says that she managed to keep the book safe for ten thousand years, implying that there will be dire events in the 41st millennium (but hey, that’s what the 41st milennium is for!). Will we see this event unfold in any future books, or you don’t have it planned yet?

  6. Hellequine d'Olt November 13, 2013

    All hail Graham !

    Here are some of my petty-twisted-fangirlish questions, but hej, you just gave us the right place for it, it’s totally on you :

    _ do you have any idea when The Dweller in the Deep will be available? Ever since you mentioned it was ready, I have been daily checking on the FFG site, only to find, every day with more dread and less sanity, that horrifying orange button of doom saying “Not Yet Available” ? I even read it as “nya”, as in “nyark nyark nyark, laughed madly the high priest of Dagon, as he saw that his plan to ruin the last structures of the reader’s brains was going just as the Great Old Ones would like it to”

    _ in your Elves’ omnibus, you mentioned your wish to write a novel about the Druchii : any plan yet ? and on the same topic : how about a novel about the Dark Eldars? or best : a novel about the Dark Eldars AND the Emperor’s Children fighting (or doing whatever else they could do on their common corrupted ground)

    _ following that thread of thought (more like that barbed wire of thought), will we meet Lucius again in one of your novels? and his now Daemon-Primarch ? (yeah, maybe there are already enough novels on the subject in the HH series… but some people just can’t get enough)

    _ and this one might be a little bit too much, but where did your inspiration for the “exorcism” scene in The Reflection Crack’d come from? (musics, films, older novels or poetry, paintings ?)

    Thanks a lot for giving us the opportunity to ask you these questions!

  7. Ahriman’s Aide November 14, 2013

    Questions from the First Expedition, the successor to the old Great Crusade Group who once pestered you about the Church of the Lightning Stone.

    Given the changes to the lore of the C’Tan, does that mean that much of what was in Mechanicum no longer applies? Have you given any thought to how the Dragon of Mars now works with the C’tan no longer existing in the same format as they did before?

    How would you go about modelling the Selucid Thorkites? What sort of models would you use for them, and what weapons and equipment? There are a couple of dozen people interested in making Thorkite detachments to go with 30k Iron Warriors armies.

    Also what sort of research do you do for writing the post-Slaanesh Emperor’s Children? Did you have to watch films like Snuff, Cannibal Holocaust, Salo, The Human Centipede and A Serbian Film to get in the right mood? Will you have to watch those films before writing about the Rape of Terra during the Siege?

    Cheers from the First Expedition.

  8. Alexich November 14, 2013

    Here are some of my twisted-minded questions:

    – Vengeful spirit – how does a simple planet (Molech) could really pose any threat to the Horus Armada?

    – Uriel Ventris (spoilers) – In the book ‘Chapter’s due’ – spectral Ventanus Guards killed all Iron Warriors. How the hell this works? Where are ghosts now in w40k? Or is that was a Legion of the Damned?

    – So what the feth is – this Dragon of Mars- is this a necron Tesseract?

    – Will we see the loyalist Mechanicum pows from the ‘Mechanicum’ novel (who survived)?

    – Will you write a continuation for the Civil War on Mars?

    – Any specific plans for the new Warhammer FB novel?

    – Vengeful spirit from you as a Christmas present from BL to the readers?

  9. Alex Edwards November 14, 2013

    Thought I’d add a question or two given the reveal of that glorious Vengeful Spirit cover.

    So on average the Horus Heresy series has three-four full novels released over the course of the year. A limited edition novella is released every two-three months to coincide with one of these releases. Vulkan Lives had Scorched Earth. The Unremembered Empire had Tallarn: Executioner (which according to an email I received is now being posted so I should be getting my copy soon).

    There are also maybe three-four audio drama’s released a year, and at least one anthology with the occasional e-short or something extra such as Scars. So what it seems is that now Black Library and you author types have really settled into a routine of how the stories of the series are produced and launched, which brings to mind a train-track metaphor that I would butcher if I tried to repeat here.

    So with this all in mind, how many years would you say are left until the series reaches the year of the Siege of Terra?

    Because that is the kind of story best told over at least two novels, with an anthology to tell some of the really cool side-stories such as Imperial Army chappie-whose-name-I-forget saving the Emperor and becoming a patron saint of the Imperial Guard.

    And even after then this series moves into the next phase of the Scouring with all of the cool stories involved with that period of war.

    So that’s the only question I can think of for now. I may return with another by next Friday if I think of something interesting.

  10. DarkChaplain November 14, 2013

    Hey there, Graham!

    We all know about the disgruntlement of the perceived timeline alteration in The Outcast Dead, which still goes around forums to this very day (which gives me a headache). In Wolf Hunt you answered the doubts and questions in a much more elegant way than expected, and I enjoy the implications in the audio drama a lot.

    However, I do have an issue with one thing: The long gap between The Outcast Dead and Wolf Hunt’s release.

    Was there a specific reason for the long delay, like a full schedule on your end, problems with production, or anything of the sort?
    Maybe Garro needed to make a few more errand runs before Wolf Hunt could be published – I’m fine with any explanation, really.

    I think leaving the twist unexplained until so much later hurt the novel in general – people blew this confusion out of proportion (and still do), which often overshadows all the good things the book did.
    A damn shame, if you ask me!

    Oh, and one more question, if I may:

    If you had to pick one topic/character for a return to Fantasy via the Heroes series, who and what would you pick?
    What are the chances of you writing Fantasy again over the next few years?

    Thanks and all the best,

  11. Lee Murphy November 14, 2013

    Would you ever write a novel about a chaos space marine looking for redemption while being tracked down by the empire as well as his old squad .Also have you ever thought about writing a book about the founding of a new space marine chapter and how they begin , get their equipment , find a place to recruit and perhaps their first battle as the new chapter.

  12. Daniel Dolgos November 14, 2013

    Darkchaplain mentioned The Outcast Dead, which reminds me of Arik Taranis, a surviving Thunder Warrior. (The book’s been out for awhile, so I hope this doesn’t count as a spoiler.) Do you have any plans to continue his story either during the events of the Horus Heresy or … *gasps* … maybe in the 41st millennium?

    And now for something completely different! WH40K novels almost exclusively feature the races that are available for play at tabletop and I completely understand that one of the objectives of Black Library is to get people in the tabletop hobby. Nothing wrong with that, wowever, this does seem to limit the mystery of these novels. How do I explain? Whenever I start reading a BL novel, the first thing I do is try to identify the antagonist. “Oooh, are they going to fight druchii? No, wait, that looks like a lictor.” Of course, one has to admire the fact that even under these circumstances, the novels are well built and written, making the reader forget that he’s reading the hundredth “Imperial Guard mistakes the eldar for their dark kin” story.

    Now for the question. Does knowing that you have a “limited” number of races to choose from ever make you feel that you lack a certain level of freedom when writing your stories?

    • Daniel Dolgos November 14, 2013

      Wowever… was supposed to be “however”. Oh well, I do hope inventing this new word will not bring about the apocalypse.

  13. jack November 15, 2013

    Dear Graham

    I will preface my question by stating that I am both a 40k fan and a philosopher.

    Having read both your Horus Heresy books and some of the Fantasy books you’ve written I’ve noticed that in the former you are much more hostile to religion in the former than in the latter.

    Is there any reason for this? In Angel Exterminatus you allude to Hume’s argument against Miracles (the gradual healing of the crippled Iron Hands Captain) when (from my limited prospective of a reader) the plot didn’t really seem to require them. Also is “The Last Church” you make the cleric the Emperor is arguing with out to be a simpleton, trotting out of arguments for God’s existence that no self respecting philosophical defender of Theism has ever defended, and it kind of ruined that particular story for me. I get that the Emperor is supposed to be uber smart but that confrontation was the equivalent of a cheetah pouncing on a limbless gazelle

    Was there really any

  14. Alex Edwards November 18, 2013

    Alright, I finally came up with the kind of question I think might be interesting. I’ve gone up through the list of things people have already posted so as not to post anything that someone else has already asked.

    So there is an obvious schedule to what you are writing and when. You finish Lords of Mars, work on a short story or an e-short and then you write Vengeful Spirit. Then once that is done, you get a brief reprieve before throwing yourself straight into Gods of Mars (which I am eagerly awaiting to see just how hard Galatea gets slapped down when he/she/it pulls another “Your emotions amuse me because Imma AI an I do what I want” power trip).

    So my question again pertains to time.

    How long is the novel process from pitch to production?

    You could use Vengeful Spirit or another recent gem as an example, or maybe one of the earlier ones such as the Ambassador novels. I might have heard someone talk about this at one of the events, but it always makes a good topic for verbose discussion.

    And here is an interesting hunk of food for thought. Eventually there is going to be a return to the Ultramarines series correct? Will that novel be under the Ultramarines banner, or will it migrate to the Space Marine Battles or Apocalypse franchises?

    Oh! Now there is a thought. Since Sentinels of Terra and Clan Raukaan are a thing, have you considered taking a trip back into games development to write a Ultramarines codex supplement? I suppose the plain Codex itself already has Ultramarines covered since they are the white-bread of Space Marines.

    Oh! Another thought. Comparing Space Marine chapters to baked goods. I’d say Blood Angels are jam doughnut. The kind which always spill jam onto your t-shirt when you bite them for the first time. Y’know to tie-in with the frustration of trying to clean your shirt.

    Now James Swallow writes epic tales of jam doughnuts.

  15. Ivan Martynow November 18, 2013

    Mr. McNeill! First of all, I’d like to thank you for your work, I’m enjoying your books a lot. Hope to read more of them 🙂 .

    I’ve almost finished reading “Fulgrim” and I’ve got a question: the corruption of Emperor’s Children’s primarch was caused primarily by his own weaknesses, or in the universe of Warhammer40k Chaos is so strong that it’s able to taint even such perfect creatures as Phoenix was? Would Vespassian or Solomon Demeter be also corrupted if they walked into the temple on Laer?

    Please sorry for my English,
    Best regards,

  16. Reds8n November 22, 2013

    Is there any chance of seeing you write anything else in the old world/WFB setting anytime soon ? I appreciate that the 40k books and especially the HH ones sell more and therefore must be a priority but it does seem that the fantasy side of things has been getting short shrift for a while now. I appreciate there may be other issues — a new edition, new army books etc whatever ( not fishing for info here honest!) — that we don’t know about but I think there’s a lot of interest in something like a short series akin to your Ambassador series.

  17. Forkmaster November 22, 2013

    Hello Mr McNeill! I think I must have had a million questions, but now when I get the chance I have none. Well I do have a question about Iron Warrior command structure. How are their Legion built up as? Is it that a battalion equals roughly like a large Chapter (when comparing in post-Heresy terms) and is made up out of Grand-Companies? Or is it the otherway around? And is then a Warsmith the leader of a battalion and captains commands the companies? But how come Berossus changes from being a captain in “The Crimson Fist” to a Warsmith in “Angel Exterminatus”? A bit confused and would like some explanation.

    Also should say Fulgrim is one of my favorite HH-novels and also the reason why I collect them (and has been since 2010). That and ATS has been great so it was nice with Reflection Crack’d and Angel Exterminatus that we got to see the boys in purple and gold again. Will we see more of Magnus post ransacking of Prospero btw and in what way? Same question applies for Fulgrim post ascension.

  18. Chris November 22, 2013

    Hi Graham! In your long and storied career, are there any pieces of writing that you regret, or would’ve written differently in hindsight? Or anything you felt you could have done better?

  19. Marc Wachtfels November 22, 2013

    Hi Graham,
    After reading Angel Exterminatus a year ago during my military service I’ve really started to look at the Iron Warriors from an other perspective. I was wondering if you’re going to explore the background, Olympia and the culture of it at some point in the future? It would be awesome to read something with some Olympian Despots in it.
    cheers from Switzerland

  20. Mortemer November 22, 2013

    Hi Graham,

    Bit of stupid question:

    Iron Warriors home world Olympia and the names of the people there have an Ancient Greek feel (like ancient Sparta, Thebes etc), from what we’ve seen so far, mainly from you. How come the iron Warriors do not have similar names? After their initiation/induction to the legion they get “new” names instead, that sound more warlike?

  21. Charles Browne November 22, 2013

    Hi Graham,

    Big fan of Angel Exterminatus! Have you thought of ever writing novels on the Eldar? Also can we expect more Sigmar novels?

    P.S Your Ultramarines novels were the first Space Marine novels I ever read! Thank you!

  22. Matt Smith November 22, 2013

    There’s a bit of love going on for the Dragon of Mars, but what actually happened to the Book of Mars? Will you be making a return to the Thousand Sons, as there are still a few of them scattered about? Magnus still seems a pretty understanding chap and quite accepting considering… so something must finally twist his arm to throw in his lot with Horus, vindication, absolution, redemption, he just seems above petty squabbling so would be a shame to see his character lowered in such a way.

  23. The Angry Templar November 22, 2013

    It needs to be asked:

    How much do we have to pay you to write another Codex: Black Templars? 😉

  24. David Soponski November 22, 2013

    As Angry Templar beat me to my first choice of question, how about:

    As a W40k fan I love the idea of deep space exploration into the unknown, to whit, Rogue Traders. I love the idea of ‘Exploration Books’ within the universe, and after Priests/Lords of Mars, I want to see more books along these lines. Thing is, for it to work as a W40k book it would have to include War and Conquest to fit the bill.

    Have you enjoyed writing the Priest of Mars books, and if so would you be up for writing more stories along those lines centered around a Rogue Trader and his crew? And is there any call for this type of book with Black Library (I probably should have asked that last bit first)?

  25. Tyryt November 22, 2013

    What is the name of the planet which the Warhammer 40,000 Eternal Crusade will take place?

  26. Will Pollard November 22, 2013

    It looks like a lot of the other questions are relating to things I would’ve asked about. So that leaves me with the only question that I can think of at short notice.

    Who would win in a fight. A Medieval Knight, or a Samurai Warrior?

    This may seem like a nonsense question, but it’s actually very serious, honest. It’s been bouncing around my family for Years and my opinion is in the minority. So what side of the fantasy fight do you fall on?