Straken - out in paperback!

Toby Frost

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#1
The Warhammer 40,000 novel I wrote, Straken, is now out in paperback. It's a tale of war, intrigue, space monsters, large killer robots, crazed preachers, dubious political officers, spaceships and explosions set in the far future.



Plucked from a catastrophic war against the monstrous tyranids, Colonel ‘Iron Hand’ Straken and his Catachan Jungle Fighters are sent to the cavern world of Dulma’lin to clear it of an ork infestation. Ranged against an overwhelming force of greenskins, and with the hostile attentions of Commissar Morrell upon them, the Catachans must overcome internal divisions and hold the line against the alien menace.

It's available from Black Library (the publishers), Amazon, Waterstones and, I'm reliably informed (thanks Baylor) Barnes and Noble.

Straken (Warhammer 40, 000): Amazon.co.uk: Toby Frost: 9781784964467: Books
 

Tower75

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#2
Neat. (y) Someone better shout "Get to da Valkyrie!"

A Commissar? Don't Commissars assigned to Catachan regiments have a tendency of having "accidents"? :eek:
 

HareBrain

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#3
Congrats! How much difference to readability/understanding would it make if you haven't read a Warhammer 40k novel before? (I'm familiar with quite a few of the concepts etc.)
 

Toby Frost

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#4
Yes, political officers don't tend to do terribly well with Catachan regiments. They seem to explode or hack themselves to death by mistake quite often.

Not a huge amount, to be honest, HareBrain. Imagine the wider world of Dune but Medieval Catholic instead of Islamic and you're a fair way there. Straken is largely set on one planet and there are no space marines, so there's not a bewildering range of factions and the really intense background stuff doesn't appear. Because of the slightly low-tech nature of the fighting, the really wacky stuff doesn't really come into play. It probably helps to know the background, but this one is pretty self-contained.
 

Bick

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#5
Black Library approached you to write this, Toby? It's not like your other well known series of books, in mood, I would suspect. Just interested how this came about.
 

Toby Frost

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#6
It came about in a rather roundabout way. A while ago, I was at an SF convention and happened to end up sitting next to James Swallow, who writes space marines books for GW. We got talking, and he suggested that I contact them. I did a couple of short stories for them, and it was proposed that I wrote a novel. Certainly, having written anything full-length did me some good here, as it showed that I could organise and keep going with a proper book.

I found the tone quite hard to get, partly because when I was very into GW’s world, about 20 years ago, the tone was different and the audience too. Warhammer Fantasy and 40k were much less of an established brand, and included a lot of in-jokes and nods to other franchises. When I started, Warhammer even had its own heavy metal label! Since then, the franchise had consolidated and the setting was taking itself much more seriously. The wry quality was gone and grimdark was in. So I found it quite hard not to crack jokes, partly because of the Smith books and my instinct to find the absurdity in SF (and you will be astonished to learn that 40k is a bit absurd in points) and partly because I was planning to write a book that was 20 years out of date.

It was also helpful to be writing about people who weren’t conformists, and whose background nodded as much to old war films as to Warhammer itself. Interestingly, when an advert for Straken appeared in White Dwarf, mention was made of it containing black comedy. So it is there, just very toned down. But then, if you were stuck in the 40k world, you probably would develop a certain black humour, just as a defence mechanism.
 

Bick

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#7
Very interesting, thanks Toby. I would not normally read this sort of thing at all, the idea of Warhammer doesn't especially float my boat, and the covers they give them are a bit 6th form, for my liking. That said, I know you write very well having read Captain Smith, so your addition to this somewhat geeky world makes me wonder about giving (at least your book) a try at some point.
 

Toby Frost

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#8
To be brutally honest, I think they vary and I would probably not recommend starting with anything with space marines as the lead characters: they tend to be more Mary-Sue-esque and are very intensely 40k and rather hard to relate to. Dan Abnett's Imperial Guard books always get a very good write-up, and I've heard that his "Inquisitor" novels are good too: less military and more undercover work, although probably weirder.
 

BAYLOR

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#10
Very interesting, thanks Toby. I would not normally read this sort of thing at all, the idea of Warhammer doesn't especially float my boat, and the covers they give them are a bit 6th form, for my liking. That said, I know you write very well having read Captain Smith, so your addition to this somewhat geeky world makes me wonder about giving (at least your book) a try at some point.
Bick, I've read it and it's terrific ! (y):cool:
 

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