I know what I have, and current am doing, in the way of research for my writing projects. I am curious to know what Chris does. As it pertains to the subject matter, has he read the codices? How far back (previous editions)? What other sources of information on background has he sought so that what he writes would be rich in the "meat, down to the bone" in presenting his vision of the Sons of Russ with the right flavor?
Hi Growler67. This is an interesting question, as the Wolves, like all aspects of 40K, have evolved over time, so the question of what counts as getting them 'right' isn't entirely straightforward. Consider how Graham McNeill portrayed them in A Thousand Sons, compared to how Bill King did in the four original Space Wolf novels. Superficially things are pretty similar, but in many ways they're very different characters. Every author, including the various writers of the Codexes, has their own angle on the SWs, and being faithful to that huge collection of material is a challenge.
So, in preparation for BotF, I thought a lot about the nature of the SWs and how to portray them. At the same time, I did a *lot* of reading. For starters, that meant the current Codex, plus extracts of the older ones sent to me by BL
. I went back through the two Space Wolf omnibuses, as well as the relevant stories from the anthologies. There were bits and pieces from the Index Astartes that were useful, as well as chunks of the venerable Rogue Trader rulebook. And don't forget the Thousand Sons - I didn't want them to be mindless villains (the sorcerers, at least), and it was important to get them 'right' as well. So that meant reading extracts of the Chaos Space Marine Codex (both old and new), as well as the various snippets about them scattered across the GW
canon. I also wanted to get a feel for how Space Marines were being written in contemporary BL
books, so got stuck into books like Salamander and Soul Hunter for a flavour of how the universe was being rendered by current authors.
In the end, there were three sources that proved most helpful and influential. The first was Helsreach, which came out just as I was getting started. This was a great inspiration in many ways, but the story structure is also quite similar to the Fang's and I suspect the writing issues were pretty similar. The second was A Thousand Sons, which gave me heaps of ideas for portraying Magnus's sons. I had a long chat with Graham before starting out, as I wanted my Thousand Sons to feel the pain of Prospero in everything they did. For them, it's a matter of decades since the City of Light fell, and they're still coming to terms with it.
The third influence was, of course, the mighty Prospero Burns. I won't be giving any spoilers away if I say that this was one of the finest books I've ever read from BL
, and it was a huge help in getting the Space Wolves clear in my head. By the time I got hold of an advance copy I was about a third of the way through Fang, so I had to do some rewrites to make sure everything matched up. In my opinion, Dan has written the definitive Space Wolf book in PB, and I've taken his account as the principal template for my own rendering of the warriors of Fenris.
All that being said, though, BotF is my book. There are ideas there that are totally my own, and I've not tried to copy anyone's style or mannerisms. It was an enormous privilege to portray Fenris in all its savage glory, and to try to tell an epic tale with the action and depth it deserves. I'll have to wait to see what the readers make of it, especially those who play SWs or TSs. Experience tells me that not everyone will agree with my take on the characters, setting and story, since everyone has a different angle on them. But I hope that others will, and that it'll stand up alongside the other Space Wolf stories and further enrich their fantastic background.