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Gav Thorpe - the Luther novel

Blacklibrary Dark Angels The Fallen Unforgiven Horus Heresy

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#26
Sandlemad

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I'd agree with DC that Luther as a character has an immense amount of potential. Even just for a character who became an astartes after he had married and lost his wife, that alone's a solid angle even before you get into the fascinating questions of his relationship with the Lion, his feelings about Caliban and the imperium, his halting drift towards the warp. The particulars there are all compelling and make the whole saga of the DA/the Lion & Luther more than just a smaller-scale, more gothic, inverse retread of the larger scope of the heresy. Gav can do something like that, his work on Lorgar showed an extraordinary sensitivity and restraint, even subtlety. A structure based around interrogation would be cool and offer a lot, particularly if we can see a change between the earlier, immediately post-heresy grand masters and those close to the 41st millennium.

 

But... I've read Gav's DA books and I agree with Roomsky in not expecting any of that to actually come out in this. I am expecting this to be something closer to his more recent DA work, wheels spinning in a needlessly elaborate plot with uninteresting characters.


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#27
b1soul

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@ Gederas

"And I swear, I think most of the negativity comes from Gav being the one who caused the "Fallen are Loyal, Lion is Traitor" memes"

For quite a few...it's his bland prose

#28
The_Bloody

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This made me remember that Luther had a daughter, too, which I suppose he abandoned when he became part of the Order/a Space Marine.
She could have made for a very interesting character (not that I think she will ever be used).

I also realized that she, along with the entire -innocent- human population of Caliban, is going to be obliterated by the Lion.
Perhaps Luther will ruminate about this, in a passing though.

I see some interesting tragic potential in this kind of stuff.
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#29
Sandlemad

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@ Gederas

"And I swear, I think most of the negativity comes from Gav being the one who caused the "Fallen are Loyal, Lion is Traitor" memes"

For quite a few...it's his bland prose

 

Yeah, for all that there are DA fans who dislike him primarily on that count (which I wouldn't put so much down to Gav as the General Internet Tendency to run things into the ground), I'd say the larger group of folks who aren't wild about his stuff have pretty conventional and imo justified reasons. It often slips in excessive vocal dislike and obscures his better work - his eldar and Ynnari books, Lorgar, the excellent old WHFB dwarf stuff - but the reasons are there.



#30
Gederas

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@ Gederas

"And I swear, I think most of the negativity comes from Gav being the one who caused the "Fallen are Loyal, Lion is Traitor" memes"

For quite a few...it's his bland prose

Yeah, for all that there are DA fans who dislike him primarily on that count (which I wouldn't put so much down to Gav as the General Internet Tendency to run things into the ground), I'd say the larger group of folks who aren't wild about his stuff have pretty conventional and imo justified reasons. It often slips in excessive vocal dislike and obscures his better work - his eldar and Ynnari books, Lorgar, the excellent old WHFB dwarf stuff - but the reasons are there.

To be honest, the vast majority of Black Library's writers have very bland prose.


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#31
Xisor

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I'm pretty excited about this - compared to the many who've written about DA (even in passing), I think Gav's is the most solid and engaging take I've found on them. The Unforgiven in particular I found to be very good indeed. 

 

That said, he's also writen a few I'd be less effusive about (Ravenwing, Kadillus), but that's more because I found them to be fine for my tastes, just not particularly nice. (In contrast again to the likes of the Path of the Eldar series, or The Red Feast etc.)

 

Even saying that, I do find his prose to be distinctive from others' - 'drier' is how I usually describe it. If you don't like that, there's no sense in calling it bad, if what you mean is it's not to your tastes. 

 

But then I don't think many people (myself very much included) can even perceive their own tastes, let alone can properly distinguish the technical aspects that work and don't work and how they factor into them.

 

 

i've read the first two ahriman, which i dig, but for some reason doesn't feel like a tsons book to me so much as an ahriman book? not really sure why

What I said above for Gav can be applied with John too - he's a distinctive writer, but that distinctiveness can be divisive too.

 

I think there's a lore-based reason that the Ahriman stories don't really feel like a Thousand Sons story: they aren't. Ahriman is to the Thousand Sons as Slaanesh is to the Aeldari, or Archaon is to the old Warhammer World. He's their doom, not their shining salvation.

 

He's wrapped up inextricably in their fate, and is fundamentally a part of their story.

 

But the character of Barry Thousand, Son of Magnus, whose life and works are all about expanding the fiefdom of change and magic and arcana to progress their own standing on the Planet of the Sorcerers?

 

That's a fundamentally different story to the story of Ahriman.

 

---

 

It's, in some respects, a good illustration of a possible avenue that Gav's story might take too: how much of Luther's story is fundamentally a Dark Angels story, and how much of any story of the Dark Angels is inherently also a story (sometimes in negative/omission) of the Fallen?

 

They're linked in quite deep ways, but one is not really the other if you get me?

 

Or not necessarily, at least.

 

I think it's a touch sad that very few, if any stories really get into the other spaces that the Dark Angels inhabit, and manage to make much of anything without the Fallen being a feature.

 

The Wrath of Magnus and the Ritual of the Damned is maybe the closest that angle's come in breaking away from being all about the Fallen?

 

(It's arguably an odd switcheroo with the Space Wolves, transitively linking that because Dark Angels rival Space Wolves and Space Wolves rival Thousand Sons, there's gotta be some story in the Dark Angels rivalling the Thousand Sons too? Could have been different again, a strange "rival of my rival is my friend" angle, where the Thousand Sons and Dark Angels' penchants for secretive, obscure, hermetic conspiracies plays a significant part? But even that's not really touched on, it's just played straight: Dark Angels get caught up in it because they begrudge the Wolves, and somehow get swept along into Ritual of the Damned too because, y'know...?)


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#32
Sandlemad

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I think there's a lore-based reason that the Ahriman stories don't really feel like a Thousand Sons story: they aren't. Ahriman is to the Thousand Sons as Slaanesh is to the Aeldari, or Archaon is to the old Warhammer World. He's their doom, not their shining salvation.

 

He's wrapped up inextricably in their fate, and is fundamentally a part of their story.

 

But the character of Barry Thousand, Son of Magnus, whose life and works are all about expanding the fiefdom of change and magic and arcana to progress their own standing on the Planet of the Sorcerers?

 

That's a fundamentally different story to the story of Ahriman.

 

Well put, fascinating stuff about the DA vs the TS. I think more than any other legions* the stories of the TS and DA are intimately wrapped up in the relationship between their primarch and one significant astartes.

 

But then that's the tricky thing, isn't it. The reduction or flanderisation of the DA to only caring about the Fallen is definitely an unfortunate trend but that's in part because it's hanging over stories and characters who aren't still engaged in the original struggle, and because it occludes a lot of pretty interesting pre-heresy Terran/First Legion stuff that has been written since. The Lion is gone and Luther was reduced to furniture since the heresy, basically passive and not particularly involved. By contrast Ahriman and Magnus were at it before and are still at it, to the point where I'd almost flip your arrangement around and say that the TS are fundamentally part of their story.

 

That might be unfair to poor old Barry and arguably reductive of the possibilities the TS offer but I think it's probably the angle that French took (consciously or unconsciously) in the Ahriman books: that the few legionaries who are alive-alive might have their own stories yet are all intimately tied to several touchstone events and that single vaguely solipsistic father/son relationship. I took the mention in Inferno that post-Prospero all other TS besides Ahriman could well have been  "mere facsimiles" and "real enough perhaps to even fool the only true survivor into believing them his comrades and to cajole him to some sorcerous act required by this entity" to be a sly nod to this tendency on the part of either French himself or Alan Bligh ( "Wait, it's all Ahriman?" "Always was."teehee.gif )

 

I don't think it's the only take that one can have on the TS but (and this might be down to personal preference or just that it's a drum that hasn't been beat as much over the decades) I find their background hugging tightly to Ahriman/Magnus daddy issues less irritating than that narrowing of the DA's themes or conceptual space to the Fallen. Suppose we'll see. The DA and the Fallen might not be mirrors exactly but I don't think you could have a series of DA grand masters in a book about Luther without putting their obsession front and centre. It would be good to see more DA stuff that didn't eventually circle back to the Fallen but this is unlikely to be it.

 

Ironically though if Gav gives a good bit of attention to these more interesting aspects of Luther that DarkChaplain mentions, you could well have a Luther who isn't solely defined by being first among the Fallen, a man of many parts, a much less one-note kinda dude than his gaolers, just... living rent-free in their heads. That has potential. Again, given what I read of the Legacy of Caliban series, it's not something I'm expecting but maybe Gav can pull it off.

 

* except the Sons of Horus, though the distinction there is that the relationship and its importance for the legion only became a big Thing after Horus died. Maybe the Death Guard as well actually, to a lesser extent.


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#33
WrathOfTheLion

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Luther may be somewhat of a transhuman and was powerful, but he did never become an astartes.


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#34
Knockagh

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Luther may be somewhat of a transhuman and was powerful, but he did never become an astartes.


What state must he be in after 10k years? If he’s still being interrogated he must be better than the emperor perched on the throne. The dark angels must be using some nasty machinery to have kept that beast alive. Never mind him escaping and walking around.

#35
Fedor

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@ Gederas

"And I swear, I think most of the negativity comes from Gav being the one who caused the "Fallen are Loyal, Lion is Traitor" memes"

For quite a few...it's his bland prose

 

You know you can let one chance to criticise everyone not named Wraight, ADB or Abnett slip past. Nobody will revoke your discerning and cultured tie-in fiction reader membership.


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#36
WrathOfTheLion

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Luther may be somewhat of a transhuman and was powerful, but he did never become an astartes.

What state must he be in after 10k years? If he’s still being interrogated he must be better than the emperor perched on the throne. The dark angels must be using some nasty machinery to have kept that beast alive. Never mind him escaping and walking around.
Yes, they were using some weird machinery and all to keep him alive.

It is interesting though. They kept him alive, but there is no way he would be in any state to lead an army, unless something more has happened after his escape. Someone clearly took him though, he was in no state to leave himself.

Beyond that, is he to be redeemed, or is he to be damned? A lot that can be done with Luther.

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#37
DarkChaplain

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Had some shower-headramblings about Luther delivering a monologue about his life on Caliban.

 

Spoiler

 

That's the kind of guy I see Luther as, ideally.


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#38
b1soul

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Luther is definitely heavily augmented short of being an Astartes...so I'm thinking at least as augmented as Kasper Hawser, with extended longevity.

I'm assuming Luther has been primarily in stasis during the past ten millennia, and they "thaw" him to torture and interrogate him before putting him back on ice.

I don't think they would be doing this too often, as I think they would want to preserve him for future DA interrogator-chaplains and stretch out his existence. Ironically, he probably gets some additional rejuvenat treatment from his torturers.

Assuming they torture him for a week once every five years, that's roughly two thousands weeks of torture over the past ten thousand years...or 38 years of torture in and out of stasis.

I think something like that would make more sense than hundreds or thousands of years of torture.

#39
Xisor

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@Sandlemad: definitely. I think with the Grand Master-level stories, you're absolutely right. (Though I can envisage a story that's about the absence of the Fallen - they're all obsessed and looking for a hint, but the point is there aren't any hints because they're living through an age where there aren't any Fallen! That sort of "getting on with life when you can't indulge your passions" story could be very interesting.)

 

Equally, I think the whole shebang has been a massive disservice to any one time's 800 Dark Angels who might never have heard of the Fallen and never really consider them in any greater context than they consider heretics or traitors or recidivists or mutants or any number of other foes of humanity.

 

I think there's a deep, rich tapestry there for the Dark Angels. There must be, not least because without it the Inner Circle, Ravenwing and Deathwing would all be very conspicuous.

 

"Ah, there goes Master Gary of the 7th, off to his secret meetings with all the other robed cultists."

"Do you think he knows we know?"

"Nah mate, he hasn't got a clue. Useless officers and their pointless conspiracies. I bet I can predict what we'll be doing for the next campaign.

"Executing untold millions of innocent mutants 'unting-hay the allen-fay'?"

"Brother, you should get a library card."

 

Either that, or line Dark Angels are very thoroughly, regularly mind-wiped or just hideously unobservant.

 

---

 

Accordingly, I could see that topic being one of Luther's key qualities - unlike the Lion, Luther has charisma that is without conspiracy. The chiefs of the Dark Angels (& the Lion) see him as the conspirator, but I much prefer the idea that he's a very pedestrian conspirator: a decent seeming charismatic person that uncomplicated people just want to follow, that they trust much more than they trust the enigmatic brooding conspirators.

 

You know?

 

That said, it worked well with Astellan too, and is totally there in Zahariel - how many a Dark Angels sees themself as simple, decent people, and yet see everybody else as brooding conspirators, and so - reluctantly! - have to become paranoid, over-complicated, lying, treacherous maniacs in an effort to preserve their own simple decency from these fiends?

 

If anything, the story of the Dark Angels - just like the stories of the Thousand Sons - is one of unreliable narrators.

 

How deluded are these people? How honest are they?

 

---

 

Despite saying all that - in the same manner as The Unforgiven for which I think I approached with very strong intuitions and expectations - I was pleasantly surprised when Gav deviated wildly from where I thought he was (and entitledly thought he should be going). His actual unravelling of his plots was much more satisfying, I found, than what I'd been anticipating myself.

 

I like that, but I'm always wary of stoking my expectations too much too - there's no sense in me not-enjoying a novel because I'd let my expectations run away with themselves and no sane book could ever live up to them!


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#40
Bobss

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have to agree that i'd have preferred another author's take on DA, just for the sake of fresh perspective if not a knock on thorpe. that's generally how i feel about mcniell and the TS and wraight and the WS too. strangely, it's the opposite with abnett and the AL. i feel like he needs to come back and pick up what he put down in legion.

Did you read the Ahriman trilogy or The Last Hunt (WS) by MacNiven?

Can only recommend these two.

But overall, I agree, sometimes a fresh take can be pleasing but unfortunately it sometimes is not, as well.

Think it's overall a difficult decision of who's doing what, etc.

i've read the first two ahriman, which i dig, but for some reason doesn't feel like a tsons book to me so much as an ahriman book? not really sure why

 

 

This is off-topic, but Ahriman: Unchanged is extremely Thousand Son-y


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#41
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Kelborn, it's Luther, not Luthor laugh.png

Here's the article

The thing is, I'm reading the Dark Angels novel series now and I don't see where all the hate for Gav is coming from? It's not the best, but not the worst. Solid B so far.


The hate is because the Indomitus novel was so bad. Some of his stuff was not bad, but that novel is the cause for such a negative reaction.

 

As a Dark Angel fan, every single Thorpe release goes into the trash for me. He's fundamentally incapable of writing actual adults, with all of his characters coming across as immature children instead of professional gene-modded super soldiers, space elves, or demigod gene-sires. It doesn't help either Thorpe seems to be smoldering in pent up fury at how the studio (rightly) shoots down his stupid ideas like the Dark Angels being secret traitors or anybody else having plot threads with the First (see Nemiel's haircut). Thorpe's only good for distanced world building, but even that he's somewhat bad at considering he's one of the authors pushing the idea of there being nothing between the Imperium and Chaos and the galaxy being void of nuance.


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+Quod vult valde vult+


#42
mc warhammer

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thorpe has expressed anger at the studio shooting down his ideas?
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It always amused me that the GW Mail Order ‘Trolls’ as we (starting with me) had always styled ourselves insisted as being rebranded ‘Space Marines’. Why anyone would want to be associated with semi-lobotomized, hypnotically indoctrinated slave-soldiers in thrall to an uncaring (and possibly non-existent) god I couldn’t imagine. - Rick Priestley

 2019

#43
DarkChaplain

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thorpe has expressed anger at the studio shooting down his ideas?

 

Yeah! He has! Because they keep shooting down his tongue in cheek dwarven hijinks! It's actually a subject of quite a lot of amusement at live events, I gather.

 

Frankly, I don't see him ever actually complaining about rejections of pitches. I also don't agree with much else of the above post, though, so your mileage may vary.


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#44
Fedor

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Did he ever claim to want the Dark Angels to be traitors? I don't read his twitter or whatever so maybe he did, but Angels of Darkness doesn't claim that as any word of god thing. Years of internet forum discourse on the DA did hover around that at times, yet only because it was one of the main Dark Angels 40k book for years.


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#45
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Did he ever claim to want the Dark Angels to be traitors? I don't read his twitter or whatever so maybe he did, but Angels of Darkness doesn't claim that as any word of god thing. Years of internet forum discourse on the DA did hover around that at times, yet only because it was one of the main Dark Angels 40k book for years.

 

No, it was the implication at the end, that forever tilted a fanbase.

 

I always liked that bit of the story lol.


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DISOBEY

 

(╯°□°)╯︵ ┻━┻


#46
Morovir

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As I've stated before, according to Thorpe on his website, the idea to kill off Nemiel came from the editors after a decision to take the Dark Angels storyline in a different direction from the inevitable Nemiel/Zahariel confrontation (ironically CZ Dunn, who now has the second-largest portfolio of Dark Angels works), and that Thorpe's initial idea was just to have the Lion lash out to show how thin the veneer of his civility is.

 

https://gavthorpe.co.uk/spoilers/


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#47
Knockagh

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We may find out some more on the present day Dark Angel lore from the Inquisitor Sabbathiel book that’s supposed to come out this year. Sabbathiel has had a fixation with exposing the DA secrets in the comics last year, I would be surprised if the novel wasn’t based around this theme. It could even be Luthers release. Nosey inquisitor finds hidden DA prison and a accidentally frees ‘monster’. Wild card guess right there

#48
WrathOfTheLion

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I think we will see tie-ins across the entire Dark Angels lore.

In one of the Road to Thramas Articles, it looks like there might be a campaign at Caliban given the map they showed. I figure any novel would tie into that. There is also the release of Luther in the present time, so there is that as well. Given possible ties to both the HH and 40k stuff that could be going on, it is a conveniently timed book.


Edited by WrathOfTheLion, 17 August 2020 - 08:47 PM.

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#49
mc warhammer

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As I've stated before, according to Thorpe on his website, the idea to kill off Nemiel came from the editors after a decision to take the Dark Angels storyline in a different direction from the inevitable Nemiel/Zahariel confrontation (ironically CZ Dunn, who now has the second-largest portfolio of Dark Angels works), and that Thorpe's initial idea was just to have the Lion lash out to show how thin the veneer of his civility is.

https://gavthorpe.co.uk/spoilers/


still, he doesn't seem to be a volcano of repressed anger and hatred towards the studio in that tidbit. if anything, he's just matter of fact

It always amused me that the GW Mail Order ‘Trolls’ as we (starting with me) had always styled ourselves insisted as being rebranded ‘Space Marines’. Why anyone would want to be associated with semi-lobotomized, hypnotically indoctrinated slave-soldiers in thrall to an uncaring (and possibly non-existent) god I couldn’t imagine. - Rick Priestley

 2019

#50
rookie40K

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All the answers anyone has ever wanted to know about the DA is in the audio drama Grey Angel.





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