A guest article by James Stagg who has begun reading the new Black Library ebook series, The Beast Arises.
Aloha everyone, Whitestagg here! This may not be news to many of you but the Black Library is currently churning out a finite series called “The Beast Arises” in monthly installments. It’s set a few millennia after the Horus Heresy. If you are reading it, good on ya, but if this is the first you’ve heard of it unplug your dial-up modem and call emergency services cause you have a near-fatal case of missing-out-ingitis.
You should definitely be reading this series and here is why;
Unlike the panicky-terror I feel when remembering I am an adult with people depending on me, the story-arc has an ending. It covers a specific period of time and a single event in the Imperium (namely the invasion of the Imperium by ‘The Beast’) I know I may have lost a few of you at this point, especially Horus Heresy fans! The Heresy, ‘single event’, is nigh on a thousand volumes at this point (numbers may have been rounded irresponsibly) but this series, unlike the Horus Heresy, was advertised as 12 volumes and even sold as such (a set-price subscription service with a bit of a built in discount.) Now, there is nothing to say that they couldn’t continue with stories in the 33rd Millennium but at the very least this story arc will wrap up in the 12 books. You know what you are investing in and when the emotional pay-off will come.
This new series offers a deeper than usual view into the Imperium. Don’t get me wrong, there is enough bolter-porn to make you want to switch your Kindle to incognito mode and dim the lights, but that isn’t all it contains. We are introduced to a number of delightful characters in the beginning of the story and get to follow their reactions to the unfolding events as well as the usual dose of everyone’s favorite pillars of gene-modified manhood. In other Black Library stories we might have those characters but would be very unlikely to get the story from their perspective, they’d be relegated to plot devices. These interesting new perspectives both deepen the immersion in the world of the 41stmillennium and help bridge the gap between the Horus Heresy and the current state of affairs (grim and dark in equal parts) I personally love Drakan Vangorich, the grand master of the Officio Assassinorum. How often is it that we get to see the Imperium through the eyes of a number of the High Lords of Terra. This series also has much input from the hosts of Mars. (the wiggly mechadendrite type, not the ACK ACK type)
Lastly, and possibly most importantly, it’s something completely new. If this series is a success Black Library might be less gun-shy when taking on entirely new projects. The Horus Heresy is obviously a massive success and no doubt lead in no small part to this series being thought up but it need not stop there. Supporting these new projects can only lead to new and exciting ones! I would love to see more and more of the Horus Heresy to ‘current’ 40k interim expanded. This is especially a ray of sunshine for people who grow frustrated at the slow pace of development in the Horus Heresy and the self-imposed inability to advance the storyline in 40k. They could go wild playing with the 10,000 years in between the two events.
So go grab a copy of the first book in the series, ‘I Am Slaughter’ , and immerse yourself in this new yet familiar world (but be warned, it’s by Dan Abnett so prepare to be confused for the first few chapters. ‘In media res’ is Latin for “Haha those chumps look perplexed”)