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Darius Hinks Joins Angry Robot Books with The Ingenious – Guest Blog

Today we have author Darius Hinks with us to talk about his upcoming release, The Ingenious, due out February 2019, from Angry Robot Books!

Waaay back in 2011 I wrote my first Games Workshop novel, Warrior Priest, and over the last seven years, all my fiction has been set in one of the Warhammer universes. There are many advantages to writing in an established setting – building on the work of other creatives, being able to study the existing canon, working with fellow authors on the same extended narrative. Warhammer has had so much thought and attention lavished on it that it’s a joy to write in those worlds. Even the newest member of the family, Age of Sigmar, is built on foundations and that go back decades.

Age of Sigmar (cover art)

Age of Sigmar art – Paul Dainton © Copyright Games Workshop

Despite all that, I’ve been itching for a while now to write a novel set in a universe of my own invention. There were some themes I wanted to pursue that just didn’t quite fit with the Warhammer IP and I also had a hankering to create a whole world, from scratch, and see where that process led me.

Chinese Lantern Seed Pod Skeleton (cover of THE WATCHER album)As of today, I am finally safe to reveal that my grubby, monstrous novel, The Ingenious will be launched on the book-buying public in February, published by the lovely (and actually not very angry) folk at Angry Robot.

Weirdly, the inspiration for Athanor (the setting for The Ingenious) came from my garden. I had a seedpod skeleton sat on my desk and it was so intricate and strange that I found myself imagining it as a city in miniature – walkways and viaducts, spiralling around each other in a confusing, organic mesh, all teeming with life.

The shape of the seedpod suggested other patterns and designs (like mehndi henna designs or leaf skeletons) and I soon found that I’d stumbled across an aesthetic for my imagined world – a place where every road and bridge is engulfed in coiled, wire-framed growths – intricate, shoot-like spines that are a hallmark of its alchemical origins.

Mehndi Hands by Brian Wolfe

This spiny, coiling, serpentine aesthetic led me to ideas about how the city grows and changes over the centuries, stretching from one reality to another, subsuming cultures and architecture. How would it feel to be an outsider in a place like that? What would it be like if you were smuggled illegally into its labyrinthine streets and then left to flounder? The book quickly became a tale of immigrants, oddballs and exiles – desperate, dispossessed souls, scraping out a life in the gutter, used and abused by the city’s ruling elite.

RentonMy favourite aspects of Warhammer have always been the darker, stranger elements (to be fair, most of it is pretty dark and strange) and this book became a way for me to push that even further, imagining how a Renton or a Tommy Shelby might fare in a brutal, bizarre, utterly fantastical civilisation – brave, ambitious people who have been forced into addiction, turf wars, criminality and violence, sinking into the mire, but always dreaming of something better, always looking for a way out.

The tale grew even darker in the telling but, luckily for me, I found some kindred spirits at Angry Robot and they will be publishing the book in the New Year. I feel lucky to have found them and I know they already have a history of publishing grimdark fantasy by the likes of James A Moore and Cameron Johnston, so I think the Robots will be the perfect guardians of my new, strange creation.

The Ingenious

The squalid, bloody tale of desperate political exiles seeking a way home from the impossible city that imprisons them.

Thousands of years ago, the city of Athanor was set adrift in time and space by alchemists, called the Curious Men. Ever since, it has accumulated cultures, citizens and species into a vast, unmappable metropolis. Isten and her gang of half-starved political exiles live off petty crime and gangland warfare in Athanor’s seediest alleys. Though they dream of returning home to lead a glorious revolution, Isten’s downward spiral drags them into a mire of addiction and violence. Isten must find a way to save the exiles and herself if they are ever to build a better, fairer world for the people of their distant homeland.

The Ingenious is due out February 2019 from Angry Robot Books. For more information on this and other stories from Darius Hinks, you can visit his website or follow him on Twitter.

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