Today’s Digital Monday offering is a tale of the Astra Militarum from Rachel Harrison. ‘Execution’ is about… well, actually, let’s have the author herself tell you. Take it away, Rachel:
Rachel: “‘Execution’ is chiefly a story about a siege, seen through the eyes of Commissar Severina Raine as she fights alongside the regiment she serves with, the 11th Antari Rifles. The Rifles have been charged with cracking a critical enemy-held outpost – the unbreakable fortress of Morne – on the world of Drast.
It’s no small thing, to break the unbreakable, and that’s where Raine comes in.
‘Execution’ starts with a bang, in this case literally, with Raine performing a summary execution. It was always the plan to introduce her that way – performing the duty most associated with a commissar, and most feared by the regiments they serve with. The challenge then was to tease out the human side of her too, keeping her tough and calculating all the while, but giving the reader something to cling onto and care about.
So I decided to write a story of two halves. The battle on Drast to take the fortress of Morne from the cultists known as the Baleful Eye shows Raine doing her duty – driving the 11th Antari Rifles to war in the face of ludicrous odds. It shows that she’s a capable fighter, a shrewd commander, and as unbreakable as that fortress.
The other half looks at Raine as a person, and at the processes that made her. There’s a human heart underneath the coat and the hat and the gun, and that’s exposed through the quiet moments between battles, and the stories she shares with the only person that she’s capable of sharing anything with. It was important to me to show that Raine understands her role and the cost of it – she’s under no illusions as to what the Emperor asks of her, and in some ways that is a greater strength than any amount of swordplay or sharpshooting.
I guess, when I think about it, it’s not just the story that’s in two halves. It’s Raine, too.
To say anything more would be to say too much, but if reading it is even half as much fun as writing it was, then I think I can say I’ve done my duty too.”
Thanks Rachel. You can see for yourself how much fun it is to read (our verdict: lots of fun) by downloading ‘Execution’ now from the Black Library website, iBooks and Amazon UK.
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