Thought i'd repost this, from ADB himself on B&C talking about the role of the Emperor and a bit about his next HH novel.
Sounds freakin' epic.ADB said:For what it's worth, I'd never do a novel from the Emperor's point of view. I'm probably the most... conservative (little C) of the team. That's not a criticism of the other guys - especially Dan, who is plainly the least conservative in terms of lore changes - but as a personal angle, I don't like to make that many huge revelations and I change as little of the lore as I can. I don't like to alter Legions' famous roles or positions. Changing stuff and going for revelations makes for some hugely popular novels and some of the coolest moments in the series, but it's not my style and I'm too stubborn to change. I like to show more detail of a famous event, or show that same event from another character's point of view. As far as I'm concerned, that's the main part of my mandate. That, at least for the Heresy, is a big part of my job.
Yes, there'll be some changes, alterations, updates and so on, but I'm of the mind that the lore has rocked for 25 years already, and it's the lore that got us all into the 40K setting. I can tell it in my voice without wanting to change things too drastically. Not because I don't have ideas, and not because I think all changes are evil - it's purely that in terms of the Heresy, I want to write the stuff I've loved for two decades, no differently from how many comic writers aspire to, maybe one day, get to be the in-house writer for Spider-Man or Batman. You work hard to contribute to the famous part of the mythos.
So that's why I don't change much, but I do put it in my (writing) voice and see things on the ground level through the eyes of various characters who we may not have known much about before. In Betrayer, f'rex, the World Eaters are the World Eaters, Angron's lore is Angron's lore, but I tried to show how it felt for him to return home, how he felt about abandoning his home in the first place, and how it felt to mutilate yourself to emulate your primarch, with why you'd actually consider do it. Simialrly, The First Heretic has no real revelations. Everything "factual" in it was already in the series or mentioned in the lore, but we saw some of it through different eyes, or a major event was reshaped a little to make more sense. Lorgar, for example, changing everything in his life (including his Legion's tremendous sense of shame and bitterness) was previously based on a conversation - a simple chat - that happened off-screen. That's just not convincing. So we had A Legion Kneeling. That's about the biggest change I can think of, and compared to Legion changes on the scale of the Space Wolves, the Ultramarines at Calth, the Alpha Legion, and various others, it's not much of a change at all. But I don't want to get bogged down in specifics; I'm just trying to make a general point.
It's the Emperor. If something's mentioned about him in the lore, it'll be fair game to include in Master of Mankind. The big man himself has a lot of apparent inconsistencies that need justifying and vindicating, but a book from his POV where he walks around apologising or justifying all his decisions would be a thin veneer over a pointless story. I don't want to see inside his head. I don't care what he's thinking, or why. I don't think we deserve to know, or that we could understand it if we did know.
What I care about is his impact on the nascent and emergent Imperium, his impact on his sons, and what it's like to be one of those nearby him. What's it like to fight alongside the Emperor of Mankind? What's it like to see shadows and suggestions of his arcane/alchemical/magical/mechanical plots, schemes, and plans? What's it like to have a conversation with him? What would he say? Would you hear what he's really saying, or would your mind filter it into something comprehensible on a mortal level?
This is a man that was almost strangled by an ork, yet whose corpse is powerful enough to scream psychically for ten thousand years and cut a blade of light through the Warp itself. This a man who has seen eras begin and end; cultures rise and fall; who has conquered the cradle-world with techno-barbarians and then conquered the galaxy with supersoldiers constructed with technology reclaimed from a near-forgotten Golden Age by implanting certain aspects that same technology into children and adolescents. He has lied to his sons, and acted in ways that - to all intents and purposes - look like the worst father ever imaginable. He's made decisions that, to us, look like raw madness given the capabilities of the beings he was trying to deceive. Telling the most psychic creature in the galaxy (except himself) "Hey, Magnus, leave the Warp alone now."
And so on.
Like I said, I don't care about seeing things from his point of view. He's the Emperor. His point of view will never enter into things when it's me setting pen to paper, or fingers to keys. What I'm interested in is how others interpret his presence, and how they interpret what they believe is his point of view. I'm interested in how others see him, and what he chooses to share with them. What it's like to live in the Age of the Emperor, and fight at his side. People who - hopefully - see the logic in his decisions, or at least accept it, rather than being wholly mystified by them. A little context, a little light shone on the ignorant, rather than essays of explanation.
If the novel ends up vindicating or justifying a few of his decisions, then that's great. If it raises a few more questions while answering several others, then that's even better.