Acts of War: Flashpoint Author Interview

At this year’s Lock & Load GameFest 2016 (June 10–12), attendees will get their first chance to read Flashpoint, the first book in the Acts of War series and the first book to be released by Skull Island eXpeditions following the release of the new editions of WARMACHINE and HORDES. Following quickly on the heels of Douglas Seacat’s pivotal book The Blood of Kings, Flashpoint promises to take readers on a journey into war with a famed lord general of the Cygnaran Army...alongside a man he loathes with a passion, someone he’d rather see as a corpse than an ally.

Author Aeryn Rudel took some time to answer six Skull Island eXpeditons questions about the new book and what readers can expect as the adventures in the Iron Kingdoms reach a new level…

1) While we've all read hints about your upcoming book Flashpoint, there's no doubt there's still much to tell. You and author Douglas Seacat (Blood of Kings, due May 25) have both dropped a few hints in the forums about your books. So, just give us a little insight: how does this book impact the overall epic that is the setting for western Immoren and the Iron Kingdoms?

How does Flashpoint impact the Iron Kingdoms? About the same way that asteroid impacted the dinosaurs during the K-T extinction event.

In others words, in a big way.

The book touches off a conflict that will engulf the Iron Kingdoms in a way we’ve never seen before, putting Cygnar in a role they’ve deliberately avoided under King Leto. We’re going to see the boys in blue as the aggressors here, the invaders getting the drop on the bad guys instead of adopting a purely defensive and reactionary role. At the head of this invasion force will be Lord General Coleman Stryker, though he’s not exactly keen on Cygnar’s new direction. He’s even less keen on a having a certain mercenary warcaster (now an official part of the Cygnaran military) by his side during the whole thing.

2) Tell us where you begin with the story and how does it fit with Blood of Kings.

Flashpoint begins with a seemingly minor event that has massive ramifications for every nation in the Iron Kingdoms. I don’t want to spoil it, but let’s just say it involves a hidden heir, Section Three, and the port city of Five Fingers.

Blood of Kings and Flashpoint are closely related, and Flashpoint is, for all intents and purposes, a sequel to Blood of Kings that happens on the other side of the time jump. The events of Blood of Kings set the stage for what happens in Flashpoint.

3) Who are our heroes and our villains?

Well, the hero and main protagonist of Flashpoint is Lord General Coleman Stryker, but you’re going to see a different Stryker in this book. We’re used to seeing him as the poster child for Leto’s Cygnar, a man who commands the trust and respect of his king. That’s all changed, and Stryker finds himself as a bit of an outsider in the new Cygnar.

Asheth Magnus is a primary character in Flashpoint as well, but I’d hesitate to call him a hero. Like Stryker, we’re going to see a Magnus out of his element and adapting to some of the monumental changes that occurred in Blood of Kings.

As for villains, Khador is the primary antagonist in the book (though Magnus gives them a run for their money here and there). That said, the line between hero and villain in this book is not sharply drawn, and by the end of it, you might be wondering who really deserves either title.

4) Do you have a favorite scene in Flashpoint?

Heh, well . . . You see, I’m a horror writer at heart, so my favorite scene in the book is probably not what you’d expect. I’ll just say it involves a captured a kayazy prince, a brutal sociopath loyal to Magnus, and a ballpeen hammer.

5) Tell us about the series title: Acts of War. This seems pretty sweeping. What does it mean for Flashpoint and what should we expect from the next book in the Acts of War series?

The series title is a strong indicator of Cygnar’s new role in the Iron Kingdoms. For the last decade, Cygnar has been on the defensive, beset on all sides by its enemies. The events of Blood of Kings herald a new path for the nation, one that sees them starting wars rather than reacting to them. Don’t get me wrong: Cygnar has good reasons for their more aggressive foreign policy, but their actions in Flashpoint are quite literally acts of war.

6) So, the novel focuses on Cygnar, but do any other WARMACHINE factions make an appearance in Flashpoint?

Absolutely. As I mentioned earlier, Khador is the primary antagonist in the novel, and you’ll get to see some of their most famous (or infamous) warcasters on the field. Mercenaries are also well represented with the Llaelese Resistance and, well, Asheth Magnus, sort of.

The Protectorate of Menoth has a cameo appearance in the novel, and I lobbied for it to include a warcaster who hasn’t had much screen time. I think Protectorate fans will get a kick out of that scene.