Like gaming? You'll love these adventures!
21st Jul 19

Like gaming? You'll love these adventures!

Like gaming? Then you'll love the new REALM QUEST fantasy series from TOM HUDDLESTON, drawn from the Warhammer worlds. In the second book, Lair of the Skaven, children battle dangerous creatures to rescue their master.

REALM QUEST and WARPED GALAXIES are two exciting new series drawn from the Warhammer worlds. The books are an enticing way to encourage children who gaming into books - as well as providing great reads for children who already love adventure, science fiction and fantasy.

The REALM QUEST series started earlier this year with CITY OF LIFESTONE. In the latest adventure, LAIR OF THE SKAVEN, Elio and his friends are determined to try and rescue their master, Vertigan, when he is kidnapped.

Using a powerful artefact, they forge a magical doorway into a forbidding underground world teeming with Skaven ratmen! Hopelessly outnumbered, Elio, Kiri, Alish, Thanis and Kaspar must use all of their cunning if they are to find Vertigan and escape alive...

We asked author TOM HUDDLESTON to tell us more!

Q: Why has Warhammer decided to move into children's books with the new REALM QUEST series?

TOM: I think the folks at Games Workshop were keen to get a younger audience into these immense worlds they've created. It's a natural fit - Warhammer role-play is all about epic battles and monsters and magic and spaceships, stuff kids love.

Q: How did you get involved in writing the books, and what attracted you to the project? Were you already a Warhammer gamer?

TOM: It was actually Cavan Scott (author of Warped Galaxies) who recommended me for the Realm Quest series, for which I'll be eternally grateful! It just sounded like a fun project from the get-go - a chance to work in these vast created worlds, and tell huge, imaginative stories.

I wasn't a gamer, no - I remember the figures from when I was younger, and always thought they looked cool, but it wasn't something I'd ever got stuck into.

Q: How long have you been a sci-fi / fantasy reader and author?

TOM: I suppose since I was about 7, when I wrote a story about my teddies going to space and meeting aliens in the cloud-cities of Jupiter. My Realm Quest series is more fantasy than sci-fi - it's Cavan who writes the space books.

Q: There isn't a huge amount of sci-fi and space fantasy for younger readers - do we need more?

TOM: Some of my happiest early reading experiences were with SF, whether it was the Star Wars tie-in novels, The Tripods by John Christopher or the Starstormers series by Nicholas Fisk. And although my Warhammer series is fantasy rather than sci-fi, I've drawn on all three influences for these books.

Q: Does the gaming side of Warhammer influence how you plan the novels - for example, the characters' special skills or powers, the settings or names etc?

TOM: It's not so much about the gaming specifically, but the vast amount of existing Warhammer lore certainly influences every page of these books. These worlds are impossibly huge - I wouldn't be surprised if Warhammer 40,000 is the biggest and most detailed fictional universe ever created, and Warhammer: Age of Sigmar isn't far behind.

We had to immerse ourselves in those worlds before we could start writing - though as Cavan says, Nick and the other good folks at Black Library were always there to steer us in the right direction.

Q: The first books sets up the story - can you give us a brief description of how your series begins and where you plan to take it?

TOM: REALM QUEST - City of Lifestone begins with an epic battle - of course it does! - followed by a daring escape through a realm-gate, a mystical portal between worlds that starts our heroine Kiri on a quest to find the fabled City of Lifestone. There she meets a group of children who each bear a mysterious birthmark, and sets off on a wild journey across the Mortal Realms.

Q: Can you give us a glimpse into your next book(s)?

TOM: The second book in the Realm Quest series, Lair of the Skaven, is out now. This follows our intrepid heroes as they embark on a search for their master, Vertigan, who was stolen away by devious rat-creatures known as the Skaven. To find him they must journey into the Skaven warren, a labyrinth of caves and tunnels and deadly traps.

The third book, Forest of the Ancients, follows later in the year - I can't say too much about it, except that it raises the stakes even higher, and puts Kiri and her friends in even more deadly peril.

Q: Do you have a favourite character in the series so far? And a top villain?

TOM: It's a cliche, but I really do love all the main characters. They're a mismatched bunch - Kiri the outsider, Thanis the warrior, Kaspar the thief, Elio the healer and Alish the inventor - but they each have their own strengths and when they're together they're unstoppable. But they all have their own fears, too, their own doubts and shortcomings, which makes them really interesting to write. And as for villains, they don't come better than the Skaven. Fanged, clawed, six-foot rats who walk on two legs? What's not to love?

Q: If you could bring back a piece of tech / magic from these worlds, what would it be and what would you use it for?

TOM: I don't think it's giving too much away to say that, a couple of books down the line, the kids get their hands on a flying machine. I'll have one of those, please.

Q: What do you think the illustrations bring to the stories?

TOM: They make the worlds we're writing about feel so much more vivid, they really bring our stories to life. I think they've really captured the look of the characters, too.

Q: What other kinds writing do you do, and what has been your favourite career moment to date?

TOM: I write original fantasy and sci-fi stories for young readers, starting with my first novel The Waking World back in 2013. An obvious career highlight was writing the Star Wars: Adventures in Wild Space series with Cavan, but to be honest I think the best is yet to come - my new futuristic action-adventure novel FloodWorld arrives in October this year, and I can't wait for readers to get their hands on it.

Q: What are your favourite escapes from writing?

TOM: I worked for nine years as a film journalist, and I still try to see every movie going (except the rubbish ones). But to tell the truth, writing is my escape - it's the perfect way to block out an increasingly noisy, fractious and unpredictable world and live somewhere else for a while.

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