is a Scottish writer. His Warhammer 40,000
novels include Storm of Iron
(featuring the Imperial Guard and the Imperial Fists facing off against the Iron Warriors); the Ultramarines Warriors of Ultramar
, Dead Sky, Black Sun
, The Killing Ground
and Courage and Honour
; and the Horus Heresy False Gods
, A Thousand Sons
, and Mechanicum
, and his Warhammer
, The Ambassador
, The Ambassador Chronicles
, and Guardians of the Forest
. He also wrote the 4th Edition Codex (still in use during the 6th edition rulebook as of this writing) of the Black Templar space marines for the actual tabletop game.
His works contain instances of these tropes:
- Author Vocabulary Calendar: Has a habit of using "tattoo" to mean "pattern", and a character becoming angry is often described as "his choler rose".
- Alien Sky: Featured in Dead Sky, Black Sun.
- All of the Other Reindeer: Uriel Ventris amongst others.
- A Million is a Statistic: He writes Warhammer, this is par for the course.
- Anti-Hero: Many of the criminals in Warriors of Ultramar are this, keeping civilians alive for profit against the alien hordes.
- Armed With Canon: Currently in a Retcon war with Matt Ward over whether the Ultramarines are intended to be the absolute ideal of all Space Marines everywhere, or just heroic but ultimately normal Space Marines. McNeill favors the latter interpretation, Ward the former. And if you ask around you'll find that not only are most die-hard 40k fans firmly on McNeill's side but they also absolutely despise Ward.
- Badass: He writes for Warhammer, after all.
- The Bad Guy Wins: Storm of Iron. Even the other writers in the Black Library were shocked by his decision to do this.
- Doomed by Canon: Effectively whenever he is writing Horus Heresy novels.
- Downer Ending: Frequently when he is writing anything to do with Warhammer.
- Dreaming of Things to Come: combines with Dreaming The Truth in Dead Sky, Black Sun.
- Eldritch Location: The Eye of Terror. Think Mordor with demonic Space Marines.
- Norsca in Warhammer Fantasy. Think Mordor in Scandinavia with demonic Vikings in baroque plate armour.
- Enemy Civil War: Pick a book with Chaos in it. You'll probably find one in there.
- Even Evil Has Standards: Often subverted with the likes of the Iron Warriors. Played straight with the leader of the criminal gang in Warriors of Ultramar upon encountering an Attempted Rape.
- Present in Empire, where the main antagonist, the Chaos Lord Cormac Bloodaxe, expressing disgust over the way prisoners of war are violated and tortured by the Slaaneshi. It mostly stems from his religious beliefs, torturing a warrior to death and denying him an honourable death in battle runs contrary everything Khorne stands for.
- Fantasy Counterpart Culture: In the Sigmar novels, it seems as if he basically taken every Northern European barbarian culture and cobbled them all together to create the culture of the Imperial tribes. He takes a lot of inspiration from Roman-era Germanics, as the people of Sigmar's time are the ancestors of the modern Empire; which itself is a counterpart culture to the Renaissance Germany. Of course, the Chaos-worshiping Norsii tribes (ancestors of the modern Norse tribes) are presented as straight-up Satanist Vikings. Which is completely consistent with their presentation in other Warhammer fiction.
- The Udoses, who are an Imperial tribe present in said novels, however, are Scotsmen.
- Villain Protagonist: the Iron Warriors in Storm of Iron.
- Would Not Shoot a Civilian: What really separates the Ultramarines, or at least Ventris and his company, from almost everyone else in their universe.