Dan Abnett is the Sven Hassel of the sci-fi world! A colourful and descriptive writer who paints a grim and bloody picture of a universe thrown into turmoil. This is the first book in what promises to be a long series. From the start the reader is thrown into well written and choreographed battle scenes fought on a variety of weird and wonderful planets in the Warhammer 40,000 Universe by the men of the Imperial Guard. Unlike past Warhammer books the Guardsmen are not portrayed as men without feeling or fear, Abnett's characters are very human and often struggle with themselves to overcome their own fears and emotions, complex people who one minute show kindness and consideration and the next coldly and ruthlessly kill everything around them. Plus they're not the invulnerable and 'never-get-killed' characters to often conjoured up by other authors - these guys die in droves! The story line jumps back and forward somewhat between the past and the present but the author uses this technique well to let the reader see how current events were influenced by past and sometimes obscure happenings. If you like your books packed with battles and you don't mind seeing your heroes mangled, maimed or killed in interesting and hellish ways then this book is a must. If you're a Warhammer 40K fan then you'd do well to read this. I've been playing Warhammer 40K for years and this book has given me a whole new perspective of both the Warhammer World and the game itself. Keep 'em coming Dan!