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First and Only (Gaunt's Ghosts) Paperback – 7 Nov 2002


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Paperback, 7 Nov 2002
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Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: The Black Library; 2nd Revised edition edition (7 Nov 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1841542687
  • ISBN-13: 978-1841542683
  • Product Dimensions: 17.4 x 11 x 2.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 906,792 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Dan Abnett: Dan Abnett is a novelist and award-winning comic book writer. He has written twenty-five novels for the Black Library, including the acclaimed Gaunt's Ghosts series and the Eisenhorn and Ravenor trilogies, and, with Mike Lee, the Darkblade cycle. His Black Library novel Horus Rising and his Torchwood novel Border Princes (for the BBC) were both bestsellers. He lives and works in Maidstone, Kent. Dan's website can be found at www.DanAbnett.com

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Review

Dan Abnett combines the pace and action to keep you turning pager after page... - Enigma A writer with a strong sense of plot and pacing. - SFX --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Dan Abnett lives and works in Maidstone, Kent, in England. Well known for his comic work, he has written everything from the Mr Men to the X-Men in the last decade, and received particular acclaim for his five year run on The Legion for DC Comics. He is currently writing Majestic for Wildstorm, and Sinister Dexter and The VCs for 2000 AD. His work for the Black Library includes the popular strips Lone Wolves, Titan and Darkblade, the best-selling Gaunt's Ghosts novels, and the acclaimed Inquisitor Eisenhorn trilogy. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Isen on 18 Nov 2003
Format: Paperback
This book being the first of the series defines Gaunts Ghosts, where they came from, who they are, and why they are here.
Colonel Commissar Gaunt has been detailed to take command of volunteer regiments from the Imperial Planet Tanith. This is Taniths first and only contribution to mankinds crusades. During the process of taking command of these new men the planet is assaulted by a chaos death fleet. Gaunt has to decide whether to save as many units as he can and flee the planet or stand, fight and die at the hands of a superior force.
Gaunts Ghosts are an elite regiment of the Emperors Imperial Guard. Mankinds first line of defence against the horrors of the universe. Dan Abnetts series of books follows this unit and it's characters through their many deployments and battles during Warmaster Macaroths crusade to release the Sabbat worlds from the grip of the chaos abomination.
IMHO Dan Abnett has done a fabulous job of bringing these characters from the tabletop wargame Warhammer 40,000 alive and is a credit to this genre. This series of books must be read in the correct order for you to achieve the most enjoyment, buy them and I promise you wont be sorry.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Recently, I found myself talking to Games Workshop artist John Blanche. At the mention of Dan Abnett's name, Blanche grandly declared that 'Abnett is nobody... I will never read a Black Library novel'. He went on to explain that the Warhammer 40,000 universe was his vision and that the BL would only ruin it. At the time, I found his ludicrous pomposity and self-involvement amusing and annoying in equal measure. But now, years after first reading it, I come to review 'First and Only' and I realise the level of disservice Blanche had handed out to Abnett.

For non-40k fans, I should probably elaborate. Before Abnett's book 'First and Only' (FAO, we shall call it) the Imperial Guard, though labelled as the greatest army the universe has ever seen, were depicted as comically caricatured and bumbling. They were little more than an inept backing band for the Space Marines.
The first triumph of FAO is the dispelling illusion of this. Within a chapter of the start, the Guard are described as highly professional, sensibly dressed and serious soldiers, far from the loud and silly depictions (many of them by John Blanche) of the early 90's. Whilst he does this, Abnett smoothly clarifies the sheer scale of the Imperial Guard and by extension the Imperium. The book describes actions involving millions of infantrymen and tanks.
The second triumph of the book is the sheer humanity of the piece. In a universe that has gone insane, he nonetheless manages to create some sensible, sane characters. The characters range from cheerful to maudlin, but none of them act as if they're part of a dystopian universe - which they wouldn't, because they don't know anything else. Abnett partners the need for a grizzled, mature hero and more naive and inexperienced sympathetic characters very well.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Mark Chitty on 5 Dec 2008
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Gaunt is Colonel-Commissar, leader of the Tanith First - the first and only. With their home world destroyed in an attack that happened as the first regiment was leaving they became the last survivors of the planet, gifting them their nickname, Ghosts. With exceptional tracking and scouting skills due to the unique moving forests on their world, Gaunt's Ghosts are a formidable foe with many victories over the enemy, the forces of Chaos.

When a Vermilion level communication is intercepted by a spy network and falls into Gaunt's hands he must make a decision on how deal with the artifact mentioned within the information. With political enemies wanting the information Gaunt must trust his allies and work to complete his goal. From fighting a war on Fortis Binary and then on to Menazoid Epsilon - the world where the artifact resides - Gaunt faces numerous challenges, each requiring not only his full attention and training, but that of his Ghosts and allies too.

My first venture into the Warhammer 40,000 universe was Titanicus, also by Dan Abnett, and although I enjoyed it I found myself at a loss with all the details and history - I really didn't know what to make of it and it affected my enjoyment of the novel. First an Only was recommended to me and The Founding - an omnibus containing the first three Gaunt's Ghosts novels - soon landed on the doorstep. I'll admit that I was still a little hesitant to jump into the rich history of Warhammer and approached First and Only with a hint of scepticism - all of which was completely unfounded and I thoroughly enjoyed the novel from start to finish!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Mr. R. Coleman on 26 Jun 2008
Format: Mass Market Paperback
When I first started reading Warhammer and 40K, I avoided this series of books like an Ork Boyz Bloodbowl Jock Strap. Not for any logical reason, other than lots of books had been published in the series and I wanted to start on smaller series of books and one-offs to see if the Warhammer universe literature was something that I wanted to get into - not that long series scare me after 80 odd Deathlands books !! So after a year or so of reading the odd Warhammer book, and luckily finding most of the set - bit battered around the edges in a local charity shop - I thought I let Gaunt Ghosts loose on my visual and imaginary senses !!

Right from the start of this book your thrown into the heavy hitting and extremely heavy casualty action of the Warhammer 40K world. There is no slow introduction to the characters in a `Full Metal Jacket' boot-camp like way, you just have to learn their personalities as the story goes along. Though in defence of Abnett, the second book highlights in short stories a lot more of each of the Ghosts characteristics, the fall of Tanith and construction of the Tanith First and Only regiments.

Abnett's vision of the dark human 40k world is gritty and full of deceit, double-crossing, Chaos hordes, Quasi-religious nutters (both good and bad), regimental in-fighting and hidden agendas. The gist of the story basically is about a `Vermillion' classed message that comes into the hands of Gaunt, and how Gaunt tries to keep the data crystal from the hands of the agents of Dravere, whilst fighting off the despicable Chaos armies with his newly founded and acquired regiment of tattooed, bag-piped infantry.
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