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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 24 September 2013
I found this book disappointing to say the least. I am an Abnett fan; I love Gaunt's Ghosts - I even thoroughly enjoyed those less rated titles such as Only In Death and Straight Silver. But this one felt more like an episode of East Enders. Man, honestly. The subplot about Gaunt's `new arrival', all that endless going on about whether or not Elodi & Daur (can't remember name spellings, sorry) are going to get married... Blimey! Really?! That's not what I read these books for. I also agree with one of the other reviewers: there are a lot of new characters in this one and it is getting a bit hard to follow. Also, for terrible, dangerous suicide mission, it doesn't really get put across as that difficult when the time comes: they kind of turn up, get in there and get out again. Look, I've been an avid fan for some years and this is the first time I've genuinely been disappointed by Gaunt's Ghosts. I don't understand why this one has had so many positive reviews.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 8 February 2013
The book is 13th (unlucky for some) in a series following Imperial Guard regiment the Tanith First and Only, seeing them attempt a high-risk brigade-strength deep space raid on an enemy research base - in a ruse de guerre.

Who's in it: The Imperial Guard, a single marine from the White Scars, Iron Snakes, and Silver Guard chapters, the Chaos Sons of Sek and other Ruinous Power-related/ Archenemy cultists.

For those new to the series, don't start with this book, buy The Founding.
But for those asking if they should spend a fiver (& the rest) on this book, or whether Abnett is losing his touch - you should, and he isn't.
Dan Abnett is proving he's really comfortable writing about a bunch of much-loved characters and in showing he's still prepared to take risks with them.

It's a builder of a book and finely paced, with the introduction of sub-plots and the space marines maintaining interest, and for the first time there's a real sense of perhaps an endgame in sight for our Colonel Commissar Ibram Gaunt.
It's a four-star book because nothing beats Necropolis or the Gereon story arc.

Abnett's sense of the army barrack room relations is once again a revelation in a genre which suffers from being populated by dry writers in dusty suits thrilled by the workings of space travel but unable to flesh out a believable military character, and we shouldn't underestimate the skill and depth of research required to layer in the banter, the sheer level of constant mickey-taking of a regimental family.

What Abnett is never afraid to do is kill his characters - the Tanith aren't Teflon Tonys, and they live in a dangerous age so you cherish every book where the good ones get through, but with a believably healthy sense of sad loss which the regiment labours under, like when Colm Corbec bought it on Herodor. And yes, another one bites the dust in this book.
What Abnett is also never afraid to do is pen the hail-storming, blood-pumping tooth-and-nail fighting actions that have become his trademark. The infantry assault of the enemy base is as good as he's done, and there's a healthy dose of close quarters action straight from the pages of Necropolis' Vervunhive and the Battle of Ouranberg.
He's never trapped by simple attacks winning the day either, Abnett uses flanking attacks', suppressing heavy machine gun fire, rockets on hard points, and gives a real sense of the fluid nature of infantry scrapping, getting you toe to toe with the Archenemy, punching the knife in under the jaw and twisting it hard.
There's a storming of the barricades moment in this book which is just beautifully written and is easily the novel's action high-point. You'll know it when you get to it.

Now, with the death of the wickedly, satisfyingly bad Lijah Cuu a few books back, us readers lost a great sub-plot but guess what, there's a new conspiracy of fethers - one which is left hanging delightfully to continue into the book following Salvation's Reach.

Also, many of you loyal diehard Tanith readers will probably guess what Gaunt's plan is attempting to achieve - all is not quite as it seems, and that may be a weakness of the book if you guess it too early on, but it's a good ride getting to that last page to see how they arrive.
The story-arc of which this book forms a part is clearly building to a large double or triple cross somewhere, and we leave the ghosts victorious but way out behind enemy lines, nor has their handiwork gone unobserved...

Until then, Straight Silver.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 19 December 2011
ok after spinning a web in blood pact abnett has produced a book that to me is why i love 40 k stuff. This book has space battles, space marines, imperial guard, fleshed out charecters, action and suspense and i could not put it down. We joint gaunt and co prepping for a mission that seems suicidal. It takes the ghosts behind enemy lines on a stealthing mission that could well help them snag some technology, gain some momentum on the 2nd frount which is floundering and also could pull the forces of chaos on the 2nd frount apart by causing disention in the ranks. Yet again well known charecters are used,some are used up and new surprising additions appear.Buy it...do it for tanith, for vervenhive and the fury of belladon.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
TOP 500 REVIEWERon 18 October 2011
This one is especially for military sci-fi fans, although many others might enjoy it also. It is the last installment in the Gaunt's Ghosts series, with the usual ingredients that have made this series into a hit. Note that unlike other series, you do not necessarily need to read the 12 (or is it 13 now?) previous episodes to keep up with this one, which I found surprisingly self-sufficient. You may wish to do so, however, because they are well worth it. Having read all of the previous episodes, I was wondering what Abnett could come up with next to avoid this book from being a repeat of previous adventures. The answer is: quite a lot!

First, he has introduced three Space Marines from three different chapters that participate in the Salvation's Reach mission alongside the Ghosts but under Gaunt's operational command. The inter-play between the Marines and the "mere humans" is interesting, even if not entirely original. So are the hints that Abnett drops here and there about the Marines being themselves "human" (although genetically modified and enhanced), bound to duty, fighting an eternal war and somewhat doomed. This theme had started to appear in Prospero Burns. A similar sub-theme seems to be borrowed from the Night Lords' series to portray the Space Marines feelings with nostalgia dominating the lot (yes: they do have feelings!) as they see the now rare assault craft they will be using and remember the thousands that they used to have.

Second, the intrigue starts of with an infiltration and an attempt to assassinate the "traitor" that is helping the Imperials. This is linked with a major naval battle when Gaunt's fregate transporting his whole regiment is ambushed by Chaos ships at its meeting place with an Imperial Battle Group. I found the encounter quite fantastic -it felt real - and I just couldn't let the book go until I finished it. One little grip, however: the screaming Chaos ships, all possessed by Daemons, of course, was a bit over the top...

Another nice touch was the assault on the target - a fortified ennemy arsenal protected by a huge ring of debris accumulated over tens of thousand of years - and the attempt to get hold of its secrets and (presumably) its technology. I won't say anymore here because I don't want to spoil the plot...

Two more little grips, however:
- one, was when, right at the end of the book, a Chaos battleship seems to appear as Gaunt's frigate is departing from Salvation's Reach, but doesn't attack, although it's vastly superior to the frigate and did attack it previously under less favorable conditions. Is this a typo that the editor failed to spot?
- another is that we are made to believe that spreading messages supposed to come from one Chaos faction would be enough to convince the other faction that it has just been attacked by its supposed allies. I doubt that any Chaos faction would be that stupid and that kind of expectation is rather unrealistic, to put it mildly, especially when the attackers have been obliged to leave their dead behind.

All in all, a great read which I finished within a day (told you I couldn't let go of the book!). I hope you'll enjoy it at least as much as I did...
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
A book that's been a long time in the making and one that fans of Gaunt's Ghosts have been demanding since it was announced. As usual with Dan's writing the action comes thick and fast, the characters of the Tanith's First and Only take on a dangerous mission to capture a remote strategic location that could lead to an early ending of the Sabbat War.

Add to Dan's usual sharp writing style, cracking prose, stunning strategy and of course heart in mouth action and you know that one of the Imperial Guards most highly regarded units could fail for one of the first times in their long history as this cracking story of the common man in a bleak future demonstrates that the Emperor's Will demands a high price in blood and lives.
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on 3 January 2012
This is probably Dan Abnett's most human story about the Ghosts, and one can really see how he's found his stride and confidence in writing about non-shooty-death stuff. New characters and and clever twists are introduced with the usual delicious virtuosity, and in a way that can only be done with a long-running series like this. There's a wonderful little exchange where Elodie frets about the motivations of Ban Daur with a couple of womenfolk in the Ghosts' entourage that reads very true to life, and stands in strong contrast to the stark exchanges with the Space Marines, for instance. I disagree with a previous reviewer re Dan's view of the Space Marine's; it's about time they were restored to being indomitable superhumans: chilling, alien, brutal... 'powerful beings', as he writes. These aren't simply big blokes in big armour with big guns: they're somehow more than human and yet somehow less. So, as Dan himself puts it, he can definitely 'do' Space Marines. There is, however, an epic scene with the Space Marines that seemed almost straight out of the last 'Matrix' film, but it's so high-adrenaline you forgive the great man. I do agree with the discussion on the previous review about the 'TBC' elements at the end of the story; even suspending some of our critical faculties to enjoy the yarn, they were pretty hard to swallow (anyone remember the sixty-odd Titans, without orbital resupply/support, standing around twiddling their quake cannons under an electric pole that was blocking out all sensors at the end of 'Titanicus'?)

Still, if you're enjoying the Ghosts series, this is a must-read, and another sign that Dan Abnett's writing is slowly growing from strength to strength.
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on 18 December 2011
I think this is a good offering from Abnett, following the last book in many ways, I expected this book with anxiety, due to the final of Blood Pact, and Abnett has shown some of the cards hidden there, but at the same time has kept others in half light. I'm not convinced of some of the new characters making an appearance in the book, especially the one related closely to Gaunt, we'll see how it is developed in the future. The action is as always exciting, especially in the second (last) part of the book, and the pace is alive and refreshing almost the whole reading, manteining the tension and the necessity to keep reading.

That said, I think that Abnett has not reached the level of Only in Death, which for me is the top one with a few of the earlier books in the series (Santa Sabbat Martyr etc), I particularly expected more of the mission the story goes about, and the final findings etc which I think we'll see more in future books.

One last commentary, I do not like at all the vision Abnett has about the space marines, I think he goes on the extreme on their pesonalities, the way they act, how they consider themselves so superior to humans etc..., my personal point of view is something more in the line with Mc Neill's Uriel Ventris or William King's space wolves.

In any way, if you like Gaunt Ghosts's, you will not be dissapointed, it is well worth the reading, just don't expect the top level of the best ones of the series.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 15 March 2012
I love all of Dan A's Gaunt-series books. This perhaps isn't an absolute classic, but still a great read and couldn't put it down. There are few who compare to Abnett for this sort of writing, so even one of his B+ books is stronger than the others' A-material. Definitely recommend.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 18 December 2012
A good story but I was left feeling that it should have been better. Dan Abnett could definitely do better.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 6 May 2013
Not in the league of the first Ghost books, the ghosts take on a new mission, it's not a bad book though
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