Anyone who's already familiar with Dan Abnett's work will know that he has mastered the art of writing fast-paced, straight for the throat, action based sci-fi. Indeed, he has become a notably popular writer for his work on both the UK based sci-fi weekly comic 2000AD, as well as for his WH40K novels, with a frankly astounding volume of quality output. The Founding is a collection of Abnett's first three novels in his Gaunt's Ghosts series: First and Only (Abnett's first published novel), Ghostmaker and Necropolis. Also included is a short story named Honour Guard. The series follows the adventures of the Tanith First regiment of imperial guardsmen, led by battle-hardened veteran Commissar-Colonel Ibram Gaunt. Abnett has produced a great character in Gaunt, a commissar who goes against the standards set by his peers, refusing to throw his men to pointless deaths, but still managing to take them to glorius victory after glorius victory. This is a very human tale, taking the reader into the horrors of war and allowing you to share all the emotion and fear felt by the characters, and although its set in deep space in the 41st millenium, it never feels like its too far away.
Gaunts Ghosts has to be the best imperial guard series out there! gritty, immersive, awesome story line and great character development! Abnett will have you caring about the tanith first and only so much that you only need to see a characters name once and you will be gutted if they die nevermind if they have a major role in the books! and Abnett has created some amazing characters namely your very own hero colonel-commissar Gaunt who while always leading his men from the front manages to steer them to victory after victory and keep his men alive despite the machinations of the archenemy and the willingness of the imperial high command to blithely feed the tanith first into the meat grinder of the sabbat worlds crusade. The men of the tanith first and only themselves will have you willing them on to greater glory, laughing hysterically and cheering them on from the first page! If you like getting down in the trenches with the imperial guard i can't recommend gaunts ghost enough! Abnett will draw you into the Sabbat World Crusade universe and have you dodging bullets before you know it!
Having read books 1-7 when they were originally released I had some idea of what to expect when reading this series. Only remembering the odd scene or piece of dialogue meant that re-reading this series was a real treat, and with the benefit of age and experience I can see why I enjoyed these books so much growing up. Unlike Eisenhorn or Ravenor (both of which are must buys for Black Library fans, or any sci-fi fans) which focus on a set of key characters to develop the story, this series moves freely between the main players within the regiment to the lowest and most inconsequential troopers. Abnett does an amazing job of animating even the most minor of characters, often with only a paragraph or two before moving onto someone else. This really gives the impression of moving around the battlefield and the feeling that the fight is a living and ongoing thing. This is possibly the best known series in the Black Library catalogue and for good reason. Within a publishing organisation that puts out waves and waves of some of the best sci-fi and fantasy fiction available this series stands out amongst a very strong crowd. For beginners to the Warhammer 40,000 universe this is a good first purchase to introduce you to novels within the setting, and even when you have read more widely within this universe and the Warhammer universe (which is equally amazing), this will likely still rank among your favourites.
I'm sure the intellectual policemen of 'Literary' Sci-fi would despise this novel; after all it is part of the growing agglomeration of identikit IP tie-ins that are taking over the geek-ghetto of your local bookshop. So if you're loking for painstaking world building, political comment, and subtly disguised real-world satire, you wont find it in a Gaunt's Ghosts omnibus. But what there is, is entertainment; in spades. 'The Founding' reads like a remix of every war movie you loved as a kid, its characters are shameless cliches whose relationships are awash with sentiment, and you know what? - Its glorious. Here the science always takes second place to drama; laser guns have recoil, force-fields crackle around lumbering battle-juggernauts, and nuking from orbit is never an option if it would spoil a good scrap on the ground. And Abnett gets away with it all, with the dash of an audacious cavalry commander. Why?, because ultimately there is substance here. Cliches are after all cliche because they have truth, and Abnett will always play down the war-porn to show us the real impact of Warhammer's cartoon-like mega weapons on both his characters, and the civilians they try to protect. So dive in and enjoy a not so guilty pleasure.
Where do I begin? this book has it all. First off as many people have said, you dont need to be a fan of warhammer 40k, or sci fi to enjoy this book. It is simply unputdownable. The plot is as far as I am aware unique. The ideas are amazing as are the detail, and the description will make you believe you are their (as all good books should) slogging it out with Larkin, Bragg, an Gaunt himself. The plot flows into one scene to the next, an never leaves you in the dark, as some books do. The characters are to me, some of the best I have ever read. Completely believeable, diverse, and deep. The action is simply staggering, after reading the first book, of the series, I was literally smiling with pure joy of the genius of it all. The fisrt Book of a spectaular series. Buy it, an you will not be disappointed.
I would recomend this book to anyone who can read, quite frankly. 5 stars is simply not enough for a book of this calibre. Dan Abnett, should by all rights be knighted for his work to literature. (Too far? perhaps but I stand by it)
Well ive finished this book and i have to say i have become fond of colonel commisair gaunt and the tanith fighting company. This volume consists of three books and introduces the tanith first and only and its energetic,valient and really blimin heroic leader gaunt.The charecters are fleshed out during the horrors of futuristic battles in a far away system called the sabat worlds.The writing i found was good. Book 1 and 3 in this omnibus are nice pitched battles where as book 2 is made up of short stories that introduce other sides of the main charecters and delivers flash backs and really fleshes things out as to their personalities. like i said a good start and you can feel the penmanship improve as you read on.I did find it hard to follow in places but it was worth it. Im onto the 2nd omnibus in the gaunts ghosts series now (the saint)and already the style of writing ive noticed is far superior.This is a journey with gaunt and co as much as dan abnett as he finely tunes his writing skills.Gaunt is just so charasmatic that you just cant put it down once the shooting starts. Recommend.
Like the title says, I just couldn't put this book down. If you are into WH40K then you will love this book. It is just full of meaty war. Characters are memorable and complex and the story is pretty solid too, which can generally be a failing of the books in this universe. My only gripe is that I don't have the 2nd omnibus yet. Can't wait to get it.
I purchased this book after reading the first in the trilogy having found it whilst on holiday and being genuinely impressed with it. And wow, this omnibus delivered! Highly recommended to everyone. I do not play Warhammer games but I do love good fiction. Well recommended.
If only Games Workshop weren't so absolutely determined to control their eco system at the time of writing (2015). Shame. One of the best examples of Warhammer 40k military fiction out there; this isn't about the guys in power armour with healing abilities pounding around like modern day titans, but the grunts of the Imperial Army with their piffling las cannons, tendency to die and the leadership of Commissar Gaunt. This doesn't have the raging humour of Ciaphas Cain, the other Commissar of note in the WH40k universe, but it makes up for it with blood and guts, derring-do and the indomitable spirit of a regiment with no home to go back to. If you like military fiction, then the fantasy element shouldn't put you off - this is storytelling with a hot shot to your face. Don't know what a hot shot is? Read the book!