Sunday, July 17, 2016

Book Review: First & Only--A Gaunt's Ghosts Novel

Well, other than my Independence Day greeting, it's been over a month since I posted anything significant.

I have a two good excuses. 

First, I've been working on a photo project for our regional gaming group, NHMGS.  I took several hundred pictures during our annual Enfilade game convention during the Memorial Day weekend.  This involved sifting through photos, titling each one, making adjustments to the color and lighting, along with photo-shopping out extraneous items (dice, rulers, soda cans, etc.).

Second, my wife and I put up some wall shelves in our family room and garage in order to alleviate the storage issue with our DVD collection and--ahem--my wargames.

Now that my excuses are out of the way, on to the review of what I remember from the last book I finished reading several weeks ago...

First and Only is, well, the first book in Dan Abnett's Gaunt's Ghosts Series, which is often described as Richard Sharpe meets Warhammer 40K.

I thought this book would be an origin story.  It isn't.  Instead the author slips back and forth between flashbacks and the events currently unfolding during the Sabbat Worlds Crusade, where the Tanith First and Only apply their backwoods skills as light infantry. 

However, in addition to facing external threats, the Imperium of Man is rife with internal strife ranging from inter-service rivalry to open rebellion.  So Colonel-Commissar Ibram_Gaunt finds himself confronting a conspiracy to usurp the crusade and snatch piece of archeotech.

First and Only enjoys a 4.5 star rating on  Even readers who've never played Warhammer 40K liked it.  I can see why Dan Abnett is such a popular Black Library author.  While I agree with the one 3-star rater, in that there's a sequence of coincidences and prophecies that fall into place to advance the plot. 

Unlike the Ciaphas Cain stories, First and Only plays the grimdark of WH40K straight, but was still an enjoyable book that I'll give a 4-star rating to.

I look forward to reading the further adventures of "Sharpe IN SPACE!"

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