Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Book Review: First and Only

I've been reading a lot of Black Library books lately, since my wife got me an e-reader for Christmas.  To be honest, I've tried reading some of the Black Library fiction in the past (mostly through occasionally picking up an anthology here and there) and found a lot of it to be hit-or-miss.  One thing I noticed was that I consistently enjoyed Dan Abnett's stories, so I decided to try First and Only:

First and Only is the first book in the Gaunt's Ghosts series of novels, which follows Colonel-Commissar Ibram Gaunt and the Imperial Guard regiment he commands, the Tanith First-And-Only.  The Tanith First-And-Only is so named because there was an attack on Tanith shortly after repatriation into the Imperium - the ships that were carrying the troops raised by Tanith to enlist in the Guard were departing the planet at the time of the attack, and Tanith was destroyed entirely - thus the Tanith First-And-Only are not just the only Guard regiment that hails from Tanith, they are the sole survivors of the entire planet.

I'm not going to go into the plot of the novel, if you're buying an Imperial Guard novel you know exactly what's on the bill of goods.  Needless to say, my father raised me on Clint Eastwood westerns, classic war movies (The Bridge on the River Kwai, The Guns of Navarone, etc) and a whole lot less respectable movies (see: anything starring Chuck Norris).  If you love these types of movies, then you'll love the book - Gaunt and his men are the consummate soldier bad-@$$es, surviving any situation no matter the odds.  While there are plenty of ridiculous parts (example: if Space Marines are "the equal of 1,000 mortal men in battle" as GW is so fond of reminding us, and Chaos Space Marines have had their abilities amplified several orders of magnitude beyond that, how is it that Gaunt is able to defeat not one, but two Chaos Space Marines in hand-to-hand combat?) But, overall it was a fun read.  Although I'm currently deep into the Horus Hersey series, I'll definitely pick up more in the Gaunt's Ghosts series in the future...


  1. Man you don't know what you have been missing. If you enjoyed this which by the sounds of it you did. Wait until you read the rest, they just keep getting better and better.

    I have all of the original books as they came out, and I love them to death. Dan Abnett I would say is the best Imperial Guard story teller going and his other stuff is not bad too. Trust me when I say you need to get the others, and if it does not inspire you to increase your IG Army or start a new one it will.

  2. Dave -

    I already picked up The Founding - I'm just trying to get caught up on the Horus Heresy series before I start it!

  3. LoL... I've just done the exact reverse and read through the entire Ghosts series to catch up.

    Daves right, outstanding work, although I agree that Dan ought to keep them away from slotting Chaos Marines (a little too much awesomeness IMO).