Only In Death (WH40K: Gaunt’s Ghosts #11) ★★★✬☆

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Title: Only In Death
Series: WH40K: Gaunt’s Ghosts #11
Author: Dan Abnett
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: SF
Pages: 237
Words: 100.5K


From Wikipedia & Me

On the fortress-world Jago, Lord-General Van Voytz addresses the Tanith First personally. He ‘asks’ the Ghosts to secure an empty stronghold to the east of Elikon, the central Imperial bastion on the planet. It is clear from the start that Gaunt resents these orders. After six days of marching through Jago’s desert-like terrain and enduring dust-storms, the Ghosts reach their objective: Hinzerhaus, dubbed the house at the end of the world.

As they attempt to secure the fortress, the Ghosts make numerous discoveries. There is no water source on site, the maps that they have been given of Hinzerhaus are inconsistent and incorrect, and strange echoes fill the halls. Many of the men become convinced that the place is haunted. These findings only cause more issues when the Blood Pact attempt to storm Hinzerhaus, and the Ghosts are forced to mount a defence against a superior foe. At the same time, strange apparitions begin to eat away at the courage and morale of the men…

The title of the novel is part of an old Imperial proverb; only in death does duty end. The beginning of each chapter opens with an extract from Commissar Viktor Hark’s field journal, which is written in a font which resembles handwriting. This style changes slightly at points when Nahum Ludd scribes on Hark’s behalf. The novel re-introduces Agun Soric, who was absent from the previous books in the ‘Lost’ arc.

The book ends with the Ghosts holding out until reinforcements arrive and it is revealed that all of the hauntings have been the result of one of the former Tanith Ghosts, now a chained up Psyker, trying to reach out to his old friends. He asks to be killed and Nahum Ludd, as the acting Commissar, fulfills the request.

My Thoughts:

If ever a book should have been an October/Halloween book, this was it. It was just filled with ghosts of the Ghosts, creepy old faceless women, wurms that grind through solid rock that only some of the Ghosts can hear and a general disquietude that conveyed an understated dread and painted everything bleak. It was perfect. For Halloween. For Pre-Christmas, it wasn’t nearly so good.

I still did enjoy this. The Ghosts continue to get ground up like hamburger, death is not only present but the only reality and the creatures of Chaos just keep on coming. Where do these creatures come from? I know some Chaos creatures are turned humans, but where do the rest of them come from? Where is “Planet Chaos”? If something exists and it can be killed, figure out what kills it and do it. Don’t fight the spread, fight the source. To me, WH40K has always been a bit weak on the where’s and whyfore’s of this kind of thing. Or it might just be that I’m not well read enough in this universe. This isn’t my Bible after all! 😀

Overall, this was another good entry in this series and I have no real complaints. It’s not the book’s fault that it should have been read in October, hahahahaaa.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

44 thoughts on “Only In Death (WH40K: Gaunt’s Ghosts #11) ★★★✬☆

  1. Great review man. Sounds like a great read. Chaos comes from the Warp, its a thin veiled dimension of sorts that runs parallel to the that of wherever a 40k story takes place. From time to time that veil punctures through into reality and all sorts of weird things can happen. Something like that at least, i am still no expert on the subject.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yep, that sounds like Planet Chaos to me.

      I WISH today had been a snow day. Working in 14inches+ of snow really stinks. It’s just gruelling and draining and makes everything about 10 times harder.

      How hard is it going to be to replace the screen?

      Liked by 1 person

                    1. And yet you don’t believe in spicy italian popsicles. Here in the United States they’re so ubiquitous that Joe Biden is promising everyone a free one every friday once he becomes Prezzz.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    2. At this point even “I” am conceding that the fraudulent shyster won (I’m using such negative terms because once he’s Prez, that stops pronto. Respect for the man in the office because of the office).

                      I figured that maybe all of your spicy italian popsicles were being used to make haggis more palatable. Whether it is Deep State or the Illuminati, I do suspect a World Wide Conspiracy.

                      Liked by 1 person

  2. I have not got any chance to try out any Gaunt’s Ghosts series. Recently been focusing on Tyranid/Eldar focus novels. Also, painting an army takes so much of preparation and effort. Thanks for a review though. Wishing you a festive holiday!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. So you’re a mini painter, eh? I follow another guy, Scent of a Gamer, who does a lot of painting. It looks interesting, but I don’t think I’ll ever get into it. too much attention to detail is needed 😀

      Liked by 1 person

            1. Glad to hear things are going back to normal. I’m afraid things here in the US aren’t going to go back to normal until the vaccine hits the market on a widespread basis.


  3. Dave gave a pretty good good explanation of The Warp. It’s literally a place of madness and where the Chaos god’s power is at it’s most strongest. It’s where daemons come from and go to when banished from the mortal plane. It’s essentially a kind of version of what Christians might view of as Hell, just a tad more sci-fi.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks.
      You might not be able to answer this, but where are the gods of Order then? I’m very much of a Michael Moorcock fan of The Balance and I take that into all my reading. Even into other universes 😀

      Liked by 1 person

      1. There are four Chaos Gods: Nurgle (god of plague and decay), Tzeentch (God of Change), Slaanesh (God of Pleasure) & Khorne (the Blood God).

        Then there is the Emperor of Mankind. He is the ‘good’ god. The people of the Imperium believe him to be a god (even if the Space Marines don’t … but even some of them tend to go that route nowadays). He’s on Terra (Earth) being sustained by the Golden Throne. Whenever you hear the forces of chaos mock imperium soldiers for worshipping a ‘corpse god’ that’s who it is. He was gravely injured during the Horus Heresy and has been sustained by the Throne ever since. If they haven’t changed the lore since I first picked the stuff up, thousands of souls a day are fed into the throne to keep that corpse god ticking.

        Liked by 1 person

          1. The best thing is, during the time of the Horus Heresy, when the Emperor was at his peak, he absolutely detested the idea of anyone worshipping him as a god. So, technically, there are no good gods. There’s only one because the Imperium, over time, came to invent the Emperor as a god. He was, however, the most powerful psyker gifted thing to have ever lived … so he was godly in his power, just not actually a divinity.

            If you read into all the back story, it’s incredibly well-thought out. The Horus Heresy is also a pretty awesome series. Sadly, it’s a MASSIVE undertaking. Over 50 books published to date in that series.

            Liked by 1 person

              1. I think the HH meant so much more to people who had read the books since long before it was released. To us, the Primarchs were almost mythical beings that you only ever heard of but never saw. All of these great battles and betrayals were the thing of legend. So getting to experience them was thrilling. I still get goosebumps when a Primarch cones onto the page. It was just built up so well and got such a good pay off. For new readers it doesn’t have anywhere near the same feeling.

                I suppose, the best way to describe it would be that, for early fans, getting to ‘meet’ the primarchs/Emperor/live through the epic battles etc … would be like someone in Classical Greece actually getting to meet Hercules. But for newer fans it’s kind of like someone who’s seen the Disney animated movie getting to meet him.

                Liked by 1 person

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