First and Only (Gaunt’s Ghosts #1) ★★★☆½

firstandonly (Custom)This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: First and Only
Series: Warhammer 40K: Gaunt’s Ghosts #1
Author: Dan Abnett
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: SF
Pages: 416
Format: Digital Edition



Ibram Gaunt lost his father at a young age and the data surrounding that loss was classified. This drove young Gaunt to become a Commisar, a military and political appointment where he is able to root out the evil of chaos in the emperor’s name.

During his first battle right before becoming Commisar, he is confronted by a prophetess who foretells several things. While everyone else thinks she is just raving, Gaunt keeps all she says in memory and uses it to steer his life.

Once a Commisar, he finds out that his uncle, a highly decorated officer, committed a grave act of cowardice that doomed Gaunt’s father to death. Gaunt duels and executes his uncle, thus leading to a schism between Gaunt’s new military order, the Ghosts and the order headed by his uncle.

During one battle against Chaos, Gaunt increases his fame. A second battle does the same and marks him as a target. The third battle is for a world overrun by Chaos that holds a secret that only the Leader of the Expedition knows about, and Gaunt. The Leader wants the power of the artifact for himself so as to become Warleader of the entire Host while Gaunt knows it is truly chaos tainted and something that lead to the downfall of Humanity many millennia ago.

Gaunt wins and with the surviving Ghosts (known because they are trackers and spies) truly begins his career.


My Thoughts:

This is formulaic franchise fiction. So I expect certain things and this didn’t disappoint. Another thing is that I’m reading about an already established universe and so my questions might have been answered 14 thousand books ago or simply dismissed. Franchise Fiction never stands up well to scrutiny; it’s simply not meant to.

So my questions. If Chaos is so bad that it can infect people, planets, etc out of no where, why the heck doesn’t the Imperial Fleet destroy every planet that has Chaos taint? Sure, that seems extreme but if Chaos is worse than the black plague and way more virulent, why is it treated so casually? Why aren’t Imperial scientists working on ways to “vaccinate” against Chaos? Why all the money on the military and NO money on research? If the Emperor is, in essence, just an undead Lich King, how is he any different from the forces of Chaos he claims to be striving against? These all popped into my head and were never addressed. So I just tossed them aside so I could enjoy the book.

This is a fun “soldiers kill stuff and fight battles” kind of book. The infighting between Imperials pissed me off, but it was supposed to. Abnett shows just how corrupt Humanity is, even in the face of raw Chaos. Considering this is Ground Pounder action, I am planning on reading all 14 or 15 of these. Wouldn’t surprise me if Gaunt dies right at the end though, that’s how Warhammer seems to roll.



bookstooge (Custom)



33 thoughts on “First and Only (Gaunt’s Ghosts #1) ★★★☆½

  1. 3.5 for a Warhammer? Not bad! 😋

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Joelendil says:

    The first 3 Gaunt Books (omnibus) was my introduction to the Warhammer 40K, and I usually read one or two per year (much more and they become painfully monotonous…especially if they feature space marines). For me, the 40K books hover around the 3 star range as mindless ultra-violent sci-fi.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Nicole says:

    I don’t think I’ve ever read a Warhammer book. I read plenty of Forgotten Realms, though, so I feel your pain about the woes of franchise fiction.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. savageddt says:

    Oh wow, 3.5😬. Shouldve warned me you were reading this! As for all these questions… I would love to answer them but i am not the expert🙈. I do want to try tho…

    Cracks knuckles…

    Nope, I cant. Even all these years after reading so much i still can not answer and give a clear answer.

    Give me time to finish the 3 book in the horus heresy then I will send you my thoughts on it?

    Keep in mind that F&O takes place 10000 years after the Horus Heresy.

    Its not nessasary to know exactly what happened but lets just say the emperor wanted to wipe out religion and unite humankind under one banner, to serve the Imperium, not the Emperor. Humans got it wrong and ended up worshiping the Emperor instead, cause you know, we as humans need something to believe in… lets just say when Horus got his panties in a bunch due to “daddy” getting all the praise while him and his brothers did all the crusading, shit went down and every bit of knowledge us mortals possessed was obliterated. In F&O we get but a small glimpse of one aspect of the Waring still going all over the galaxy. You are either loyal to the emperor or not…

    Man i do not know what my point was going to be, i was a beer and a half in when milou asked me if ive seen your warhammer review…🙈

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Ola G says:

    Ooh, nice 😉 Warhammer with 3,5 stars, that’s a first from you 😉 Abnett is a solid writer, at least in the realm of Marvel Comics 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • Bookstooge says:

      I suspect after this they’ll all be down in 3 range. Franchise fiction has its place, it just has glaring weaknesses that you have to be a fan of the franchise to overlook. And I don’t play WH40K…

      Liked by 1 person

  6. “soldiers kill stuff and fight battles”
    Probably not my cup of tea, but since it sounds like you had fun, I hope you enjoy the whole stack of 14 books! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Bookstooge says:

      Thanks. I hope I do, because while military SF is huge in the indie sphere, the majority of seems to be involve space ships and I want marines. Therefore any time I can find a series about marines, or their like, I grab a hold of it for dear life.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. davekay says:

    I found the first two books to be the weakest of the series by far, it gets considerably better after that, and turns into one of the better series in this universe.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Off The TBR says:

    This one is on my list to read…eventually. Glad to see you liked it though!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I like your point of view on franchise fiction. I think it’s something I quickly understood when I picked up one of those World of Warcraft novels as a kid. Unless you start from scratch and are invested in it, it seems hard to truly enjoy each installment.

    Liked by 1 person

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