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Series: WH40K: Gaunt’s Ghosts #15
Author: Dan Abnett
Rating: 3 of 5 Stars
From Wikipedia & Me
On the forge world of Urdesh, the massed forces of the Imperial Crusade engage in a final bloody battle with the Archenemy commander known as the Anarch, and his elite warriors – the barbaric Sons of Sek. A victory for either side will decide more than just the fate of Urdesh… it will determine the outcome of the entire Sabbat Worlds Crusade. Ibram Gaunt – now serving at the right hand of Warmaster Macaroth – finds himself at the very heart of the struggle. His regiment, the Tanith First “Ghosts”, holds the vital key to ultimate success. But as the forces of the Imperium and Chaos square up for the final, large-scale confrontation, Gaunt discovers that the greatest threat of all may come from inside rather than out.
Mkoll, the Ghost’s top scout, is captured by the enemy and frees himself and 3 others. They make their way to where Sek himself is giving the final orders for the fight and ambush him. He escapes using the warp, but Mkoll follows and kills him. He makes sure to take his head as proof.
While this is going on, The Tanith are trapped in their barracks by one of the children who turns out to be a Woe Machine and a creature of chaos able to control physical reality. It’s a blood bath but Gaunt and an Inquisitor manage to defeat her. Only to find out that her older brother is also a plant. Neither of the kids realized what they were and so the older boy, now a Ghost himself, goes insane and gives in to his nature. He goes after War Master Macaroth himself and is barely stopped from destroying the whole leadership of the Crusade.
With Sek’s death and Macaroth’s survival, the Army of Humanity wins the Sabbath Crusade. Gaunt is now a big time officer and the Ghosts are his special regiment. No more little fights for them.
This was a good ending to the series. Gaunt is now a Big Cheese and as such won’t be leading from the front anymore. The Ghosts are a real mix of actual Ghosts, Vergastites and Belladons so them becoming Gaunt’s fist is good so they don’t get ground up and spit out like most of the Army of Humanity.
I did NOT like the little girl and the young Ghost being Woe Machines. They were never human, were simply in disguise but thought they were human the entire time. Having that ripped away from them was unpleasant to read about and even worse to contemplate. It definitely put the “grimdark” into this book. It was one of the main reasons I was glad this series ended here. I didn’t want to read more of this type of thing.
Overall, I have enjoyed this Gaunt’s Ghosts series. It has been great ground pounder action with almost no space ship battles. It was a fantastic entry for me into the Warhmmer40k universe since the Horus Heresy series left me dead cold. Gaunt himself was a good character to root for even while not hogging the spotlight. Plenty of other Ghosts survive each book for us to get attached to, but at the same time Abnett has no problem killing them off. That’s war for you after all.
My next WH40K series will be the Ciaphas Cain series. Cain is another Commisar, so I’m hoping it will be all ground pounder action as well. But with how this Gaunt’s Ghosts series ended, I need a breather from the bleakness of Warhammer40k and so am going to start a different Mil-SF series altogether. Probably get back to the Warhammer40k universe some time in late ’22 or early ’23. Preventing burn out is every book blogger’s duty after all.