The Warmaster by Dan Abnett

I’ve just finished The Warmaster by Dan Abnett and wow! What a book! I loved how Abnett put this together and how it was tied into Salvations Reach (of which I’m glad I listened to immediately before embarking on The Warmaster). I’d guess there’s a lot more connections in the books that have lead up to The Warmaster, but it’s been a few years since I’ve read them. (I’m really hoping they come up on Audible because I really want to read them again, and listening is quicker for me as I can listen while at work).

The Warmaster picks up for Gaunt and his Ghosts right after their mission to Salvations Reach, but all is not right with their return.

Such a beautiful edition.

Now, I am a huge fan of this series of books, this being the fourteenth, and I’ve been eagerly anticipating this one since I first heard about it a little while ago. There was a gap of time between Salvations Reach and The Warmaster, but it was worth the wait. Dan Abnett really turns things up to eleven in this book. He pushes characters into places that I wasn’t expecting, but that said I wasn’t really sure what to expect. With the Gaunt’s Ghosts books it feels like each book goes in somewhat of a different direction. This one is no different. A lot of the events in this book I didn’t see coming or where they were going to go.  A lot of the characters had their lives turned upside down and Abnett wasn’t scared to kill any of his characters. That is something I learnt a long time ago about Abnett with this series. He is not afraid to kill the most beloved of characters, often in brutal and unfair ways. Even in war where people die for what can be the most silly of reasons, some of the deaths in these books have been a huge kick in the gut. Even when a character doesn’t die, but they are pushed into something harsh and tough to stomach it feels the same as when a loved character dies.

That is one of Abnett’s biggest strengths I think. He can write these stories with a huge cast of characters and you either love or hate them, with the odd middle of the road character in between. You get their motivations, you get their mentalities. It all works very well.

This book really opened up a whole can of hell yeah! And it puts so much out on the table for future novels that has left me bouncing and determined to re-read the previous books again in the new year.

There are many reasons why Dan Abnett is one of my favourite writers, the Gaunt’s Ghosts series is one of them. Beautifully written, to the point where you’re almost there when the las-bolts are flying.

***Very Minor Spoilers Below image***

***(Very Minor) Spoilers***

If you’ve read these books you’ll know there have been three characters that have left over the years that had nothing to do with dying, although one did eventually die if I remember right, but the two that always sits in my mind when I’m reading these books are Brin Milo and a scout called Mkvenner (I can’t for the life of me remember his first name). Both these characters went off for different reasons. For Milo, he went with Saint Sabbat, and I’ve heard rumours that Abnett has always intended Milo and the Ghosts to get back to each other at some point. With The Warmaster, the Saint is on the same planet as Gaunt and his Ghosts. When I found this out I was waiting for them to come together, but it didn’t happen. I really hope Abnett does so in the next book, because aside from the return of Mkvenner, that is one of the moments in this series of novels that I am eagerly waiting for.

I think Dan Abnett is setting up to bring this series to a close, to a point where the Sabbat Worlds Crusade is either won or lost.

Another Book Read

I finished reading Chris Stocking’s ESTRA Corp. last night and I was impressed with the story generally, but the ending really blew me away.  Here’s the link to his blog which I’m a big fan of.  This book is a little rough around the edges and Chris has mentioned that he’d like to fix it up a little.  I hope he does cause it has a good story, an interesting universe and some pretty fascinating characters.  There’s a lot of questions left unanswered and looking at it from a writers point of view its a very rich universe that if Chris wanted to he could play with a lot.  As for the ending, I didn’t see it coming which is always a good sign.  Surprising the reader is, in my opinion, good 🙂

It did take me a while to read this one, I had too many outside factors which did not give me time to zip through this as quickly as I normally get books read.  I just never seemed to find the time to actually sit down and get lots of pages read.  Normally I’ll read a couple of pages of a morning before I go to work and a couple of evenings a week I sit down and steam through ten or twenty pages but I havent been doing that lately.  Last night I did though.  In addition to reading the last twenty or so pages of ESTRA Corp. I knocked out over seventy pages of Salvations Reach by the legend that is Dan Abnett.  Here’s his website, Salvations Reach is I think the 13th book in his Gaunt’s Ghosts series of Warhammer 40k novels.  I’ve got them all and have read a few of them multiple times, Necropolis I’ve read more times then I can remember.  For me that’s the book where Abnett got his feel for the characters and universe that he is writing in here and as a general rule the books got stronger.  The Gaunt’s Ghosts books have followed a regiment from their founding and having been there since then I was really excited to get started on this book.  The way that Abnett writes also adds to this, he’s not just giving us a story that we read but I’ve found it’s like I’m there in the trenches with the characters.  Characters have died and I’ve been absolutely gutted that they did.  I need to look into some of his other fiction because he has written in a wide variety of areas, just check out his bibliography on Wiki and you’ll see what I mean.  Dan Abnett is one of my biggest influences as a writer.  Within the first thirty pages of Salvations Reach I’m already amazed at how much information Abnett gives with so few words.  So I am determined to try to learn as much as I can from Abnett as I read Salvations Reach as well as enjoying the read, which I know I will 🙂