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.

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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.

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What I Want To Read In 2015

I didn’t read any where near enough last year. I can think of a half a dozen books that I really wanted to read but just didn’t get around to (Wool, Pandemic, Feed, The Man in the High Castle, Soul Asylum and The Earthsea Quartet). Those are just the ones off the top of my head. Lets add in some shorter pieces by Dan Abnett (set in his Gaunt’s Ghosts series) and J.C. Hutchins novella series, The 33.
Then I’ve got novels by Justin R. Macumber, Terry Mixon, Paul E. Cooley, Armand Rosamillia, Mimi Black and Christopher Stocking. (Dan Abnett also has a full length Gaunt’s Ghosts novel out this year too, yes I’m excited!).
I’d also like to read the second Lincoln Rhyme book, The Coffin Dancer by Jeffery Deaver and the first Harry Potter book read early on this year as well.
I’d really like to get start on the fourth Dark Tower book as I finished the third recently, but as it’s taking me a while to get through this series by Stephen King I’m a little reluctant to make a start on Wizard and Glass while I’ve got so many other books that I’m itching to read. That said, if I get through enough by the mid-point of the year then I may dive into it. I was thinking about giving it a go as an audiobook but these Dark Tower books seem so complex I’m not sure I’ll absorb them as much as I would do if I read them. I am a big fan of audiobooks, but I do miss the odd thing while listening (interruptions while at work) and also, I’ve read the previous three books and I think it’ll feel weird not reading the other four.

These are all books I’ve already got, either on my bookshelf or on my Kindle app or my iBooks app.

I will be listening to a lot of audiobooks this year as well. I’ve got eight or nine in my Audible library already.

I’ve set a Goodreads target of 60 books this year. With the audiobooks, comic books and the shorter pieces I’m planning on reading I think I’ll manage that. If I’m well ahead of target early on I may increase it but I’ll see how I’m doing.

State Of Play

This week has been very random with what I’ve been working on; after getting my vampire collection off to Beta readers I found I felt a little lost but I got some bits on Project Apollo done and I’ve spent a little bit of time working out the key plot points for The Residents, this wasn’t actual planning but just listing down the key plot points that take place in the story. I’ve spent a little time doing a bit of research but that was mainly looking at pictures of abandoned theme parks but I need to actually do some reading research on a number of topics that will be needed for The Residents.

Owen and I spent a fair bit of time talking last night about Project Apollo and the universe it’s based in. Although we have a lot of data about this universe we do need to work out a lot more of the details within the universe to make things work better. We’ve got a lot of different elements here and working them all in-together is going to be challenging and interesting.

So what’s next? well I’m working on a few little bits for Project Apollo, just mainly trying to find the right voice and feel for it. I’ve got two short stories that need a quick little edit pass to just tidy them up, I’ve got another short story that I want to look at and all but re-write it but I’ll see if I can make the changes I want without the re-write if I can. But I think it’ll be The Residents that is the next big one. Both Chrystalyn and I are keen to get cracking with this and we’ll be spending time working out timelines and detailing the plot more. Most of the characters are already pretty well fleshed out so until we start writing I don’t think we’ll learn a huge amount more about them. It’ll be great to get actually writing with this. It’s a very exciting story we’re creating.

 

Something I did find out last week which almost made me wet myself with excitement is the news that there is a NEW Gaunt’s Ghosts novel out next year by Dan Abnett!!!!! I was dancing around the house and I was almost overwhelmed by that excitement. So I went over to the Black Library (the publisher) website and discovered there is a number of short stories involving these characters there! I couldn’t find them on Amazon but I found them on iTunes so I downloaded them all to my iBooks. I am rather annoyed at myself that I did not know these existed but I’ve got them now and once I’ve finished Old Man’s War and read a short story and a novel by Terry Mixon I’m going to dive into them 🙂

Getting Into A Novel

When I first start reading a new book it can take me about a hundred pages to get into the story, unless it is something like a Gaunts Ghosts novel (a Dan Abnett series set in the Warhammer 40k universe) or some other series I’ve been reading for years.

Even when I’m listening to an audiobook the first hour or so won’t hold my attention as well as the rest of the story. This is something that really annoys me as I normally miss something important because I’ve not committed to the story or the characters yet. One way I’m trying to change that is to binge read the first quarter of a book. With Embedded I’ve not done this though as sleep has been quite demanding this week, and I’m already into the story and characters with this one. I think that’s because it’s a Dan Abnett book, but anyway that is one thing I’m going to try when reading. I want to read more in general but this is one part of reading that I think will help.

If I can get into the story quicker I’ll be pulled through by the story quicker 🙂

That makes sense to me 😊

Exploring Genres

I’ve heard a lot of writers saying that its good to read and try writing in genres which are not your own. Now, I’m not to sure I’m ready to try writing in genres outside of what I do. I tend to write science-fiction and horror, I think if you read the end of Project Phoenix you may add thriller into that.
I’m not going to try writing anything different to what I am but I would like to expand what I am reading. The majority of books I have read have been written by Tom Clancy, Dan Abnett and Kathy Reichs. Three very different genres and three very different authors. The Dan Abnett books have been his Gaunt’s Ghosts books in the Warhammer 40k universe. In addition to Gaunt’s Ghosts Abnett has written other work in the Warhammer universes as well as Doctor Who and Torchwood and a tonne of other works including comics, audio and screen plays. Yes I NEED to read more by this juggernaut of a writer.

I’d like to take a huge jump and try some genres that I don’t know much off though. Steam Punk is one of them. There’s a couple of authors whose blogs I love who write Steam Punk, one of which I’ve brought some of his non Steam Punk works so I know I like his writing so I think that will be a good place to start.
Fantasy is something I think I should like reading, but I don’t think that I will be able to get through it, especially epic fantasy. I’m quite happy to watch fantasy (love A Game Of Thrones) but when I’ve tried to read it I just get slower the further I get into the story, it should be the other way around.
Romance and Erotica does not appeal so I don’t think I’ll venture into those realms. I’d like to read a little more war novels. Every time I see my grandad (a voracious reader) he gives me at least three books. More often then not they are by someone like Andy McNab or Chris Ryan which I think will be of interest to me. I’d like to read some comics too, just to see if I can find a passion for them.
I definitely need to read more horror and science-fiction which is what I am focussing on at the moment.

What would you like to read more of?

The Upcoming ‘To-Read’ Pile

My ‘To-Read’ pile is lengthening, impressively.

 

Currently I am reading J.J. Harkin’s Angels Of Apocalypse, Part 1: Alignment.  It’s been a slow start to this one but I think it’s because it’s the first book I’ve read on my Kindle app on my iPhone.  Since I got my iPad though I’ve managed to get through more of it.  It has still been a slow start to the novel though but I appreciate what Harkin has been building and it’s now gaining some pace so I’m getting into it nicely now 😀   So I’m half thinking about what next to read.  At the top of that list are two books.  The first, Battlestar Galactica by Jeffery Carver and Dauntless (The Lost Fleet #1) by Jack Campbell.  I’m thinking the Battlestar Galactica tie in novel first.  I’m a bit of a fan and I’m eager to see some of the details that would have been missed in the TV show.  I’m keen to read Dauntless as well as it’s the first of six (I think) novels in this universe so I hope that it’s as good as it looks as I like getting stuck into a series of books again.  I like getting to know characters and universes, I love delving deeply into them and following individuals journeys over many novels and many years in the life of these characters.  Dan Abnett’s Gaunt’s Ghosts is a prime example of that.  If I remember correctly there is thirteen novels in this series and as I’ve read all of these now I have a real connection to the characters that have been in the books since day one.  In the last novel there was one sentence about a particular character that made me laugh out loud.   That’s what I would like to build.  I have stories which will be stand alone work but I also have stuff which is part of a bigger universe.  Where mine and Owens’s current WIP is set has the potential to allow us to play out any storyline we wish, well almost.  It has its restraints but those are few.  Our other big project we’ve worked on, Project Phoenix, is very restricted as it’s only telling one story and has a very narrow universe.  That’s not a bad thing in my opinion, it’s a story that has a start, a middle and an end.  Our universe in which Project’s Delphi and Apollo are set in are huge.  We can write as many novels as we wish, as many short stories as we wish because it is an almost limitless world.  As I come to think of it this is our most open universe, most of my solo work has a narrow storyline.

 

Didnt I start off talking about my ‘To-Read’ pile??? lol

Salvation’s Reach by Dan Abnett

I finished reading Salvation’s Reach by Dan Abnett last night and I was very happy with this book 🙂  This is the 13th book in the series if I remember rightly and it’s one of the best.  The opening of the book pulled me along impressively and I had read 150 pages within about 3 days.  I’m a slow reader so this is a very good sign.  It did slow up in the middle of the story but as I came into the last third of the book I found that I could not turn the pages quick enough.  I am a BIG fan of Dan Abnett, in particular his Gaunt’s Ghosts series which this is one of them.  These stories are set in the Warhammer 40, 000 universe in a war that has been raging for many decades.  Colonel-Commisar Ibram Gaunt takes his Tanith 1st regiment on a mission which is one of the most suicidal that they have had, and with the Tanith 1st thats saying something.  It is a hard military Sci-Fi universe which is inspired by the Games Workshop table top game. It would have had to of been a very bad story for me not to have liked this book.  Despite the gloomy universe that it is set in there were times were I literally Laughed Out Loud and others where I felt a little choked up.  Having followed these characters for this many books I’ve become attached to some of them and one of my favourites from book one died at the end of this book.  So Abnett is not afraid to kill off his darlings which I always admire in a writer.

In this book there seemed to be a few loose ends left hanging at the end of the book, a couple of them pretty big so I’m eagerly anticipating the next book in the series. I’d strongly recomend this book to anyone that enjoys military sci-fi, although it is the lastest in a series you dont need to read all of the books before hand but I would recommend doing so because it will make it a much more rewarding experience and you’ll get a few of the little references to the regiments history which are in this book.

Mr. Abnett, you rock and I can’t wait to see where you take Gaunt and his Ghosts in the next book 🙂