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Death's Head Hardcover – May 1, 2007


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Del Rey (May 1, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345498275
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345498274
  • Product Dimensions: 9.8 x 6.2 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (47 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,347,247 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

First-time novelist Gunn, a Brit who's served his country by undertaking mysterious military or espionage "assignments," delivers a hilarious far-future shoot-'em-up featuring a flawless antihero. As Sven Tveskoeg survives one certain death after another, he reveals himself to be a supernaturally quick healer, able to communicate telepathically with aliens, honorable and compassionate in the face of terrible consequences and equally capable of masterminding a prison planet rebellion, the invasion of a city and the assassination of cyborg generals. Fortunately for Gunn (and Sven), readers are much more likely to cackle with glee than to point and snicker. Some may accuse Gunn of autobiographical wish-fulfillment that would make a fan-fic author blush, and Sven's adventures read almost like a novelization of a movie or video game. Those looking for hard-bitten military SF will be disappointed. Those who love schlock that stops just short of parody will be delighted. (May)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review

“The finest military science-fiction debut in years.”
–Kirkus Reviews

“Hardboiled, laser-blasting science fiction as it’s meant to be.”
–Charlie Huston, author of Caught Stealing and Already Dead

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Mace & Lacey Gannon on June 13, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Debut British author David Gunn's DEATH'S HEAD is a solidly built sci-fi military actioner.

Part cyber-punk, part military adventure, but all fun to read, Gunn's debut novel starts out with a one-two punch, delivering the reader almost instantly into this author's world of augmented men and women, robots, aliens, and more that may have all been done before, but Gunn still manages to add some panache to the genre with giving his own feel in the form of a deadly but funny gun. It is called a SIG Diabolo, (which gets some slaved-on additions about 3/4's thru the book), and it is an intelligent gun. Friggin' funny at times! (Judge Dredd's smart gun never talked.)

You can't help but see nuances of the King of this genre right now - Richard K. Morgan - but for a first-time novel, David Gunn manages to deliver a gritty and semi-vivid universe that is a rich mix of sci-fi series such as Warhammer and STARFIST. If you like Dan Abnett novels, then you should enjoy Death's Head.

Death's Head begins introducing readers to its antihero, Sven, who is the sole survivor of a fallen military outpost by intelligent alien beasts called ferox. (Very cool, but unfortunately like lots of things in this novel, never fully described.) The ferox interrupt Sven's beating on the whipping post and take Sven with them deep into the desert and into their subterranean cave home, where there he learns to communicate and live with them. He finds another human living among them, a female, who is very interesting to learn about and watch their relationship grow as prisoners among the aliens.

Sven is then forcibly taken from the ferox by his human rescuers, (or are they...?
Read more ›
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By J. R Weaver VINE VOICE on May 18, 2007
Format: Hardcover
...All within the first 50 pages! What more could you want?

This may be David Gunn's first novel, but I have a sneaking suspicion he's a pen name for someone else. I just can't put my finger on exactly who, though. At any rate, this is a pretty terrific book. The background is far-future space-opera-y to the extreme, and the characters (from a mad emperor to cyborgs to hard-bitten mercenaries) are nothing we haven't seen before. But 'Gunn's' writing is deft and flows well - it made me burn through the whole book in one night.

The story is fairly light on the technobabble/space military jargon, which is a plus in my book, but it's detailed and intriguing enough to keep even the most jaded military scifi fans entertained. Gunn doesn't make an attempt to play his material strictly seriously; there's enough sly humor and almost-self-deprecation in the writing to make it evident to me at least that Gunn wrote this primarily for the love of story-telling, and that he expects his readers to have as much fun reading it as he did writing it.

So, very nice first novel (if first novel it actually is ;) ), and I'll be looking forward to seeing more from David Gunn.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Charlotte Harley on August 7, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Yeah, I wasn't looking for military sci-fi or a bunch of techno-babble, I was just wanting a good read. This does have the military stuff, but it's not overdone and there's enough heart in the hero that it's not all about his cojones and his big gun. I liked this book alot. Great creatures, great story. A bit short, but hey, it left me wanting more and that's pretty rare lately.
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15 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Cadeyrn on June 12, 2007
Format: Hardcover
... with the apparent consensus of earlier reviewers. If this is indeed a first effort, the writing is relatively polished and the ideas are expressed well. Unfortunately, several, if not many, of the ideas, concepts, and some of the very scenes themselves have been liberally lifted from other books, most notably Richard Morgan's excellent work. Although some might call these instances a series of homages, I think it's poor form to lift that much from others. If, on the other hand, Mr. Morgan has re-entered the arena with a pen name, then by all means, proceed, develop and enhance - and add a star because you're allowed to recycle your own materials and developments.

The overall plotline of Death's Head suffers from certain archetyping: central character with relatively unknown background, but regenerative powers, spends the first third of the book as a prisoner, gets noticed, then is promoted with lightning speed and becomes super-powered [...]-kicking machine within the space of a few hundred pages. So, too, do his Aux - militia he picks up more or less at random, who morph into deadly fighters in their own right for no apparent reason. That's not to say it's a bad read, for I, too, read through the book in one night. It's just that afficianados of the genre have already read a lot of what Mr. Gunn is writing here, so don't go in expecting anything too new or an overly high bar, and you won't be disappointed.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Emeka Awobokun on May 19, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Set in a far-future world, 85% of the known galaxy is under the sway of the United Free, a civilization so advanced, their technology seems god-like. The remaining 15% is fought over by the Uplifted / Enlightened, a AI civilization and OctoV, a tyrant with the appearance of a teenage boy.

This is the story of Sven a super-human of sorts with a genetic make-up that's 98.2% human and 1.8% other.

The book is quite good at many levels, well written, entertaining, with plenty of hard military SciFi. Sven acquired an AI gun with a personality - quite funny interactions between Sven and his SIG Diabolo. I was actually dissapointed that the book ended. I am eagerly awaiting the sequel.
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