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First and Only (Warhammer 40,000 Novels) Mass Market Paperback – March 1, 2000

4.5 out of 5 stars 44 customer reviews
Book 1 of 14 in the Gaunt's Ghosts Series

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Editorial Reviews

Review

Dan Abnett combines the pace and action to keep you turning pager after page... - Enigma A writer with a strong sense of plot and pacing. - SFX --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

About the Author

Dan Abnett lives and works in Maidstone, Kent, England. Twelve years as a freelance writer have seen him script such varied characters as Punisher, Batman, Sinister Dexter, Hypersonic, Superman, Aquaman, Green Lantern, Iron Man, Captain Britain, Mr Men, Rupert the Bear… as well as heroes from the Warhammer worlds such as Malus Darkblade, Petrok and the Iron Snakes, and Imperius Dictatio. His Black Library novels include the Gaunt’s Ghosts series (‘First & Only’, ‘Ghostmaker’ and ‘Necropolis’), ‘Hammers of Ulric’ and the upcoming ‘Gilead’s Blood’. There is, it appears, no stopping him…
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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Games Workshop; Reissue edition (March 1, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0671783750
  • ISBN-13: 978-0671783754
  • Product Dimensions: 6.9 x 4.3 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (44 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,066,191 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A. Sandoc on August 2, 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I have enjoyed playing the Warhammer 40,000 games from Games Workshop and even collected several hundred painted figures. When I found out that they were going to start publishing novels based on this game, I made sure to pick up copies of the books when they appear.

One of the first I picked up is Dan Abnett's satisfying novel about an Imperial Guard Regiment and its commander: Colonel-Commissar Ibrahim Gaunt. The regiment is called Tanith First and Only for the fact that the homeworld they were recruited from was destroyed by a surprise attack on the day of their deployment. This fact gives the story and its many characters a certain humanity that most scifi action novel do not have. These are people who have lost everything they know and love. The only thing they have left is each other.

The action in this novel is fast-paced and very brutal. Its very reminiscent of the dime novels about battles during World War 2. This story doesn't glorify war and actually shows war at its most brutal and ugliest.

Dan Abnett has set up a good base from which to write successive sequel novels dealing with Gaunt and his Ghosts. This book really conveys the theme and idea behind the Warhammer 40k games. Fans of the games will love this book and fans of scifi books as well.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
The book First & Only is a great read for fans of Sci-Fi or just military fiction in general. This book introduces highly defined characters and a story line that is truly unique. The Imperial Guard regiment in this book are from a destroyed planet. When each member of the unit perishes this culture is one step closer to utter extinction. The whole story line captures the reader as the members of Gaunt's Ghosts fight the evil of chaos and the natural survival instinct given to us all. Whether or not you are already a fan of Warhammer, it does not matter. This book can stand alone as a great Sci-Fi novel while keeping the integrety of the Warhammer Universe as developed by the members of Games Workshop. If Dan Abnett continues this level of writing in the upcoming sequel, he could very easily become one of my personal favorite Sci-Fi writers.
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By A Customer on July 20, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Like Eye of Terror, another Warhammer 40,000 novel that I read with some apprehension, First & Only caught me by surprise. I read it to get some additional background for the WH40K game world. Where Eye of Terror was only partially combat-focused, First & Only is basically a war novel, with back to back battles. I thought it would bore me, but it didn't. Comic writer Dan Abnett, who does a number of comics for Game's Workshop, is a *very* good long-form writer. His descriptions of the 40K world are compelling and very "painterly" at times, his characters have real depth and charm and his battle descriptions keep you on the edge of your seat. What really makes this book work though,are the unique characters of Colonel-Commissar Ibram Gaunt and the Tanith First, the so-called Ghosts, who are a fighting force from a dead civilization. Every time one of the Tanith die, their race moves one step closer to extinction. Gaunt, who was promoted to Commissar ahead of the line, has made many enemies in the Imperium who constantly put him and his men in harm's way in hopes of getting rid of him. They always manage to pull through (albeit with tragic loses to the Tanith), which makes his Imperial detractors all the more determined to do him in.
The day I finished this book, I ordered the second volume in the series: Ghostmaker. I can't wait to read it and others in the Gaunt's Ghost series.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
"First and Only" is, well, the first book in Dan Abnett's Gaunt's Ghosts Series, which is often described as Richard Sharpe meets Warhammer 40K.

I thought this book would be an origin story. It isn't. Instead the author slips back and forth between flashbacks and the events currently unfolding during the Sabbat Worlds Crusade, where the Tanith First and Only apply their backwoods skills as light infantry.

However, in addition to facing external threats, the Imperium of Man is rife with internal strife ranging from inter-service rivalry to open rebellion. So Colonel-Commissar Ibram_Gaunt finds himself confronting a conspiracy to usurp the crusade and snatch piece of archeotech.

I can see why Dan Abnett is such a popular Black Library author, even readers who haven't played Warhammer 40K like his work. Although I agree with the one 3-star rater here, in that there's a sequence of coincidences and prophecies that fall into place to advance the plot.

Unlike the Ciaphas Cain stories, First and Only plays the grimdark of WH40K straight, but was still an enjoyable book that I'll give a 4-star rating to.

I look forward to reading the further adventures of "Sharpe IN SPACE!"
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This is the first Warhammer 40k book I've read, but there's no way it'll be the last. In this first of the Gaunt's Ghost books, the Tanith First and Only and their inspiring leader are introduced. The team of warriors is lead through terrible battles in which characters are brought to life with vivid detail and killed off in gory fashion. This book is not for the faint of heart but is great for someone seeking a thrilling adventure in the dark and unforgiving universe of the 41st millenium. I ended up reading the entire second half of the book in one day (instead of doing chores that really needed doing) because I couldn't put it down. Just had to see what was going to happen!

The book was just what I expected: a dark and fast-paced war story with elements of honor, bravery, deciet and betrayal. The world of Warhammer 40k is absolutely brutal and engulfing and I really look forward to reading more novels in this unique setting.
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