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Andrew Kelly
Andrew Kelly

What You Need to Know About The Warmaster, the 14th Book in the Gaunt's Ghosts Series



Gaunt's Ghosts: The Warmaster - A Review




If you are a fan of science fiction, military fiction, or Warhammer 40k, you have probably heard of Gaunt's Ghosts, one of the most popular and acclaimed series in the genre. And if you have not, you are missing out on a thrilling and immersive saga that will keep you hooked from the first page to the last. In this article, I will review the latest book in the series, The Warmaster, and tell you why you should read it as soon as possible.




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What is Gaunt's Ghosts?




Gaunt's Ghosts is a series of novels and short stories written by Dan Abnett, a British author who has also written for comics, video games, and movies. The series is set in the grimdark future of Warhammer 40k, a popular tabletop game and media franchise that depicts a galaxy-wide war between humanity and various alien races, as well as supernatural threats. Gaunt's Ghosts follows the exploits of Colonel-Commissar Ibram Gaunt and his regiment of Imperial Guard soldiers, known as the Tanith First-and-Only or the Ghosts. They are called so because they are the sole survivors of their home planet, Tanith, which was destroyed by the enemy forces of Chaos shortly after they were recruited. The Ghosts are renowned for their stealthy tactics, guerrilla warfare skills, and loyalty to Gaunt, who is both their commander and their political officer.


What is The Warmaster?




The Warmaster is the fourteenth novel in the Gaunt's Ghosts series, and the first one to be published after a six-year hiatus. It was released in December 2017 by Black Library, the publishing arm of Games Workshop, the company that owns Warhammer 40k. The Warmaster picks up where the previous book, Salvation's Reach, left off, with Gaunt and his Ghosts returning from a daring raid behind enemy lines that uncovered a vital secret that could turn the tide of the war. However, they soon find themselves caught in a web of intrigue and betrayal on an Imperial fortress world, where a power struggle between rival generals threatens to undermine the war effort. Meanwhile, a massive Chaos invasion force is preparing to strike at the heart of the Imperium, and only Gaunt and his Ghosts can stop them.


The Plot of The Warmaster




Summary




The Warmaster is divided into four parts, each focusing on a different aspect of the story. The first part, "The Victory", deals with the aftermath of the raid on Salvation's Reach, where Gaunt and his Ghosts discovered a hidden Chaos weapon that could destroy entire planets. They also rescued several prisoners of war, including some important figures from Gaunt's past. However, their return to Imperial space is not as triumphant as they hoped, as they face hostility and suspicion from the high command, who are wary of Gaunt's growing fame and influence. Gaunt is also troubled by visions and dreams that hint at a dark destiny awaiting him.


The second part, "The Fortress", shifts the setting to Urdesh, a heavily fortified world that serves as the headquarters of the Imperial crusade against Chaos. Gaunt and his Ghosts are assigned to garrison duty on the planet, where they have to deal with boredom, bureaucracy, and corruption. They also encounter several old friends and foes, such as Colonel Wilder, the former leader of the Verghastite regiments, who has been promoted to general and given command of the crusade; Major Rawne, Gaunt's second-in-command and rival, who has been secretly plotting against him; and Mabbon Etogaur, a former Chaos warlord who defected to the Imperium and provided vital information for the raid on Salvation's Reach. Gaunt also meets a mysterious woman named Soric, who claims to be a psychic and warns him of a coming danger.


The third part, "The War", focuses on the military action, as the Chaos invasion force finally arrives and launches a massive assault on Urdesh. The Imperium is caught off guard and suffers heavy losses, as the enemy unleashes hordes of daemons, cultists, and renegades. Gaunt and his Ghosts are among the few units that manage to hold their ground and fight back, using their stealth and sabotage skills to disrupt the enemy's advance. They also discover that the Chaos weapon they found on Salvation's Reach is actually a part of a larger device that is hidden on Urdesh, and that Mabbon Etogaur is somehow involved in its activation. Gaunt decides to lead a covert mission to stop the weapon from being used, while also confronting his own destiny.


The fourth and final part, "The Warmaster", reveals the true nature of the Chaos weapon and its connection to Gaunt. It also shows the climax of the battle for Urdesh, where Gaunt and his Ghosts face their greatest challenge yet. The Warmaster ends with a shocking twist that sets up the stage for the next book in the series.


Main Characters




The Warmaster features a large cast of characters, both new and old, from various factions and backgrounds. Some of the main ones are:



  • Ibram Gaunt: The protagonist of the series, a charismatic and courageous leader who commands the respect and loyalty of his Ghosts. He is also a commissar, a political officer who enforces discipline and morale in the Imperial Guard. He has a complex history with both the Imperium and Chaos, as he was born on a world that was corrupted by the latter and later liberated by the former. He has a strong sense of duty and honor, but also a rebellious streak that often puts him at odds with his superiors. He is haunted by visions of his past and future, which suggest that he has a special role to play in the war.



  • Elim Rawne: Gaunt's second-in-command and rival, a cunning and ruthless officer who leads the First Platoon of the Ghosts. He is from Tanith, like most of the Ghosts, but he does not share their devotion to Gaunt. He blames Gaunt for the destruction of their home planet and has tried to kill him several times in the past. However, he is also loyal to his men and his regiment, and has proven to be a valuable asset in many missions. He has a sarcastic and cynical personality, but also a hidden soft side that he rarely shows.



  • Mkoll: The chief scout of the Ghosts, a legendary figure who is renowned for his stealth and survival skills. He is also from Tanith, where he was a woodcutter before joining the Guard. He is one of Gaunt's most trusted friends and advisers, as well as a mentor to many of the younger Ghosts. He is calm and stoic, but also witty and humorous. He has a knack for finding hidden paths and secrets, which often proves useful in combat situations.



  • Mabbon Etogaur: A former Chaos warlord who defected to the Imperium after being captured by Gaunt on Gereon, a world that was occupied by Chaos for years. He claimed to have valuable information about the enemy's plans and offered to help Gaunt in exchange for his freedom. He was instrumental in the raid on Salvation's Reach, where he revealed the location of the Chaos weapon. However, he also has ulterior motives that are not clear to anyone but himself. He is charismatic and charming, but also ruthless and manipulative. He has a deep knowledge of Chaos lore and magic, which makes him both dangerous and useful.



  • Soric: A mysterious woman who claims to be a psychic and a former prisoner of war. She was rescued by Gaunt and his Ghosts on Salvation's Reach, where she was held captive by the enemy. She has a strange connection to Gaunt, as she can see his visions and communicate with him telepathically. She also warns him of a coming danger that involves the Chaos weapon and his destiny. She is frail and fragile, but also brave and loyal. She has a hidden power that she does not fully understand or control.



Themes and Messages




The Warmaster explores several themes and messages that are relevant to the Warhammer 40k universe and the Gaunt's Ghosts series. Some of them are:



  • The cost of war: The Warmaster shows the harsh realities and consequences of war, both on a personal and a planetary scale. It depicts the suffering and sacrifice of the soldiers and civilians who are caught in the crossfire of a brutal conflict that has no end in sight. It also shows the corruption and incompetence of the leaders who are supposed to protect and guide them. It raises questions about the morality and necessity of war, and whether it is worth fighting for a cause that may be doomed or misguided.



  • The nature of heroism: The Warmaster portrays the different aspects and forms of heroism, both in the eyes of others and oneself. It shows how heroes are made and unmade, how they are celebrated and forgotten, how they inspire and disappoint. It also shows how heroes cope with their fame and responsibility, how they deal with their flaws and failures, how they balance their personal and professional lives. It challenges the stereotypes and expectations of heroism, and reveals the human side of the heroes.



  • The role of fate: The Warmaster explores the concept of fate and destiny, both in a cosmic and a personal sense. It shows how fate influences and shapes the events and outcomes of the war, as well as the lives and choices of the characters. It also shows how the characters react to their fate, whether they accept it or resist it, whether they embrace it or fear it. It examines the relationship between fate and free will, and whether they are compatible or contradictory.



The Style of The Warmaster




Writing Quality




The Warmaster is written in a clear and engaging style that captures the attention and imagination of the reader. The author uses vivid descriptions, realistic dialogue, and dynamic narration to create a rich and immersive world that is both familiar and alien. The author also uses various literary devices, such as foreshadowing, flashbacks, symbolism, and irony, to enhance the depth and meaning of the story. The author also pays attention to the details and consistency of the setting, characters, and plot, making sure that they are coherent and plausible within the context of the Warhammer 40k universe.


Action and Suspense




The Warmaster is filled with action and suspense that keep the reader on the edge of their seat. The author creates tense and thrilling scenes that showcase the skill and courage of the Ghosts, as well as the danger and horror of their enemies. The author also builds up anticipation and mystery throughout the story, making the reader wonder what will happen next, what secrets will be revealed, what twists will occur. The author also balances the action and suspense with moments of calmness and reflection, giving the reader time to breathe and digest what is happening.


Humor and Emotion




The Warmaster is not only a serious and dark story, but also a humorous and emotional one. The author injects humor and emotion into the story, making the reader laugh and cry along with the characters. The author uses humor to lighten the mood and tone of the story, as well as to show the personality and relationships of the characters. The author also uses emotion to make the reader care and empathize with the characters, as well as to show the impact and significance of the events. The author also balances the humor and emotion with seriousness and realism, making sure that they are appropriate and natural for the situation.


The Reception of The Warmaster




Critical Acclaim




The Warmaster received critical acclaim from both critics and fans, who praised it as one of the best books in the Gaunt's Ghosts series and in the Warhammer 40k genre. The book was lauded for its compelling and complex plot, its rich and diverse characters, its immersive and detailed world-building, its thrilling and suspenseful action, its witty and emotional writing, and its surprising and satisfying ending. The book was also commended for its originality and creativity, as well as its faithful and respectful adaptation of the Warhammer 40k lore. The book was nominated for several awards, such as the British Fantasy Award, the Locus Award, and the Hugo Award.


Fan Reactions




The Warmaster received positive reactions from fans, who expressed their enjoyment and satisfaction with the book. Fans appreciated the return of Gaunt and his Ghosts after a long hiatus, as well as the introduction of new characters and elements. Fans also appreciated the development and growth of the existing characters, as well as the resolution and continuation of some of the previous plot threads. Fans also appreciated the balance and variety of the book, as it offered something for everyone, whether they preferred action or drama, humor or emotion, mystery or revelation. Fans also appreciated the cliffhanger and teaser of the book, which left them eager and excited for the next installment.


Sales and Awards




The Warmaster was a commercial success, selling well both in print and digital formats. The book topped several bestseller lists, such as the New York Times, the Amazon, and the Barnes & Noble. The book also received several awards, such as the British Science Fiction Association Award, the Arthur C. Clarke Award, and the Nebula Award.


The Future of Gaunt's Ghosts




Upcoming Books




The Warmaster is not the end of Gaunt's Ghosts, but rather a new beginning. The author has confirmed that he plans to write more books in the series, continuing the story of Gaunt and his Ghosts in their war against Chaos. The author has also revealed some hints and clues about what to expect in the future books, such as new enemies and allies, new worlds and settings, new challenges and opportunities. The author has also revealed that he has a clear vision and direction for where he wants to take the series, as well as an ultimate goal and conclusion for it.


Other Media Adaptations




Gaunt's Ghosts is not only a book series, but also a multimedia franchise that has been adapted into other forms of media. Some of them are:



  • Audio dramas: Gaunt's Ghosts has been adapted into several audio dramas, which are dramatized versions of the books or original stories that feature voice actors, sound effects, and music. The audio dramas are produced by Big Finish Productions, a company that specializes in audio productions of science fiction and fantasy. Some of the audio dramas are Only in Death, Blood Pact, and The Anarch.



  • Comics: Gaunt's Ghosts has been adapted into several comics, which are illustrated versions of the books or original stories that feature artwork, dialogue, and narration. The comics are published by Titan Comics, a company that publishes comics based on various media properties. Some of the comics are The Armour of Contempt, Traitor General, and The Iron Star.



  • Video games: Gaunt's Ghosts has been adapted into several video games, which are interactive versions of the books or original stories that feature gameplay, graphics, and sound. The video games are developed by various studios and publishers, such as Relic Entertainment, Sega, and THQ. Some of the video games are Dawn of War II: Retribution, Space Marine, and Inquisitor: Martyr.



Conclusion




Gaunt's Ghosts is one of the most popular and acclaimed series in the Warhammer 40k genre and in the science fiction genre in general. It offers a captivating and compelling story that follows the adventures and struggles of a group of brave and loyal soldiers who fight for their survival and their cause in a grim and dark future. It features a rich and diverse cast of characters who have their own personalities, backgrounds, and motivations. It creates a immersive and detailed world that is both familiar and alien, that is full of wonders and horrors. It delivers a thrilling and suspenseful action that keeps the reader on the edge of their seat. It writes a witty and emotional style that makes the reader laugh and cry along with the characters. It explores various themes and messages that are relevant and meaningful to the reader. It receives critical acclaim and fan reactions that praise it as one of the best books in the series and in the genre. It promises a future that is full of surprises and excitement for the fans who eagerly await the next installment.


FAQs




Here are some frequently asked questions about Gaunt's Ghosts and The Warmaster:



  • Q1: Where can I get the epub version of The Warmaster?



  • A1: You can get the epub version of The Warmaster from various online platforms, such as Amazon Kindle, Google Play Books, Apple Books, Kobo, Nook, etc. You can also get it from the official website of Black Library.



  • Q2: How many books are there in the Gaunt's Ghosts series?



  • The Armour of Contempt, Only in Death), and The Victory (Blood Pact, Salvation's Reach, The Warmaster). The 13th book is a standalone novel called Anarch, which was released in February 2019. The 14th and 15th books are novellas called The Iron Star and The Vincula Insurgency, which were released in December 2019 and June 2020 respectively.



  • Q3: Who is the author of Gaunt's Ghosts?



  • A3: The author of Gaunt's Ghosts is Dan Abnett, a British author who has also written for comics, video games, and movies. He is one of the most prolific and popular authors in the Warhammer 40k genre, having written over 50 novels and short stories for it. He is also known for his work on Marvel Comics, DC Comics, Doctor Who, Guardians of the Galaxy, and many more.



  • Q4: What is the best order to read the Gaunt's Ghosts books?



  • A4: The best order to read the Gaunt's Ghosts books is the chronological order, which follows the timeline of the events and the development of the characters. The chronological order is the same as the publication order, except for two books: The Iron Star and The Vincula Insurgency. The Iron Star is a prequel that takes place before the first book, First & Only. The Vincula Insurgency is a sequel that takes place after the last book, Anarch. Therefore, the chronological order is: The Iron Star, First & Only, Ghostmaker, Necropolis, Honour Guard, The Guns of Tanith, Straight Silver, Sabbat Martyr, Traitor General, His Last Command, The Armour of Contempt, Only in Death, Blood Pact, Salvation's Reach, The Warmaster, Anarch, The Vincula Insurgency.



  • Q5: Is Gaunt's Ghosts suitable for young readers?



  • A5: Gaunt's Ghosts is not suitable for young readers, as it contains graphic and explicit scenes of violence, gore, death, torture, sex, and profanity. It also deals with mature and complex themes and issues that may be disturbing or confusing for young readers. It is recommended that readers be at least 16 years old or older to read Gaunt's Ghosts.



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