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First and Only

(Gaunt's Ghosts #1)

4.25  ·  Rating details ·  5,454 ratings  ·  215 reviews
In the Chaos-infested Sabbat system, Imperial Commissar Gaunt must lead his men through as much in-fighting amongst rival regiments as against the forces of Chaos.

For a thousand years, the Sabbat Worlds have been lost to the Imperium, claimed by the dread powers of Chaos. Now, a mighty crusade seeks to return the sector to Imperial rule. And at the forefront of that crusa
Paperback, 320 pages
Published November 7th 2002 by The Black Library (first published 1999)
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Dániel Feketű Here you can find all books of the series

First And Only (1999, ISBN 1-84416-164-1)
Ghostmaker (2000, ISBN 0-671-78410-2)
Necropolis (2000, ISBN 0-743…more
Here you can find all books of the series

First And Only (1999, ISBN 1-84416-164-1)
Ghostmaker (2000, ISBN 0-671-78410-2)
Necropolis (2000, ISBN 0-7434-1159-5)
Honour Guard (2001, ISBN 1-84154-151-6)
The Guns of Tanith (2002, ISBN 1-84154-232-6)
Straight Silver (2002, ISBN 1-84154-262-8)
Sabbat Martyr (2003, ISBN 0-7434-4360-8)
Traitor General (2004, ISBN 1-84416-113-7)
His Last Command (2005, ISBN 1-84416-238-9)
The Armour of Contempt (2006, ISBN 1-84416-400-4)
Only In Death (October 2008, ISBN 1-84416-662-7)
Blood Pact (May 2009, ISBN 1-84416-693-7)
Salvation's Reach (October 2011, ISBN 1-84416-821-2)

If you want to know more check wiki (

Community Reviews

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Average rating 4.25  · 
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 ·  5,454 ratings  ·  215 reviews

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May 29, 2015 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: People Who Love Reading About War and Have No Need for Women
"Give any man the power of a god, and you better hope he's got the wisdom and morals of a god to match. There's nothing feeble about my moral line. I value life. That's why I fight to protect it. I mourn every man I lose and every sacrifice I make. One life or a billion, they're all lives."

I knew nothing going into this book. I have never played Warhammer 40k, I have never watched it being played, I never had a man who was into Warhammer40k – my usual way of brushing my fingertips against the ga
"Walk hardy and carry a bigger gun than anyone else" – the motto when reading Warhammer 40,000.

Recently I decided to pick up First and Only by Dan Abnett as it has been some time since I read it and felt this was due a review (1999 I believe). Why? Mainly as it opened my eyes to the literature coming out from Games Workshop at the time. OK, the first novel I ever read was Wolf Rider which I believe was written by Jack Yeovil, but might be wrong there. The second novel was Horus Rising by D
Simon Clark
Jul 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
So begins my epic re-read of the entire Gaunts Ghosts series prior to reading the final part, Anarch. It was strange to return to the very first novel, which I first read about ten years ago. Re-reading it brought home how the series has changed, the prose gradually sharpening up while the structure of the novels have become less ambitious. Later entries in the series, and most of Abnett's writing to be honest, have been extremely linear. While not the 'bolter porn' of lesser Black Library autho ...more
Ren the Unclean
Aug 13, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Sci-fi fans
Shelves: sci-fi
Don't let the fact that this should be mass produced Warhammer 40k garbage throw you. Dan Abnett has a particular talent for this kind of story and a lot to offer even those of us who are not really into the 40k universe.

First and Only covers a major campaign in the Ghosts' history and is a good introduction to the Imperial Legions or whatever they are and how the various troop interactions work between the different companies that are harvested from different worlds. This book has a lot of inte
Sep 16, 2012 rated it really liked it
I should not like this series, and everyone I know agrees with me. I can't help it! I sometimes indulge in military fiction, but never, never Warhammer. I only dared to read the first book because I had heard that there was more to it than I assumed (and the covers let on). Good characters, messed up plots, and Gaunt is a badass. Sometimes it does get a bit over my head, probably because of my utter Warhammer-ignorance, or maybe because it's getting a bit too military (I like to believe it's the ...more
Aug 20, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: owned
Aug 25, 2018 rated it liked it
Band of Brothers battles Star Wars' Dark Siths in Lord of The Ring's Mount Doom.
Andrew Ziegler
Aug 04, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Why has it taken me 10 years to finally read this book that one of my good friends told me to read back then? Stubborn I guess, who knows. Anyway, Dan Abnett's first 40K novel is well paced and very intriguing. He is my favorite of the Black Library's current authors and probably the best Marine author they have. Hear he starts the story of Gaunt and his First and Only Ghosts. They are an excellent regiment of imperial guard, and much like Abnett breathed life into the Lunar Wolves, and the Iron ...more
তানজীম Rahman)
Mar 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
Three and a half stars, I guess?
This was a fun read, quite breezy. The pacing is very well-done, and the sequences move on briskly. The action is also very well-written, especially the massive battle sequence that begins the book proper.
There are a lot of characters, and the book is of modest length. So some of the characters only manage to be quick, rough sketches. Unfortunately the main character, Ibram Gaunt, is pretty much just a square-jawed hero, which makes him somewhat boring. I enjoyed
Sean McBride
Jul 05, 2010 rated it really liked it
Surprisingly good..either that or i'm on a four star kick. I approached this thinking it was going to be mindless dribble. I was wrong. Think Band of Brothers but in space battling all kinds of nasty alien forces (this is actually Derek Manus' evaluation of the book, but i find it very apropos). There is also a bunch f infighting which Abnett ties a little too perfectly together.

The writing is solid and the characters are lush, though it's a little confusing at first because a number of them ha
Jul 25, 2012 rated it did not like it
Shelves: didn-t-finish
I didn't get very far before I gave up. No real plot, just piggybacking on a group of soldiers. Except: This is the far flung future with spaceships and laser weapons, but they're still using artillery, grenades, and fighting in trenches. No air support or orbital bombardments. I know I'm supposed to suspend my disbelief, but the lack of plot mixed with that, was too much.
And, for a final quibble, Abnett kept referring to "coffee" as "caffeine". As in, "...poured himself a tiny cup of rich black
Nov 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: warhammer-40k, sci-fi
"The series follows the exploits of Colonel-Commissar Ibram Gaunt and his regiment of scouts and recon specialists, the Tanith First-and-Only (nicknamed Gaunt's Ghosts), as they serve in the Sabbat Worlds Crusade. Their battles are normally against the forces of Chaos, although they briefly face orks on Typhon Eight. Up until 'Guns of Tanith' the Ghosts are mainly pitted against heretical rebels armies, but on Phantine and in most of the campaigns following it they face the well-trained and elit ...more
Sep 12, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
I picked this up after being impressed with the high rating on goodreads. Unfortunately, "First and Only" never even came close to living up to all it's hype. The book starts off with Gaunt and his Ghosts being deployed as ground forces against the enemy shriven. This goes on for a third of the book without Abnett even making the slightest effort at developing even one character among the entire ensemble, thereby creating a huge waste of time. The book does improve after this battle, but not by ...more
Feb 09, 2011 rated it liked it
I'll be honest, I don't follow the Warhammer 40K world at all. I don't read the books, and I don't play the games. I read the book because it was free.

One thing that threw me out of the book continually was the language. It wasn't vulgar or anything but the usage of semi-archaic terms and knowledge of... I needed more backstory to support the book or a glossary... I guess the more I read the more I'll learn; but I'm not sure I want to learn about the world too much.

I liked the book and I've foun
Dec 06, 2015 rated it liked it
I am military fiction lover and believe me this is trash. Leo Kessler is far more better in description of military action then this piece of mass produced Warhammer stuff. On the other hand it was enjoyable to read, but not as Sandy Mitchell's books. I was counting the death toll on the First and only regiment trough the books and seriously they would not make it trough the one book.
The evil general, even more evil inquisitor plus evil rival regiment tried to kill our hero, who uncovered the w
Adam Mieszcanski
May 06, 2008 rated it it was amazing
If you like Warhammer, even if you don't, regardless, this book kicks off one of the best action/adventure series I have ever read. Massive battles, intrigue, honor and brotherhood under fire make this book, much like the rest of the series, outstanding.
Jerod Dunn
Nov 09, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: warhammer-40k
Dan Abnett did a great job really bringing the grit and dark world of Warhammer 40k to life. I didn't instantly start reading the second book, Ghostmaker, only because it wasn't available in ePUB format yet.
The first in the series of Gaunt's Ghosts novels.

Commissar Ibram Gaunt is one of the most interesting characters in the Warhammer 40k setting.
Chris Pratt
Jan 23, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Fantastic. Nothing more needs to be said, except that Abnett truly brings the Warhammer 40k universe to life.
May 28, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Bit slow to get going i think, but really picks up!

First 40k book i read, love it!
Feb 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
All of the Dan Abnett books I've read so far are good. If you're interested in the Warhammer 40k universe but don't care about the tabletop games, these are the books to read. Gaunt's Ghosts is about a light infantry regiment in the Imperial Guard. I'd say something like "these are trashy fun" but these are actually good books. The first book has politics, conspiracies, fights against the agents of Chaos, and some of Commissar Gaunt's backstory. If you like in-the-trenches war stories, read this ...more
Had read some good things about this series although I wasn't sold on an Imperial Guard story beforehand. Yet I took my chances and I didn't regret it.

However, as this was a story of war & betrayal, it involved a lot of named squad members which at first were hard to remember through different reading sessions. I did like the differences in personalities that they had but in the end I don't think war stories like this are really my things.

4 stars because it was a good story, interesting characte
May 30, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: w40k, fantasy-scifi
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Ricardo Enrique Alfonso
Mar 29, 2020 rated it really liked it
When I was younger, I would go to my local game store and play a card game called Magic: The Gathering. It was an extremely popular game among my admittedly nerdy clique, but I didn't really care. Most of the tables in the game store were pretty much devoted to Magic: The Gathering players. However, in a dark, cobweb-choked corner of the store, there was always a small group of around 2-4 strange individuals playing some weird board game. It was kind of like Risk, only much more flamboyant. They ...more
Apr 19, 2013 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Oct 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Now I am often not one for big war books. I often find that having to keep track of a regiment of soldiers, their leaders, their objectives and what they get up, not too mention their regiment history and what makes them special gets tiresome. But this was an issue I didn't come across in First and Only. We spared having to learn everyone's names and instead are treated to the sergeants, who in turn represent the spirit and character of the men they command. We are still shown the scope of who m ...more
Sep 10, 2015 rated it it was ok
While I used to play a lot of Warhammer RPG back in the day (and I thought it was pretty great, because it had the most actual role playing of all role playing games I've tried), I really did not know much about Warhammer 40K, the crazy, violent, battle-ravaged universe this novel is based in. But it turned out that it was pretty simple to figure out the setting, and after that just relax and dive into this action packed story.

First and Only is a hard core military space fiction novel, with a lo
Michael T Bradley
Jan 14, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: w40k
It's very, very difficult to write about this book & the "following" one, Ghostmaker. Both are, essentially, a collection of Gaunt's Ghost short stories with a longer novella tacked on at the end. This one works better because it's mostly later stories, once Abnett had really gotten a "feel" for what he could cover in a GG story, and his lyricism as an author has rarely achieved such a state as it did in this book.

I'm sure if you're reading this you know the basic plot. Ibram Gaunt, Imperial co
Jun 03, 2016 rated it did not like it
Shelves: science-fiction
I desperately wanted to love, or at least like, First and Only. As the first in a long book series about a company of space marines it sounded like something I would love. Tragically though, after gradually dragging myself through it I just don't think this book is any good.

While I have a number of issues with it. The two things that bothered me the most were the prose and story. The issue with the prose is how verbose it is. It really gives the feeling that the writer is sitting there with a th
In the grim darkness of the future, there is only war. An opening title common to any book part of the Warhammer 40000 universe based on the tabletop game. This novel focuses on Colonel-Commissar Ibram Gaunt, leader of a sole surviving regiment from the planet of Tanith. Destroyed by the forces of chaos, corrupted elements that were once human, this single regiment are merely ghosts, Gaunts Ghosts. Leading his men in the crusade of the chaos infested Sabbat system, the horrors of war appear full ...more
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Other books in the series

Gaunt's Ghosts (1 - 10 of 15 books)
  • Ghostmaker (Gaunt's Ghosts #2)
  • Necropolis (Gaunt's Ghosts #3)
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  • The Guns of Tanith (Gaunt's Ghosts #5)
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  • Traitor General (Gaunt's Ghosts #8)
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  • The Armour of Contempt (Gaunt's Ghosts #10)
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“Give any man the power of a god, and you better hope he's got the wisdom and morals of a god to match. There's nothing feeble about my moral line. I value life. That is why I fight to protect it. I mourn every man I lose and every sacrifice I make. One life or a billion, they're all lives.” 1 likes
“Winning is everything, but the trick is to know where the winning really is.... We're political animals, Ibram. Through us, if we do our job properly, the black and white of war is tempered. We are the interpreters of combat, the translators. We give meaning to war, subtlety, purpose even. Killing is the most abhorrent, mindless profession known to man. Our role is to fashion the killing machine of the human species into a positive force. For the Emperor's sake. For the sake of our own consciences.” 0 likes
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