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The Founding

(Gaunt's Ghosts #1-3)

4.43  ·  Rating details ·  3,514 ratings  ·  98 reviews

The last warriors of a dead world, the Tanith First and Only follow their charismatic commander, ColonelCommissar Ibram Gaunt, through the deadly wars of the Sabbat Worlds Crusade in search of glory and honour – if they can survive their Chaostainted enemies and the contempt of their fellow Imperial Guard units.

Read it Because
If you've never experienced the start of Black Lib

Kindle Edition, 880 pages
Published December 2nd 2017 by Black Library (first published 2007)
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Average rating 4.43  · 
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 ·  3,514 ratings  ·  98 reviews

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I read this book not as a warhammer fan, but as a spouse to one. Keep that in mind as you read this review.[return][return]Gaunt's Ghosts, for those unfamiliar is about a regiment of Imperial Guard, led by a colonel commissar. What makes this band special is that the night they were commissioned, their commander saved them from the destruction of their homeworld. Viewed as homeless, barbaric and useless, this band is the underdog, striving through each war to win a new planet for themselves, usu ...more
Oct 20, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Warmaster Slaydo is dead. The man wrangled as many different bureaucracies, and herded as many cats as he could, in order to raise a crusade to take back the Sabbat Worlds from the forces of Chaos. He slew the Archenemy @ Balhaut, but was mortally wounded in the process. As he lay dying, Slaydo promoted one of his favorite subordinates, Ibram Gaunt, and ordered him to raise an Imperial Guard unit of his own. What should've been a mopping up action @ Balhaut was bungled by the new warmaster, Maca ...more
Juho Pohjalainen
May 25, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Abnett is still grasping for his style and talent in the first two stories of this omnibus, but the third is already among his best.
Dec 23, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Dan Abnett gives readers excellent military science fiction in this omnibus, which collects three novels and a short story. All of the content is about the “Tanith First” regiment (aka “Gaunt’s Ghosts”), including the regiment’s origin story. The third novel of the omnibus, Necropolis, is one of the best military scifi books I’ve read.
Mar 09, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
06/04/10: Finished "First and Only" number 1 of the 3 books in this Omnibus.

Dan Abnett writes some good action scenes; although some of the actual warfare, weapons and tactics seem a bit out of place in a SF setting (it opens with a set piece that's more or less out of WW I trench warfare, complete with poison gas...)

Very little about the Warhammer 40K background, setting and tech level is explained - which mostly doesn't matter to the story, but is a bit frustrating as a
John Scott
Mar 14, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
First & Only was the book that got me interested in writing in general and sci-fi particularly. It was an amazing (and brilliantly graphic) portrayal of war in a sci-fi setting. I absolutely loved Colm Corbec, and the fight through the tunnels underneath Menazoid Epsilon was incredibly harrowing and nerve-wracking, even now after having read it twenty times! Ghostmaker was just as superb, collecting the original awesome short stories together; my personal favourite is the original "pilot" st ...more
David McGrogan
3 1/2 stars. I very much enjoyed the ride, but this definitely has the feel of a first novel. The breakneck speed of the plot generally works but it is all tied together a little too neatly and with slightly too many telegraphed twists and deus ex machina moments. I found the generic chaos baddies a little bit too generic. And some of the set pieces fall rather flat due to the somewhat breathless tone of the writing (the confrontation with the Absalom's captain and the scene with Gaunt and the w ...more
Jan 28, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
So, here I am back to the world of Warhammer 40K. This time, my victims were the Imperial Guard sweethearts: Gaunts' Ghosts.

In an overall, Dan Abnett is a great amazing writer. I'm not a fan of eternal battles but Dan puts into his writing humanity. And that, I confess, saves the day. He doesn't describe a battle to the boring detail of how many soldiers go to the front, how many bullets are lost, how many tanks go meeting their creator. No. Dan writes about people, for people. You f
Heinz Reinhardt
Oct 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is my third time through this omnibus, my most read Black Library publication. I read this the first time as a Freshman in college back in '09, and again in my 'dear God Above why the hell did I commit to Honor's College?' fifth year in 14.
I studied History, military history being my specialty. I come from a Marine/Navy family. I know soldiers and sailors well, I know what makes them tick, and I am immersed in the culture.
Dan Abnett, comic writer, a man who has never served, understands m
Mary Catelli
An omnibus of military SF.

These works are military SF. Bad things happen in them. Good characters get killed. But they have very dramatic plots, and many vividly drawn characters. Filled with honor and friendship and valor. Ibram Gaunt is a deeply developed character, and at any time, a dozen or so Ghosts are major characters. He does a massively multi-POV that lets in him get in a large scope of the battles they are in.

(One trick he has is to develop a character in a sho
Bradley Olson
Jan 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This series of which I have read 17 novels regards the exploits of a military officer in the far future. He attempts to hold together the last remains of the population of a ravaged world, honing them as a military force and forwarding the constant fight against the enemies of man kind. The setting of this series deviates from both reality and other fiction novels so much that its full description could take an hour or more. Needless to say I found the complexity of the world to be delightful an ...more
Ethan Mckenzie
Sep 11, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

If you are a Warhammer 40k fan, then basically anythig Dan Abnett writes should be automatically added to your library. Gaunt's Ghosts, in particular, is an excellent series, better than any other in Warhammer, from my point of view. When it comes to fiction, I have come to be in the habbit of judging extended series based on how many characters from it I remember the names and personalities of-in short, how many the author makes me give a damn about. For this.....the list is enormous. By the
Jul 25, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent. You really empathise with the characters. They're all friends - even the bad guys :) The humour is just right alongside the 'trench' warfare. Will definitely read again. Dan is a charismatic writer - will keep an eye out for his books on other subjects to see if he retains it.
Lemuel CyroN Salubo
Apr 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The achievements, the losses, the relationships gained and lost. Abnett has this series on lockdown! A fantastic read through the challenges and triumphs of an imperial guard regiment and its commissar. Patiently waiting for my orders for the other omnibus books to arrive!
Apr 10, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Lots of action, Military Sci-fi
Not much on extended charcter descriptions, most development is done through the action and the way the characters act throughout action sequences.

Can be somewhat confusing if you aren't familiar with the Warhammer 40k universe.
Jun 26, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Intense, vivid, detailed, pure-play, big on story structure. Characters, ensemble, three books together, great map. Dense words, not one wasted. Memorable. Mozart effect. I got smarter, and out of breath. I had the best time! Next!
Jul 23, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'm gonna review this one as whole, so I don't have to go and click for all the 3 books from the founding. First and Third books are masterpiece. Necropolis is my second favorite book in the series, second only to Traitor General - which is from The Lost series.
Kenneth Bjerhof
Jun 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of the best Warhammer 40k novel series in existence!
Brian Turner
Nov 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
The first 3 novels of Gaunt's Ghosts series (plus one special short story) in an omnibus edition. Shows how they were founded and has good interaction between characters.
Has plenty of action, and being an Imperial Guard novel, there's potentially a cast of billions. Abnett focuses on a few key characters, and throws in the occasional "red shirt" who gets name-checked just prior to being killed.
The Ghosts are a rough-and-ready bunch, and tend to be looked down upon by more established
Dan Cowden
Dec 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
Not 'Judy's another war story

While on the one hand these three books are genre rubbish, a mix of military sci-fi drivel leavened with a dash of Warhammer 40,000`s blend of bloody gothic horror, the vast of characters have a lot of humanity spread among them. Most of the characters act with an internal drive greater than "because the plot required it at the time." This is most obvious in the third book in this omnibus, "Necropolis."
Mary Snopl
Dec 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This series of books strikes more humanity than any 40k books I've read yet

No long winded space marine speeches with fancy words. Just brutal reality at every turn. An amazing book in my opinion
Jul 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Best series ever!

I started reading Gaunt’s Ghosts back in 2002 and have re-read all of them many times. It gets better ever single time
Apr 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Be prepared to be glued to the book start to finish!!!!
Richard Sampson
Apr 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Love the Imperial Guard books and especially the Gaunt's Ghosts series. This is Dan Abnett at his best.
Lee Tempest
Jul 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Eagle Ordinary, only 99.9% sugar-free.
Sep 30, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This is a omnibus containing three Gaunt's Ghosts novels, Gaunt himself being a Commissar in the 40k universe. These took me a while to get through, and I'm going to cover them one by one.

First and Only: According to the introduction, at one point this was the best-selling book published by Black Library. I get the sense this book came out quite early in the Black Library's run, or at least in Abnett's career, as it's marred by some weird issues - The Guard is all male, Chaos Space M
Douglas Berry
Mar 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
This was a re-reading, but it had been long enough that I had forgotten many of the details. Incredibly good science-fiction that sets the standard for gritty military SF.
Derek Weese
Aug 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It was a friend who introduced me to the whole 40K universe several years ago, and I started slow. The first novel I ever read from the Black Library was the very first Ciaphas Cain novel by Sandy Mitchell, needless to say the good Commissar has a special place in my heart to this day. The second book I read was, ok two books, were the two Gothic War books by Gordon Remmie: loved them, sad the series was never finished. However, as much as I still love those old classics, and as much as I now lo ...more
Stephanie Jobe
Mar 27, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ibram Gaunt already was a rare man and then before Warmaster Slaydo died he made Gaunt the only colonel and commissar. Then he goes to gather his brand new troops. On the day of the founding of their regiments the planet is destroyed and only a fraction of the men make it off the planet.

First and Only: It was after I read this one and the second that I found out that the second was partially short stories originally published else where, merged into a novel. There is a bit of jumping
Sep 16, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Oh, Dan Abnett... You amuse me so with your endless list of soon-to-die red-shirt Guardsmen and constant head explosions.

So: The Founding. I read this back in the day, several years ago, when I was beginning to be somewhat remotely interested in the Warhammer 40k universe. I needed background and plot seed fodder for my newly-minted Dark Heresy roleplaying group and I thought, "Hey, why not? It's a collection of novels about some Imperial Guard, who I'm not really all that interested in, because, quite frankly,
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Fantasy Buddy Reads: Gaunt's Ghosts [Sept 2017] 30 32 Sep 28, 2017 10:57AM  
I was surprised at how much I enjoyed it! 2 33 Apr 15, 2009 05:15PM  
an ok war story...if you like that sort of thing 1 14 Jan 21, 2008 07:09AM  

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Other books in the series

Gaunt's Ghosts (1 - 10 of 15 books)
  • First and Only (Gaunt's Ghosts #1)
  • Ghostmaker (Gaunt's Ghosts #2)
  • Necropolis (Gaunt's Ghosts #3)
  • Honour Guard (Gaunt's Ghosts #4)
  • The Guns of Tanith (Gaunt's Ghosts #5)
  • Straight Silver (Gaunt's Ghosts #6)
  • Sabbat Martyr (Gaunt's Ghosts #7)
  • Traitor General (Gaunt's Ghosts #8)
  • His Last Command (Gaunt's Ghosts #9)
  • The Armour of Contempt (Gaunt's Ghosts #10)
“I realised Larkin was crying. It shook me to see it. And, though I know what you’re thinking, it didn’t diminish him in any way. I’d known from the first moment I saw him he was an emotionally vulnerable man. He didn’t falter in his duty for a moment. He kept up the pace, covered all the angles he was asked to. He didn’t even seem to be aware that he was crying. But he wept.” 0 likes
“Time seemed to slow down and stretch out, like a quiet, slow passage in a piece of music. It occurred to me then that I could never be a soldier. The waiting would kill me. It’s ironic, I know. I can spend months on a work, whole weeks minutely carving some tiny part of it. I am obsessive with detail, and never care how long it takes to get something perfect, because the success of the whole might depend on one small part.” 0 likes
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