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REVIEW: Salvation’s Reach, by Dan Abnett

3 Minute Read
Nov 9 2011
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The Tanith First-And-Only are back in action in Dan Abnett’s latest Gaunt’s Ghosts novel.

Hello, CrusherJoe here with my latest book review.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock in a cave, you’ve probably heard of the Guant’s Ghosts novels by Dan Abnett. Salvation’s Reach is the fourteenth novel in the series.

There’s a reason the series is still going strong.

It’s really good.

In fact, the series is so good and so popular, even if Salvation’s Reach were a terrible book, it would still probably sell in big numbers, because of the strength of the previous entries.

Fortunately, Salvation’s Reach isn’t a terrible book, not even a little bit.

The basic idea of Salvation’s Reach is the Ghosts are sent on a mission to assault an Archenemy-controlled space hulk. This mission is so perilous and stands so little chance of success it’s basically considered a suicide mission by the higher ups — but should they manage to pull it off, well, the rest of the Sabbat Worlds campaign will be in a much better position. So much better it’s thought to be worth taking the risk of losing the regiment. The problem is, they’ve been stood down for so long they’ve gotten a bit rusty. Quite a bit of the first third of the book is about how the Ghosts are consolidated, reinforced, and eventually mobilized. While it wasn’t very action-packed, quite a bit of character development takes place during this mobilization — quietly advancing the plot of the characters while slowly moving the overall story along. I thought it was well done.

You’re amongst friends here — the cast you know and love is back, and there are even a couple of additions from the past that take the overall story arc in some new (and maybe unexpected) directions. I can’t really tell you a whole lot without spoiling things, but needless to say there are some surprises — some pleasant, some…not as much. There’s even a marching band. Oh, and some Space Marines.

Well, OK, three Space Marines.

And a Caestus Assault Ram.

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I rather liked how Mr. Abnett portrayed the Space Marines — one from 3 different chapters. He really drives home the fact that while they were once humans, they’re…extra-human now, and almost everything they do reflects that fact.

Consider this: only genetically-enhanced super-humans would consider using a ship to ram into a space hulk and assault an unknown number of enemies once it lands…and think that only 3 of these guys would be enough to pull it off. But they do…and one of the best sequence in the book is when Dan flexes his writing muscles a little and gives us a ride in the Caestus and describes how it’s used. It was a very exciting several pages.

So, should you read this book? If you’re a Gaunt’s Ghosts fan, definitely. If you’re not, well, you probably should be. However, if you’ve never read any of the previous books, this one is probably not a good place to start. There’s way to much going on, plot-wise, from previous books, for this to be a good jumping-in point.

But if you’re up to date on the Gaunt’s Ghosts story, I highly recommend it.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Considering this story arc is named The Victory, you have to wonder just how many more Ghosts novels Dan has up his sleeve. Do you think it’s time for the series to conclude? Would you want to read an arc named The Standing Down? What other BL long-running series do you like?



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