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Review: Only In Death

Only in Death
by Dan Abnett

Technically, I finished this book on the 31st, but I have to tell you: WOW. Just, WOW.

Towards the beginning of 2007, I mused that this would end up being the " Year of Warhammer 40K" for me. That ended up being quite accurate: Only in Death is the final--I should probably say, "the most recent"--book in the Gaunt's Ghosts series.

This book has a distinctly macabre flavor, with a spook-factor that's unusual in Abnett's writing. In fact, it reads very much like a ghost story or horror story, more so than a war novel, though make no mistake, the war element is still as intense as ever!

This time, the Tanith First and Only find themselves in a desolate mountain range, securing an ancient fortress called Hinterhaus from the forces of Chaos. Chaos, however, doesn't seem to be their only problem. The tactical schematics they've been given for maze-like fortress are all wrong, there's no water, the power source--completely alien--is failing, and the acoustics, muffling and amplifying sounds across the entire complex with no consistency, are utterly maddening. There's also been a rash of nightmares and nerves that none of the medics can account for; the unflappable Ghosts are uncannily spooked.

Gaunt reports that Hinterhaus is "indefensible," and requests permission for the Ghosts to fall back, but command refuses. Their orders are to "hold off" the enemy forces at Hinterhaus until water, ammunitions, and reinforcements can be shipped to them. Surrounded by elite enemy troops and left with virtually no supplies, command has essentially handed the Ghosts a death sentence.

I just can't bring myself to include any spoilers. I can't. So you're going to have to trust me.

The creepiness is as intense and gritty as a freshly exhumed corpse.

Read this series!

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