Salvation’s Reach by Dan Abnett – Advanced Review [Bane of Kings]
A new Gaunt’s Ghosts Novel is always highly anticipated by me, especially when I’ve been waiting for what seemed like ages without reading a Ghosts novel, but for some reason – Salvation’s Reach was a lot more attracting to me at a first glance than Blood Pact was.
Salvation’s Reach is the thirteenth Gaunt’s Ghosts novel, set after the events in Blood Pact, and picks up Gaunt and the Tanith First, returning them back to the front lines in style, proving that the adventures of the Ghosts aren’t over yet.
Dan Abnett needs no introduction to any Black Library fan, having written several bestselling books, and such novels like Embedded, Prospero Burns and the Eisenhorn and Ravenor trilogies. But now, on with the plot.
Salvation’s Reach is the target of the Tanith First and Only, as they embark on a desperate mission that could even win the Imperium the Sabbat Worlds. Too long have the Ghosts been resting inactive, and too long have they been without a war. Aided by fresh reinforcements from Verghast’s Vervunhive, last seen in the third Gaunt’s Ghosts Novel, Ghostmaker, this at first only appears to create tension between the members of Ghosts already in service, in particular already present Ghosts, Ban Daur and Elodie Dutana (Who, is in a relationship with Daur), and indeed Ibram Gaunt himself, especially when two new recruits are added to the already packed line-up that has already seen several characters killed off in the previous series.
For perhaps the first time (If my memory serves correctly), we see the Emperor’s Finest in Gaunt’s Ghosts, as three Space Marines, from the White Scars, Sliver Guard and Iron Snakes chapters are introduced in this novel, creating character tension yet again, especially between the White Scar and a particular Ghost, who I won’t name. It’s nice to see Abnett return to the Iron Snakes again, even if it is only just one of them, and the main attention in this novel is focused on Gaunt and his Ghosts.
On the counter-side, the enemy in Salvation’s Reach is different to those that we saw in Blood Pact. In Blood Pact, it was well… the Blood Pact that opposed the Tanith First, whereas in the follow-up we learn more about the Sons of Sek, their back-story – and why they are important in the greater scheme of the Sabbat Worlds Crusade.
Full of twists and turns, Salvation’s Reach proves that each action really does has a consequence, and at the same time as producing an excellently paced story, Abnett also manages to show us the inner workings of an Imperial Guard Regiment. Sure, the Tanith are perhaps different to the norm, but Salvation’s Reach doesn’t disappoint.
When we get to the action, Abnett shows us that he hasn’t lost it. Breathtaking and memorable scenes run throughout Salvation’s Reach, and that will keep your heart pumping quickly right until the very end. And, when it does leave you at the end, Abnett’s writing only makes you want more, and we can only hope that the fourteenth Gaunt’s Ghosts novel will be as good as this one.
Salvation’s Reach has quickly become my favourite Ghosts novel. There, I’ve said it. Better than Honour Guard, better than Blood Pact, you name it, Salvation’s Reach is better than the lot, and reminds us why Abnett is not only the king of Imperial Guard, but also – the King of the Warhammer 40,000 universe.
I may have probably been a bit biased in this review in Abnett’s favour, as you’ve probably guessed – after all, he’s one of my favourite authors and Gaunt’s Ghosts are one of my favourite series, Black Library or otherwise. I’m pleased to say that Salvation’s Reach has been well worth the wait, and yes – this is a jaw-dropping, edge-of-your seat ride.
Abnett at his best. The master of dark military sci-fi has given us an action-filled book with plenty of encounters and, mainly due to the previous Ghosts novels, I think you all know by now that almost nobody is safe.
More Gaunt’s Ghosts: First and Only, Ghostmaker, Necropolis, Honour Guard, The Guns of Tanith, Straight Silver, Sabbat Matyr, Traitor General, His Last Command, The Armour of Contempt, Only in Death, Blood Pact, Salvation’s Reach