Sunday, November 01, 2009

Books in the Mail (W/E 11/1/2009)

This week was a bit slower than last, but I still received some interesting books. One I’ve read and at lease one I know I will read.

The Founding (A Gaunt’s Ghost’s Omnibus [#1]) by Dan Abnett (Black Library 2002) – Abnett is the superstar writer of the Black Library and this is the series that put him on the map. Since the folks at Black Library were kind enough to send this to me upon my request, I’ll definitely be reviewing it.

This omnibus edition of the first three Gaunt's Ghosts novels follows the story of the Tanith First-and-Only regiment (nicknamed the Ghosts) and their charismatic commissar, Ibram Gaunt. As they travel from warzone to warzone in the Chaos-infested Sabbat Worlds system, the Ghosts must not only carry out the most dangerous of missions but also survive the deady politics of the Imperial Guard. The Founding is the first larger story arc of this series. It comprises the first three novels, First and Only (1999), Ghostmaker (2000) and Necropolis (2000). These novels were re-printed in a second edition which also featured new covers. The three novels were later reprinted in a single omnibus edition under the title Gaunt's Ghosts: The Founding in 2003. The Founding also contains the short novel "In Rememberance" which explains Warmaster Macaroth's decision to allow the populace of Vervunhive to join existing Guard regiments they fought alongside during the defense of Vervunhive.

The arc tells the early years of the Tanith First and Only, up to the victory on the Hive World Verghast and the influx of new recruits they receive from the survivors of Vervunhive.

Chronicles of Malus Darkblade : Volume 2 by Dan Abnett and Mike Lee (Black Library Paperback 11/24/2009) – This is what Black Library does best for its fans – it quickly puts omnibus editions of their series on bookshelves.

The Dark Elves are feared throughout the Old World for their evil, savage ways, yet one member of this despicable race stands out for his treachery and cunning - Malus Darkblade. Possessed by the ancient daemon Tz'arkan, Darkblade must recover five items of unimaginable power within one year or forfeit his soul forever! This omnibus edition includes the books Warpsword and Lord of Ruin, as well as two short stories never published before on Malus Darkblade.

Nightchild (Chronicles of the Raven #3) by James Barclay (Pyr Trade Paperback 11/22/2009) – Third installment of The Chronicles of the Raven . With the release of this book, James Barclay’s terrific first trilogy is now complete and on the shelves of US bookstores.

Also still around are the Dragons that helped to close the rift in Noonshade. As a result of their actions they are stuck in Balaia, dying slowly from the Balaian atmosphere. They are aging rapidly and hunted as big game. The people of Balaia seemed to have forgotten the sacrifice the magnificent beasts made to save them. The only thing between death and the Dragons is Hirad, who was bonded to Sha-Kaan, the great rule of the Kaan brood of Dragons, during the events of Noonshade. The Unknown Warrior is married with child and runs full-time, the bar he owns. Thraun is leading a pack of wolves.

Nigthchild is a satisfying conclusion to this initial trilogy by James Barclay. He expertly brings hanging elements of each preceding volume to closure. Though, there are seeds for a future story or two left unexplored. Let’s hope Mr. Barclay lets these seeds grow into new stories.

Starfist : Double Jeopardy by David Sherman and Dan Cragg (Del Rey, Hardcover 12/29/2009) – These guys are consistent, if nothing else. They provide a new book for their fans almost every year.

The thrilling pace of the Starfist space epic quickens as the explosive series rockets to dazzling new heights, packed with the hell-for-leather action only two battle-hardened and decorated combat vets like David Sherman and Dan Cragg can provide.

The Confederation has finally disclosed the existence of Skinks, fierce aliens bent on wiping out humankind, and announced its plan to find and destroy their home world. While the rest of the universe grapples with the news, the Skink-savvy Marines of the Confederation's Thirty-fourth Fleet Initial Strike Team (FIST) have their own take on the situation.

Though they're no longer in danger of being exiled to a ghastly netherworld for spilling the beans about the deadly aliens, the men still can't transfer out of the unit where they've been confined since they first laid eyes on the Skinks. The reason is obvious: Who else but the legendary Thirty-fourth FIST has the skills and experience to spearhead the invasion of the Skinks' home world?

Morale isn't improved by a report of Skinks on the uncolonized world of Ishtar near a mercenary force engaged in slave-driven mining operations there—which means that FIST must turn around and head right back into the jaws of hell with no downtime. But none of that matters to Lieutenant Charlie Bass and the third platoon of Company L. They're Marines, they're the best, and they've got a job to do.

The Marines will find a planet ripped apart by all-out war, with enemies on all sides. The only certainty is that the fighting will rage red-hot and relentless, and Charlie Bass and his men will be right in the thick of the action.

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