I just finished reading the paperback version of the latest Dan Abnett Gaunt’s Ghosts novel, Only in Death, and I have to say that I think it is perhaps the best of the series. The novel has the Ghosts defending a pass in a fortress that appears to be haunted. Spoilers after the link so don’t read on if you plan to read the novel yourself.
The fortress, called Hinzerhaus, is an alien fortification that sits astride a pass that the Ghosts are meant to hold against an approaching Blood Pact force. The book starts to become very creepy and unreal almost immediately as literal ghosts from their past in the form of characters such as Colm, Bragg and even Chuu start appearing to give the ghosts messages and warnings.
The Blood Pact stage several attacks on the fortress and as each attack increases in intensity the visitations become more frequent and ominous. At one point Gaunt is captured and believed dead and he even appears in one particularly violent apparition.
The book reads out as if it is a traditional haunted house story until the very last pages when we discover that the apparitions weren’t related to the fortress itself but are the work of Agun Soric a Ghost who was found to have psychic powers and disappeared into the bowels of a Black Arc supposedly never to be seen.
Not only does this very nicely wrap up that story line but it takes the “haunting” and places it in a very background specfic context that fits in with the setting and seems quite satisfying.
About the only disappointing thing about the book is the teaser about Gaunt’s “death”. While Abnet has killed off several popular characters in the past I doubt he will kill Gaunt off in anything other than the penultimate book of the series and so having Gaunt pulled away by the Blood Pact (which in itself was rather unbelievable) only to be found was less than satisfying.
Despite this though it was a great book and the story not only flowed well but really never let the drama slow down. Highly recommended.