The Gaunt Ghosts books now span over a decade and beside the books there are countles short stories, spinoff books etc.

Does Dan Abnett ever explain some of the flaws in the books or does he just fix the stories and goes with it? If the answer is there is a forum or some such can you please include it in the answer?

Things like: Bonin Falling to his death and later beeing alive, Merrt getting his head blown off and later beeing alive and other stuff like this.

  • Spoiler tags! I'm pretty sure I'll have forgotten your spoilers once I get around to reading them, but others might not be as fortunate :)
    – user36219
    Commented May 6, 2015 at 9:02
  • 2
    Spoiler tage for books that are over 10 years old?? Really?? By that reasoning this Whole site should be under spoiler tags.
    – Cherubel
    Commented May 6, 2015 at 11:33
  • Well, not having read the books, I can't say how central to the story those characters' deaths are. I'd still have liked spoiler tags, though. This has also been discussed in meta, where it was suggested that we "Don't consider the age of the material. There are still people new to Star Wars, the Matrix (...)" in the top answer.
    – user36219
    Commented May 6, 2015 at 12:54
  • Both are supporting cast. Thing is after over 15 years of writing the books, there are quite few of this kind of bloopers. I just wanted to know if there is somwhere on the big bad web a place where somebody has documented all of them.
    – Cherubel
    Commented May 6, 2015 at 13:24

1 Answer 1


The one thing you need to remember about 40k canon, is that there is no 40k canon.

Every "fact" you read in 40k fiction may, at some point, be completely contradicted by later writings. This might happen from the same writer or a different one.

The in universe explanation for this is three fold. First, there is so much going on that war reports, or people's recollections, may very well conflict. It's actually well known, and well documented, that in real life two (or more) people witnessing an event will come away from it with sometimes wildly diverging stories.

Second, data stores sometimes become corrupted and knowledge (or parts of the story) can be lost. Most of the past of humankind in 40k is shrouded in mystery. The Horus Heresy is probably the best case in point as almost no one in the 40k universe has any clue what actually happened during that time.

Third, there are active agencies who intentionally alter those data stores in order to change the narrative to meet whatever dogma they want to push. This includes the Inquisition, ecclesiarchy, mechanicus and even the administratum.

Quite frankly, games workshop's policy towards canon is a duality: everything is canon and nothing is canon. Further they intentionally promote background changes by authors to a certain degree.

But don't take my word for it. Read this from Aaron Dembski-Bowden: Loose Canon

A couple relevant quotes from that include:

One of the great mistakes made by almost every fan of Warhammer 40,000 is to take the canonical rules of another license, and crowbar them into 40K. Usually, it’s an unconscious assumption based on a mix between common sense and Star Wars, which is a combination you don’t expect to see everyday. It also works about as well as you’d think.


I got it wrong myself, right up until I was in a meeting with the company’s Intellectual Property Manager – a situation I find myself in several times a year, as part of the Horus Heresy novel series team. When I was specifically asking about canon, he replied with something I’ve tried to take to heart: “It’s all real, and none of it’s real.”

So, with regards to Guants Ghosts, the best way to approach each of those novels is that various Inquisitors may have modified the text for one reason or another and simply didn't "fix" various conflicting parts of the story. Or it might have been an administratum mix up while transcribing the information.

  • There are some valid points here. However I do not agree. Ghosts have only been written by Dan. He writes from an all knowing POW. He is human and as such makes mistakes that he sometimes willingly explains and tries to rectify. He has in his last Sabat Anthology tried to explain some of the mistakes to him only beeing human.
    – Cherubel
    Commented May 9, 2015 at 20:22
  • @Cherubel: See the inconsistencies section here: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gaunt's_Ghosts In 2009, Abnett covered over one of his issues by claiming a psyker did it. I think he follows the same logic as above.
    – NotMe
    Commented May 11, 2015 at 0:36
  • Great source. Not all of it is in there, certainly not the 2 instances I asked about in my question but still great that some of it is explained and some of it is rectified in later books.
    – Cherubel
    Commented May 12, 2015 at 9:37

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