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Publisher's Summary

Set in a chillingly realistic far-future world, and featuring a gritty antihero even more frightening than the evil empire he serves as soldier and assassin, Death's Head is sure to be one of the most talked-about novels of the year. David Gunn is loaded - and he shoots to kill.

At the top of the galactic pecking order is the United Free, a civilization of awe-inspiring technological prowess so far in advance of other space-faring powers as to seem untouchable gods. Most of the known universe has fallen under their inscrutable sway. The rest is squabbled over by two empires: one ruled with an iron fist by OctoV, a tyrant who appears to his followers as a teenage boy but is in reality something very different, the other administered by the Uplifted, bizarre machine-like intelligences, and their no-longer-quite-human servants, cyborgs known as the Enlightened.

Sven Tveskoeg, an ex-sergeant demoted for insubordination and sentenced to death, is a vicious killer with a stubborn streak of loyalty. Sven possesses a fierce if untutored intelligence and a genetic makeup that is 98.2 percent human and 1.8 percent... something else. Perhaps that "something else" explains how quickly he heals from even the worst injuries or how he can communicate telepathically with the ferox, fearsome alien savages whose natural fighting abilities regularly outperform the advanced technology of their human enemies. Perhaps it is these unique abilities that bring Sven to the attention of OctoV.

Drafted into the Death's Head, the elite enforcers of OctoV's imperial will, Sven is given a new lease on life. Armed with a SIG diabolo - an intelligent gun - and an illegal symbiont called a kyp, Sven is sent to a faraway planet, the latest battleground between the Uplifted and OctoV. There he finds himself in the midst of a military disaster, one that will take all his courage - and all his firepower - to survive.

But an even deadlier struggle is taking place, a struggle that will draw the attention of the United Free. Sven knows he is a pawn, and pawns have a bad habit of being sacrificed.

But Sven is nobody's sacrifice. And even a pawn can checkmate a king.

©2007 Gunnsmith Ltd. (P)2011 Audible, Inc.

Critic Reviews

"The finest military science-fiction debut in years." ( Kirkus Reviews)
"Hardboiled, laser-blasting science fiction as it’s meant to be." (Charlie Huston, author of Caught Stealing and Already Dead)

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Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Awesome military sci-fi!

One of my favorite book and definitely my favorite military sci-fi series. Read all the book and still enjoyed the audiobook!

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Where are volume 2 and 3?

After reading Death's Head, I clearly wish for the other books. The storyline is original, with good suspense and great characters. It's violent, crude and very captivating. I enjoyed listening to the narrator, his interpretation of the characters was clear and kept my interest. I really want books 2 and 3.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Some people die in battle, yet other live for it. The only thing Sven likes more than killing a monster, is killing a bigger one

Over all, I enjoyed the book. The next books are not on audible yet (as of 7/10/18), which is a bummer.

The story revolves around Sven, an unbelievably resilient soldier who starts off in a bad situation, which is constantly made worse. Somehow Sven always knows what to do, and is a man of iron will. I would recommend listening to the demo if you are on the fence. It sold me!

I think that the story was great and the world building was very interesting. It’s a good book if you like characters like James McGill from undying mercenaries series. I don’t think that the book description is accurate in calling Sven an anti hero- he’s a got daymn legend.

My only problem with the audiobook was that the words are spoken fairly slow, but it’s perfect at 1.5 speed. This cuts the book down to about 7.5 hours instead of 10, but still a good buy.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Fantastic Military Sci-Fi with a hard edge!

Where does Death's Head rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

Probably one of my favorites. If you want milquetoast heroes as written by Jack Campbell or David Weber this book ain't for you. Sven is more of an anti-hero with his own sets of problems and demons. Doing the right thing is purely subjective. He's not the guy you want watching your kids.

What did you like best about this story?

The sheer brutal honesty of the human condition. If you liked "Armor" by John Steakley then you'll know what I'm referring to.

Which character – as performed by William Dufris – was your favorite?

Sven is the man. Brutal and without regret. I think Mr. Dufris did a fine job. You can almost "see" the sneer on Sven's face.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

Look, if you're easily offended by violence, sexism, "toxic" masculinity or any other of the plethora of buzzwords used by the latte liberal crowd then keep moving.

Any additional comments?

Not for the kiddies. Copious amounts of violence, sex, drugs and possibly even some rock and roll. The storyline is a bit bizarre and there are many things left to the imagination.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Wish R C Bray narrated this

Fun book. Lots of action. Badass protagonist who is greater than life. Narrator is a bit weak for the dry nonchalance this character should be exhibiting.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Military Sci-Fi at it's .....

Where does Death's Head rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

It is certainly not at the top. Not even at the top of military sci fi. Those places are reserved for David Weber's Honor Harrington series, or Ender's Game, or The Lost Fleet. Come to think of it, the classics easily surpass this book.

Would you recommend Death's Head to your friends? Why or why not?

No, I would not recommend it to my friends. It is enjoyable, but only if you really like Sci-Fi and stories which attempt to catch 'the heroes journey'. Never did I really feel that the protagonist was in any real danger.

Which character – as performed by William Dufris – was your favorite?

William Dufris is a good reader and performer. I think I liked his Sven rendition best.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

It is sufficiently fast paced that you get dragged along. However, there are certain breaking points in the story.. changes of scene where i could put it down. And I would.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Pierre
  • luleå, Sweden
  • 03-07-13

Macho military sci-fi in a good way.

What other book might you compare Death's Head to and why?

It has some of the grittyness of Altered carbon but with a bit less depth.

0 of 3 people found this review helpful