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Fifteen Hours (Novel)

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Fifteen Hours
15 Hours.JPG
Author Mitchel Scanlon
Publisher Black Library
Series Imperial Guard
Followed by Death World
Released June 2005
Pages 256
Collected in Shield of the Emperor
Editions 2005 softcover:
ISBN 9781844162314

Fifteen Hours is a novel written by Mitchel Scanlon and follows the actions of a new recruit in the Imperial Guard. It was first published in 2005.

Book Description

Arvin Larn is terrified. On the battlefields of the far future, only an insane man wouldn't be. Seventeen years old and still new to the Imperial Guard, he is thrust straight into his first war and must face horrors that his sheltered upbringing could never prepare him for. The trenches of the 41st millennium are filled with worse things than rats and trenchrot. For one, the world they fight for is being contested by the monstrous barbarian orks. The orks live for battle and know no fear, so it's no wonder that the average life-span of an Imperial Guardsman on this forsaken world is only fifteen hours.[1]

Plot Summary

This page contains spoilers for: Fifteen Hours (Novel)

After four months of basic training and seven weeks of Planetary transportation, seventeen year old Guardsman Arvin Larn of 6th Company, Jumael 14th Volunteers, embarks on his first campaign fighting against a rebel uprising. However, due to an error in communication, Trooper Larn finds himself fighting on the wrong planet in the wrong war zone at the city of Broucheroc; a city contested for over a decade by the small Imperial force of the 902nd Vardan Rifles Regiment against millions of Orks. Unfortunately, Larn is running out of time. The life expectancy of a replacement guardsman at the front lines is calculated at fifteen hours. Larn must rely upon all of his ability, his luck, and his faith in the Emperor to survive against the odds if he wishes to see the next day.

As the book begins, a mortally wounded guardsman in no-man's land questions his fate, wondering if it has been 15 hours and resolving to wait and find out. The scene shifts to Jumael, where a farmers son named Arvin Larn is caught in the imperial draft. During basic training, Larn meets the extremely tough sergeant Ferres. He convinces Larn that the imperial guard is a deadly environment, but he might just make a guardsmen out of him yet. During initial deployment, an administrative error causes Larn's company to land in no-man's land on the wrong planet where they are promptly attacked by Orks. Larn finds himself the only survivor of his company in the besieged city of Broucheroc, now attached to 902nd Vardan Rifles. He learns that the Vardan Rifles have fought on Broucheroc for a decade and that 3 Vardan Regiments were killed in this time. Over several hours of pitched battle, Larn learns several dangers of the front and that his life expectancy is a mere 15 hours. He overcomes several threats including gretchin snipers, artillery bombardment, and the largest massed attack on Broucheroc yet. As night falls Larn's squad is sent on a night recon mission in which they get caught in a firefight. As Larn runs for the trenches, he is hit by a bullet and it is revealed that he is the guardsman from the beginning. As the sun rises Larn dies happy to know he beat the 15 hours.


Conflicting sources

  • In a briefing in Chapter Three, Lieutenant Vinters claims that the Jumael 14th was (supposed to be) heading to the planet Seltura VII. However, in Chapter Five, a number of Guardsmen (on noticing that where they were actually sent to didn't look like how they expected from the briefing) remark "This is Seltura-III?" In the next Chapter the (intended) planet is once again called Seltura VII.

See also