Caves of Ice by Sandy Mitchell – An Audio Book Review

Caves of Ice


On the ice world of Simia Orichalcae a spate of mysterious disappearances is causing unrest amongst the mine-workers, and, as senior officer, Cain is nominated to investigate. Unbeknownst to him, the planet is right in the path of a major ork incursion and, as the savage greenskins attack, a malevolent evil begins to stir deep in the ice caves.

Author: Sandy Mitchell

Narrators: Stephen Perring, Penelope Rawlins & Emma Gregory
Publisher: The Black Library
Series: Ciaphas Cain #2
Audio Release Date: 19/10/19
Running Time: 6hrs 46 mins
Genre: Science Fiction/Warhammer 40k
My Rating of ‘Caves of Ice’: 5 out of 5
Purchase: Audible UK, Audible US, Amazon UK, Amazon US


For me, Caves of Ice was a good deal better than ‘For The Emperor’. Where the prior book focused more on politics, this had far more action (something you look for in Warhammer 40k fiction).

Another thing that delighted me was the good representation of the Necrons. They are one of my favourite factions (I actually had a Necron army back in the day) so seeing them handled so well brought a smile to my face.

The story was good and the imagery was very vivid. You could just imagine a dozen or so luckless Orks firing wildly before getting cut down. Or the strong mental image of unfeeling, skeletal warriors made from self-healing metal on the march.

The witty writing style mixed with the 1st person narrative makes for incredibly easy reading/listening. This is a re-read for me and Ciaphas Cain’s very casual storytelling adds to the re-readability of this book) and of the series in general).

The dynamic between the cowardly hero, Ciaphas Cain, and his brave, unshakeable aide, Jurgen, is an enjoyable one. Jurgen really feels like the kind of guy whom, with him at your back, you could get through anything … so long as you can put up with his overpowering body odour or piercing halitosis.

The fact that the Cain novels are told ‘by the character’ rather than simply from their point of view, gives a deeper connection to both him, and the rest of the characters within the regiment as a whole. It’s certainly one of the main reasons (along with the comedic and cowardly aspects) that make this one of the most enjoyable series in the 40k universe.

These books are also a wonderful way into the setting for anyone unfamiliar with the 40k genre. Cain not only uses military slang, but in the first two books he’s encountered the Tau, the Orks and the Necrons. Add onto that the imperium factions you learn about (Adeptus Administratum, Adeptus Mechanicum, The Inquisition & the Imperial Guard) it’s the sort of series that is devised to give the reader a complete overview of the universe and the factions that inhabit it.

Not to mention, all of the above is further expanded on by Inquisitor Amberley Vale’s footnotes. So a new reader will never feel too out of their depth.

As with before, three narrators are utilised. One for Cain’s main narrative, one for Amberley Vale’s footnotes and a third for General Sulla’s painfully adjective-heavy extracts from her book. All in all, excellent narration and a very enjoying read.

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