After a long and distinguished career defending the Imperium from its many enemies, Commissar Cain is enjoying a well-deserved retirement on Perlia, teaching in a schola progenium. But when a Black Crusade threatens the sector, all able-bodied citizens must rise to the defence, including Cain and his cadets. As the forces of Chaos overwhelm Perlia, can the wily commissar prove himself to be a real hero of the Imperium one last time?
Author: Sandy Mitchell
Publisher: The Black Library
Genre: Warhammer 40k/Science Fiction
Series: Ciapha Cain #6
Running Time: 10hrs 30mins
Audio Release Date: 30/10/2021
My Rating of ‘Cain’s Last Stand’: 5 out of 5
As ever, this entry into the Cain archive is a fun-filled romp through the 40k landscape with Cain and his trusty, yet malodorous, aide, Jurgen, at the helm.
Cain’s Last Stand does a couple things differently to other entries in the series; most prominently being the fact that it is set at the tail-end of his career, so he’s an old man without the aid of the Valhallan regiment to call on. But he has Jurgen, so that’s pretty much as good. Jurgen and his Meltagun is essentially a one-man army on its own.
Another thing this book does is throw EVERYTHING at the reader. It’s almost like the author thought ‘I’m not quite sure what enemy race I should use. Maybe all of them. And have it set to the backdrop of a black crusade. That should probably do it.’ And, surprisingly, it didn’t feel like there was too much going on or that anything was shoe-horned in. Everything felt like it had a legit reason for being there and the call backs to previous arcs from earlier books was very nicely done. This book really made me feel like the series was progressing and was going places. I can’t wait to see where those places are in future works as things were certainly left on a bit of ‘well, things could get nasty’ footing.
As ever, the writing is witty, clever and engaging. If you want a bit of light-hearted fun with your 40k darkness, or you just fancy dipping your toe in the ever-expanding ocean that is Warhammer 40k content, the Ciaphas Cain series is probably the best place to start. Not least of all due to the footnotes by the Inquisitor (they explain some of the more ambiguous, hard to tackle terminology used within the universe). I class this as a ‘comfort read’ and hope the series keeps on keeping on.
The narration was top draw, as it always is with this series. The lead narrator truly gets across the tired, ‘must I really do that’ vibes that dominate Cain’s life. I believe other narrators voice the short stories and this saddens me greatly. This team of narrators are the Ciaphas Cain books to me.