The Commissariat oversees all branches of the Imperial military, with the exceptions of the Astartes and the Adepta Sororitas. Somehow it seemed that by being talented in misdirection and keeping his pristine image (incorrect according to him) as a man who was brave and actually cared for those in his charge, Commissar Ciaphas Cain had earned his retirement and now considered the planet of Perlia to be his home base. Cain's malodorous gunner/aide, Jurgen, remained by his side, even in retirement. After all, they once saved Perlia from an invasion of greenskins. Cain no longer had to worry about being on the front line and getting himself killed. Cain found himself part of the schola progenium, playing the role of instructor to a small number of cadets. (As well as playing cards with various important people, such as Sister Julien with the Adepta Sororitas. She and her protégées watch his six and save his life more than once.) The locals named the first siege "Cain's Last Stand". Yet, it was only a matter of time before the forces of Chaos tried to invade again. Most do not know about the clandestine Inquisition research facility nestled within the Valley of Daemons. There, the Adeptus Mechanicus research a xenos device known as the Shadowlight. In the last few decades the magi staffing the facility have recovered several more artefacts and believe the Shadowlight to be part of a more complex mechanism and have been attempting to assemble it. (It would be an affront to the Mechanicus to even consider dismantling it.)
It seems as though Cain will be making his name even more legendary when he must step in and help stop a second Chaos siege in the planet's near future. There has been a massive incursion from the Eye of Terror. The Traitor Legions are massing for a full assault and the fighting has already engulfed most of the Segmentum Obscurus. However, Perlia seems to be the main target for Warmaster Varan, who may have some psykers in his dark army. Even worse, it seems Varan might know something about the Shadowlight. But when it becomes evident that an ancient race also seeks the Shadowlight, the chances of surviving the next few days drop from slim to negligible.
***** YES! I was thrilled to learn that book number six of the Ciaphas Cain series had been released!
First off, let me say that the author lives in the UK and I reside in the USA. Please forgive me for any mixing of the UK and USA spellings at times.
For those of you interested in looking up the previous novels in this series, the first three novels (For the Emperor, Caves of Ice, and The Traitor's Hand) are all together in the omnibus "Ciaphas Cain: Hero of the Imperium" and the ten digit ISBN is 1844164667. Book four is "Death or Glory" and the ISBN is 1844162877. Book five is "Duty Calls" and the ISBN is 1844164659.
This series has all the non-stop action of other W40K series, but is not all stiff and serious. The Ciaphas Cain novels tend to be a bit on the comical side. (I could never actually be scared of Freddie in the popular horror movie series because I was too busy laughing. This series is much the same except with futuristic military instead of horror. That is the best way I can describe it.) The author's writing style is exquisite! It is so easy to read and understand, even for the FNGs (frekking new guys) to the series. You do not have to read the previous novels to fully comprehend and enjoy the adventure (a.k.a. SNAFU). Outstanding, as always. *****
Reviewed by Detra Fitch of Huntress Reviews.