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The Greater Good

(Ciaphas Cain #9)

4.1  ·  Rating details ·  559 Ratings  ·  30 Reviews
The new hardback Ciaphas Cain adventure

When the world of Quadravidia comes under attack by the insidious tau, only one man can defeat the aliens and save the planet in the Emperor’s name: the legendary Hero of the Imperium, Commissar Ciaphas Cain. When the aliens call for a ceasefire, Cain expects the worst, and his fears are answered in the form of the dread menace of the
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published January 29th 2013 by Games Workshop (first published January 1st 2013)
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C.T. Phipps
Jun 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
The Greater Good is the latest volume of the Ciaphas Cain series. Set in the Warhammer 40K universe, it follows the adventures of the titular Commissar. Ostensibly a political officer, Ciaphas Cain is a somewhat cowardly figure who continually finds himself in horrifically dangerous situations against the Imperium's worst enemies.

Managing to survive through a combination of luck and a keenly-honed sense of self-preservation, Cain finds himself with a mostly-deserved reputation as a galactic he
Michael Da Silva
The Greater Good is a decent novel, though in my opinion the worst in the Ciaphas Cain series.

I should preface by saying that I am a massive fan of the Cain novels. I think that Mitchell has the best grasp of that mixture of comedy and horror/violence that is the hallmark of the 40k setting. His novels combine scathing wit with really solid action and adventure.

That being said, The Greater Good does follow this formula, but in my opinion, it feels like it is going through the paces. Yes, Cain m
Dec 02, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sci-fi, warhammer-40k
Commissar Ciaphas Cain is never far away from trouble. No matter how hard he might try to avoid dangerous situations he always finds himself smack bang in the middle of the most life threatening scenarios imaginable, and no where is that more clear than in 'The Greater Good'.

In this adventure we see Cain as the Commissariat Liaison to Lord General Zyvan. Arguably Cain has achieved the perfect position for himself within the army, he is far enough away from the enemy's guns to avoid being shot at
David Earle
Jan 23, 2013 rated it really liked it
The only flaw in this book is that the Tau aren't used nearly as much as the cover suggests. On the other hand, it's another great Ciaphas Cain story and we finally get an explanation for that bolter he's always holding for the propaganda pics.
Mar 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, owned, sci-fi
Forge world vs. tyranids! There's barely any tau (excuse me, T'au) involved at all! Cover's a bit of a troll, but still a fun book.
Jul 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
An excellent action packed account of Cain vs. the Tyranids sprinkled with Space Marines and cogboys. The familiar elements are there and comfortably ensconced.
Tian Axtell
Mar 27, 2018 rated it it was ok
I just do not like Sandy Mitchell writting. Having not read all the other books in the series, as a standalone novel this was below average in story telling. Only suitable for fan who read previous works to get the past novel references.
Jan 29, 2013 rated it really liked it
Cain returns to the Damocles Gulf, the setting of an early adventure, some six decades after For The Emperor. This time the Commissar has well and truly stepped in it, finding himself and Imperial forces besieged and outnumbered by the Tau. Even he can't see a way of escaping with his life. That's when the aliens make a proposal, one which the humans can't refuse.

From there Sandy Mitchell takes Cain and the reader to Fecundia, an Imperial Forgeworld which is about to be gobbled up by a Tyranid
Feb 21, 2015 rated it it was ok
Acceptable as a novel, but the worst of a series deserving better.

This book is much more a Warhammer 40k novel, than a Ciaphas Cain one and I am not a fan. The humour, that makes Ciaphas Cain so interesting is almost entirely missing, making the whole mood dreary and miserable. Both title and synopsis are insulting, the much mentioned Tau – who even got the nod of the title – appear in the beginning, are only mentioned in passing for the rest of the book and the planet this all is supposedly tak
Mary Catelli
Ciaphas Cain is back, with his usual account of how his reputation is all sham, and he's a self-serving dirty coward, and the usual sort of evidence that he is not telling us the full truth -- in this book, Amberly's footnotes tend to comment that he never seems to notice that he's the great hero Ciaphas Cain, and someone might listen to him because, well, it's him.

But it opens with his attempt to escape the tyranid invasion having landed on him a planet about to be overrun with the tau (whose c
Robert H
Feb 05, 2013 rated it really liked it
The most recent Ciaphas Cain novel by Sandy Mitchell is set a good deal further into Cain's career than many of the others, and corresponds to the time when he was Commissarial Liaison Officer to the Lord General Zyvan's staff - some 60 or so years later than the first Cain novel For The Emperor. In this particular story, Cain starts the book fighting the Tau on the planet Quadravidia, but the story fairly quickly progresses to the forge world Fecundia where the majority of the book takes place. ...more
Robert McCarroll
Nov 17, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 40k
I was fooled by the title and the opening sequence into thinking this had more Tau in it than it actually did. That said, it was not impeded by that deception. With a stack of continuity nods to other Cain books, one can get greater enjoyment of this one by putting it later in their reading list. It was still generally entertaining, though I can't point to specifics without rattling of huge chunks of plot. Though I think the author finally admitted that he was in the minority in putting Tech-Pri ...more
Michael Dodd
Sep 04, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Now into its ninth novel, Sandy Mitchell's Ciaphas Cain series is one of Black Library's longest running and most well loved ranges. Since the publication in 2003 of his first adventure, Cain's memoirs have seen him fighting all sorts of menaces across the galaxy, from orks to tyranids, necrons and the forces of Chaos. In the latest novel, The Greater Good, we see him facing an old foe in the shape of the tau, as he bravely (sort of) defends the world of Quadravidia from the upstart aliens. The ...more
Dec 01, 2014 rated it really liked it
A very enjoyable, well-paced Ciaphas Cain novel, this one throws in a curveball as Cain joins forces with the Xenos race Tau to defend Fecundia from a mass tyranid invasion straight from the depths of the the warp itself. Straight up, this novel would have been very readable on its own, but throw in the background comedy and heroic reluctance Cain is so well known for, not to mention a lot of extremely good fortune, and this book really delivers. The plot element that really cemented this book f ...more
Mar 29, 2013 rated it really liked it
I always look forward to the next instalment of Ciaphas Cain and the Greater Good did not disappoint. The novel followed very much in the tradition of its predecessors, a planet wide invasion which Cain unashamedly attempts to flee but ends up playing the reluctant hero. While it is a poor man's Flashman, it had many entertaining episodes. One fault I would draw attention to is Sandy Mitchell's use of archaic language, it appears at every opportunity he consulted a thesaurus to find the most ob ...more
Jun 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Ross Coulbeck
Jan 31, 2015 rated it really liked it
This is the first Ciaphas Cain novel I have read and I absolutely loved it, he's such a great character and it mixes the right amount of action and comedy.

I must point out however that the reason I bought this book was that it involves the Tau, however after reading it I must warn others that the Tau are barely in it, only at the beginning and then its just an emissary that accompanies Cain. The way the book pushes the Tau's involvement is misleading as it should focus more on the Imperial Guard
Mar 02, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: black-library
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 23, 2013 rated it really liked it
A solid addition to the Cain series, although not the best in the sequence. I was hoping for a bit more action in collaboration with the Tau, but was pleasantly surprised with the appearance of the Death Korp of Krieg and the Moridian guard as well as other parts of Emperiums forces.

The only bad thing about finishing this book is that now I have to wait untill Mr Mitchell writes the next novel before the next tale in this series can be read.
Brian Janeczek
OK, This was the first Ciaphas Cain book I read, and while I did enjoy it, I was left with one disappointment. As far as I can tell, the Tau were only in this book so that it could be called "The Greater Good" since they hardly appeared, and accomplished almost nothing in the book.
Still, other than that, it was worth the read.
Dec 04, 2013 rated it it was ok
From the title and cover one expects there to be Tau, which there are. I was left feeling disappointed that there was not enough interaction with them, as in fighting the [not nameless hordes of the Great Devourer]. Not enough Tau presence, which makes sense in the book, just don't expect the cover to be representative.
Jul 10, 2014 rated it really liked it
Honestly not Sandy Mitchell at his best. I still enjoyed the rip-roaring adventures of the Commissar we all know and love but when a book is called The Greater Good I expected far more from the Tau that one dude who hangs out in the background occasionally pointing a blue finger and going "Yeah that's for the Greater Good, sure."
May 19, 2013 rated it really liked it
Pretty good book. As usual I enjoy the 40k universe as portrayed in the Ciaphas Cain books more than in the others I've read. It's witty, fun and entertaining while offering a more reasonable approach and mind-set in a world of horror and war.
Aug 04, 2013 rated it really liked it
The cover lies.
Will Harvey
Jul 22, 2013 rated it really liked it
Bit a misleading title, the book doesn't focus much on the Tau or the alliance, it's mainly about Cain fighting the Tyranids, but nonetheless a good read with some interesting info on the 'nids.
Drew Van schoonhoven
Aug 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing
The Imperial Guard and the Tau must put down their arms and join forces to face off against a for for the greater good!!!
Mark Horner
Mar 30, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Loved it
Jan 08, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy, sci-fi
After all previous books in these series this one dues not add much new.
I would not even say that Cain was in that much of trouble :)
Mar 04, 2013 rated it really liked it
One of the more interesting books in the series, and a comfortable return to many of the themes of the first volume.
Rik Thompson
Sep 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Textbook Cain adventure. Precisely what I was hoping for.
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Goodreads Librari...: dups 2 14 Dec 18, 2015 11:32AM  
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Sandy Mitchell is a pseudonym of Alex Stewart, who has been a full-time writer since the mid nineteen eighties. The majority of his work as Sandy has been tie-in fiction for Games Workshop's Warhammer fantasy and Warhammer 40,000 science fiction lines. The exceptions have been a novelisation of episodes from the high tech thriller series Bugs, for which he also worked as a scriptwriter under his o ...more

Other books in the series

Ciaphas Cain (10 books)
  • For The Emperor
  • Caves of Ice
  • The Traitor's Hand
  • Death or Glory
  • Duty Calls
  • Cain's Last Stand
  • The Emperor's Finest
  • The Last Ditch
  • Ciaphas Cain: Choose Your Enemies