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Ciaphas Cain: Hero of the Imperium

(Ciaphas Cain #1-3)

4.40  ·  Rating details ·  2,317 ratings  ·  105 reviews
In the war torn future of the 41st Millennium Commissar Ciaphas Cain, hero of the Imperium, is respected by his peers and an inspiration to his men – at least that’s what the propaganda would have you believe. The reality is very different, for Ciaphas is simply looking for an easy life and a way to stay out of peril. However, fate has a habit of throwing him into the dead ...more
Paperback, 768 pages
Published April 17th 2009 by Black Library (first published May 8th 2007)
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Nicholas L. The Black Library has an odd business model with concerns towards ebooks. They have a very frustrating iron fisted control over their IP. I picked…moreThe Black Library has an odd business model with concerns towards ebooks. They have a very frustrating iron fisted control over their IP. I picked this one up about 7 years ago at Barnes and Noble and haven't seen it in print or ebook since.

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4.40  · 
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 ·  2,317 ratings  ·  105 reviews

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Jan 08, 2012 rated it liked it
This is a Warhammer 40K tie-in novel, presenting the life and works of Comissar Ciaphas Cain, the most heroic man in the human Empire. It contains 3 novels, For The Emperor, Caves of Ice and The Traitor's Hand and the short stories The Beguiling, Fight or Flight and Echoes of the Tomb.

The plot they follow is basically the same every time: Caine and his regiment, the 597th Valhallan, are sent to some Emperorforsaken planet to fight against the scum of the universe, and it generally develops into
Aug 08, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: general
If epic science fiction stories aren't your thing, don't be thrown off by the total. The tag line of the 40K Universe setting may be "In the grim future of the 40th millennium, there is only war" but in the 41st millenium Commissar Ciaphas Cain is nothing so much as Flashman reborn.

The collection consists of three novels and three short stories starring Cain, and all take the form of the man's memoirs, arranged and annotated by the mysterious yet charming Inquisitor he frequently worked beside.
Johannes Hjortshøj
A collection of the first three books in a series of novels depicting the adventures of the bold and swashbuckling political officer of humanities grimdark future. At least that is what most of the public believes. Ciaphas Cain is in fact a coward more often than not out to save his own neck, despite being frequently deployed to the frontlines of humanities eternal war. His heroic reputation is born from a series of coincidences and careful manipulations that stem as a result from him trying to ...more
Dec 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
Had been curious about Ciaphas Cain, now I will have to look into him more.
Lee Dunning
Oct 31, 2015 rated it really liked it
I've never read military sci-fi before, and those who are more serious minded will claim I still haven't. The Ciaphas Cain books take place in the Warhammer 40K universe, which for anyone at all familiar with the gaming system, will be aware of the fact that it is a very grim place to visit. So, it's doubly amazing that Sandy Mitchell's tales are such fun to read.

Before we get much further, allow me to tell you a bit about the "book" itself. It's actually a compendium. Within its 700+ pages you
Mitch Larkins
Jan 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Amazing! I love Ciaphas Cain! I already have the next omnibus ready to go!
Thomas Senechal
May 31, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Commissar Ciphas Cain is one of the most stoic characters in 40k The only other one i can think about is Kharn the Betrayer, i mean this guy called the acolytes of khorne pansies. keep in mind Khorne is one of the most bloodthirsty and mallice of the four chaos gods. this guy who is an unagumented human can dual weild bolt pistols which are very big guns.
Apr 29, 2012 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Three novels and three short stories in a single volume, hours and hours of fun.

Presenting the grimdark future of an universe where there is only war, these tales are injected with enough black humor and snark to offset the definitely grim outlook its protagonist faces on a regular basis. They're fast paced with lots of action but there's also great character development, camaraderie between soldiers, battles, plots, twists and monsters of all nightmarish kinds.

I'll definitely be buying the othe
Talitha Costello
Mar 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
The books contained in this omnibus are like the more cheerful siblings of Red Badge of Courage. It is fascinating to follow the moral, strategic, and characterological development of Commissar Cain. Jurgen, his ever-present aide is a stolid force of immovability who always serve to comfort and cheer me.
These are great adventures and Sandy Mitchell has a broad and well-employed vocabulary. The worl-building is subtle, adds flavour, but in no way gets in between the reader and the actual story.
One of the few things in Games Workshop's "Warhammer 40 000" 'verse that doesn't immediately take a nosedive into the GRIMDARK™ and start wallowing. The stories of a legendary hero, as narrated by himself, which reveal him to be more like Edmund Blackadder in search for a comfortable desk job far away from the eternal war's front lines - and somehow winding up in the middle of crazy adventures that make him even more famous and thus result in him being assigned to more dangerous missions. It's n ...more
Mar 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The best way to think of this book is imagine a Blackadder series set in the 40K setting. It even has a smelly idiot sidekick.

A comedy set in the 40K universe might not sound like something that'd work, but considering the entire franchises revels in it's own audacity, this works surprisingly well without losing the parts of 40K you know and love.

Watch Cain bumble across the galaxy doing little more than trying to save his own hide at everyone else's expense, and somehow become one of the most d
Sep 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I cannot express how much I love Caiphas Cain novels! It took me a good long while to get through this book though, and I'm blaming that on it being an omnibus. It would have been far quicker to pick the stories up separately.
I'm not overly fond of Aubrey's footnotes, but there is the odd one that makes me laugh, but Caiphas is funny enough by himself not to need her amendments!
May 10, 2017 rated it it was ok
Read this for a book club, so it's not my main flavor of novel. The book was enjoyable, but needed a harder edit. Phrases kept being reused in certain story arcs ("Not that the [enemy] was getting it entirely their way" came up three times in about 30 pages). I liked the worlds, and the use of footnotes.
Oliver Eike
Sep 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
Ciaphas Cain is the hero we all need as a great pause from the drama-queens of WH40K. (Space Marines)

This book helped me enjoy WH40K again, after i had just about gotten tired of the constant drama of the Space Marines.

Series like this and Gaunt's Ghost's tend to be those really great series of the universe of 40K that will stay with you.
Aug 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
So much fun! In the grimdark world of Warhammer 40k, Cain stories are hilarious without breaking the setting. He's a very rich character that could easily be super cliche. It's well worth reading the collections each at one sitting. If you thought a Warhammer 40k book couldn't have a bit of humor, try Cain books for a pleasant surprise.
Gabriel Renna
Jan 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Sandy does a fantastic job of combining a grim world and the combat that inhabits it with an excellent humorous main character. I have read this book a number of times and love it every time I read it.
Travis Guty
Jan 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Easily my top pick to introduce people to 40k. Presents the setting from an unusually humanist viewpoint, with a fun protagonist and some hijinks that, for the setting, rate at absolutely wacky. Five stars.
C Teahouse
Dec 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
My second favorite series in this universe - and it’s humorous!
Oct 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Daniel Dawson
Nov 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A wonderful experience
May 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
probably one of the funniest books I've read
Apr 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely awesome, a new different type of 40k book, with an interesting and fun protagonist, and an uplifting, sometimes comedic tone
Oct 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Great action, humor, that amazing nonsense that is Warhammer 40K. Yup. . . I'm excited to read the next part.
Mar 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Best w40k novels ive read. Be honest its 4,5, because of royale from the bush in the end of first novel.
Jamieson Scott
Mar 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Cain is easily one of the best written characters I have ever seen. The mix of humour in an utterly dark setting works wonders
Ted Henkle
Dec 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: science-fiction, war
My slow journey into the grimdark of the 41st Millennium continues, but only from an observer's point of view. That is, I've read through several WH40K rule books, and supplements, along with a couple of novels, but still haven't played a WH40K game yet.

Last year, I was ready to quit reading any more of these tiresome tales until I came across the name of Ciaphas Cain while trolling WH40K topics. I didn't delve too much into the on-line entries, lest I come across plot spoilers, but the term "da
Feb 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
Overall I enjoyed the books quite a bit, it did feel s but repetitive but that was my only real gripe. If you like this you must try the gaunts ghosts series.
Apr 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
There's probably nothing I can say about the Cain books that hasn't been said before, but any take on the eternal grimdarkness of the far future of only war which features the fact that their hologram communication pedestal thing A. plays annoying hold music and B. must frequently be kicked into working is cool by me. It's the little human touches that make these books so nice. Everything is grimdark, but frequently silly and over the top and sometimes sad and also human. It's great.

For the Empe
Adam O'Grady
Mar 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Delightfully funny, which is something I didn't expect for a book set in a universe characterised as "in the grim dark future there is only war". An interesting writing style, the book is a first-person account from the titular hero that has been uncovered and edited into a set of coherent stories by a member of the Inquisition (think KGB of the 42nd millenium). Ciaphas paints himself as a self-serving weasel trying to save his own skin and by misfortune and reputation he always finds himself in ...more
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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 (Ciaphas Cain #1)
  • Caves of Ice (Ciaphas Cain #2)
  • The Traitor's Hand (Ciaphas Cain #3)
  • Death or Glory (Ciaphas Cain #4)
  • Duty Calls (Ciaphas Cain #5)
  • Cain's Last Stand (Ciaphas Cain #6)
  • The Emperor's Finest (Ciaphas Cain #7)
  • The Last Ditch (Ciaphas Cain #8)
  • The Greater Good (Ciaphas Cain #9)
  • Choose Your Enemies (Ciaphas Cain #10)