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Caves of Ice

Warhammer 40,000
Length: 6 hrs and 46 mins
5 out of 5 stars (82 ratings)

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Summary

Book 2 of the Ciaphas Cain series.

When Commissar Ciaphas Cain and his regiment of Valhallan Guardsmen are deployed to the ice world of Simia Orichalcae, his expectation of an uneventful tour of duty is suddenly interrupted. 

Listen to it because: While his Valhallan regiment are happy on an ice world, Cain's biggest concern is freezing to death...until orks start attacking, and then an ancient threat emerges from the depths. Stuck between two enemies, Cain needs to stop playing the hero and actually be one.  

The Story: On the ice world of Simia Orichalcae a spate of mysterious disappearances is causing unrest amongst the mine workers, and, as senior officer of the Astra Militarum, Commissar Ciaphas 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.  

Written by Sandy Mitchell. Narrated by Stephen Perring, Penelope Rawlins and Emma Gregory.

©2019 Games Workshop Limited (P)2019 Games Workshop Limited

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Overdue and all the more welcome for it.

This is a very welcome second audio outing for Commissar Cain, following last year's treatment of Sandy MItchell's first Cain novel, For The Emperor. It's a bit of a surprise, given the popularity of the books, that it's taken a year for Black LIbrary to provide the follow-up. Perhaps they couldn't get the cast of the original audiobook before now. If so, it's the right decision to have waited to reunite them. Stephen Perring makes a suitably wry Cain, his delivery is spot on as the charming yet cynical commissar who would happily 'run away screaming' from the Emperor's enemies (if he thought he could get away with it).

Perring's light hearted vocal style is perhaps somewhat anachronistic in the universe of Warhammer 40k, but it works as he captures Cain's wit and world-weary manner perfectly. Sandy MItchell has claimed his inspirations for the character were Flashman and Edmund Blackadder. In fact, Cain is neither as genuinely wicked as Flashman nor as laugh-out-loud funny as Blackadder. The plot of the books are still essentially military sci-fi adventures and it is really the narrator's inner voice that provides the humour. Many of the jokes in the novels are easily-missed wordplays and some awful puns (the name of the ice planet 'Simia Orichalcae' for example, translates very roughly from Latin as 'Brass Monkeys'). The cast do well to bring out the light touch of the humour in the books without overdoing it.

Penelope Rawlins provides a good counterpoint to Perring, punctuating Cain's memoirs with a series of wry interjections as his biographer and former lover, Inquisitor Amberley Vail. However the highlight for me are the sections where a third narrator, General Sulla (Emma Gregory) provides a pompous military history view of the events in the story. Sulla's accounts are usually directly at odds with Cain's recollections and are interspersed with bitchy footnotes by Vail. In this audiobook, the use of three voices really brings the humour in these sections to the fore and it's a real joy.

I'm uncertain whether the Cain books would be of interest to anyone unfamiliar with the Warhammer 40k canon. However for Black LIbrary listeners jaded by fables of earnest, two-dimensional superbeings blowing one another up in an endless stream of hyperbole, the truly human yet still heroic Commissar Cain is the perfect antidote. Just pray we don't have to wait another year till the next installment.

10 of 10 people found this review helpful

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Blackadder in Space

So yeah, the cowardly Commissar Cain is deployed to a warzone and his efforts to save his own skin and avoid combat land him into even deeper trouble, which he escapes by the skin of his teeth furthering his (unearned) reputation as a HERO OF THE IMPERIUM in the process.

They're all the same plot, but at the end of the day they're charming, funny, well written, and a lighter view of the often oppressively grim 40k universe. The narrative structure of the books being Cain's own memoirs with added footnotes and annotations from his longtime paramour (and Inquisitor) is extremely engaging.

The best bit is, despite his own words and protestations, Cain does perform genuinely heroic actions, and he's nothing like as cowardly and selfish as he believes himself to be.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Cain strikes again

I have been a fan of the Cain novels for some time and to hear them performed only improves them. Can't wait for the next one!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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It's finally here

I've been hoping and waiting for the second book of the ciaphas kain series and it's finally here

I love this story of kain hunting through tunnels in the attempt to busy himself with a mistery of missing miners to avoid a ork assault but finding more than he expected (naturally for him) and it's beautifully narrated

I love this and look forward to more of this series in the future

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • AB
  • 29-10-19

More please

Similar in tone and pitch to the previous Commissar C story which, as I liked that one, is just fine by me. It’s an easy listen, less character development than book 1 so just effortless. You could probably listen to this without having heard book 1 but then you’d be missing out as that one is a cracker.

Only snag is it took GW ages to produce this one and I listened to it over 3 days I’m anticipating a year plus wait for the next one!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • David
  • 22-10-19

Great narrative

The performance was great they do justice to the novel and keeps me wanting more.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Wolfgang Mercer
  • 20-10-19

Glad to Have More Cain!

It is a great treat to have another title of the Ciaphas Cain series on Audible. If you read the first book, you know what you're in for, and this doesn't shy too far away from the patterns established by the first book. This can be both good and bad, as this pattern is a thoroughly entertaining one, but you will find yourself occasionally feeling a sense of déjà vu as Cain goes spelunking in a tunnel system for the umpteenth time.

What makes me really love this presentation, though, are the narrators. Perring, Rawlins, and Gregory are perfectly cast for the parts they narrate. Stephen Perring, in particular, does a great job of capturing Cain's wry cynicism without compromising the gravity of the more serious moments of the story.

I am so excited to see this series being brought to Audible, and I hope Black Library will continue with it!

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 24-10-19

10/10

I say its a crime to listen to this on anything else other than 1x speed. All the narrators match exactly how I would expect characters to sound. Which is refreshing to me compared to the other cut and dry narrators you often find reading 40k books. Overall, Stephen Perring, Penelope Rawlins, and Emma Gregory all just knock it out of the ballpark!!

Ciaphas Cain is a lighthearted, fun, humorous, relatable character in a universe full of demigods. Sadly this book is a bit shorter than it's predecessor but I won't complain!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Amazon-O
  • 07-11-19

Superb!!

Sandy did an awesome job with her first book in this series and continues that great work with this book. Extremely well written, with good acting as well. 5/5!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Coder50
  • 03-11-19

Brilliant adaptation

Great story mixed with bravery, loss, victory, and comedy. Cain is the type who won’t take undue risks. The narrative of Rawlings and Gregory made it better and enjoyable to read.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Cassie
  • 02-11-19

Such a long wait for this

Another outstanding book in the series, and excellent narration. Pure vintage Ciphas!
I see this and other W40K classics are finally getting realised from the beginning after decades of wait and it can't happen fast enough.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • TheCarlinist
  • 25-10-19

Give us more Cain

Great series, great book, the most humorous series in 40K, the narrator just needs to learn the proper pronunciation of the 40k word "juvies" and the proper way to say "WAAAAAAAAG" other than that excellent listen.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Dean
  • 24-10-19

WOO HOO, More Cain!

So glad that more Commissar Cain novels are being recorded! More of this hilariously self-deprecating, self interested character please!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 23-10-19

God I wish I could get more of these!

great characters, great writing, great setting and great storytelling. I wish these books came to audible faster!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Joseph
  • 09-11-19

So excited!

I can't wait for the next book! Reading about the great hero of the Imperium can only be improved upon by listening to them. The Emperor Protects!