The Hero of the Imperium is back! And he is in a slightly mediocre book! Yes, the Flashman of the stars’ latest outing is one that is rather forgettable. This Cain novel takes place during his tenure with the Vallhalan 597th, which is the time period in which most of the Cain books take place in. This is the time period that features the vast majority of the novel series’ recurring characters, and was the time period seen in the first Cain book. The novel takes place right after the second Cain novel, Caves of Ice, and features Cain and company heading to the planet Nusquam Fundumentibus to help stem the tide of an Ork invasion.
The novel features many of the same issues that have been seen in other later Cain books, the biggest one being the fact that it is to bloody formulaic. The novel has a cold open that later leads to an action scene then the book cools down a bit, and then more action, then Cain fights a giant monster. The book also features the same conceit where one group of enemies is seen as a major threat, even though there is an even greater threat beneath their feet
In fact, when one looks at the book closely one can see that the book is more or less a complete rehash of Caves of Ice. In Caves of Ice, the Orks were seen as a major threat, only to have them supplanted by the Necrons. In The Last Ditch, the Orks are again seen as a major threat only to have them be later supplanted by a greater threat. Even the resolution is more or less identical, in Caves of Ice the Necrons were defeated by a giant explosion, and in this novel the new enemies get defeated in the exact same way. The book is still well written and the characters all act like they should, but by this point everything is becoming a bit stale. As you read it, things will definitely start to look very familiar. In the end this book is worth picking up only if you are a rabid Cain fan otherwise, this is one worth passing up.