I didn’t plan on reading the Minka Lesk series by Justin D. Hill, even though I really enjoyed Cadia Stands. But when Shadow of the Eighth released, I felt the urge to go back and dive in. I like the Astra Militarum novels as a whole. I like Justin D. Hill books. Why not track down a copy of Cadian Honour (which was an absolute BITCH, by the way, and no I didn’t pay those outrageous prices) and see what it’s all about.
Now I’m mad at myself for not reading it sooner. What an INCREDIBLE story by Hill.
State of Cadians After the Fall
It’s one thing to assume how the Cadians feel after the fall of their planet, and it’s another thing to actually learn how they feel. And then to learn how the other regiments view them in the aftermath? I wasn’t prepared.
It never once crossed my mind that other regiments would blame the Cadians for the destruction of their planet. That they would consider using the death of Cadia as evidence that the Cadians aren’t all they’re cracked up to be. Even more confounding to me was the fact that Cadians who weren’t even there blamed the survivors for the fate of the planet. If you weren’t there, if you didn’t witness first hand what is going on, why do you think you have the authority and knowledge to comment on it? Yes, I know I just summed up the Internet right there, but it’s no less frustrating. I expected more from grown-ass men in the military, which was apparently silly of me.
I suppose, from these naysayers’ point of view, there was a way to stop a Blackstone-Fortress-throwing-star from destroying the planet.
As a result, everyone is watching the surviving Cadian troops for potential fuckups. It doesn’t help that General Bendikt of the Cadian 101st lost his hand in a duel after refusing to apologize for punching another general for badmouthing the Cadians. Nobody thinks the Cadians are up to their current jobs. They’re all hovering, just waiting for an excuse to show everyone why the Cadians don’t deserve their reputation.
Enter Minka Lesk
The last time we saw Minka Lesk, she was dragged out of the mud and thrown on a escaping ship by the Space Wolves. To suggest she has some survivor’s guilt is an understatement. On top of that, thanks to a “sudden” shortage of officers, Minka gets a promotion to Sargent. She barely has time to come to terms with what happened to her homeworld and how she survived. Now she has to be a leader in a whole new conflict. Most of her squad doesn’t like her at the outset, which is made worse when a commissar catches her corporal with narcotics. Her new corporal was her old corporal’s close friend. They all assume his execution is her fault, including her commanding officer.
Minka is not having a good time.
Heretics Gonna Heretic
There’s no rest for the weary, that is for sure. Cadia isn’t the only planet affected by the Cicatrix Maledictum. Other planets need help with an influx of refugees from neighboring planets and a new threat of heretics ready to invade the sector. Bendikt’s 101st is tasked with keeping order and preparing to thwart incoming cultists.
Of course it’s not that simple, and the ensuing hurricane of betrayal and chaos was simply delightful. Cadian Honour is over 400 pages, but it blew by quickly. I was riveted bouncing between General Bendikt, the Sisters of the Ebon Chalice, the Ecclesiarchy, the nobles of Potence, and Minka’s squad. Quite honestly, it’s one of the best books I’ve read this year, and if you follow the podcast, you know we’ve read some great ones so far in 2023.
I’m stoked for Traitor Rock next.