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The final novel in Robert A. Frezza's Suid-Afrika trilogy, Cain's Land is an odd combination of combat SF and first contact novel, flavored with the melancholy that pervades its prequel, Fire In A Faraway Place. Eight years after Suid-Afrika has gained its independence from Imperial Japan, an Imperial Commissioner comes looking for the supposedly dead Anton Vereshchagin. Intelligent aliens have been found, and Commissioner Mutaro believes the retired colonel to be the best man to lead the expedition to contact those aliens, who appear to have a technology level comparable to Earth in the 1960s: nuclear weapons and missiles that can reach orbit.

So it is that Vereshchagin leads an expeditionary company of his old 1/35 Rifle Regiment, augmented by a motley crew of scientists, off to contact the aliens - but first, he has to serve as the eminence grise behind his former XO's daughter's inaugural political campaign, the failure of which may well abort the alien contact mission before it can get off the ground. Frezza is just as good at describing retail small-town politics as he is at describing space and ground combat, and his account of Hendricka Sanmartin-Bruwer's run for the Assembly is hilarious when it isn't sinister.

Conflicts break out even before the contact party lands; some of the Japanese on the expedition are unpleasantly surprised to find that the leader of the expedition is Vereshchagin, who was presumed dead, and intend to remedy this state of affairs. Spousal abuse crops up as a problem among the scientists. Then the expedition arrives at the alien world, and things get really interesting. To be honest, I don't like Cain's Land as much as the first two novels, but it's a good read and worth your time.