In book 3, Caine visits the Khryl homeland to get his dumbass adoptive ogrillo brother Orbek out of trouble with the Khryllian law, which plans to execute him in combat for failing to grovel properly in the presence of a knight. Granted, Orbek did kill a couple of Khryllian armsmen when they took exception to his appalling deferential deficiency, but still. (Note that Khryl is a relatively warm and fuzzy nation, full of shiny knights and noble heroes, and that should tell you a lot about the world Stover has built.)

Interspersed with these chapters are flashbacks to Caine's first Adventure, which took place in the same location and made him an international star. Extensively, creatively, nauseatingly violent, as usual. Nobody paints a picture of credibly exploding viscera like Matthew Stover.

He makes numerous confusing references to characters and events which appeared briefly and in passing 200 pages earlier. Or--with no explanation--in 2nd person. Possibly as "God". Or something. The first time I read Caine Black Knife, I found it frustratingly hard to follow. More recently I read it in sequence with the other books and it improved dramatically. It's a 3 star book on its own, but if you can track the plot it transforms into a hellaciously good book, mixing the best action writing in the business with thoughtful interludes of philosophy and a grim civil rights story.