. For an immortal, Never Dead Ned manages to die with alarming frequency. He just has an annoying habit of rising from the grave. So much so that people have stopped bothering to bury him when he inadvertently kicks the bucket. For most soldiers, this might be seen as a blessing. But for Ned, his latest assignment makes him wish he could stay dead.
As the new commander of Ogre Company, he is tasked with six months to whip the unit into fighting shape. However, the unit happens to be the legion's dumping ground. And this motley crew of undisciplined monsters has a history of having its leaders die under a number of questionable circumstances to maintain the status quo. When the immortal Ned reports to his new posting, it's not long before a war breaks out between the misfits of Ogre company and their new commander, who will just NOT stay dead.
Despite the best efforts of his subordinates, which include a moonstruck Amazon, a very big and VERY polite two headed orc, a seductive scaly siren and an oracle who can see and smell the future, Ned makes death-defying headway in bringing the company up to fighting trim. But as he does, he dies... Frequently. But earns the grudging respect of his soldiers and makes a few friends along the way.
All the while a new terror, in the form of Emperor Rucka of the Underworld Horde makes his powerful presence known. And he wants Ned. Because Never Dead Ned is secretly special and VERY powerful. In what becomes a journey to discover the truth about his past, the Red Goddess appears to Ned and tells him the reason for his immortality.
Never Dead Ned is a god who decided to be a man. Or maybe it's the other way around. As an all-powerful being, the Mad Void choose to 'sleep' as an insignificant soldier who could not die. And while Rucka wants his power, Ned reawakens the Mad Void. With his rediscovered might, Ned is able to defeat Rucka, the Underworld Horde, and choose between godhood and simple immortality, saving his friends and his command in the process.
Best part of story, including ending:
It takes a stock story from the familiar characters of a Tolkien fantasy world and turns it completely on its ear.
Best scene in story:
The numerous scenes in the company pub are a mashup of every D&D players dream... or nightmare.
Opinion about the main character:
The many different ways the Never Dead Ned dies.