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4.64 out of 5 based on 14 customer ratings


R H Auslander uses his intimate knowledge of Russian Armed Forces, Russian culture and Russian history to give the reader a deep look in to Russia, her culture and her Spetznaz Regiments. The author’s deft hand and storytelling ability open to the reader a view of Russia few outside of Russia have seen in a gripping tale of war and romance wrapped in a vivid panorama of betrayal and treachery, love and honor, loyalty, faith and duty.

With the clouds of war darkening the horizon for all to see, the story unfolds of Annya Dmitrovna, a beautiful Russian lady, and Starshi Sarjant Roman Ivan’vich, a foreign man, a professional soldier serving for Russia in 317 Independent Spetznaz Regiment. As their romance blossoms into an understanding during a night of good food, good wine and animated conversation, the thought of war banished from their minds, Roman Ivan’vich is suddenly ordered at 01:00 in the morning to report to his regiment immediately.

As the regiment gathers and moves to assembly and deployment, an ominous event portends trouble. As the war begins and the fighting progresses treachery rears its ugly head, a treachery and betrayal that goes to the very heights of power in Moskau, contrasting dramatically with the courage, honor and loyalty of the Spetznaz set in the mixture of east and west that is Russia and the unique culture of her Spetznaz, those warriors who are never defeated, who are Never The Last One.

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14 reviews for Never the Last One – a novel by R H Auslander – PDF ed.

  1. Auslander
    5 out of 5


    See the other side of the world.
    May 17, 2018
    Verified Purchase
    Couldn’t stop reading this. What a story! Strange names, places, people, battles unknown to readers of the MSM. An inside look at the emergence of the Russian Federation.

  2. Auslander
    5 out of 5


    December 10, 2017
    I finished your book two weeks ago. I must say it was a very enjoyable and worth the long read. It is a very well written book. The characters are believable, the story is very easy to be drawn into, the details are very well researched. I found myself reading the book deep into the night. Your novel also elegantly captured the atmosphere of Russia at the time, everything was as I remember Russia in my earlier years. Overall, I loved how the story flowed and how easy the book felt to read. For the first time in a long time, I actually enjoyed reading! Of course, the ending made me grin. I must ask, was it written before February of 2014? Translated from Russian by CEE.
    Author’s reply: “Yes, the Post Scriptum was written in summer 2013.”

  3. Auslander
    1 out of 5


    By Pablo A.on April 27, 2016
    Verified Purchase

    Absolute macho junk

  4. Auslander
    5 out of 5


    29.04.18 via email.

    I have finished Never The Last One and I have just read Sevastopol, The Third Defense. Thank you for sending me the copies of both books. I can honestly say these are some of the most beautifully crafted semi-fictional accounts concerning Russia, primarily written in English, that I have had the pleasure to read. Your understanding of the culture of Russia and Sevastopol could only come from someone who’s heart is close to them. Your love of the canine companion is also a recurring theme, which, having grown up with dogs all my life, I perfectly understand.
    You also managed to convey the historical roots of Russia and the peninsula and the understanding of the ethnic Russian population has of this history very well, and it is clearly interwoven through both pieces of literature. This is especially important I think for an outsider looking in, as it really helps develop an understanding for tragic (and wonderful) events of 2014, and generally shoots the Western narratives about Russia full of holes.
    Your clear understanding of military procedures raises some interesting questions about your past in my mind. That, or you have some truly extraordinary friends. Either way, I am not intending to pry (especially with today’s internet, straight out of 1984), although I do think you would be an interesting individual to meet.
    All in all, it has been and is a pleasure to read your literature, Auslander. Don’t stop! If I could put this on amazon I’d give both books the full load, five stars.

  5. Auslander
    5 out of 5


    December 13, 2015
    Not many books have touched me in recent times like this one. I was many times almost crying. As it is said: No one understands war, who was not fighting in war. And no one hates war more than a true warrior. But with this book some will understand what war really means and what it means to be a warrior on the side of truth. Most touched I was by the descriptions of Father Mitrofan and Father Sergei, the Warrior Priests, and by the other people that “see”. Some of that made my skin crawl. This is by the way something that I feel sometimes, when I go to Orthodox places: That there are people, that “see” me. I am more than 40 years now in a kind of spiritual nexus, and I have never felt this before. No place to hide anymore. Thank you very much, Auslander.

  6. Auslander
    4 out of 5


    November 28, 2017

    This was an extremely enjoyable book, and unusual both stylistically and with regard to subject matter seldom seen in the West. I have to say I found the book captivating and hard to put down, with well maintained suspense and action, sprinkled with more character and culture study portions which were generally quite interesting. I withheld a star because this was the author’s first novel, and there are a few minor things that leave room for improvement. Some of the courtship material was a little slow and repetitive, as are a few descriptive terms or phrases. There are unconventional spellings of certain place names but not others, which gives a nice exotic flare but can leave the reader a little uncertain early in the book until you confirm that’s what is going on. But all-in-all a very enjoyable and enlightening book which I would definitely recommend to anyone, and I plan on buying future works from the author.

  7. Auslander
    5 out of 5


    By M H Burton on February 2, 2016
    Interesting to get a viewpoint that is not coming from the typical “western” point of view. Although I have been aware if this myself, it is encouraging to see in print that, contrary to the belief that western governments would have everyone subscribe to, Russia is not the “Godless” communist country a lot of people think it is. It instead has a Christian community presence far greater than the west does.

  8. Auslander
    5 out of 5


    Bydoodadazeon July 25, 2016
    Could not wait to pick up this book after work every night. Like seeing an old welcoming friend every day. Cant wait to read Auslander’s next book about Krima.

  9. Auslander
    5 out of 5


    By Ed Walsh on January 23, 2016

    Auslander’s book, Never the Last One: a Novel of Spetznaz, opens our eyes to a world not described in American news or fiction. In some ways it was like looking into our own past. There is a real distinction between the sexes. In contrast to modern American women whose ideal is to be as masculine as possible — and if not masculine, then neutered — the Russian women are truly feminine. But they are not weak, dependent wall flowers. Many of the women portrayed in the book are decisive, strong, resourceful, and very memorable.

    The best of the male characters are portrayed as chivalrous warriors, motivated by real loyalties to Russian Orthodox Christianity and Mother Russia. These qualities are such a refreshing change from the utterly cynical, brutal, selfish, and calculating dead men that take leading roles in American movies and books.

    The story is mostly about war. There is no moral relativism here. The enemy is fearsome. He is clever and devious, an excellent strategist and tactician. But he is brutal and savage: to innocent civilians, to Russian soldiers, and above all to his own fighters. Disobedience or simple failure by a leader is punished, not just by his own death, but by all of his extended family. The enemy troops are fed into massive attacks with no concern about losses. The fighting is monstrous and desperate.

    The Russian side is bedeviled by treachery in high places in Moscow, and a full court press from opinion makers of the West and UN diplomats. But even with the mayhem of battle the story is relieved by touching moments of romance where Cupid strikes various couples. The book begins by recounting how the two main characters meet and fall in love. Their contacts are woven into the fabric of the stories of struggle and valor.

    The author is a terrific story teller. The story is immediately interesting and the pace never stops. The characters — good and bad — are pungent and memorable. In this era where the leaders of the West seem to be moving their countries into conflict with Russia, the book provides an enlightening insight into the Russian point of view. And this enlightenment comes painlessly as a byproduct of a fantastic read.

  10. Auslander
    5 out of 5


    January 12, 2016
    A Powerful and Moving Read

    I truly cannot remember the last time I have read a book as good as Never the Last One. The book is filled with action, emotion, and suspense, on those merits alone I could recommend this book. However, that is not the only part that made this novel such a good read for me personally. The novel paints characters, atmosphere, and setting with the mastery of a true classic.

    Auslander manages to create characters so realistic that there is almost an aspect of surrealness when reading the novel. The characters are very dynamic, showing many aspects of their own personality. All of this is captured with an intense realism. The best I can describe is that instead of getting to know the characters throughout the course of the novel, Auslander takes someone from the reader’s own experiences and plants them into the novel with their own unique and believeable backstory. I know and have met characters like Annya Dmitrovna and Father Mitrofan under different aliases and different backstories in my own life.

    Never the Last One manages to capture a pure and undistorted image of the complex Russian identity and culture which is incredibly rare to find outside of the Russian world. As a Russian living outside of Russia, I could recommend this book just by how well it captures the culture and the character of Russia. Auslander is so meticulous in his writing as to include even those aspects that come in during everyday life there such as porridge being a staple in a Russian diet similar to how cereal with milk is a staple in an American diet.

    The settings and locations in the novel are very well described. I can’t find a better way to phrase this than using a very cliched phrase uttered by many English teachers; “The reader feels like he steps into the shoes of the character.” Auslander’s eye for detail really stands out here. He goes on to even describe what some would probably even consider too much detail. It does not detract from Auslander’s masterful storytelling and in my humble opinion it only enhances the story, even the makes of cars, the styles of buildings, and other such details are not skipped over. All in all, the level of detail creates a unique atmosphere which Auslander uses skillfully in the novel.

    This was a great book to read and I am recommending it to others, if you are looking for something new to read, I highly suggest this book. I am eagerly looking forward to Auslander’s next piece.

  11. Auslander
    5 out of 5


    September 23, 1917 via email.
    I am from England, I live in Rostov with my wife. We were in USA for a few weeks and a friend of mine showed me this book he had found on a forum he reads. I read the first few pages of it and it looked like some kind of love story so I had my friend download it to my lap top for my wife. We got back to Rostov, went to Yalta for the holidays, my wife started to read the book and immediately called her best friend to come to her and read it together. In the end we had 5 Russian women and one Russian husband, an officer in the army, sitting around the kitchen table with two lap tops, a big dictionary and me for seven days. I have to agree with the others who posted a review about this book, this is one grand novel. These women and the husband would read some pages and then discuss what was said, look up words in the lap top and hard dictionary and then ask me for verification and now they’ve got me writing a review with the four of them talking at the same time in to my ear.

    I don’t know who this R H Auslander is but he certainly knows what he writes about. I am a veteran, long retired but I served in Asia back in the day and later as a training instructor. What this Mr. Auslander describes is perfect, spot on, for not only the planning leading up to a deployment but the actual deployment and then the fighting. The characters and a couple love affairs weave in and out of the story and just when you’ve forgotten about someone here they are again and tied neatly in to the story. The plots are the same, in and out but everything ties together smoothly. The combat scenes are graphic but real, tactically and strategically correct and they do not ramble on to the point of being gratuitous. The hospital scenes are true to life in a combat zone and the language, that’s the way we soldiers talk to each other during an operation. What looks like very stiff formal manners is the way many Russians speak, the very formal addressing in public. If this Mr. Auslander doesn’t live in Russia he certainly used to, you can’t get that knowledge of the culture and the Russian army without being around them for a long time.

    Everything in this masterpiece of a book ties together in the last two chapters. The last few pages, well, let me just say that all five girls were crying their eyes out, even the officer, a colonel, had a tear in his eye, I don’t know if from happiness or sadness or both, but cry they all did. I’m going to read this book again but without a group of Russians asking a million questions.

    I can’t put this review on the amazon book sight because I did not buy the book so I’m going to send it to Mr. Auslander personally. I give this book ten stars, not the only five that amazon has.

  12. Auslander
    5 out of 5


    By Babushka in Oz on December 30, 2015
    In normal times I would not choose to read a book about war. However, the abnormal recent events in the Ukraine and Crimea bought war close to my head and heart. Auslander’s comments on a blog led me to his book.
    ‘Never the Last One’ is a page turner. It has all the elements of a Tolstoy novel: interesting characters; graphic battle scenes; good versus evil; humour and humanity; deception and corruption; greed and revenge; soul searching and spirituality; but above all, love of Motherland, and love for one another.
    The plot flowed smoothly and moved at a steady pace. The characters were believable with interesting backstories and through their words and deeds, conveyed the sense of kinship that comes only from a terrible collective loss (war). Knowing that life is instantly perishable the characters beautifully portray how love is forged in the anvil of destruction. Auslander has really grasped the Russian character, especially Russian humour.
    I have no military experience and the gut wrenching description of battle bought tears to my eyes.
    I do have nursing experience and in the hospital scenes I could smell the blood and gore.
    In passages where Annya Dmitrovna spoke and ‘saw’, I felt her heartbeat and constantly had goosebumps.
    Auslander says the book is ‘fiction’ but for me it was a mirror, reflecting the real world events, especially the beautiful and poignant Post Scriptum.
    Brilliant. I enjoyed this book immensely and can’t wait for the follow up.

  13. Auslander
    5 out of 5


    December 5, 2015
    Read a article by R. H. Auslander on a web site. Was impressed enough to download a sample of this book. Now mind ya, the sample is almost 100 pages long. When I was done I HAD to purchase the whole book.
    We have here a war story, lot’s of love story’s, that are not all syrupy, but real bondings during a very stressful time. Anyone who has been in a military conflict will recognize instantly the binding that occurs between fellow warriors, who become lifelong friends as a result of fighting together. The characters are very well developed to the point that it is easy to relate to their feelings.
    As Mr. McCarthy said in his review, “Strange Russian humor that takes some time to appreciate.” Well as a person who has spent some time in Eastern Europe, (and I mean years) I have to agree. The book is written as one would expect from a person from Eastern Europe, but there is a catch to that, and that I will not reveal here. I also agree, that the tech and tactical are correct, so correct that it polishes the story with realism, so after finishing this wonderful tome I’m left to try to figure out what was fact, and what was fiction, as it is so spot on.
    If historical military fiction, with ample backstabbing and deceit by those who should be on your side, and a book that may not be all that fictitious, you will be drawn in to this book and it will never let you down, and that is saying a lot for a 800+ page book.

  14. Auslander
    5 out of 5


    December 4, 2015
    This book reminds me of the HOOAH books that were popular back during the Reagan era, except I guess that this would be classed as a UUUURRAH book instead.
    Plenty of good guys that you can like. A good spread of bad guys that you can readily dislike. Lots of great action that is both technically and tactically correct. Strange Russian humor that takes some time to appreciate.
    And, unlike many Kindle only format books, this one is both well written and edited. Altogether a good read.

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