Today I bring you a review of Oath Of Moment by James Swallow.
I have promised several people reviews of tales from the deliciously dark universe of Warhammer 40k, and well here's my first! Unlike my previous reviews and many of the others yet to come, this is not a review of a book, but rather an audio drama written exclusively for Games Workshop's publishing section, the Black Library (link to the side).
The story is set in the Horus Heresy series that has become one of the flagship series for the company in recent years, and follows on from the events of the fourth book in the series 'The Flight Of The Eisenstein' and follows the tale of Captain Nathaniel Garro, the loyalist captain from the traitor legion of the Death Guard.
Garro, once a battle captain of the Death Guard legion of space marines, has seen his brothers and primarch (genetically designed super warriors, the gene sons of the Emperor) betray their oaths to the Emperor and the Imperium and join the traitor Horus and his legion of marines, along with the same happening with several other legions creating the core of the civil war that is just starting in the galaxy, as well as the slaughter of the loyalist elements of those legions on Istvann 3, having fled to Earth to warn the Emperor and the loyal legions about the traitors gathering in the Istvaan system, has been locked up in the facility on Luna (the moon) awaiting the judgement of the Emperor and his subordinates, namely Malcador the Sigilette.
Malcador comes to the imprisoned space marine and offers him the chance to serve him and therefore, the Emperor. Garro is ordered to search out and find key figures from across the legions, both traitor and loyalist, and form a group to conduct missions to secure the fate of the Imperium. Burning his sigil into the armour of the former Death Guard captain, Malcador sends Garro out into the galaxy to begin his quest, the stylised 'I' burned into his metal coloured armour.
For fans of this universe, doubtless you have already recognised what I mean by that symbol. Yes it is the mark of the Inquisition of the current timeline, which begs the questions of, did the Emperor approve the formation of the Inquisition during his time before the Golden Throne life support machine, is Garro therefore the First Inquisitor, and just what will they be getting up to during the galaxy spanning civil war? These questions are not answered during the course of the tale, but maybe we'll see something in the future.
Garro goes onto recruit his first member in the fires of the war, and ends up in one of the bitter battles of the Heresy.
The writing for this tale is snappy and fast flowing, giving it the feel of a frenetic fast paced combat and it allows you to cast your mind into the tale, landing you square in the middle of the action, your heart pounding as bolt shells and laser fire whips over your head.
The narrator, coupled with the nigh on perfect sound effects and soundtrack only serve to highten the feeling that you are a part of the fighting on this particular world and you can almost smell the discharge of weapons and the smell of a burning battlefield in your nostrils.
The characters, while not as fully fleshed out as some of the more memorable figures in the 40k universe (such as Commissar Gaunt and the Ghosts for example), are able to stand out from the vast majority of the often two dimensional figures some writers create and it stays away from florid prose that goes a grand total of no where quickly and from bogging itself down in superfluous details that have no bearing on the action as a whole.
Really, this audio drama is well worth the small amount of cash it takes to download it. The story, soundtrack and narration all serve to provide a vision of the grim future of the 40k universe that is able to spring out of the codex books and novels and punch you straight in the face with an activated power fist!
Garro - Oath Of Moment by James Swallow read by Toby Longworth.
Only available as a download from the Black Library website (link in the side panel)