Friday, 25 June 2010

‘Throne of Lies’ – Aaron Dembski-Bowden (Black Library)


As a man who loves to lounge around in the morning, when he should be getting ready for work, I regard it as my unassailable right to forget stuff when I’m dashing out of the door. You name it, I’ve forgotten it; keys, cash, lunch... None of these though were as potentially catastrophic though as my forgetting to pick up a new book when I left the house the other day. You know how I feel about my daily commute... If I can’t get away from it in a book then the odds are that something violent is going to happen somewhere between A and B...
Luckily for everyone on my train, what I hadn’t forgotten was my iPod and it’s handy selection of Black Library audio books. Up on that occasion was Aaron Dembski-Bowden’s ‘Throne of Lies’ (to be released in August, I think)...

The traitorous Night Lords Space Marines chapter strikes from the shadows, feeding on the decaying remnants of the Imperium of Mankind. They are not sworn to any one of the Chaos powers but their quest remains the same, to bring down the regime of the false emperor.
Sometimes though, even this must take a back seat to concerns that are far more pressing. The Night Lords are sworn to another crusade, one that they will sacrifice everything to complete, and it looks like Talos the ‘Soul Hunter’ has just discovered the path to it’s conclusion...

Aaron Dembski-Bowden builds upon what he began in ‘Soulhunter’ and expands his vision of a traitorous Space Marine chapter on the brink of extinction but still aiming to spit in the eye of the Imperium one more time before the inevitable occurs. As was the case with ‘Soulhunter’, I like the way that the Night Lords (while allied with their chaotic brothers) are rebelling for reasons of their own; it gives the whole scenario a little more depth and colour. The story itself does stand on it’s own but if you’ve already read ‘Soulhunter’ then I think you’ll get a lot more out of ‘Throne of Lies’. Reading ‘Soulhunter’ isn’t exactly a chore either (if you haven’t already), it’s very good indeed.

‘Throne of Lies’ was certainly a gripping tale to listen to, from the opening flight through the perils of the warp to the strangely poignant message from M’shen right at the end (with a political assassination in the middle). It does suffer though from the format that it finds itself in. There’s only so much story that you can fit on a CD of this length and you’re never going to be able to get all the twisty turny bits that you would find in a book... As a result, ‘Throne of Lies’ was a little more linear (in it’s plot) than I would have liked. You get to spend a little more time getting to know the characters but the story very much starts at A and ends at a slightly predictable B. It did whet my appetite for more tales of the Night Lords though, hopefully the next instalment will be a book and not an audio book...

Black Library seem to be investing a little more in the production of their audio books and this shows in what is a very atmospheric tale in terms of its sound effects. The narrator tells you what is happening but it’s all those little background noises that show you. You can almost feel the warp pressing against the hull of the ‘Covenant of Blood...
‘Throne of Lies’ is also memorable in that it’s the first Black Library audio book (at least, that I’ve heard) to feature a female voice in the narration. Beth Chalmers doesn’t have a lot to say but when she does step up it’s all done professionally and adds to the overall affect. John Banks has the largest chunk of narrative duties and really makes the story his own. There is one part though where he loses the voice of a character and goes back to his ‘narrating voice’. I’m surprised that didn’t get picked up actually...

'Throne of Lies' isn't without it's flaws and was a step backwards from the standard set by Nick Kyme's 'Fireborn'. What 'Throne of Lies' definitely was though was a thoroughly entertaining listen that bodes well for future Night Lords tales (but only if they're books though...)

Eight and a Quarter out of Ten

3 comments:

Trever said...

I do not do audio books but I thought "Fireborn" was bad while "Soul Hunter" was excellent. The tortured hero concept of "Fireborn" is what put me off. It all seems like a bunch of whining while "Soul Hunter" had the angst and "Fireborn" had being a bitch. There I said it.
That is what I got from it all.
And the Salamanders as written are just fucking boring!
Night Lords: "Fuck it! Let's do this!"
Salamanders: "Oh noes things are going wrong!"
I have a few minor quibbles here and there but "Soul Hunter" is the superior book.

Trever said...

I do not do audio books but I thought "Fireborn" was bad while "Soul Hunter" was excellent. The tortured hero concept of "Fireborn" is what put me off. It all seems like a bunch of whining while "Soul Hunter" had the angst and "Fireborn" had being a bitch. There I said it.
That is what I got from it all.
And the Salamanders as written are just fucking boring!
Night Lords: "Fuck it! Let's do this!"
Salamanders: "Oh noes things are going wrong!"
I have a few minor quibbles here and there but "Soul Hunter" is the superior book.

Trever said...

Sorry about the double post.