Garro: Sword of Truth by James Swallow – Advance Triple Review [Djinn24/Commissar Ploss/Bane of Kings]

The fact that he looks like Gerard Butler only makes him 10x more badass!

Black Library serves up another winner with Garro: Swords of Truth by James Swallow with an exciting story written in a spectacular fashion, reviewed by Djinn24, Commissar Ploss and Bane of Kings. 

“My favorite audio drama from Black Library yet, James Swallow at his best with Garro: Sword of Truth ~Djinn24, The Founding Fields

“A fascinating post-Istvaan interlude of Terran-based awesomeness. James Swallow delivers an action-packed story!” ~ Commissar Ploss, The Founding Fields

 “Black Library’s best Audio Drama yet, aided by its length. This is a treat for Horus Heresy fans, for Garro is back – and better than ever!” ~Bane of Kings, The Founding Fields

Djinn24’s Thoughts

Nathaniel Garro, formally of the Death Guard, now the knight errant and agent of the Sigillite is tasked with a new mission once returning from the battlefields of Calth. A ragged fleet of Space Marines who escaped are on the edge of the Terran System claiming they are loyal to the Emperor. The presence of World Eaters and Emperor’s Children, legions who turned traitor, make the situation tricky. Garro, is not on his own, he has a member of the of the Emperor’s own Custodian guard with him. In addition to having to try and judge he must also be protector. The Custodian guard would rather just kill him the lot of them and be done with it. Garro who is not trusted himself has his work cut out for him to ensure that innocents do not die.

I was really excited by this audio drama from Black Library when we first received it and listened to it.  Not only has James Swallow taken this script idea and written what could be a master piece of Horus Heresy literature. John Banks, Toby Longworth and Ramon Tikaram do an amazing job of voice acting. It is hard to believe that there are only three of them performing this. You get two CDs, a full 140 minutes worth of material packed full of action.  Unlike other books that are about the Space Marines, this is not just ‘Bolter Porn’, but a well told story that leaves you wondering until almost the end what is going to happen.

I recommend buying this story if you like anything to do with Space Marines, especially if you like Horus Heresy books and audio dramas. The best part about this is audio drama is it s not a one time listen and be done with, it has easy re-listen value. Also the value is better then most of the others. $20.00 for 140 minutes is well worth the price, I find some of the other one disc drama too short and not truly worth the cost. I hope that Black Library continues this trend of longer materials so the fans get what they are paying for.

Rating: 9/10

A two-disc Horus Heresy audio drama. Produced by Black Library & Big Finish. Read by John Banks, Toby Longworth and Ramon Tikaram. Running time approx 140 mins.

December 2012 • ISBN 9781849702645

James Swallow

Commissar Ploss’s Thoughts

Commissar Ploss here. I must say, I’ve enjoyed all of the Garro stories thus far that Black Library and James Swallow have produced. But this one takes the cake. It’s glorious. Had me sitting on the edge of my seat the entire time. At 140 minutes its just long enough to tell this particular story… yet short enough it make you yearn for more… While the story is definitive and does come to a close, it’s the perfect launching point for more Garro stories. I was very much pleased. I look forward to more missions from James Swallow and more knowledge of Garro and his service to the Sigilite.

As my counterpart stated above, John Banks, Toby Longworth and Ramon Tikaram act out this particular drama. The three of them have amazing vocal chemistry. Their parts mesh seamlessly. I am familiar with Mr. Longworth’s ability to spin a strong yarn, however less so with Banks and Tikaram. I was pleased to say the least. Very much so.

There isn’t much more i can say that my partner hasn’t already touched on based with the story. So, success to all in this endeavour! Fantastic story.

10/10

Bane of Kings’ Thoughts

Nathaniel Garro, knight errant and agent of the Sigillite, returns from the battlefields of Calth to find a new mission already waiting for him – a ragged fleet of Space Marines from several Legions lingers at the edge of the Terran system. With the presence of World Eaters and Emperor’s Children causing concern among the loyalist defenders and drawing a grim parallel with his own frantic flight, Garro must look beneath the obvious if he is to determine friend from foe…

Well, pretty much anything I say here is going to be redundant because I, like my fellow reviewers above, loved everything that Sword of Truth had to offer. The longer format, the narrative, the narrators – everything about this particular Audio Drama reinforces my belief that it is simply the best that Black Library have to offer, beating even the tremendously enjoyable Throne of Lies by Aaron Dembski-Bowden and Firedrake by Nick Kyme.

The characters are wide and varied in this novel, so that the Space Marines sound like Space Marines, and that there is a clear difference between the voices of the majority of the legionaries present. Taking full use of the format, Swallow doesn’t include words like “Garro exclaimed”, at the end of the sentence, and whilst this is a risk as some voices in audio-dramas can be hard to differentiate from others, there is no need for them here as  John Banks, Toby Longworth and Ramon Tikaram are on fine form here. What I like about this Audio is that it’s very character driven, rather than the normal plot/action driven novels that we get from Black Library. As this is set before the events of Legion of One, the main focus is on Rubio and Garro, and this allows the listener to get inside both Astartes heads and learn what each of their thoughts and reactions are to various scenes.

The plot is great. We get several action packed moments despite the character-driven aspect of this audio drama, characters with ulterior motives, and the book is really a delight to listen to. Fans of the previous two Garro Audio Dramas will really enjoy this one, but if you haven’t listened to any of them yet, then I recommend listening to this before you listen to Legion of One. This is a result of Black Library starting to really kick into action with their Audio Dramas, and having hopefully pushed aside what doesn’t work in them, it will be great to see where we go from here.

It’s over two hours long, and I believe it’s well worth the asking price. I’d love to go into more depth about this, but I don’t want to spoil it for you – there’s a twist which is best left untouched until you listen to the Audio.  It’s awesome. The action is well written by Swallow and this is an example of one of his better stuff, and the experience is only increased by the voice acting and the sound effects.

So to sum it up, Sword of Truth is a must buy, just like The Heroes that I reviewed yesterday. Horus Heresy fans will love this one, but it’s far from the best starting point for newcomers to the series, if any are reading this review.

Verdict: 5/5

 

djinn24 is a professional miniatures painter, with an equally strong love of books. His reviews are concise and critical. He’s definitely good at what he does.

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