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Anthony Reynolds’ Black Library published Chosen of Khorne is a very enthralling and wonderfully scripted audio drama, writes Bane of Kings.
“A bloody, gritty Audio Drama that emphasizes the grim-darkness of Warhammer 40k, and provides a treat for fans of Kharn the Betrayer.” ~The Founding Fields
I was first introduced to Anthony Reynolds’ work through his fantastic Word Bearers Omnibus which was some very enjoyable, action-packed encounters that gave more depth to the Word Bearers, a legion that I’d never seen a full novel devoted to before outside of the phenomenal The First Heretic by Aaron Dembski-Bowden. Before going into this Audio Drama I had high expectations, and did Reynold’s deliver? The answer is quite simply: Yes. Chosen of Khorne is a great standalone tale that will delight not just fans of Kharn as mentioned above, but also fans of Chaos as a whole. I really enjoyed listening to this Audio Drama, although I think the person that sat next to me on the bus one on of the journeys may have been surprised by what I was listening to when I found out that I’d turned up the volume on my IPod too high by accident. As it turned out, he wasn’t a 40k fan.
Deep within the Eye of Terror, the followers of the blood god Khorne war amongst themselves to win their patron’s favour, and for the right to lead a new crusade against the Imperium in his name. Argus Brond, berserker champion of the old World Eaters Legion, has called upon his old comrade Kharn for assistance – surely, this legendary warrior will break the deadlock and secure victory for him? But Kharn, known with good reason as ‘the Betrayer’, is far more than just a crazed killer, and his own agenda will always come first…
This is a very interesting Audio Drama that despite suffers from a weak cover in my opinion, excels in its Audio format and though it may not be as good as Garro: Legion of One by James Swallow, my favourite Black Library Audio Drama to date, it’s probably in the top 5, in the lower half – mainly due to a few nagging issues that I had with this title that prevents it from achieving top marks.
And the first reason is the characters, or rather – lack thereof. Not in the sense that there are few characters in this Audio Drama, but in the fact that they weren’t as developed or as intriguing as Kharn was, as it was nice to see the Betrayer get the spotlight for what I think is the first full piece to deal with Kharn in the lead role. As mentioned above, fans of Kharn and Chaos’ work will love Chosen of Khorne, and I think that other 40k fans will enjoy this title as well. However, if you’re a new reader then I advise you against jumping in with Chosen of Khorne, go back to the start and read Horus Rising, or brush up on your knowledge about the Betrayer.
The pace is fast, and we really get a nice look into Kharn as a character and what makes him tick here. The performance provided by Seán Barrett, Rupert Degas and Saul Reichlin is stellar, and the plot is interesting and action-packed (as any World Eater-focused piece of fiction should be) to boot.
If you’re looking for an example of a strong Black Library Audio Drama then you can’t go far wrong with Chosen of Khorne. A really enjoyable listen.