Garro: Sword of Truth by James Swallow – Advance Review [Lord of the Night]
Lord of the Night reviews the absolutely riveting Horus Heresy audio Garro: Sword of Truth by James Swallow.
“Swallow outdoes himself in this epic two-hour audio with a tale of betrayal, trust and lies.” – The Founding Fields
James Swallow has been at the forefront of the Horus Heresy audios with the stories of Nathaniel Garro, the Knight-Errant of Malcador. Each one has been entertaining but Sword of Truth is the first that is truly epic with this two hour audio that sets a new standard for the Horus Heresy media, one that I hope will be followed not only by future Garro stories but by all future Horus Heresy Audio Dramas.
Nathaniel Garro, servant of the Sigilite and the leader of the Knight Errants, now faces his greatest challenge since breaking away from his Primarch. Recruited by a distrustful Custodian Garro finds a ragged flotilla of ships at the very edge of the Sol System, proclaiming to have broken away from the Warmaster and kept to their oaths of loyalty to the Emperor. But when informed that something aboard the ship is not as it should be Garro is forced to root out the truth of who is friend and who is foe while dealing with an intemperate World Eaters Captain and a trigger-happy Custodian. Can he discover who is telling the truth and try to keep the spirit of Imperial truth and brotherly trust alive, or has the wound of betrayal cut too deeply for anyone to trust anyone ever again.
Now first and foremost, the complaint I hear about audio dramas is that they are too short. Sword of Truth is most definitely not too short at two hours long. This small-seeming change is anything but as with a whole two hours the story that is told is vastly improved, more detail can be added and more plot elements can be brought in to tell a much longer and greater story. Sword of Truth uses a deeply engaging mystery to draw the listener in, keeping the surprises and shocks coming as the story takes an unexpected turn and not only provides a strong narrative, but strong characters, strong visuals and sounds and strong action scenes from start to finish.
The cast will be familiar to any fans of Garro but of course we have the man himself, Garro who is still on his truth-finding mission and to find his place within the Imperium. Tyloss Rubio returns and we learn more about the Son of Ultramar and just what he thinks and feels about his new place as a Knight Errant, and Macer Varren the World Eater whose recruitment story is told in this audio and who as a character will definitely become a fan favourite in time, if not from this audio on it’s own. I particularly enjoyed the voice acting for certain characters, the choice of accents and the variety in the voice acting means that you’ll never mistake who is speaking and you’ll really get a feeling of being admist these characters as they interact with one another for good and ill.
The battle scenes are nothing short of amazing. My favourite moment is starkly clear to me for it’s brutality and the accompanying sounds and music that really set the scene for each battle. The writing is no slouch either, the fights being brutal and measured and each character that fights really epitomises what it is to fight as one of his Legion in their own unique styles. The void segments are also well-written and voiced, the power that comes from the ships is obvious and adds to the scenes greatly. Any fan of brutal action will find much to love in this audio, especially when it is vivid enough to imagine and laugh in delight at. I sound bad there I know but one scene in particular was so immensely satisfying that I couldn’t help laughing as it happened.
The pacing is quite nicely done. This two hour audio never dragged and was entertaining the whole way through, which for a doubled in length piece is no mean feat. I did expect that it could feel slow at some point but I was gratefully proven wrong. The voice acting is second to none, the accents of certain characters sound exactly like I imagined them and the ones that surprised me were Macer Varren and Raquitio, the former whose voice has softened a bit since his last appearance in Legion of One and the latter whose deep voice was quite memorable.
Now for my favourite quote, or in this case quotes as I simply cannot decide between thes two gems,
“Did you forget what this means?! Or did you lose that along with the colours of your Legion?!“
“The White Scars will hunt down all traitors! There will be no mercy!!”
The ending is well-written though admittedly it is not shockingly memorable and anyone who has listened to Legion of One will have known how at least part of this would end. But it wraps up the story nicely and promises more to come, one little thread that is mentioned could lead to a short story or another audio, perhaps involving the Sigilite himself. It was the visuals and thoughts of the ending that really struck me rather than the actual event, but the listener will have a much deeper understanding of what drives Garro in this age of suspicion and distrust and will definitely have not regretted listening to such a fine piece.
For a first-class story, return of memorable characters and introducing some very interesting new ones, and for some of the best voice acting available from Black Library I give Garro: Sword of Truth a score of 9.5/10. If you are a fan of audios then this is a must-buy for you, and if your on the fence hopefully my endorsement will sway you to buy. Sword of Truth is in this reviewer’s opinion simply the best audio work available from the Black Library and is not to be missed.
That’s it for this review. Next will be The Siege of Castellax from C.L Werner. Until next time,
AVE DOMINUS NOX!