True Name

True Name – David Annandale (audio drama)

The fifth and final audio drama of Black Library’s Echoes of War collection, David Annandale’s True Name brings us back to the forces of good, in this case the Grey Knights of Titan. Picking up immediately after the events of Maledictus, Annandale’s Sanctus Reach novella, we follow Epistolary Gared as he struggles against an insidious psychic attack from the daemon Ku’gath Plaguefather. Caught between the daemon and an inbound ork fleet, still bloodied and reeling from their last battle, the Grey Knights face a challenge that will test both their strength and their faith.

2014 has been a busy year for David Annandale. Not content with his first Horus Heresy novel (Damnation of Pythos) or his second Space Marine Battles book, or with being Commissar Yarrick’s official chronicler, he’s now turned his attention to the Grey Knights, applying his dark and twisted imagination to tales of mankind’s last line of defence against the darkness. It’s a fitting combination, Annandale’s knack for the sinister and the monstrous bringing to life the painful realities faced by the Grey Knights as they witness and indeed battle the true horror of the warp and its denizens. His lurid imagination populates True Name with revolting daemons, vividly and disgustingly drawn, wonderfully ripe for embodiment by the typically high standard of voice work from the cast.

At a little under 40 minutes this is the shortest of the five Echoes of War audios, but it by no means suffers for the shorter length. It’s fast-paced and action-packed, easing the listener into the story before hurling them into the thick of the action and out across the void as Gared fights on both the mortal and astral planes. There’s just the right about of mystery around what’s happening to sustain the suspense and a doubt about Gared’s survival, while maintaining the pace and showing the Grey Knights doing what they do best – kicking seven shades out of daemons. That balance between action and story development is crucial with any Black Library release, but perhaps more so with audios even than with novels. Here it’s achieved perfectly; this isn’t trying to be a reflective, dialogue-heavy piece like yesterday’s Ahriman : The First Prince, but rather an exciting, gripping story that gets nicely to the heart of what a Grey Knight story should be.

So after Space Wolves, Black Templars, Dark Angels and Thousand Sons, Echoes of War closes with the Grey Knights, perhaps the ultimate Space Marines. It’s an appropriate ending for the collection and rounds things off nicely, further cementing David Annandale’s credentials as one of the go-to writers for anything dark and disturbing, and hopefully suggesting that more Grey Knights stories will be forthcoming from him.

Voiced by Gareth Armstrong, Robin Bowerman, Ian Brooker, Steve Conlin and Jonathan Keeble.

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