Before Aaron Dembski-Bowden got his hands on them, the Night Lords were essentially the most basic of character archetypes; they were baddies by virtue of being evil, as simple as that. Nowadays though they tend to be painted in a different light; far from being just plain old evil and monstrous, in their current incarnation they are portrayed as selfish, nihilistic and massively flawed but in their own way still sort of principled, and bizarrely likeable. From a Heresy perspective, even more than their primarch Konrad Curze, the character who best embodies this conflicted nature is without a doubt Sevatar, First Captain of the Night Lords, mass murderer, liar, cheat and a very dangerous man to be around. Picking up from where we last saw him at the end of the Prince of Crows novella, The Long Night, a 40-minute audio drama from Aaron Dembski-Bowden, sees Sevatar imprisoned by the Dark Angels, talking to the ghosts in his head.
There is no doubt that Sevatar is a very bad man. Even by Warhammer 40k/Horus Heresy standards he’s a pretty dark character, as per his legion, but he’s written in such a way as to be immensely likeable with his black humour, sharp tongue and begrudging sense of justice. He’s a character who works best when able to bounce off others, and an audio drama is the perfect medium to allow the author freedom to indulge in plenty of sharp, sarcastic dialogue; The Long Night is very much a Sevatar dialogue piece, giving him the chance to shine as he interacts with a small handful of other characters from the darkness of his prison cell. Jonathan Keeble’s voice work is outstanding, bringing him to sneering, self-deprecating life and imbuing him with a delicious hint of madness and a thinly-veiled sense of danger and violence.
Fans of the Night Lords are going to absolutely love this. On the one hand it’s a gentle reminder that Sevatar hasn’t been forgotten about in the grand sweep of the Horus Heresy series, but at heart it’s just a brilliantly entertaining 40 minutes spent with one of the most compelling characters in the whole vast, sprawling cast. It will probably be released as a standalone MP3 in due course, but in conjunction with Gav Thorpe’s Master of the First it makes for an absolute must-buy package when it hits general release outside of Black Library events. Buy it, and listen to it on repeat; if nothing else, for the moment of sinister, sing-song madness when Sevatar addresses a certain Dark Angel towards the end of the story.