The Heart of the Pharos

QUICK REVIEW: The Heart of the Pharos – L.J. Goulding

Originally published as The Dark Between the Stars before being swiftly renamed, presumably for copyright reasons, L.J. Goulding’s Horus Heresy audio drama The Heart of the Pharos fits neatly between the novels The Unremembered Empire and Pharos, narratively. Set on Sotha, it sees the Ultramarine Scout Tebecai remembering the mission he was on with his fellow Scout Oberdeii, deep within the tunnels beneath Mount Pharos. Down there in the darkness with just each other for company, the two scouts find something…and Tebecai’s commanders want to know about it.

Set mostly in the dark, claustrophobic confines beneath Mount Pharos, this is an ideal subject for an audio drama. With the added benefit of atmospheric music and well constructed sound effects, Goulding is able to bring to life the tension and (dare I say it) fear of the Scouts, barely concealed by their youthful banter as they venture ever deeper. It’s genuinely a little creepy, playing on the universal fear of the unknown, gradually ramping up the tension and crucially never revealing too much. The voice cast is typically excellent, although Warsmith Dantioch sounds much too healthy, and overall it does a great job of filling in a couple of blanks in the Imperium Secundus arc. It might perhaps have benefitted from being released before Pharos, but even in hindsight it’s entertaining and enjoyable. At 38 minutes it’s somewhere between the usual Heresy audio drama lengths, but definitely worth checking out.

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