The last of six audio dramas in the 2016 Black Library Advent Calendar, day twenty-one’s The Art of Provocation by Josh Reynolds features Lukas the Trickster, the irreverent Space Wolf having been sent to Polix Tertius ahead of his brothers to disable the invading orks’ communications. Always keen to take any opportunity to rile his superiors, instead of simply destroying the vox network he sets about putting a surprising knowledge of the ork language to good use. While Wolf Lord Kjarl Grimblood rages at his insubordination and ork reinforcements close in on his position, Lukas laughs his way to an unusual victory.
Space Wolf fans may already know the shape of this story, taken as it is straight from the Codex. Narratively it’s pretty straightforward, focused more on Lukas’ wisecracking insouciance than any complex plotting, but it succinctly, cleverly sums up this unusual character. It’s also perfect for an audio, as the voice actors do a brilliant job bringing to life Lukas’ hilarious baiting of Grimblood and his sardonic commentary and internal voice. Never before has a Black Library audio induced so many laughs – it’s quite unlike anything else this side of Ciaphas Cain, a black humoured breath of fresh air in amongst all the grimdark.