The first of two audio dramas by Gav Thorpe to be released over Black Library’s Audio Week 2017 campaign, Eye of Night is also the first 40k story to be set in the wake of the Gathering Storm. It features Inquisitor Kataryna Greyfax as, on the orders of the primarch Roboute Guilliman, she searches for a powerful artefact – the titular Eye of Night. Accompanied by a single squad of Grey Knights she journeys first to the Gothic Sector and then on to the Eye of Terror, and is forced to bargain with unexpected allies in order to achieve her mission.
Running to about 62 minutes in total, this is split up into three parts of roughly even length, each with a certain sense of start, middle and end. You can pick it up by either buying the three parts individually, or by plumping for the Audio Week 2017: The Collection which also contains the accompanying audio drama Hand of Darkness, and offers a bit of a discount over buying them separately. Either way, you get a story split into three distinct acts, each one detailing an obstacle for Greyfax to overcome and featuring an interesting new location for the audio elements to bring to life.
Those audio elements are, as usual, excellent. Stirring and powerful music adds drama and tension, while beautifully detailed SFX add depth and character to each scene, from the background sounds of a Thunderhawk in flight to the claustrophobic confines of void-enclosed armour. The voice work is the highlight though, bringing great personality to each character – Cliff Chapman’s Grey Knight Justicar and Annie Aldington’s cackling crone Moriana are highlights, but the show is entirely stolen by Emma Gregory’s depiction of the haughty, intimidating Inquisitor Greyfax whose towering presence and commanding tones are just pitch perfect. Get some good headphones, close your eyes, and enjoy the story coming to life.
All the audio effects in the world wouldn’t disguise a poor story, but Gav understands how to combine the two to good effect. He keeps things moving nicely, the pace dropping a touch in the middle third but only to allow for an engaging, dialogue-heavy scene that explores Greyfax’s fundamental principles, and picking up again for a suitable finale. There’s no real sag here, just the important scenes required to tell an efficient but still entertaining story. With ties to seriously old 40k lore, a glimpse of resurrected Guilliman, and a hint of what’s going on elsewhere, this feels like a great start to the post-Gathering Storm arc.