Black Library’s Echoes of War audio drama collection continues with a Black Templar tale from Guy Haley. Where yesterday’s release, Parting of The Ways, was all about the journey a Space Marine makes to be interred in a dreadnought’s sarcophagus, The Glorious Tomb shows a little of what life is like for a Space Marine who has resided within a dreadnought for 500 years. Seeing through the eyes (well, sensorium) of Invictus Potens we’re shown the cold, stark realities of life as it is for the man who was once Brother Adelard; intense, confusing bursts of sensations and information discernible only from the long stretches of nothingness by the presence of constant pain. Adelard recognises his constraints as the pilot of a dreadnought, understands the limitations of his life as it now is, and accepts this by channelling his ever-present rage and his faith in The Emperor.
It’s a bleak existence, brought to life for the listener by Guy Haley’s strong, evocative writing and yet more excellent sound work with the machine sounds, electronic alerts and amusingly-grim motivational quotes that fill Adelard’s waking moments. He’s portrayed as being one with the dreadnought yet seeing himself as a separate presence within the confines of Invictus Potens, referring to the machine’s body and functions rather than his own. As powerful as he is while a part of the dreadnought, he’s very much aware of his physical frailty compared to the might of the steel and adamantium shell that encases him.
This tale ties in with the recent batch of stories set within the Third War for Armageddon, as Invictus Potens joins another dreadnought in leading the Black Templars’ assault on an ork Rok. It also precedes Guy Haley’s upcoming Black Templars novel, and suggests that he has a good handle on the character of this chapter of zealous, headstrong Space Marines. We get a glimpse of the Templars’ preferred way of waging war, taking the fight to the enemy where possible and committing fully to any engagement. In contrast to Parting of the Ways there’s much more of an emphasis on action here, albeit shown at a remove for Adelard, held away from the immediacy of combat as he is within the dreadnought. It’s cleverly handled and works great in the audio format, the sounds of battle fading to background noise as Adelard dwells on times past, killing almost absent-mindedly until brought back to the present by warnings from his machine shell.
Wonderfully grim and dark, surprisingly emotional at times, this is another enthralling audio release that sheds light on a less common aspect of Space Marine warfare while retaining everything that makes Warhammer 40k and the Space Marines so interesting and exciting. An excellent continuation of the Echoes of War collection, and another sign, if needed, of Guy Haley’s exciting talent.
Voiced by Gareth Armstrong, Ian Brooker, Jonathan Keeble and Toby Longworth