Veteran Black Library author Gav Thorpe enters the fray on the third day of Echoes of War, the new collection of five Black Library audio dramas released over the course of this week. Accept No Failure continues his work on the Dark Angels and ties in with the Space Marine Battles novel The Purging of Kadillus, following Captain Belial as he returns to Piscina IV, a planet where once before he fought the orks of Ghazghkull Mag Uruk Thraka. Shamed by his failure to stop Ghazghkull when they met in combat, he now petitions Chapter Master Azrael to wipe Piscina IV clean of orks (and at the same time everything else) with Exterminatus in order to free the Chapter to seek out the warlord and stop him for good. As he does so he looks back on his confrontation with Ghazghkull and considers the actions of his younger, more headstrong self.
The conflict that lies at the heart of the Dark Angels is a big part of their fascination, the way they’re torn between loyalty to the Imperium and the desire to expunge the shame of their past. Here Gav sheds a little light on the inner workings of the Chapter and the way they see this conflict, focusing on Belial but drawing in several of the most famous Dark Angel characters, Azrael and Asmodai playing their parts alongside a brief cameo from Ezekiel and even a mention for Sammael. This element of the story acts as a slower, more thoughtful counterpart to the retelling of Belial’s original meeting with Ghazghkull, a solid action piece which only intermittently gets into top gear. The sound work gives the ork warlord a sizeable voice, but he’s limited to the occasional (albeit rather intimidating) roar and doesn’t come to life just as much as he might. The two segments of the story are each well-told, but somehow don’t fit together quite as well as in other tales, and a further scene with Belial greeting new additions to the Deathwing, while interesting seems rather crowbarred in.
As a teaser for Gav’s wider Dark Angels writing this works well, hinting at the wider arcs of these well-known characters, as well as giving us a crowd-pleasing duel that shows a more tactical, self-aware side to the Space Marines than many, as Belial uses his wits as much as his brains to fight Ghazghkull. While not as immediate or vital-feeling as Parting of the Ways or The Glorious Tomb this is a worthwhile addition to Echoes of War and a reminder of how interesting the Dark Angels can be.
Voiced by Gareth Armstrong, Ian Brooker, Jonathan Keeble and Toby Longworth