QUICK REVIEW: Heart of Decay – Ben Counter

An unusual tale of a rarely-depicted chapter, Ben Counter’s short audio drama Heart of Decay sees two brothers of the Relictors interrogating a captive warrior of the Death Guard in the hope of learning his secrets. Captain Vidarna and Apothecary Achaon are keen to find out what mission the diseased warrior Urbaar had been undertaking before they interrupted it, but in order to do so they must to expose themselves to his corrupting influence. There may be a high price to pay for the knowledge they seek.

With no narration whatsoever this is told entirely through dialogue and sound effects, which is (for Black Library) an unusual but effective choice. The absence of a narrator is rarely noticeable, even with the action entirely illustrated through sound effects, and for the most part it feels entirely natural to follow the dialogue without the need for exposition. Toby Longworth and Matthew Hunt chew through Counter’s script with relish, but the stars of the show are undoubtedly John Banks’ gleeful portrayal of Urbaar, and the disgustingly brilliant sound work which brings the whole thing to gruesome life. It’s a darkly clever, faction-appropriate story, and one that could only be told in audio. Highly recommended.

Heart of Decay was released as day eleven of the 2017 Black Library Advent Calendar. Click here for the main Advent Calendar page.

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