Of three scheduled Blake’s 7 releases for March from Big Finish, Lucifer Revelation is, perhaps, the most niche. It is a six disc reading by Paul Darrow (who played Avon) of his novel, the second in what is soon due to be a trilogy of tales telling us some of what happened to Avon long after the TV series came to an end.
Although part of a trilogy, the story stands-alone for the most part and new listeners need not be concerned they might not follow events. In fact little of the story even depends on extensive knowledge of the TV show at all. All you need to know is this is an older Avon trying to survive the machinations of various groups as he and the irritable super-computer Orac careen around the galaxy pursued by the Quartet (the successor to the Federation), the Empire of Cathy, various criminals and even some aliens.
In terms of story, this Avon is much evolved from the criminal rebel he once was; now he is much older but also much more the man of action. Murder and betrayal come easy to him and he is at times more like an evil James Bond than a criminal on the run. He survives a series of increasingly dangerous ambushes through guile and a willingness to kill.
It’s not all action and bloodshed; the various parties playing politics have their own machinations and as the story progresses the focus moves from group to group with an ever rising body count amid the betrayals and assassinations. There are no heroes in this story, just survivors.
Avon may have evolved but so has Orac, at times the computer has more emotional range than Avon and has a few more tricks up his electronic sleeves than were evident in the past.
As an audiobook (with the odd sound effect) this is easy listening. Paul Darrow’s distinctive voice isn’t wasted with impressions of various characters but used to tell Avon’s story. There is even some humour – in the absence of Vila a new comedy character appears, George the computer. This may not leap off the printed page, but when narrated there is enough character injected into George to bring some emotion to Avon’s relationship with it. Lisa Bowerman’s hand as director is at work here.
As fiction this might not be the most demanding of story, and it is hard to imagine many casual listeners but for fans of Blake’s 7 there should be enough interest to make this worth picking up. If they do they will be rewarded with around five hours entertainment and will no doubt look forward to the third, and final, instalment.
Enjoy the rich tones of Paul Darrow reading Luficer: Revelation today – purchase the CD collection for £25 or download for £20, direct from Big Finish.