Review: Bloodspire & Deathwolf / Author: C.Z. Dunn, Andy Smilie / Publisher: Black Library / Release Date: Out Now
Bloodspire and Deathwolf are two separate and unrelated short audio dramas featuring Warhammer 40,000’s iconic heroes, the Adeptus Astartes (otherwise known as Space Marines). Each half hour long drama comes on its own disc and though both are tales of war, they’re quite different from each other.
Bloodspire is a tale of a world in which the ruling class has seen fit to rebel for their own selfish ends. The response from their masters is to send in the Blood Angels – genetically altered super-soldiers who are demigods of war in their own right. The main city of this world is too well defended, so a daring two-pronged assault is called for. The Blood Angels suffer from a curse that resembles vampirism, and of course, in the fine tradition of bad puns, one of the key characters is called Cardula. The fact that the most interesting thing about him is that his name is an anagram of Dracula is the key problem with this drama; there isn’t enough there to make these characters interesting. It’s a simple tale well told, but when compared to all the other Space Marine stories out there, it simply doesn’t stand out. However, if you need more Blood Angels action, it will certainly fit the bill.
Deathwolf, on the other hand, brings us straight into the action and is a beautifully described story of action and danger. The types of Adeptus Astartes in this drama are the Space Wolves; hairy and savage galactic Vikings who love nothing more than to hit things with power axes. The story is a simple tale of alien invasion. The monsters of the piece are evil space fey (known as Dark Eldar). Their main reason for invading is to abduct, torture and tear out the souls of their victims. The Space Wolves are here to stop them, and the centrepiece of this short drama is a battle between the Space Wolf hero and an evil witch queen. It’s a vivid, atmospheric piece, evocative of Robert E. Howard in places. It features some nice special effects and the horror of the Dark Eldar works very nicely when compared to the savagery of their foes.
The set is a little pricey for an hour’s worth of entertainment, but is produced to a high standard and very well performed.