AUDIO REVIEW: THE LIBERATOR CHRONICLES – VOLUME 9 (BLAKE’S 7) / AUTHOR: CAVAN SCOTT, MARK WRIGHT / PUBLISHER: BIG FINISH / STARRING: PAUL DARROW, MICHAEL KEATING, STEVEN PACEY, JAN CHAPPELL, TOM CHADBON, DAVID WARNER / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW
Coming soon after Big Finish's full-cast Classic adventures with the original cast, this ninth volume in The Liberator Chronicles is a jump forward in time. Along with crew members Avon (Darrow), Cally (Chappell) and Vila (Keating) we have Del Tarrant (Steven Pacey) and another Del added to the crew, Del Grant played by Tom Chadbon.
The first story, Defector, is a two-hander for Grant and Tarrant and takes a while to get used to, as Grant is a hitherto unfamiliar narrator. The story is one of assassination and betrayal as Avon orders the two Dels to kill a traitor. There is, of course, more going on.
The next two stories are closely linked. Planetfall tells of Avon and Cally working undercover on Arcadia, a vast pleasure/casino spaceship, and waiting to make contact with a traitor to the Federation (Solvin Tarac, played by David Warner). Deceptions and surprises await as Arcadia is attacked and threatens to crash into the planet below, killing everyone. Solvin Tarac is taken aboard the Liberator and there is a twist at the end of the story that adds to an already excellent tale.
The final story, Secrets, concerns Vila, Grant and Tarac attending a secret black market arms auction. Amidst the action and betrayal, deep secrets are discussed. The ending will not be easily forgotten.
Altogether, Volume 9 is a very good release. The final two stories work very well in catering to fans, and they're wonderfully produced, directed (by Lisa Bowerman and Ken Bentley) and performed. Special mention should go to Jan Chappell who really sparkles as Cally, and also to the soundscape on Planetfall (and to a lesser extent Secrets), which is cinematic in quality.