The Tranzia Rebellion Eps 1-2 by C. Z. Dunn (Audio Review)

Black Library has had a fairly strong audio range for several years, thanks in part to the excellent work done on the Horus Heresy audios. Two years back the publisher began releasing short 8-10minute audios as well, in addition to its longer range, and they too proved fairly successful. First with Big Finish and then with Heavy Entertainment, several characters and stories have been brought to audio life by the publisher, whether we talk Warhammer 40,000 or Warhammer Fantasy Battles, and it has been a truly great experience, with very few missteps along the way.

Joining the publisher’s ever-growing audio catalog is this month’s The Tranzia Rebellion radio play. Where this is now audio format differs from the usual audio dramas and audiobooks is that there is absolutely zero narration. Everything is with the characters with no narrative commentary or some such. The first two episodes, penned by C Z Dunn (formerly editor at Black Library and now working for the parent company Games Workshop) and produced by Heavy Entertainment, are really good. They are scene-setting installments of course, but still they quickly establish the characters and the story, with the voice-acting being diverse and enjoyable.

Tranzia Ep 01-02The story of The Tranzia Rebellion is that as the senior council of the Doom Eagles Space Marine Chapter arrives on their recruiting world of Tranzia to welcome a new batch of aspirants into the Chapter, rebellion breaks out, instigated by the subversive xenos of the Tau Empire. Supported by Adepta Sororitas allies on the surface of Tranzia, the Doom Eagles prepare to go to war to bring the world back into the fold of the Imperium for a third time.

As the story unfolds in these two episodes, coming in roughly at 9 minutes each, we learn that some three thousand years ago the Doom Eagles and the Adepta Sororitas of the Order of the Blazing Tears carried out a ruthless extermination on the planet, purging the Eldar xenos who had destroyed the original Imperial settlers. That sets the mood of the story, and hints at how the heroes would deal with the current rebellion. The Doom Eagles are here only on a recruiting mission, but during the aspirancy caucus, matters swiftly head downhill, and the heroes are forced to change their priorities.

C Z Dunn (the name under which Christian Dunn writes his BL stories) is great at characterisation here. Each installment gives you only a sample of what the different characters are like, what their personalities and their attitudes are like, and he doesn’t waste time on developing them too much. After all, his job here is to set the scene and get the listened hooked on so that they can follow on with the future installments. And he does exactly that here. Christian has written a fair amount of stories for Black Library, whether they be audio dramas or short stories, novellas or novels, and I’ve always been impressed with his work. It could be said that he writes a slightly different style of stories than is the norm at Black Library, and for that, I definitely commend him.

The first two episodes here don’t stand out with his usual uniqueness, more because they are the first installments than anything else, but I am most definitely intrigued. The quirks and attitudes of the Doom Eagles, not to mention those of their Sororitas allies, interest me and I want to find out more about them all. I want to find out how the Tau Empire has subverted Imperial laws and commandments on the planet in order to instigate their rebellion. I want to find out how the heroes are going to deal with the rebellion and reestablish the supremacy of the Imperium.

The episodes also provide a fair bit of mystery to the overall proceedings, largely in the first episode, because of what Magos Amanter (sp?) tells Doom Eagles Chaplain Eifadon (voiced by Chris Fairbank) about the archaeological history of the planet. What this bears for the rebellion itself, I’m not sure, but I’m very curious now!

Story-wise, if there is anything that bothers me here, it is that I’m confused about what kind of aspirants the Doom Eagles want from Tranzia. There is mention that they are here for aspirants who can progress through the Chaplaincy, the Reclusiam, but I am confused since Space Marines recruit their aspirants in a general manner and that the “specialization” comes at a later date, once they are a part of the Chapter proper and show the appropriate inclinations. The story isn’t clear on that point, and a small point it is.

The voice-acting in this audio, Black Library’s first-ever radio play, is pretty damn good. But then, that’s what you get when you have voice-actors like Chris, Jayne Wymark, Jane Collingwood, Martyn Ellis, Jonathan Keeble, Jamie Parker, Saul Reichlin and Paul Pansing (sp?) working on this. Chris, Martyn, Jonathan and Saul have worked on a number of Black Libary audios before, and I think Jane Collingwood has as well, so they are all pretty damn good, while the newcomers also turn out a good show. With so many voice-actors, that gives a great voice-range to the characters, helping them all really stand out.

And I don’t know why but the first half of the first episode, with the scene between Eifodon and Amanter (sp?), it gives me a very Star Wars-y vibe, in that it could well be a scene from Knights of the Old Republic! I know, I know, weird, but that’s how it felt like. Kind of nice. The sound effects in general are great, and the voice for Magos Amanter is pretty perfect, with the machine-like quality of the voice.

As with his previous audios, The Tranzia Rebellion Episodes 1 and 2, are a great outing for Christian. The next couple installments are written by another Black Library regular George Mann, so I’m interested to see how those fare out, particularly since none of his work has impressed me before. But, going with an open mind, willing to be impressed.

Rating: 9/10

More Space Marine Battles: Architect of Fate: Accursed Eternity, Architect of Fate, BloodspireDeathwolf, Flesh of Cretacia, Legion of the Damned, Overfiend: Shadow Captain, Overfiend: Forge Master, Rynn’s World, The Battle of the Fang, The Death of Antagonis, The Gildar Rift, The Siege of Castellax.


Posted on August 29, 2014, in Audio Review, Review Central and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

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