Review – Garro: Sword of Truth by James Swallow

Nathaniel Garro, knight errant and agent of the Sigillite, returns from the battlefields of Calth to find a new mission already waiting for him – a ragged fleet of Space Marines from several Legions lingers at the edge of the Terran system. With the presence of World Eaters and Emperor’s Children causing concern among the loyalist defenders and drawing a grim parallel with his own frantic flight, Garro must look beneath the obvious if he is to determine friend from foe...

If you have enjoyed the previous Audio Drama entries for Garro (Garro: Legion of One, Garro: Oath of Moment) you are in for a real treat with Garro: Sword of Truth. Strung across two CD's the story is about 140 minutes in the telling.

I have been a fan of these tales from the outset as Garro, previously of The Death Guard, fled the atrocities at Istvaan 3 and sought to bring word of Horus' betrayal to The Emperor. I was a fan of this character in the early days of The Horus Heresy Novels, and I have continued to enjoy his further adventures, brought to life in the Audio Dramas.

However, Sword of Truth is by far the best tale of this Hero of The Imperium so far!

We are, as many of you now know, seeing the early days of what appears to be the construction of The Grey Knights. Garro and the other members of the Legiones Astartes that he has recruited, wear advanced dull grey armour only accented with the Sigillites symbol, a stylized "I".

As The Black Library has come out with more of these Audio Dramas, they have really begun to see what works and what doesn't work. Even the best of them is limited in its scope and in the number of twists and turns the story can take, simply because of the short length of time in which to tell it. Going with the two CD set, in particular in this case, allows a deeper level of story telling and involvement.

With the additional time of the second CD, this gives James Swallow time to ramp up the tension and really delve into the thoughts of not only Garro, but also Ruvio, his first recruit and now a sanctioned Psyker working under the direction of The Sigillite. Listening to the interaction between all the players and seeing how the various Legions discuss and argue about the betrayal of Horus is extremely compelling.

We are also introduced to Koraran (sp), a warrior of the Legios Custodes, whose ultimate loyalty to the safety of The Emperor drives a wedge between each of the protagonists of this story. And while I find his singular purpose to be extremely frustrating, by the end of the story I could clearly see that in some ways, his concerns and evaluation of the situation are well founded.

This story in particular involves a tremendous amount of dialogue and discussion with not as much action as is typical of previous Audio Dramas. That's not to say there isn't any though! I found that even though I had already picked out the "twist" in the story and saw it coming, I was still impressed with not only how the tale was laid out, but what the motivations of each of the characters, both heroes and villains were.

With the onset of the galactic civil war, and the inevitability of Horus' march towards Terra, how does one tell friend from foe? When brother has turned against brother, how do you tell where ones loyalties lie? Garro will find out the answers to these questions at edge of The Terran solar system.

Quite simply this is one of the best audio dramas I have heard to date. For me it ranks right up there with Thorn and Talon by Dan Abnett, which until now had been my favorite.

Do not miss this one!

Garro: Sword of Truth by James Swallow, releases this December from Black Library and Big Finish.

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