Blood In The Machine by Andy Smillie

This is an audio drama from The Black Library. I’ve seen Andy Smillie at a couple of events and he has such a relaxed and easy going manner that it can be quite difficult to picture him as the author of the rage filled Flesh Tearers stories. I like listening to audio dramas and audio books as I walk to work as I find them quite relaxing. This is a little different though. I found myself walking at a punishing pace despite the unseasonably hot weather. There is a pacing to this story that seems to be amplified as an audio drama and I found myself being pushed along faster and faster as Seth’s rage increased.

I don’t think I’ve ever listened to an kind of play or or movie where the opening line is the gurgling of a dying man. That pretty much sets the tone. I absolutely adore the way that Andy Smillie portrays the Flesh Tearers. The barely controlled rage always comes across through the immense frustration of the Space Marines any time they are not in combat. They are all bonkers and it is only a matter of time before they succumb to The Rage. This makes them an embodiment of the empire of man and their slow fall from grace. Fighting for survival and to maintain the status quo is not ideal but sometimes it is all that there is.

The story takes place on Armageddon and so there is a lot of Orks for Seth and his Chapter to vent their rage upon. He is not very impressed to be pulled out of the fray to fulfill a seemingly pointless mission with a cold and emotionless Inquisitor. Things do not go well for the Flesh Tearers and I for one would not want to be anywhere near the rage of an Angel of Death. My favourite part of this story is the meeting between Seth and Tycho. The gleam in Tycho’s eye and Seth’s silent acknowledgement of what that means is a great touch and something for all fans of the Sons of Sanguinius.  This is thoroughly enjoyable audio drama that I’d recommend to any 40k fans.

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