Nathaniel Garro, James Swallow’s hero from the Warhammer 40K novel The Flight of the Eisenstein, returns in the audio presentation of Swallow’s story Garrro: Oath of Moment. Here, Garro, the last of the Death Guard Space Marine Legion to retain loyalty to the Emperor, is given an important mission by Malcador the Sigillite, confidant of the Emperor himself. This mission takes him to the planet Calth to meet up with the 21st company of the Ultramarines, led by Captain Gaius. Gaius’s company of Ultramarines (which includes Tylos Rubio, a Psyker who renounces his psychic abilities under the Emperor’s edict) is embroiled in battle and Garro, naturally, fits right in while advancing his own cause.
Fans of Warhammer 40K‘s Horus Heresy series will like that Oath of Moment has its fair share of renegades. Not only are there Word Bearers (which should mean something to fans, I suppose, though it is lost on me), but also the cultists that they enlist to fight alongside them. Throw in some nasty war beasts and a dastardly war machine, and you have the ingredients for some compelling action scenes, which Swallow utilizes to the fullest. Although some of the non-battle scenes seem to halt the intoxicatingly feverish pace for longer than they need to, Swallow raises it up a notch by introducing some thought-provoking conflicts involving Imperial loyalty and sworn duty, particularly in the third act when Garro’s true goal is (not surprisingly) revealed.
I’ve been listening to Warhammer audiobooks for about a year now, and I pretty much know what to expect. But expectations do not preclude enjoyment and Oath of Moment is every bit as enjoyable as the others I’ve listened to. This is due to two factors. First, Swallow’s story is a good one. Besides the requisite military action, there are quite a few moments of world building and characterization. Second, Toby Longworth’s vocal performance is superb – consistently superb. I can’t imagine Warhammer 40K audio without him at this point. His delivery is spot on, and his voices different enough to tell who is speaking. Taken together, this is another title in an impressive line of audiobooks with high production value.