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AUDIO REVIEW: Fireborn by Nick Kyme

REVIEW SUMMARY: Another thrilling, action-packed story from the audio files of the Black Library.


BRIEF SYNOPSIS: The Firedrake regimen answers a distress call from a Shrine Planet that’s home to a valuable relic.


PROS: Unapologetic military sf action; Toby Longworth’s superb performance.

CONS: The ending echoes The Fifth Element a bit too closely.

BOTTOM LINE: Another fine cinematic listening experience with lots of kick-ass military action.

It’s misleading to say that Nick Kyme’s Fireborn is standard fare in the library of Warhammer 40K audio productions because that downplays the fact that the average offering is quite good. Fireborn is no exception, serving up an interesting plot with lots of military sf action.

In Fireborn, the Firedrake regimen answers a distress call from the Shrine Planet Speluchre IV which is under attack from the deadly Red Rage faction who are looking for a valuable relic to further their evil cause. The Firedrakes must find and protect the relic at all costs. But the cost will be high as the forces of Chaos have a surprise in store for the Firedrakes: a fierce, magic-enabled battle machine known as The Demon Engine.

As the Firedrake regimen tend to their mission, the narrative follows Tsu’gan, a fierce Firedrake warrior who must control his inner rage. (The Empire apparently doesn’t subsidize anger management classes!) Doing so will be difficult because the stakes are high and the task appears to be insurmountable. As tough as the Firedrakes are, the Demon Engine is truly a weapon of awesome power and it will test their mettle to the very end. We get to see this – and I do mean “see” because like all WH40K recordings, this is very cinematic – through several intense battle sequences.

And that’s really the point of a WH40K story: unapologetic action. The plot is serviceable to that end even though, after a final revelation, it somewhat echoes The Fifth Element a bit too closely. Except for Tsu’gan, the rest of the military cast is the standard mil-sf archetype. The supporting residents of the Shrine were more distinguishable from one another. Toby Longworth, a veteran of the Warhammer 40K recordings, delivers his usual superb performance, in the end delivering a thrilling, action-packed story.

Runing Time: 78 Minutes

About John DeNardo (13013 Articles)
John DeNardo is the Managing Editor at SF Signal and a columnist at Kirkus Reviews. He also likes bagels. So there.
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