By Scott Harrison
Big Finish, out now
Blake is determined to get to the bottom of Project Archangel…
Set immediately after Gan’s death during Series B, this sees the Liberator crew a little uncertain about why they’re still banding together. Risks have always come with the territory – no matter how much Vila might want to ignore the fact – but losing one of their own has hammered the point home, and they need something to focus on to remain as a group.
As they start to uncover the truth behind Archangel, side chapters chronicle the growth of the project, and illuminate the devious way in which the Federation works. Where the main plotline is written in straightforward tense prose, these add-ons experiment with various different forms, which breaks up the pace.
The hallmark of the Big Finish B7 stories is their attention to characterisation (something that hasn’t really been a feature of previous forays into the original B7 universe – some of the stories in the annuals were probably closer to the characters than the official “continuations”). Archangel continues this – you can clearly hear Thomas, Darrow, Keating et al saying the lines, and it fits within its place in the canon as far as the relationship between the characters is concerned.
There’s also a horror element added in: it’s safe to say that this story pushes the envelope of what would have been transmitted at 7.20 p.m. Harrison builds the atmosphere around the recipients of Project Archangel so that the final act is very powerful.
My only reservation about the novel is the epilogue – it ties off a loose end, sure, but actually, the story doesn’t really need that.
Verdict: Another enjoyable addition to the Blake’s 7 story. 7/10