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Audio Book Review: Lucifer Genesis by Paul Darrow

Blakes 7 – Lucifer: Genesis by Paul Darrow
Produced by Xanna Eve Chown
read by Stephen Greif

Review by M1795537 OC Virn


Have you ever done one of those 'learning styles' tests? They were fashionable among educators a few years back. Most people turn out to be 'visual', meaning they tend to think and remember best in images. Along with other assorted variations, a few of us are 'audio' types. We work best in sounds.

This means that, for me, hearing Stephen Greif read brings everything about him back so clearly. That unmistakeable voice, his gestures, personality and professionalism, even how his face moves as he speaks (the bits without the eyepatch, anyway). Hearing him read something Paul Darrow wrote adds a magical reality to the text - especially when Travis is involved. The only one of his characterisations that didn't work for me was Zen, but it's a minor niggle.

Thankfully, the story has not been abridged or adapted for the audio version. Once or twice I noticed Greif did change the odd word or emphasis as the characters took over, but there is hardly any deviation from the written text. At nearly four hours long, it's not to be undertaken lightly. The seven main sections, although they differ in length, would fit quite nicely into a week of bedtime listening.

The story in Lucifer Genesis is partly Paul's own reworking of events we know from the episodes of Blake’s 7 that we watch and re-watch, although these largely form a familiar background. There is some exploration of characters and issues within Blake's crew, but these are almost asides compared to what's happening in the main story. As with the previous books in the trilogy, the style is fast-paced, reminiscent of James Bond-type action movies. The curious anachronisms continue, such as fighters in the second calendar using shotguns and bullets, rather than blasters. They're still deadly, though.

In Genesis, we follow the paths of both Avon and Servalan from childhood to maturity and positions of influence. To begin with, the Federation is not yet all-powerful, but an emerging force among other Earth groupings. The story largely concerns the feuding and power struggles between these groups. It's not pretty, with plenty of blood and gore.

We learn about the motivation and alliances of both Avon and Servalan by seeing them grow up within these differing cultures. Their personal stories are then woven into and around the Blake’s 7 canon, highlighting how both characters are shaped by circumstances, leading to their eventual collisions.

There's a lot of scheming, betrayal and fighting going on throughout, but B7 always was about 'act first, regret at leisure later'. As a story Genesis holds together well, although it might not be what you were expecting. But then, as Paul says, "...the victor - or survivor - decides how 'history' should be written..." I won't tell you how it ends. Perhaps you can guess.

Congratulations to Big Finish on yet another job well done, and thanks to Stephen Greif for his excellent rendering of the tale. It's such an honour to have him reading for us.




Lucifer: Genesis audiobook is available to order from Big Finish Here, and in hardback and ebook formats Here.
Other novels in their B7 range can be found here: B7 Books.

Cover artwork by Anthony Lamb. Photograph of Stephen Greif by Paul Midcalf.



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