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Who is your Favourite Guest Rebel?

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Audio Book Review: Chosen by Niel Bushnell


Blakes 7 - Chosen by Niel Bushnell
Produced by Xanna Eve Chown
read by Olivia Poulet

Review by Jackie Emery


Chosen is set during Series 1, following the events on Centero in Seek Locate Destroy. Blake is in search of a base, while Federation Space Commander Midrey Raithe is in search of Blake.

After sustaining damage, Liberator hangs in orbit above the planet Narak. Blake, Jenna and Vila teleport down to explore an abandoned Federation mining facility, and assess its potential as a base. But they find that the facility is not as deserted as they had assumed!

On board the Liberator, Avon and Gan have to set aside their mutual dislike in order to work together to repair the ship. Meanwhile, Cally is trapped unconscious on the flightdeck, psychically experiencing the unfolding story of a young boyís quest for knowledge on a desolate planet...

At this point in the series, the crew are still getting to know one another, each with their own back stories, personal motivations and inner demons. Like the best of Blakeís 7, the story combines fast-paced action with moments of instrospection, character interactions and snappy dialogue.

As Terry Nation used to do, author Niel Bushnell sends groups of characters in different directions, inter-cutting their adventures with mini cliffhangers between chapters. As the story progresses, the individual strands are woven together, with ingenious twists and revelations along the way. Niel has authentically captured the voices and personalities of the regular characters, and in Space Commander Midrey Raithe, he has created a marvellous antagonist; every bit as ruthless and determined as Travis in her single-minded pursuit of Blake.

In common with all stories set within the TV series canon, we are aware that however deadly the peril faced by our heroes, they will survive (until killed off by Terry Nation or Chris Boucher). However, by using the charactersí own points of view and reactions, the author provides us with an effective way to suspend disbelief. We may know that Gan isnít going to die at this point, but he doesnít!

Narrator Olivia Pouletís voice may be familiar to Big Finish fans, as she played Avalon in their full cast B7 audios The Way Ahead and Restoration, as well as co-starring as Mrs Peel in their Avengers series. In her reading of Chosen, she proves as skilled at portraying the quiet moments, as well as the excitement of fast paced action. In dialogue scenes, she provides different tones, timbres and speech patterns for the characters, with notable performances for Midrey Raithe and Anderos Marin. She captures the monotone delivery of Mutoids and computers, the gruffness of Gan, Avonís more clipped manner and Vilaís lighter tones. Itís a captivating listen.

I highly recommend Chosen, itís a terrific story. If this was a physical book (oh how I wish Big Finish would produce one!) I would describe it as a 'gripping page turner'. But this is definitely the audio equivalent.

Produced and script edited by Xanna Eve Chown, Chosen is available on download only from Big Finish.

The full range of original Blakes 7 novels, audiobooks and audio drama series from Big Finish can be found HERE.

You can read our special interview with the author here: Niel Bushnell










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