Bernice Summerfield
The Judas Gift

Starring: Lisa Bowerman
Big Finish Productions
RRP: 10.99
ISBN: 978 1 84435 273 9
Available 30 April 2007

The Braxiatel Collection: once it was a home, a haven, one of the 800 Wonders of the Universe. Not any more. Draconia and the Mim are at war. Hundreds of planets, space stations and habitats are caught in the crossfire, including the Collection. Its future hangs in the balance as Bernice tries to fathom the motives of the new Draconian ambassador. Meanwhile, Director Bev Tarrant must use every trick she knows if the planetoid KS-159 is to survive. She's been a smuggler, a killer and a thief, but that's all behind her now... isn't it? Be sure your sins will find you out - especially when you accept the Judas Gift...

There's been a lot of talk in this series lately about the devastating space war between the Draconians and the Mim, but precious few incidents to actually substantiate it. Yes, I know, this is audio drama, so it's all talk anyway (plus sound effects and music) but you know what I mean. Even the previous episode, The Tub Full of Cats, in which our heroes had to run a Mim blockade, was more concerned with a spaced-out trip through a bizarre dimension than it was with any actual space battles or political intrigue.

The Judas Gift redresses the balance significantly, offering intrigue and plot twists a-plenty - as you might expect with a new Draconian ambassador, Kothar (Michael Fenner), on the scene. I was about to criticise Fenner for the lack of traditional Draconian sibilance in his voice, but that turns out to be plot point too. Without wanting to give too much away, things may never be the same while Kothar is around.

Writer Nick Wallace also picks up various plotlines that were set in motion during the short-story anthology Collected Works, which he himself edited. These include Bev Tarrant's (Louise Faulkner) year in charge of the Collection, the dimensional instabilities that resulted from Braxiatel (Miles Richardson) merging his time ship with the planetoid, and how Bev feels now that Brax is back - supposedly only temporarily, just long enough to sort out the spatio-temporal weirdness and then sod off again. I did say "supposedly"...

All in all, this is a nice little gift from the folks at the Big Finish Collection.

Richard McGinlay

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