Reviewed by Murray Smith.
This work is the result of its author's inspiration by the two BBC B7 radio plays, which she 'didn't like' very much, an opinion I share, particularly regarding the second. This inspiration was quite effective, the resulting work being far superior. It is set in the fourth season, when Orac intercepts a Federation message confirming its willingness to buy a new teleport system developed by a Zebulon Probert for a neutral corporation. Determined that the Federation should not gain such technology, Avon decides that he and his crew will kill Probert and destroy the machine.
Unknown to them, Probert is a disguised Blake. We are also introduced to Deva, his second-in-command in Blake, who has discovered Blake's secret and wants to join his cause. Blake is very well portrayed, already exhibiting signs of the exhaustion that would become obvious by Blake, the result of years of fighting and hiding:
DEVA: If you don't think you can achieve anything, why keep on fighting?
BLAKE: (passionately) How can I not? (apologetic) Sorry. I get carried away sometimes. It's so rare to find someone who cares, these days.
There is a well-written sense of desperation in the work about Avon's plans to kill Probert and destroy his invention, even if it means killing everyone on a neutral station:
AVON: We're not here to play games. If the Federation get the teleport then we're dead in the water.
Later, when a character accidentally kills some Federation troopers - to the indignation of another - Avon observes that 'We all have blood on our hands'. This is all very much in keeping with the tone of the fourth season.
The main characters are all well portrayed - Tarrant being a pleasant surprise to someone who doesn't like him a lot - the dialogue being good and witty. There is a lot of nice background information, and the full story - which I shall not reveal - is very convincing.
In short, the play was far superior to the two BBC ones, and far cheaper, being well worth the sum I paid for it. As a result, I have no hesitation in recommending that my fellow fans acquire a copy as soon as possible.
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Last updated on 17th of March 2000.