AUDIO REVIEW: The Terra Nostra

Rating: 4 out of 5.
  • A Big Finish production
  • Full cast, including Michael Keating, Sally Knyvette, Abigail Hinton, and Karl Howman
  • Written by James Kettle, Peter Anghelides, and Robert Valentine
  • Approximately 3 hours
  • Released in December 2021

In a Federation rife with corruption, there are few groups as insidious as the Terra Nostra. Weapons, drugs, lives. There is nothing in which they will not deal. And when it comes to the crew of the Liberator, the Terra Nostra have old scores to settle . . .

Sinister criminal organisations are a staple of science fiction. Star Wars has the Black Sun (among many others), Star Trek has the Orion Syndicate and the Emerald Chain. And Blake’s 7 has the Terra Nostra. When we saw them on screen, they were trading in shadow, a rather nasty drug that gave them sway over entire cities. The boxset of audio dramas that shares their name takes us deeper than before into the inner workings of the Terra Nostra, with more than a few familiar faces. And not just the ones you’re expecting.

Battles between good and evil grow tiresome after a while, and the moral greyness of Blake’s 7 was always a big draw for me. It should then come as no surprise that The Terra Nostra is their strongest boxset to date. It’s a great dive into that murkier side of the universe where allegiances shift like sand, and you’re never quite sure if you can trust anyone. The Terra Nostra is full of larger-than-life characters, best shown by Robert Valentine’s ‘Entrapment,’ which throws Vila Restal into the middle of a classic heist scenario. It’s backstabbing criminals galore as the rogues’ gallery try to one-up each other. And that’s what sets this boxset apart from some of Big Finish’s other offerings – It has a real sense of fun about itself. Blake’s 7 had great drama, but it also wasn’t afraid to have a sense of humour. The Terra Nostra is the closest non-Liberator story to the feel of the original series.

As usual, the voice cast is phenomenal. Michael Keating continues to be stellar in his recreation of Vila’s unique mix of charm and cowardice. Sally Knyvette is on her usual top form – the brief post-Blake reunion between the two is a nice touch. But the unsung hero of the Worlds of Blake’s 7 is Abigail Thaw as the elusive and manipulative Hinton. If ever an antagonist were to steal Servalan’s throne, it ought to be Hinton. I have a suspicion Hinton’s role may be building up to something larger down the line. If so, I am one hundred percent here for it.

The Terra Nostra is the best Big Finish Blake’s 7 boxset I’ve listened to so far, and bodes very well for the future of the range. If you want more audio space opera in your life, then you absolutely need to start listening.

Published by Alex Hormann

I'm a writer, reader, and farmer, with an interest in all things speculative.

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