What's it about: Bernice Summerfield has never been to Moros Prime before - and it’s unlikely she’ll be rushing back. Moros is a world of diplomacy and warfare, ruled over by a variety of creeps, dandies and outright weirdoes, where cybernetic implants are the latest fashion accessory and the native humans are ethically harvested for their organs. Peter Summerfield, however, has a job to do: heading the security team at the country estate of Willem van der Heever, the effective ruler of Moros Prime. Because Van der Heever is throwing a masquerade ball – which means fancy dress, fluorescent peacocks and an almost certain attempt on his life. Van der Heever is not without his enemies… But as Bernice and Peter uncover more about his past, whose side will they end up taking?
Archaeological Adventuress: Van de Heever has been reading up on Bernice's old papers before she turned up. He believes in being thorough and knowing the people that visit his world. When she wants to go snooping she talks herself into it. Literally. The coverage that Bernice will give on the events here will be nuanced but positive and that is the only reason she is kept alive.
Dog Boy: He is many things but normal barely begins to describe him. His newfound respect and friendship with his mother is a massive plus. As much as the dissent between them provided a moment or two of decent drama, it isn't something I would have wanted to have played out long term. Plus the chemistry between Bowerman and Grant is so strong that keeping them apart was a crime. It is lovely to hear him making digs at her, laughing with her rather than working against her. Peter's presence is something of a mystery. He's been requested to make sure that security is tight for Van de Heever's party but he already has a security team in place. Why specifically request an outside to do a job that you are already paying people to do? He is allegedly the best at his job in the quadrant, which is quite high praise to live up to. Peter's half Killoran lungs give him an advantage over the others when it comes to the gas attack.
Audio Landscape: Fastening seatbelts, door opening, birds screaming and tweeting, a shuttle coming in to land, heart monitor, trickling water, ticking clock, screams, bedlam, gas hissing, choking.
Standout Scene: Did Peter die on Moros Prime during the gas attack? Why can't Bernice remember he own son anymore? Why are people suddenly being deleted from her life?
Result: 'The King is dead...long live the King.' An interesting enough story but hampered by some economic direction that never really gave Moros Prime a sense of place. Martin Day has written a clever little piece that only requires a few characters to fill in the details of an entire world, characters who go on to shirk off their masks like those at the masquerade ball and reveal their true identities and motives. It's fantastic to have a good old fashioned Benny and Peter story but the emphasis has really changed so they both have resourceful role to play in the story, working together to pick apart the mystery of Van de Heever's past. I hope that Peter makes it into the phase of Bernice's life because the chemistry between Lisa Bowerman and Thomas Grant is very believable. We have come a long way with Peter and now he has grown up and serves as a strong participant in these adventures it would be a shame to lose him. To be frank none of the other spin off ranges have been around long enough to boast this kind of development of character. The Revenant's Carnival really comes alive in its final fifteen minutes but it is a shame that until then the soundscape is so scarce and the whole piece is so reliant on the dialogue to build the world up around us. I'm not saying that is a poor approach because audio drama relies on description to create pictures but it usually works in tandem with the soundscape to create a vivid picture of where we are. Dialogue heavy scenes can be a little wearying on their own. This is not a poor story by any means; the plot is surprising and there is another bombshell ending that is starting to build a frightening picture of the future of Bernice Summerfield. A lonely future. The execution of the first half aside, this is an intelligent little tale: 7/10