Corsair: The Face Of The Void is an audio drama* written by James Swallow. 

This is a bit different than your typical 40k story, and yet it was quite entertaining. To sum up, a ship called The Corsair carrying a Rogue Trader, Captain Santiago, and her crew, who are chasing down a pirate ship (which at one point it is said that they are "abhumans") which is trying to reach a warp-jump point to escape. They are putting up quite a fight when it appears to disappear. When the ship reappears it seems suddenly derelict and abandoned. They board it only to discover that the ship appears to be extremely old and decayed despite not being that old (by Imperium standards anyway). They are attacked by warpghosts whom they determine were the crew who were trapped on this ship went it went through the temporal event that aged the ship. They're also attacked by a single Chaos Marine who proves to be a bit of scary, if not 2-D, kind of a chap. 

They find the cargo which is clearly xenos in origin and very likely worth a lot of money due to the reward on it.  They know per the reward stipulations that they are to bring that crate back unopened and intact. But the crate has other plans...


The cargo is Dhokar, a Necron Chronomancer (it's also called a Cryptek) held in stasis. And, with not too much effort, it escapes the stasis and begins an assault on the ship. It summons necrons to it and it starts taking over the ship. I loved this guy's dialogue: "I have no more need for you organic!" as he disintegrates a guy. "You. Will. Pay for that. Organic wretch!" he curses the Aeldari Ranger during the battle. However the Captain and her crew figure out how to defeat the necrons by ejected them into the warp by opening an airlock. "You, will not escape us, fleshborn!" he shouts while being pulled out into the abyss, where the daemonic forces wait eagerly to feed upon them.  

Narrowly escaping the warp themselves, the Corsair translates back into our reality only to find itself surrounded by an Imperial war fleet. They get the crew to stand down and the Captain and her aeldari Ranger escort go to the flagship where they are have an audience with the Tetriarch Queen Belletane herself. It was the Queen who had purchased the stasis box with the Necron inside of it. After pirates stole her good she is the one who put out the bounty for her item. Now she has tracked down the vessel that retrieved box with the intention of taking it and screwing the Corsair crew out of it's reward, only to find that they had jettisoned it in the warp. Santiago uses the threat of reporting the Tetriarch Queen to the Ordo Xenos to sort of parley with her. The Queen agrees to allow Santiago and the Corsair crew go but they are restricted to her sector. 

That was the seriously abridged summary. The audio drama itself has a lot of nuances and personality to all the characters that often distracts from the plot. 

  • Did I like it? I did. But it's kind of a hot mess. My first impression was that it reminded me of those BBC radio dramas I used to listen to. Or the Dr Who audio stories that Big Finish produces. But there is a lot of energy to this story, almost chaotically so. 
  • Was it hard to put down? This isn't a book, but the concept is that same: did I lose focus on the story? No. Being that there are different voice actors for the characters, as opposed to a a guy reading a book to you, it was a lot easier to engage and follow this story. 
  • Could I care about the characters? Some of them, yes. The Eldar Ranger in the crew is so....ELF, that it must have pained Mr Swallow to not have a dwarf in the crew for him to banter with. I did like how the other characters talk about him, referring to him as an 'it' devoid of humanity. Back to that Chaos Marine, by scary, imagine if a Chaos Space Marine were to appear on Scooby Doo. His dialogue was pretty much yells of "Enemies!" and other bellowing declarations. Icaylian the psyker was an interesting character but she seemed predictably fragile. The Enginseer with a death wish was a fun character. 
  • Did the writer truly grasp how the 'world' of the 41st millennium works in the sense that it doesn't betray or retcon previously established (as I know it) lore? Yes. This was a fun story and it felt like how a Rogue Trader RPG adventure would play out. 
  • Was I being talked down too? The way Captain Santiago talked was in a constant tone of derisive annoyance. She was annoyed by everyone and everything and seemed like nothing couldn't piss her off. Since she's essentially the main character, you couldn't help but feel a bit of her wrath. "I'll shoot you in that damned excuse for a face if you don't do your damned job Kyteal, MORE SPEED NOW!!!"  
  • How predictable is this story? The first half of the story kind of is, but the last act with the Tetriach Queen was quite different. Clearly the ending of this drama was setting up a continuity in the hopes that this would become a series. In an interview with James Swallow he stated that this was set up as basically a pilot episode to a bigger story but since this came out in 2018 (it's halfway through 2023 at the time of this writing) I'm doubtful that a sequel is forthcoming.  
  • Do I recommend this book audio drama? By no means is this a vital story, and it's probably not worth seeking out, but if you stumble upon this and want to be entertained, then yes, go for it. 

*A fancy word for "Play".