Survivors: Ghosts and Demons

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Updated: January 09 2022 20:19


Survivors audio dramas from Big Finish

Survival has become an even more pressing challenge for those living at The Grange. But those living there will soon face threats that could spell the community's complete devastation

Survivors - Big Finish - Ghosts and Demons

 

SUMMARY Audiobook

AS THE DEATH begins to overwhelm the country, the efforts of the authorities to hold the line against public unrest and panic begins to buckle. Young soldier James is horrified by the carnage and violence that results. Months later, at The Grange, Greg Preston remains distressed by the consequences of the recent petrol tanker theft in which he felt compelled to shoot dead the leader of the trio of robbers. Wanting to keep his distance from both Abby Grant and his partner Jenny Richards, Greg heads off to repair the stricken tanker that Vic Thatcher has been guarding. Needing additional supplies, he heads off alone on a scavenger hunt. James has wanted to keep away from human contact, but whilst living alone he has begun to observe a small settlement from afar, plaintively aware that he feels unable to join a proto-family that he nicknames The Waltons. After her reunion with Vic, Anne Tranter has set her sights on a comfortable new life. Having sought shelter at an isolated stately home, begins to manipulate her way into a position of influence and control. Tommy, the brutal and callous leader of a gang of wild young brigands and thugs, has no such subtlety in his methods. His rapacious gang ransack and wreck every place that they stay, taking whatever they want without compunction. Yet when two of the group decide to sneak away from Tommy's rule and head out on their own, they trigger a series of unintended consequences. Outcomes that will end in disaster for many of those caught up in a network of connections between different survivors whose stories begin to intersect. Eventually, a series of fateful decisions will lead to a life-or-death showdown back at The Grange, the outcome of which will prove devastating for some of those who had staked their future on ownership of this most prized of estates...

COMMENTARY

WHAT MAKES THE thrilling, multi-story drama of new Survivors audiobook Ghosts and Demons all the more impressive is the realisation that this is the first time that author Ethan Milsea has written material set in Terry Nation's 1970s' post-apocalyptic Britain. Milsea's evocative and fluent prose stitches the action and adventure of Ghost and Demons into the established Survivors's canon with an assuredness that would be the envy of any writer.

Carolyn Seymour is an accomplished and experienced audiobook narrator, who's work on the audiobook version of Terry Nation's Survivors novel (release by Big Finish back in 2014) was exemplary. In Ghosts and Demons she again brings richness, emotional depth and narrative clarity to the intricacies of what's a satisfyingly complex story. Seymour's range of accents and vocal tones brings colour and texture throughout, heightening the impact of Milsea's punchy prose during the book's many tense confrontations.

Fitting into the timeline between the first TV series' episodes Something of Value and A Beginning, Milsea draws deftly on story threads from before and after the establishment of The Grange settlement. Milsea also crafts a rounded sense of the nature of the main series one characters, and is able to reflect and articulate the personalities of Abby, Greg, Jenny and Vic in ways that feel authentic and recognisable.

What works particularly well is that all of these Grange residents undergo their own character development during the drama of Ghosts and Demons - whether that's explored through an inner-monologue or in reaction to the different threats and challenges that confront the survivors during the story.

These personal journeys develop out of experiences established in the TV series

Each of these personal journeys develop out of experiences that are already firmly established in the TV series' timeline. Between the shocking ending of Something of Value and series finale A Beginning, Greg's palpable distress at shooting Buckmaster dead at the petrol tanker crash-site had taken place to Greg's innate stoicism.

Ghosts and Demons explores Greg's response to the trauma stress of killing Buckmaster to protect the community's invaluable petrol supplies. It's something that shakes him to the core, and leads him to question his commitment to The Grange, his loyalty to Abby and his relationship with Jenny. It returns Greg to the kind of reserved and distant state he had reverted to in Genesis before he met Jenny, Anne and Abby. As devised by Terry Nation, Greg Preston is not an emotionally articulate figure, but Milsea is able to depict his inner turmoil in ways that do not comprise Greg's gruff public persona.

The new perils that threaten the settlement in this story compel Greg to re-evaluate his sense of self and make decisive choices. Jenny and Abby both rise to the challenge of confronting new threats against them and their community with results that reinforces their self-belief. Chastened and reinvigorated by his reunion with Anne Tranter in Revenge Vic's determination to demonstrate his ability to share the community's burdens comes to the fore. And Anne herself makes a memorable return in a storyline which sees her callous self-serving instincts as much in evidence as ever.

Milsea uses the space provided by the format of a novel to give the new 'guest' characters space to breathe and become three-dimensional.

Tommy is a properly terrifying villain with a complete lack of moral scruples

Especially effective are the young and discomforted ex-soldier James, whose anxieties about making connections with other survivors leads to devastating unintended consequences, and Tommy, the undisputed leader of a gang of young tearaways and hoodlums. Tommy is a properly terrifying villain, whose rapacious appetites and complete lack of moral scruples leads to calamity and death for so many of those unfortunate enough to encounter his crew.

There is more visceral brutality and bloodshed in Ghosts and Demons than was the standard on the TV series, but it's nowhere near as dark as the violence seen in the main audio series's stories such as The Hunted or Savages. Here the nastiness is not gratuitous but essential to portraying the seriousness of the threat that Tommy's gang represents. These harrowing scenes are also balanced by insightful reflections on the individual and collective experience of the survivors which populate the novel.

Ghosts and Demons is a fantastic addition to the audio literature of Survivors. Author Ethan Milsea uses the cautionary tale of the predatory Tommy as a means to explore the different fears and nightmares that haunt those who have experienced the trauma of The Death and survived. This story, which locks itself in to the first TV series' timeline, delivers admirably on what can often be an elusive ambition: to be both in-keeping with the existing dramatic terrain and to break open new and fertile ground. Future Survivors audiobooks of this calibre would be eagerly anticipated.

REVIEW QUOTES

GHOSTS AND DEMONS is an excellent Survivors story, full-bloodied and not for the faint of heart. It may be Ethan Milsea's debut novel for Big Finish, but on the strength of this I hope he will be asked back for more
Ian McArdell, IndieMacUser

AUDIO EXTRACT

 

big-finish · Ghosts And Demons (excerpt)

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Latest updates

 

Review of Crusade audiobook added

Added: 21 June 2022

 

New Dawn 2 reviews added

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New Dawn 1 and Ghosts and Demons reviews added

Added: 03 January 2022

 

Series nine reviews added

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Links

Original TV series (1975-1977)
Survivors remake (2008-2010)