The War Master, Volumes 9 & 10

I’m currently playing catch-up with one of my favourite ranges - ‘The War Master’ - by listening to his two most recent sets.

Was wondering what the general consensus is on ‘Solitary Confinement’ and ‘Rogue Encounters’?

Is the Bilis story as good as people say it is?


I looove the War Master range, but to be honest I much prefered SC to RE - I like the War Master boxsets best when he’s more of a background character, pulling the strings and performing little schemes for the hell of it. And SC gave me plenty of that so I was happy.

If I’m honest, I found RE a little underwhelming. Perhaps not being that familiar wirh Bilis didn’t help, but looking at my ratings for that set now, I did rate the Bilis story highest and can barely remember the other three.

But both are worth a listen, I’d say, and if you’re more familiar with Bilis you’ll probably get more out of it than I did.


Having finished the first episode and currently listening to ‘The Long Despair’, this set does remind me a little of ‘The Master of Callous’ - the Master manipulating events like master puppeteer.

Suggestion: give ‘Deadbeat Escape’ a listen. Quite honestly one of the finest things James Goss has ever written. Incredibly dark and just harrowing.


Seconding the suggestion of Deadbeat Escape


I’m going to echo that, because I felt very much the same. Loved SC, especially the Walls of Absence and the Long Despair—a character piece and a fantasy that both captured my imagination! I enjoyed RE, but I found it more bog-standard War Master really. (Of course, bog-standard War Master is still very good!) I couldn’t help wanting more from the Sublime Porte—the ending was an interesting use of both characters but the opening was far too drawn out in my opinion. Needed more of the Master actually finding affection for the planet and its people than of him running scared from Bilis to make the ending land. Still an enjoyable boxset, but SC was a cut above for me.

Quite looking forward to the next boxset, though, as it’s Scott Handcock’s last contribution to the range. Excited to learn what the premise will be!


Still struggling to accept that Scott Handcock has left BigFinish.

The production team of Goss/Handcock always produce absolute bangers - which is why ‘The War Master’ and Torchwood ranges are some of my favourites.

I’m sure I read somewhere that Robert Valentine is supposed to be taking over the range following the next set.

I’ve heard some theories that each episode will feature a future incarnation of the Master, and that it would act as a back-door pilot for the new Spy Master range.

So an episode with the Saxon Master, Missy, the Lumiat and the Spy Master.

Highly doubt this theory though: John Simm hasn’t done anything since Masterful.


Me too… he’s a powerhouse of a producer!

Probably the best person for the job—although I didn’t enjoy the second Master! boxset (the only thing he’s produced I’ve heard) very much, he’s always full of ideas and seems to be ready to draw new writers in to BF. In any case, I’ll certainly be listening!


Master of Callous was actually the first WM set I listened to! I was lured in by the promise of Narvin even though he’s only in it for two seconds :smiling_face_with_tear: but I actually enjoyed it so much I went back and listened to the whole range. I love WM when it’s just a bit chilling and horrible.

I know!! It’s such a loss, he was so solid and a writer and producer, we’re going to miss him a lot.

Okay, intrigued - I love dark and harrowing :skull: Do I need to know anything in particular beyond base Torchwood knowledge, which I do have?


Nope, most of the monthlies are standalone anyway, and the Bilis ones especially are

Plus it’s the first Bilis monthly, so even if some could be better with a bit more context, it’s easy to jump in on

EDIT: Actually I think it slightly ties in with the ongoing plot about The Committee that the monthlies had going on at the start, but you definitely don’t need any context about them for it iirc

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I third the suggestion of Deadbeat Escape, Bilis Manger my beloved. Murray Melvin will be dearly missed


To be honest, I haven’t seen anyone that enjoyed ‘Nemesis Express!’ - it was incredibly boring.


I second what @JayPea said. The majority of the Monthly Range is standalone, the Bilis ones especially.

Yeah, the Committee Arc is a strange one. I’d say that knowledge is only really necessary if you planned on listenin to ‘God Among Us’.


Or Torchwood Archives, but yeah, agreed


I’m about move onto the last episode of ‘Solitary Confinement’ now… honestly, not been my favourite set.

Started incredibly strongly, but sorta just fell apart from there for me.

#9.01. The Wall of Absence ~ 10/10
#9.02. The Long Despair ~ 7/10
#9.03. The Life and Loves of Mr Alexander Bennett ~ 4/10


Interesting! I don’t think I rated any episode less than 4/5, and though my memory of them is a bit hazy now, I do remember having fun. Excited to read a more full write up of your thoughts at some point though. What was it about episode 3 that didn’t work for you?

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The Master gaslights some poor innocent until they do his bidding.

That’s basically what the plot boils down to, and it has been done before at least three times:

  • 6.02. A Quiet Night In
  • 6.03. The Orphan
  • 9.01. The Walls of Absence

In comparrison, ‘The Life and Loves of Alexander Bennet’ is nowhere near as good execution wise.

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Actually, I screenshotted the conclusion from my review of the third episode, which basically sums up my thoughts.

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Yeah fair - I enjoy the gaslighting eps, and it probably helps that I listened to those s6 ones ages and ages ago so they’re pretty distant in my memory. I think too it helped that I listened to SC almost immediately after Self-Defense which was a boxset i found to be pretty mid tbh. But I totally see where you’re coming from, and I enjoy your eloquence in the review :blush:

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Weren’t the first two of Rage of the Time Lords also kind of this as well


I recently finished The Orphan and yeah, it and A Quiet Night In both sort of disappointed me

Both still 7/10, don’t get me wrong, but when you’re using two companions with histories with the master, you kind of want them to interact with the master

Sure they do on paper, but neither know they are for 90% of the runtime and thats’ a real shame imo