In Review: Big Finish: The War Master: Solitary Confinement

I’m amazed by the dark imagination within these soundscapes.

Synopsis: In Solitary Confinement, The Drane Institute is home to the galaxy’s most criminally deranged. Their most dangerous patients are kept in active isolation for the protection of themselves and the rest of the universe.

The Master is one such convalescent. He has no memory of how he came to be there. All he knows for certain is he should be. His presence is part of a greater design.

Confiding in the institute’s staff, the Master shares stories of love, loss, madness, and glory. However, there’s still a final twist in the tale the Master’s waiting to share with his enemies.

Review: The War Master: Solitary Confinement is a wonderfully twisted box set. I spent four hours waiting for various other shoes to drop. All the while, I loved what I heard as they came down.



Big finish recorded The War Master: Solitary Confinement within the confinement of lockdown. The isolation seasoned the two-handers and small ensemble pieces perfectly.

“The Walls of Absence” by James Goss set the tone for this series. The story was lyrical, yet brutal. 

Moreover, the behind-the-scenes interviews with Derek Jacobi and Siân Phillips were worth the price alone. Listeners should hear them reminisce about ‘I, Claudius’ and reflect on recording together.

“The Long Despair” by Tim Foley centered on two men and their journey across the sea. Myths and monsters made for both grand space opera and a more intimate seafarer’s yarn.

“The Life and Loves of Mr. Alexander Bennett” by Alfie Shaw was inadvertently the most topical tale in the set. As with the previous stories, there was also an inexorable quality to the plotting.

“The Kicker” by Trevor Baxendale was a Russian nesting doll of revelations. I was honestly surprised. 

For all that, I never felt cheated. The story flowed organically throughout.



The entire cast was excellent. That said, I must give extra kudos to Derek Jacobi and two of his co-stars.

First, Jacobi and Jason Flemyng were a marvelous duo. Flemyng brought pathos and depth to his role as the Captain.

However, there are no words to adequately describe Jacobi and Siân Phillips. I’m not just saying that as an I, Claudius fan. They were objectively operating on a different level.



Thank you, Big Finish. I’m amazed by the dark imagination within these soundscapes. I can’t wait for the War Master’s further adventures.



You can purchase The War Master: Solitary Confinement here

The War Master: Solitary Confinement
  • Story
  • Performances
  • Audio Production

Raissa Devereux became a life-long genre fan at the age of four when she first saw The Wizard of Oz at a screening at Arizona State University. Years later, she graduated from A.S.U. as an English major, History minor, Whovian, and Trekkie. Now a Florida transplant, she loves the opportunity Sci-Fi Pulse has given her to further explore space travel, time travel, masked heroes, gothic castles, and good yarns.
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