"The human race is locked in deadly combat with the 'Android Hordes' in the Orion System. Light years from the front line, the Doctor and Charley arrive to sample the dubious delights of a galactic backwater, little suspecting that the consequences of the Orion War might reach them there. But High Command's lust for victory knows no bounds.
"Trapped aboard a mysterious, derelict star destroyer, the Doctor and Charley find themselves facing summary execution. But this is only the beginning of their troubles. The real danger has yet to awaken.
"Until, somewhere in the dark recesses of the Garazone System, the Cybermen receive the signal for reactivation..."
There is no doubt in my mind that Nicholas Briggs' Sword of Orion is a much better outing for Paul McGann's Doctor than the disappointing Storm Warning, which suffered from a terribly saggy third episode. Sword of Orion, by contrast, starts slowly but builds up into a satisfyingly animated finale without losing any momentum along the way. There's also just the right level of pathos in the brief closing scene.
Populated by a larger ensemble cast than many Big Finish stories, it's sometimes difficult to work out who is who among the crew of the salvage vessel on which the story is partly set. But that doesn't really matter, as the really important characters (the Doctor, Charley and Michelle Livingstone's cool-edged performance as Captain Deeva Jansen) stand out and out are recogniseable. Also putting in a good showing is Bruce Montague as the gruff and mutinous Grash, but the rest of the supporting characters are more forgettable.
The mysterious star destroyer is a creepy setting even though we can't see it. The atmosphere is conjured up well by the score and the use of subtle echo effect on the characters' voices. The script handles events pretty well too, making it clear what is happening without too often resorting to blatant exposition.
When the Cybermen finally put in an appearance, the voices are immediately recogniseable as the Cybermen we saw in the 1980s. It's a bit odd, perhaps, as the story takes place in a similar time frame to The Tomb of the Cybermen in which the voices were very different, but who's splitting hairs?
Overall a decent adventure, although it doesn't exactly follow up the ongoing storyline hinted at by the events of Storm Warning.