The Damned: Tarn Richardson
Reviewed By Steve Stred
Tarn Richardson’s The Darkest Hand Trilogy has been on my radar for some time. Book One has always intrigued me, but for whatever reason I’ve not gotten around to reading them. When Tarn joined Kendall Reviews as a reviewer, he kindly sent me the trilogy in PDF form, but alas, the files were too big to send to my Kindle. It took some time, but finally his publisher got them available on Amazon Canada so I was able to snag them from there!
The trifecta of a religious thriller, war-time saga with werewolves was right up my alley, and after diving into the prequel novella earlier this month, I couldn’t wait any longer. Side note – the free prequel novella is a fantastic read, but not a necessary read before getting into Book One.
What I liked: Poldek Tacit is one of the most intriguing main characters I’ve ever come across. An Inquisitor for the Catholic Church, The Damned follows him as he is under assessment by Sister Isabella, tasked to determine if Tacit still has his faith or if he’s fallen. This is set at the turn of the 19th Century. World War One has broken out and German Forces have forced their way into France, only to find British battalions there to engage. Unbeknownst to both sides, lycanthropes have congregated in the small town under seige, which means they now have an abundance of flesh to devour.
Tacit’s back story is fascinating and Richardson takes his time giving us bits and pieces, more and more of the how and why of Tacit’s rage.
I loved all the moving pieces and how Tarn wove it all together.
What I didn’t like: I loved this book, but at times the Catholic Church segments, felt a bit bogged down. Not in a religious sense, but in the amount of detail given. Saying that, I’ve read the ‘A Song of Ice and Fire‘ series by Martin, so still manageable!
Why you should buy this: As I mentioned, this is a historical fiction read. Tarn has done such an amazing job with how realistic the war scenes read and the political, behind-the-scenes action within the Church added another level.
As for the werewolf stuff – you all know I love my full moon friends. This is easily in my top three favorite wolf books ever. The mythology was stunning, the characters were great and Tarn pulled it all off by having all three narratives come to a worthy finale!
I simply can’t wait to jump into Book Two.
1914. The Outbreak of War
In the French City of Arras, Father Andreas is brutally murdered and the Catholic Inquisition sends its most determined and unhinged inquisitor to investigate. Poldek Tacit’s mission is to protect the Church from those who seek to undermine it. At any cost.
As Tacit arrives, British and German soldiers confront each other across the horror that is No Man’s Land and a beautiful French woman warns Lieutenant Henry Frost that there is a dark and unnatural foe lurking underground more awful than even Tacit can comprehend.
Steve Stred writes dark, bleak horror fiction.
Steve is the author of three novels, a number of novellas and four collections.
He is proud to work with the Ladies of Horror Fiction to facilitate the Annual LOHF Writers Grant.
Steve is also a voracious reader, reviewing everything he reads and submitting the majority of his reviews to be featured on Kendall Reviews.
Steve Stred is based in Edmonton, AB, Canada and lives with his wife, his son and their dog OJ.
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