Monday 4 November 2019

BLOG TOUR: The Damned (The Darkest Hand Trilogy Book 1) - Tarn Richardson

I'm thrilled to be opening the RedDoor Press blog tour today for The Damned by Tarn Richardson.  The Damned is book 1 in The Darkest Hand Trilogy and you can read my review below.

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.

What did I think?

Firstly, I have to say that I think the publishers have done an amazing job with the covers of the books in this trilogy.  I know we readers never judge a book by its cover but we still appreciate a thing of beauty and there's something so very eye-catching yet ominous about the beautiful cover of The Damned.

I am a huge fan of historical fiction and I do like a bit of supernatural now and again so The Damned ticked both of these boxes for me.  Set during the start of World War I, with flashbacks to the late 19th Century, the main character is a dark, brooding and mysterious Inquisitor named Poldek Tacit.  Tacit is sent to Arras to investigate the mysterious death of a priest who is brutally murdered inside his church.  Sister Isabella is simultaneously sent to Arras seemingly to assist Tacit, but with the real task of assessing his faith.  I loved the pairing of these two characters, they work so well together with Isabella's feminine wiles and Tacit's quick-wittedness.

Tacit is used to dealing with the supernatural so there isn't much that will shock or concern him, but what he encounters in Arras and Fampoux is certainly more than he bargained for.  Not only does he have to deal with a huge pack of damned souls, but there is a greater conspiracy afoot; one that plans to undermine the church on the world stage as the cathedral of Notre Dame prepares to host A Mass for Peace.  The clock is ticking and time is running out for Tacit and Isabella to prevent what is sure to be irreparable damage to the church.

With the church wielding so much power and conspiracies aplenty, I can see why The Damned would appeal to fans of Dan Brown, but the supernatural element adds something that Stephen King would wish he'd written.  It doesn't stray too much into the fantasy genre, merely dipping a toe (or a claw) into the supernatural, but it adds such an imaginative layer to the story that even purists could start to believe in the impossible.

One thing that I did struggle with slightly was the flicking back and forth through time periods over very short chapters.  One minute I was reading the story in 1914 and literally one or two minutes later I was back again in 1914 after a brief sojourn to the 1890's.  Once I got into the rhythm of the book, it didn't bother me so much but it did take a bit of getting used to and the flashbacks are imperative to understand how and why Tacit got to where he is now.

The Damned is an amazing start to The Darkest Hand Trilogy; although a very satisfyingly fully wrapped up story in its own right, it certainly left me wanting more.  Dan Brown meets Stephen King in this gripping and downright scary historical fantasy fiction novel.  It's a recommended read from me but if you're not sure whether it's your cup of tea, download the free prequel from Amazon here.

I chose to read an ARC and this is my honest and unbiased opinion.

My rating:

Buy it from Amazon

About the author:

Tarn Richardson is the author of The Darkest Hand trilogy, published by RedDoor Publishing.

Consisting of THE HUNTED (free prequel novella), THE DAMNED, THE FALLEN and THE RISEN, The Darkest Hand trilogy unleashes the flawed but brilliant Inquisitor Poldek Tacit upon a Europe engulfed by the First World War.

Having grown up in Somerset, he now lives in Salisbury with his wife, the portraiture artist Caroline Richardson.

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