Tarn Richardson's The Risen was published in May 2017.

Information about Tarn Richardson:

Tarn Richardson is the author of The Darkest Hand trilogy, published by Duckworth Overlook in Europe and Australia, and Overlook Press in the US and Canada.

Consisting of The Hunted (free prequel novella), The Damned (2015), The Fallen (2016) and The Risen (2017), The Darkest Hand trilogy unleashes the flawed but brilliant Inquisitor Poldek Tacit upon a Europe engulfed by the First World War. The Damned was one of the book depository's 'Books of 2015'.

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

Click here to visit his official website.

Information about The Risen:

1917. As war and revolution consume the world, the End Times have arrived. With the apocalypse imminent, the world needs a hero to push back this tide of darkness and save all from the return of the Antichrist. But where is Poldek Tacit, the only Inquisitor able to compete against such daunting odds? Old allies unite in a desperate race to unmask and stop the Antichrist before he can assume dominion over all lands and nations, while the Darkest Hand squeezes any remaining hope from those who wish to find an end to the war which has already claimed countless lives. The final chapter in The Darkest Hand trilogy serves up a fitting, fast-paced and action-packed finale to this epic work of dark fiction, where long-buried secrets within the vaults of the Vatican are unveiled and mankind's hopes of redemption from the forces of evil hang by a single, precarious thread.

A REVIEW OF TARN RICHARDSON'S THE RISEN

Note: This review is not merely a review about The Risen, but also a thoughtful reflection upon the whole trilogy. I'll do my best to avoid major spoilers in this review.

Let me start this review by saying what a pleasure it has been to read all of the novels in The Darkest Hand Trilogy. This amazing trilogy has turned out to be one of the best horror-fantasy series I've ever had the pleasure of reading, because it's something different and extremely well written. The author's way of combining various elements impressed me very much.

Tarn Richardson's The Risen is the third and final novel in The Darkest Hand Trilogy. The Risen concludes the trilogy in an outstanding way and delivers a wholly satisfying and gripping ending that will please everybody who has read the previous novels. I have nothing but praise for this novel, because it's perfect in every regard and the culmination of the story is stunningly good.

The Damned and The Fallen wonderfully paved the way for the events in The Risen, because The Damned introduced the characters to readers and The Fallen continued to bring more depth and action to the storyline. Now, The Risen delivers the rest of the goods and surprises readers with its story. The complex and strong story arc is brought to a satisfying end in this novel.

I can't help but be amazed at how much time and effort Tarn Richardson has put into this trilogy. He has clearly spent time researching historical details, because everything feels as authentic as possible. He has also invested a lot of time into characterisation and has made sure that the characters are intriguing and well-portrayed.

This trilogy has an epic scope, because the happenings range from fighting against werewolves to the horrors of the First World War and everything culminates to the coming of Antichrist. The happenings become increasingly complex and fascinating as the story unfolds towards the ending, and the large cast of characters adds complexity to the story arc.

With this novel being the final novel in the trilogy, everything is tied together in a brilliant way. The author pulls together several subplots, threads and unanswered questions from the previous novels and delivers a thrilling ending.

Here's a bit of information about how the story begins in this novel:

In the prologue, the events take place on the Adriatic Sea in 1915. A rotting corpse is pulled out of the sea by crew members of a small coastal battleship. Soon the corpse shudders and groans... In Uzhok, Ukraine, Igor is fleeing down the forest road from a thing that pursues him. He is trying to get to the church so that he might stand a chance against his pursuer. When he arrives at church, he announces that he has seen Poldek Tacit who is supposed to be dead... Isabella, Henry and Sandrine hear that Poré is collecting the word of Archangel Michael. Poré's men have burnt down churches as they've searched for things so that nobody can use the word of Michael against them... In Venice, the Inquisitors dig up a body of an Inquisitor that has been buried in a wooden casket. The head Inquisitor recites a spell and the body comes to life so that a question can be asked. He asks if Tacit is alive and receives a positive answer... In the Carpathian Mountains in Romania, Poré and the wolves who have flocked to his banner are travelling towards the final church that he needs to reach. He knows that he has a destiny to stop the Antichrist from returning to the world. He wears the pelt of Frederick Prideux and is imbued with strength and prowess... In the Vatican City, the Seers - the Catholic Sisters blessed with the skill of second sight - wail and cry. They understand that the Apocalypse is coming and it is nigh...

This is all I'll reveal about the story, because I don't want to write any major spoilers. I'll only mention that this is the beginning of an excellent and highly enjoyable story, the culmination of which is worth waiting for.

The characterisation is once again excellent. I am honestly amazed at the author's ability to create fascinating characters and his enthusiasm to write convincingly about their deeds and lives. The major characters are fully fleshed-out and the minor characters are intriguing. The struggles the characters go through and the choices they make are explored well. The author's descriptive writing style emphasises the characters' anguish and moral choices in a fascinating way.

Poldek Tacit is definitely one of the best anti-heroes ever to appear in speculative fiction novels. He's a truly unique character, because he's suffered a lot and is very determined to do what he wants to do, despite what others might think about his actions. At the beginning of this novel, Tacit is thought to be dead, but he does not die so easily. Although his friends and enemies think he has died, he has not and is alive.

In this novel, Tacit feels everything that he has endured and the burden of the past torments weighs heavily upon him. He has suffered a lot, but is still alive. He has come back only for Isabella, but is dragged back into the middle of the terrifying events that threaten the world. Tacit's role in these events is exciting.

Isabella has changed remarkably since losing Tacit. She has become brutal and manifests signs of anger and savagery. There's now something berserk about her behaviour that is uncharacteristic of her. The author lets his readers see how much the recent events have affected Isabella and what she has become, because she is not the same person as she used to be. I found Isabella's change fascinating, because the author handles this matter admirably.

Poré is an especially interesting character, because he has a clan of wolves, Hombre Lobo, at his command. He poses a threat to the Darkest Hand, but he himself is a severe threat to the world. His plans are as corrupt and threatening as the Darkest Hand's plans. What he unleashes upon the world fascinated me, because it is connected to a real historical event. The scenes in which Poré burns down the churches are truly memorable.

Events related to the battle against the Antichrist and the Apocalypse are handled exceptionally well, because everything has been leading towards these events. It's great that the author has not rushed with the story, but has taken his time to tell it as well as possible. The revelation that the Antichrist hides in the Vatican is excellent and creates tension to the story arc. I won't go into details about this thing, but I can say that the events are fascinating.

The bloody, gory and brutal scenes are well-created and are an important part of the story. I like the author's sense of style, because he knows how to write about these scenes in a captivating way. He doesn't alienate his readers with senseless violence, but shows how desctructive violence can be and how much damage it can do to the world. It's great that he dares to explore what violence can do to people and how they can change because of it, because it adds depth to the novel.

One of the things that I've loved since the first novel is the author's confident and alluring way of writing about religious elements and issues concerning the church. He never preaches about religious elements, but handles them believably. He deftly explores the machinations of the Catholic Church and shows how brutal and ruthless Inquisitors and corrupted Priests can be. In this novel, the battle for the Vatican is handled exceptionally well and the events feel polished and satisfyingly detailed.

Another important thing why I love this trilogy is the author's ability to write about various places in a convincing manner. It was fascinating to read about the happenings in the different parts of the world.

I like Tarn Richardson's evocative writing style very much. In my opinion, he's one of the few horror-fantasy authors who know how to write good and vivid prose. He fluently describes what is happening and how the characters face dangers. He easily creates a foreboding atmosphere and effortelessly maintains tension and even intensifies the atmosphere when necessary. He's a gifted storyteller who has a voice of his own and who captivatingly evokes a distinct sense of place and time.

Because I loved each of the novels in The Darkest Hand Trilogy, I look forward to reading what Tarn Richardson writes next, because he's an excellent speculative fiction author. (With this novel and its predecessors, Tarn Richardson has found a permanent place on my reading list.)

If you haven't yet had the opportunity to read anything by Tarn Richardson, I strongly urge you to read his novels, because you'll be hard-pressed to find anything as good and fascinating as them. I recommend reading these novels in publishing order: 1) The Damned, 2) The Fallen and 3) The Risen, because otherwise you'll miss out on a lot of details and won't understand the subtle complexities of the story.

The Darkest Hand Trilogy is a compelling and vivid horror-fantasy trilogy with plenty of depth and historical accuracy. It's a stunning achievement in captivating storytelling, because the unfolding story is both rewarding and entertaining. In this trilogy, plot twists, terrifying events and scenes of carnage come together with an unmatched power. If you have a taste for dark stories and enjoy reading horror-fantasy fiction, you won't regret reading this trilogy.

The Risen is a perfect final novel to The Darkest Hand Trilogy. It's satisfyingly dark, the characters are interesting and the story is exceptionally good. Trust me when I say that you don't want to miss this novel, because it's brilliant entertainment to everyone who loves dark and well written stories. You'll be doing yourself a big favour by reading it.

Highly recommended!

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