In the third novel of The Darkest Hand series, we get the conclusions and final validation of a well thought out trilogy, that went from an Inquisitor taking out werewolves alongside the events of the first World War in the first novel, to the revelation that the Antichrist was roaming the corridors of the Vatican. You will need to read both The Damned and The Fallen to be able to understand and enjoy the complexities of this novel. There will be mentions of what has happened previously in my review below.
There have always been three main strands running through these books, the main one following Tacit Poldek and his struggles between doing what is right or succumbing to the years of mental abuse telling him to let it all go. There is former Cardinal Poré who believes he will be the one to stop the Antichrist but also helps fuel the coming apocalypse. Lastly, there is Cardinal Bishop Adansoni whose behaviour has become increasingly strange over the course of this story.
Throughout the trilogy, there is a lot of misdirection which allows you to guess ahead to who could be pulling all of the characters’ strings, whilst the characters themselves are either rushing to stop or hasten the Apocalypse. When The Risen begins Tacit is thought to be dead by his friends and enemies, but as we have learnt there is not much that can keep Tacit down. It was really interesting to see Isabella, Henry and Sandrine without Tacit and to see how they have changed due to grief and a need to keep the cause going as they track down Poré to discover his plans. There were also a large number of inquisitors who died during the pages of this book, and although death should never be interesting, it was curious to see that a lot of the inquisitors didn't know who they were fighting for, or whether the people they were ordered to fight were allies or enemies.
This book is a battle for the souls of the world, which hinges on whether Tacit will join the Antichrist or if he will be able to turn away from a destiny he never wanted and defeat the Antichrist. There are a lot of people still trying to kill Tacit and he is headstrong enough to continue to walk into danger with little thought for those around him. Tacit continually chooses to do what people tell him not to. There are a lot of very descriptive scenes that can feel overwhelming, but I found this to be a good thing, as we really feel the struggles and sacrifices that the characters are forced to go through as they face their darkest fears.
I have really enjoyed reading this trilogy and have found that with each book the stakes have increased. I was very happy that this was also the case with The Risen, which did not disappoint in terms of story. I also found the epilogue to be intriguing, as it teases that there is more to come, but also reminds us of the chaos that preceded it with the reminder that the trilogy encompasses, for the most part, four years of a war that people hoped would end all war.
Review by Michelle Herbert
I suppose we should start by saying ‘congratulations’ on completing The Darkest Hand trilogy! You must be really pleased to have finally finished writing it? Pleased! Relieved! I loved writing the books, love [...]
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