All’s Bad On The Werewolf Front
Release Date: 28 May
352 pages | Paperback/ ebook Author: Tarn Richardson Publisher: Duckworth Overloo
Werewolves in World
War One? Given the actual horrors of the time, the idea suggests plenty of action and gore, and there is a reasonable amount of both here. However, The Damned fails to achieve its potential.
At first, Tarn Richardson does a nice job of working monsters into the reality of World War One, with genuinely atmospheric scenes of Tommies in the trenches encountering the results of a werewolf attack for the first time. However, it doesn’t last. Enter Poldek Tacit, the alcoholic, violent, werewolf- hunting Inquisitor ( who’s supposed to be the hero of the piece, despite being a deeply unpleasant person), and some ridiculous conniving Cardinals. There are only two substantial female characters in the book: one a good- time girl who we first encounter airing her foof at the window, the other a sexy nun with seemingly irresistible cleavage. It would be unfair to suggest the male characters are any less clichéd, but they are less objectified.
There are too many backstories: one for Tacit and one for the cardinals. This, on top of seeing the present through the eyes of several characters, makes the story stutter rather than flow. The whole enterprise feels horribly dated, and at least ’ 80s writers like Shaun Hutson and Robert McCammon seemed to be having fun in their writing, whereas The Damned feels leaden as well as old- fashioned. Miriam McDonald The medieval tunnels under Arras depicted in the book do exist, and were expanded by troops from Britain and New Zealand.