Off the Shelf

“Tales From the Dark Tower”

By Marcus Pan

Tales From the Dark TowerHere’s the thing – I haven’t read a damn good vampire novel or series since, hell, I can’t even remember. Probably Delore’s Confession[1] even. And that’s going back years. What we have here is a bit of a backwards way of doing things…first came the illustrations, then the stories. Gothic artist Joseph Vargo[2], who you might remember from such musical endeavors as Nox Arcana[3], submitted some of his gothic art pieces in pencil, acrylic and oils to some writers and the end result is a collection of dark fantasy short stories that tell the tale of a medieval castle. Various authors have contributed to the series by utilizing one or more of Joseph’s art pieces to build a depressingly sad tale of sacrifice and darkness.

Thirteen stories along with brilliant color plate illustrations tell a historical tale of classic vampire fantasy, mixing dark legends and myths to create a more sinister yet sorrowful version of the European creature. An isolated town named Vasaria, sits just outside a dark forest at the end of which is the ebony tower. The history of the castle is shrouded in mystery as the elders of the town are the only ones that know the truth about the dark debt owed to a lone priest who entered into a dark pact with the castle’s queen to save and protect the final living members of the town years past.

Tales From the Dark Tower takes you on the journeys that give up the mysterious secrets of the tower, beginning with the transfer of power to Lord Brom – another lone martyred knight who finds himself ego filled and seeking out his fortune in the name of faith and goodness. Finding himself immortally linked to a sinister duty…his success being far more than he wished for…Brom’s destiny lies with the tower now that he vanquished the previous lord. He sets about trying to find out what his purpose now is and these are the stories you’ll read throughout Tales From the Dark Tower.

I enjoyed this book immensely. It had an old world charm and quality and the imagery provided is brilliant and detailed. My favorite stories are those that concentrate on the background of the tower, delving into the secret history that binds Brom and his predecessor’s to it in an effort to contain the dark entities it seals. Some might say it bears the clichés of the genre, but I find it differentiates itself with the inclusion of Joseph’s artwork, multiple authors and it’s easier to read due to its being broken up into thirteen separate short stories.

"Tales From the Dark Tower” by Various Authors
Illustrated by Joseph Vargo
Copyright © 2003 by Monolith Graphics
ISBN: 1 84293 163 6
Published in the UK in 2005 by Watkins Publishing
[1] Reviewed in Legends #90.
[2] Legends featured an interview with Joseph in Legends #156.
[3] Legends Magazine just received their latest, Carnival of Lost Souls, at the time of this writing.

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Contact Information:
Monolith Graphics