First published back in July of 2001, Clive Barker’s ‘Six Destines’ short stories were penned to accompany the first series of the ‘Tortured Souls’ action figure set, which were sculpted and designed by Todd McFarlane.  This first series included six figures, each of which included their own individual short story which told the reader a little of the mythology behind the figure.  A second series of action figures was later released in October of 2002; however a short story did not accompany any of these later action figures.

The forth story in the series is for ‘Talisac’ and forms Book Four of the ‘Six Destinies’ titled ‘The Surgeon Of The Sacred Heart’.

The ‘Tortured Souls’ stories were later combined into a limited edition hardback entitled ‘Tortured Souls: The Legend Of Primordium’ (2015) that was published Subterranean Press.

DLS Synopsis:
Following on from the Great Insurrection and the demise of Duarf Cascarellian; a military junta took charge of Primordium, consisting of a triumvirate of Generals – Bogoto, Urbano and Montefalco.  Although inherently cruel in nature, the three Generals were incredibly superstitious.  And with rumours of unnatural horrors now rife throughout the city, they decide that something must be done to rid Primordium of the monsters that lurk in their darkest streets.

And so, Montefalco brings them to the Hospice of the Sacred Heart on Dreyfus Hill where, under his charge, Doctor Talisac has been performing experiments on human subjects in the hope of creating the perfect soldier – one who is not susceptible to fear.  Although the experiments have proven fruitless thus far, Montefalco is convinced that Talisac will have a beast in his possession that could scour the city of monsters by being still more monstrous.

Elsewhere in the decaying city, Lucidique and what was once Zarles Kreiger and is now known as The Scythe-Meister, are becoming intimate in the house which Lucidique’s father had once built.  Their taboo joining one of love and hatred.  And one which can never last…

DLS Review:
With the downfall of Primordium now firmly set in place, Barker moves on to a new set of characters, this intriguing triumvirate of Generals, who although only lightly touched upon, are able to spark up a wealth of inquisitive imagination from the reader.

Interestingly, and unlike the previous three instalments, this short is split into two distinctly separate storylines, which at no point converge.  Indeed, the Lucidique and Kreiger thread is thus far only in its early stages, and merely opening up new doors for the continuation of the ‘Six Destinies’ storyline as a whole.

The introduction of Doctor Talisac holds another deviation from the previous instalments – having been supposedly created by science rather than through the handiwork of Agonistes.  However, Talisac is still as frightful and imaginatively corrupt as the previous two Supplicants, perhaps even more so; with pain and torture at the very heart of his self-transformation.

In this instalment, it becomes clear to the reader that Barker is becoming more focused on the overall  ‘Six Destinies’ storyline, rather than merely introducing the characters and slotting them into the Tortured Souls mythos.  A good portion of the short is dedicated to two of the pervious characters alone, without any bearing on Talisac or his place in the storyline inter-woven in this separate running thread.  This in itself makes the short less of a standalone tale and more of a bridging follow-on, which does sadly dilute down this particular instalment somewhat.

However, the main body of the story, surrounding the three Generals and their meeting with Talisac, is laced with a monstrous wealth of tension and dark horror.  And here Barker puts down a vast array of chilling descriptions of the atrocities performed at the hands of the psychotic doctor, whilst describing the doctor with a nightmarishly imaginative flare.  And so the tale of pain, despair and corruption continues…

The short spans across the entire width of one side of the fold-out sheet that comes included with the ‘Tortured Souls’ action figure.

© DLS Reviews

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