Kultus. Book Review

KULTUS by Richard Ford

Rebellion, p/b, £7.99

Reviewed by Jay Eales

Looking like the bastard son of Alex Droog and Spider Jerusalem, Thaddeus Blaklok looms out of a frankly awesome cover image by Frazer Irving. Unfortunately, I found the story itself struggled to live up to the wrapping.

Blaklok is a tattooed thug in the steampunk inspired city of Manufactory. His reputation precedes him, but like the disparity between contents and cover art, he rarely lives up to his promise, given the number of times he is coshed, beaten, crushed and ground down by the many groups of antagonists he faces along the way, while trying to find and keep hold of an artefact known as the Key of Lunos.

Chapter Twenty opens with the sentence “This was getting to be an annoyingly familiar situation”, as Blaklok is captured and bound for the umpteenth time in the novel. It was as though he was reading my mind. Despite this, as the book progressed, I found myself warming to the character, cipher though he is, and by the end, the prospect of further adventures for Thaddeus Blaklok did not fill me with dread. If Ford is able to broaden out the setting to incorporate more than a succession of runaround fisticuffs and magical fireworks, and delves a little deeper into the character, rather than waggling a handful of mysterious hints and sudden displays of power that give him a get out of jail free card just when he needs them, Kultus 2 might be onto a winning formula.