For those of you who have read the Twilight Reign series and still hunger for more, The God Tattoo collects together a series of shorter stories set before, during and after the events of the previous five books. Though more easily read as a standalone work then the preceding novels, this collection clearly works best for those who have read the entire series and are familiar with its many characters.
Though not every story was to my taste, several key tales stand out for reasons of exposition. Several of the shorter stories detail the Shadow’s ascension to power, this time from the viewpoint of new or very minor characters from the main books, mentioned only in passing. The final tale, ‘Shadows In The Library, is set in the past, with the wily King Emin still a young man, and shows us how he first comes into conflict with the Shadow, as it seeks to undermine the pages of history by rewriting the works of the newly build Narkang library.
Particularly fun is the title story, introducing the crazed white-eye warrior, Daken Mad-Axe, when he is still just a mercenary, and sending him on a half-baked quest to rescue a maiden, which results in his body becoming inhabited by the trickster aspect, Litania.
Many of the stories here are of a more horror-styled vein, dealing with the ghosts of the past and the future, depending on setting, but those which ‘fill in the blanks’ from the novels are by far the most satisfying. Essential reading if you’ve already finished the Twilight Reign, but more of a curiosity to anyone else.