Shipping included in price. The back story that provides the theme for this deck is that our world, as we know it now, is in its death throes, as the sun slowly burns itself out (cheerful, eh?). The Creator has turned his attentions elsewhere, deserting the last remnants of the human race, and leaving them to their own devices. However, against their orders, some of the Dark Angels take pity upon our race and come down, in mortal form, to share those end-times with us.
This is a dark and dramatic deck, which conveys coherently with its images its mournful message in a masterly fashion. Artwork is by Luca Russo, and seems to mix mediums in many illustrations. Pen and ink pick out detail which contrast against muted deep-toned colour washes. Interesting several cards present small areas (often faces or figures) with the clarity of photographic work, which is skilfully combined with the other elements. This has the effect of making certain parts of some cards come into sharp focus, directing the attention.
This is particularly noticeable on cards like the Hierophant and the Chariot. The theme of end-times is sharply illustrated by the reversal effect in the Moon and Sun….here it feels to be the moon which is the more benevolent influence.
Suits are standard, and the Courts follow the Page, Knight, Queen, King format. There are still strong hints of the kind of images we expect in the Rider-Waite tradition, though consistently referring back to the bereavement inherent within the deck’s theme. This is strongly apparent in the 3 of Cups where the flower-bedecked maidens are replaced by angelic beings who peer into chalices.
There’s a heavy Goth influence to the artwork – most apparent in the Suit of Wands – the symbol of the Suit is often a skull-topped staff here. And the limited range of colours used here – black, many shades of grey, deeoest crimson, dramatic violet, all add to the dreamlike – or is it nightmarish quality of the cards.
The booklet accompanying the cards is quite interesting. The commentary is written by somebody called Lillie. It is very brief – as most of these are – but there’s some really interesting statements that have the effect of pointing to open doors and then waiting to see if you will step through.