The Hallows, by H.L. Tinsley

26 Mar 2024

The Book

The Hallows
Pages: 300
Age Group: Adult
Published on 22 Mar 2024
Publisher: Self-Published
Grim Fantasy
Available on:


  The Hallow serum was once sacred to the Auld Bloods. Used to gain access to their lost ancestral powers, now it is regulated and administered by the powerful Providence Company. Evolved from the echelons of the Auld Church, the company exists to maintain the balance between faith, science and politics.

But keeping the peace between humans and Auld Bloods isn’t easy. Taking Hallow comes at a price. Providence Company Assessor Cam must deal with backstreet bootleggers, burnt-out addicts and floating nuns that won’t stay on the ground.

When a string of Auld Blood deaths appear to have been caused by a corrupted batch of Hallow, Cam begins to suspect all may not be as it seems. Bodies are piling up. Someone is hiding something, and the consequences are becoming monstrous.

A grim noir fantasy with elements of horror and a dash of dark humour, The Hallows is an adult fantasy novel and as such, contains adult themes and language which may be distressing to some readers.  

My Review

The Hallows is a grim fantasy standalone novel, written by H.L. Tinsley, also known as the author of We Men of Ash and Shadow, SPFBO7 finalist. I was absolutely captivated by the taglines in the cover, and I can tell you, it totally fulfills its promise, throwing an incredible story where the 1920s inspired setting is part of what makes it absolutely incredible to read, with characters that you won't forget easily.

Camellia is a low-ranking employee for the Providence Company, the powerful company which controls the production and distribution of The Hallow, a serum which after being taken grants magical abilities to the Auld Ones; the distribution of this serum is not only controlled as a business, but also because it is deadly for humans. But the Providence Company is not only a business, but a religion, with the highest ranking among them combining the functions of nuns and businessmen; the low-ranking employees are assigned to small teams, taking their name from the theme of the team (Camellia belong to the Garden).
At the start of our story, Camellia is tasked with the investigation of a series of deaths that might be related with the serum consumption, coinciding with the election of an Auld One for the first time for the office; a story with this premise goes from the low strata of the society to the more powerful ones, while weaving a complex plot that trusts on the reader to reconstruct the full image.

Trust me, this is a really dark story, specially when we are diving deep into the complicated world that exists as a result of the use of The Hallow: power comes with a cost, meaning that after years using it, it's inevitable to get affected and "be retired" from the company; the low-ranking Auld are basically expendable people that use their condition as a way to keep a salary, even if that means the risk of using The Hallow. Companies that employ them are driven by greed, forcing them to overdose in order to fulfill the quotas; and Auld Ones are in a lower social class in terms of rights.
However, there's also space for camaraderie and found family among all the darkness, as Tinsley has an ability to paint exceptionally human characters, like Camellia, who appreciates and try to help all those that are under his guide; some fun is hidden among the darkness.

Worldbuilding is an integral part of The Hallows, the underneath layer that keeps all working and that at the same time, makes this book a special one, which is not afraid of touching themes such as identity (lack of real names in the organization, names that are reused) and the dangers of extremism. You can feel an alive city where the characters and the story is just a drop of water in the ocean.

The Hallows is an excellent grimdark story set in an unique backdrop; but even if you are not fan of the genre, you should give a try to this book, as it touches really deep themes. Tinsley is a master at writing grim fantasy, and hopefully, this is not the only entry on this world.

The Author/s

H.L. Tinsley

H.L. Tinsley

HL Tinsley is the pen name of indie author and creative writer Holly Tinsley.

Based in the UK, HL Tinsley is an author of Fantasy, Horror and Grimdark fiction and a regular contributor to gaming and pop culture websites and blogs. Her debut novel, We Men of Ash and Shadow, was a SPFBO7 finalist. The sequel, The Hand that Casts the Bone, was released in 2022. The third book in the series is in production.

In 2023, she co-managed the successful Anatomy of Fear fantasy horror anthology Kickstarter project, which featured work by 12 indie authors. Her grim noir fantasy, The Hallows, will be published on March 22nd 2024.

She is currently the resident DM for the Page Chewing forums and runs regular online D&D sessions for players of all abilities.

She is generally enthusiatic about most things.