By: Gwen de Bonneval
Publisher: Graphic Universe
Publication Date: January 2013
Reviewed by: Deb Fowler
Review Date: May 7, 2013
Philomena was worried about young Helise because for some reason she'd run away. Her fiancé, Sir Brifaut, tried to comfort and reassure her that Helise would be found by his men who were scouring the countryside. When the men returned without her, Philomena's maid suggested that perhaps Master William would know where she had gone. Perhaps. Helise and her brother were close, especially since the death of their father, Bertrand de Sonne. A quick search found him near his father's grave and nearby workshop. Philomena tried to reason with William, telling him that the upcoming marriage to Sir Brifaut would bring them a better life. No, it couldn't possibly bring them a better one than their father had to offer.
"She told me she wanted to join Papa," William told his mother. Helise received messages from his soul, but it seemed like foolishness to their mother. "I pray she's not going mad.," Philomena exclaimed to William. "Sometimes she seems possessed by the same demons as your father." When she left, William destroyed the cross above his unconsecrated grave. A smooth, unusual stone lay beneath the cross. It was time to move and William entered Bertrand's dark and dingy laboratory to gather anything that could be of use to him on his journey.
William remembered that his mother claimed his father had "offended the Lord by delving into the secrets of nature," but it was back into its secretive world where he'd begin his search for Helise. Alas, what he found were brigands who were pillaging and burning the countryside. William ran to escape their clutches, but was tackled by one of them. The brigand claimed he only killed when necessary. "I am the knight of Brabant." He offered his protection to William, but would it be enough? A hard road lay ahead and if he could peer into the future he would know he had a most unusual journey. William's father was "at the summit of the world," the withering creature spoke. "You must cross the Sea of Sand." Just what was this sea and how would he find it? Was his father even alive?
This is a stunning Medieval fantasy fraught with danger at every turn. This three-part graphic novel will bring the young reader into a mystical world filled with dog faced people, gryphons, and Blemmyes. The battles and action-packed scenes are filled with excitement as young William goes in search of his sister, Helise, and his father, Bertrand de Sonne. William will be the new count when his grandfather dies and there is evil lurking around every turn. The panels are very detailed, full-color, and bring this magnificent Medieval tale to life. In the back of the book is an overview of "Roles and Rank in the Middle Ages," the history of "Mythological Figures in the Far-Off Lands," "Gender Roles in the Middle Ages," "Gender and Religion," and suggestion discussion topics for each section.
Quill says: If you have a young reader interested in Medieval fantasy, this is an exciting tale that would be an excellent addition to his or her shelves!