Delilah Dirk and the Turkish Lieutenant

Delilah Dirk and the Turkish Lieutenant

by Tony Cliff

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Lovable ne'er-do-well Delilah Dirk is an adventurer for the 19th century. She has traveled to Japan, Indonesia, France, and even the New World. Using the skills she's picked up on the way, Delilah's adventures continue as she plots to rob a rich and corrupt Sultan in Constantinople. With the aid of her flying boat and her newfound

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Lovable ne'er-do-well Delilah Dirk is an adventurer for the 19th century. She has traveled to Japan, Indonesia, France, and even the New World. Using the skills she's picked up on the way, Delilah's adventures continue as she plots to rob a rich and corrupt Sultan in Constantinople. With the aid of her flying boat and her newfound friend, Selim, she evades the Sultan's guards, leaves angry pirates in the dust, and fights her way through the countryside. For Delilah, one adventure leads to the next in this thrilling and funny installment in her exciting life.

Tony Cliff's Delilah Dirk and the Turkish Lieutenant is a great pick for any reader looking for a smart and foolhardy heroine...and globetrotting adventures.

A Publishers Weekly Best Children's Book of 2013
A Kirkus Reviews Best Teen Book of 2013

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Cliff pulls out all the stops for his first graphic novel, which he originally published online, pairing a wisecracking, death-defying heroine (“Guard!” she calls good-naturedly from her prison cell, “I’m escaping”) with a sensitive minor military official prone to overthinking when lightning-fast action is required (“Jump? Surely not! What about the other options? Are there any other options?”). The plot, such as it is, follows Lieutenant Selim as he is dragged willy-nilly into Delilah’s life of action and danger when all he wants is a hot cup of tea; really, though, it’s a vehicle for blood-pumping episodes of derring-do and heroism involving swordplay, artillery, aqueducts, piles of treasure, tyrannical Ottoman rulers, treacherous officials, and the occasional quiet idyll in Delilah’s flying boat. Sunlit landscapes, candlelit interiors, and nighttime explosions give Cliff opportunities to show off his splendid draftsmanship, while the dialogue provides a constant stream of sardonic banter (“Kill me with what? That rope? You’ll give me rope burns ’til I yield?”). Cliff apparently took five years to write this, but fans will hope a sequel doesn’t take that long. Ages 12–up. (Aug.)
From the Publisher

“A scrumptious Turkish delight.” —School Library Journal
VOYA - Cynthia Winfield
Told from the perspective of the humble Turkish Lieutenant, Cliff's first published graphic novel presents Delilah Dirk as a swashbuckling heroine, highly accomplished in the masculine arts of fighting, thievery, navigation, and flight. Opening in 1807 Constantinople, the tale presents Lieutenant Selim as a man with a discerning palate concerning teas. He is a loquacious reporter to the ruler with flowery language that nonetheless communicates the imprisoned Ms. Dirk's claimed pursuits with candor—earning him ridicule for appearing to believe her incredible tales. Her subsequent escape validates her claims and sweeps Selim in beside her as companion to adventures he might have preferred to avoid. From flying boats to pastoral hillsides, across burning bridges into even more danger, Dirk leads Selim across continents, always allowing him the option of bowing out at the next port. When he finally settles in a serene village, he finds he misses the "globetrotting troublemaker" and goes to much trouble to rejoin her. Artfully rendered language and images express a sensational story, with ample action to engage reluctant readers, sometimes flowery wording befitting the Middle Eastern setting, and illustrations juxtaposed with language revealing truths not evident through text alone. The novel requires and inspires a level of literacy beyond simple decoding and provides complexity to satisfy accomplished readers. Although Selim finds Dirk's costume unseemly, her clothing is modest by today's standards. Cliff's work is masterful, worthy of public and private library collections, and appealing to both male and female readers. Reviewer: Cynthia Winfield
Children's Literature - Leona Illig
Delilah Dirk is not your ordinary heroine. With a taste for adventure and a flair for danger, she has been known to slay legions of her enemies with a single sword. Something is missing in her life, however, and that something—or someone—is Erdemoglu Selim, a Turkish lieutenant who decides to join her in her exploits, which include riding in a flying boat and stopping the evil pirate Captain Zakul. But when Selim decides that life with Delilah is a little too rough and tumble for him, he has to make a tough decision: Should he continue to be her sidekick, or settle down in a nice, quiet village? Delilah, a female version of Indiana Jones, is a strong character—brave, witty, funny, self-effacing, and prone to getting into and out of trouble. Selim is a memorable sidekick, preferring civilized conversation and tea to swords and canons. The illustrations are good; some of the full-page ones are captivating. While the plot moves the action along (and there is a lot of action), the tale can be slightly confusing at times. The story is set in and around Constantinople in 1807, and the attempt to incorporate authentic dialog sometimes falls short. There are also some shifts in point of view that are a little disconcerting. There is mild language and violence, and some will notice that Delilah’s costume is a trifle suggestive. Nevertheless, this is a fun and entertaining fantasy/adventure book with adult characters expressing a range of genuine emotions. Delilah and Selim make a good team, and they should do well if the author sends them on further adventures. Reviewer: Leona Illig; Ages 10 to 13.
School Library Journal
Gr 6 Up—The intense action on the cover promises a rollicking adventure, and the interior pages certainly deliver on that promise. Delilah Dirk has abandoned conventional court life and become a globe-trotting soldier of fortune. She is captured and held prisoner in 1800s Constantinople. Eventually she escapes, taking along the astonished Turkish Lieutenant Erdemogul Selim, whose quiet life centers around a proper cup of tea. This unlikely pair embarks on a wild journey that includes flying a ship, outwitting the Evil Pirate Captain Zakul, and escaping burning buildings. Characters vividly come to life with expressive faces and mannerisms. The bumbling, mild-mannered lieutenant serves as a perfect foil for Delilah's acerbic wit and considerable physical prowess. Her frustration with Selim's ineptitude results in recurring comical situations. Subtle humor and charming interchanges between these two unlikely companions, "Miss Dirk" and "Mr. Selim," will captivate readers. Story construction consists of three distinct threads: Selim's narration, dialogue between the characters, and engaging visuals. These three often-differing points of view are intricately woven together into a storytelling tour de force. Pacing of the tale is excellent, with tranquil moonlit nights and campfires setting up subsequent action sequences. Jewel-toned colors add to the rich visual experience. The saga concludes as the two travelers, now companions, face a future brimming with possibilities. Delilah and the lieutenant are destined to join the ranks of such classic duos as Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. A scrumptious Turkish delight.—Barbara M. Moon, Suffolk Cooperative Library System, Bellport, NY
Kirkus Reviews
In Cliff's swashbuckling print debut, a tea-loving Turkish janissary must choose his future path after his quiet life is turned upside down by an encounter with a brash adventuress. Selim's modest career as a soldier in early-19th-century Constantinople comes to an ignominious end after the agha finds fault with his interrogation of their new English-speaking prisoner. Not only does Delilah Dirk escape soon after her interview with Selim, she also helps him avoid execution, leading everyone to assume they are in cahoots. Left with no other options, he flees with Dirk on her flying boat, but it doesn't take long for Dirk to create more trouble. Eisner-nominated as a webcomic, the graphic novel is glorious in print. The rich, saturated colors and dashing linework pop off the page, and the author wisely lets his characters' dynamic body language and expressive faces mostly speak for themselves during the action sequences. Dirk's fearlessness and verve are both appealing and exhausting: Readers will sympathize with Selim's quandary when he is reluctant to end a peaceful interlude in a friendly village and Dirk is eager to move on. Fast-paced and unabashed fun, this romp will leave readers longing for additional installments. (Graphic adventure. 14 & up)

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Product Details

First Second
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.60(d)
GN440L (what's this?)
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years

Meet the Author

Tony Cliff is a contributor to the Flight series of anthologies, has been nominated for Shuster and Harvey awards, and has three times been nominated for an Eisner award. Delilah Dirk is his first published graphic novel.

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