Enter young William's world of the Middle Ages. We meet William in the Far-Off Lands. His sister Helise, is missing, his father is dead and his mother is about to marry Brifaut, a Senechal not to be trusted. William sets out on a journey to find his sister who speaks ill of their mother and hears the voice of their father urging them on, even though he is dead and buried. It is dangerous times for a young boy alone. Brigands run wild, terrorizing the land. His Aunt Ysane enlists a troubadour named Counterpane and an unlikely knight of Brabant to help him on a journey of discovery, mystery, and magic. The Land of Truth offers mythical creatures straight from a dream. A faithful goat protects William and we are introduced to Boldface, the lady plant, a gryphon, and the Blemmyes, who are a dog-faced people. Are they real or imagined in William's mind? Is he safer at home or does the deception surrounding him seep from his journey into his motherland? In artwork reminiscent of Prince Valiant comics, a journey is begun bringing colorfully to life history and mythology in a tale of a young man's voyage to come to grips with his father's unexpected death. The author offer's up questions for the reader regarding categories of character and ranking. What part does religion play in William's wanderings? Does gender alter a person's perspective? There is a strong storyline, with incredibly descriptive illustrations; a play of dark and light from both angles, words and pictures. I would especially recommend this to young teenage boys. The ending comes about a bit too quickly and it left me wondering if there is a sequel in the works. This is a story that comes to life picture by picture and should be enjoyed morsel by morsel. Reviewer: Toni Jourdan
A sprawling, richly imagined medieval adventure follows a young boy's quest to find his father's missing spirit. Young William's life has not been simple: His father is presumed dead, his sister is missing, and his mother has remarried a new man with questionable motives. Filled with a pressing belief that his sister and father need his help, he sets off in search of them. Along the way, he is aided by a cunning troubadour, a strange knight and a helpful goat who harbors a mysterious secret. Traveling far-off lands, William and his entourage encounter strange monsters and seemingly endless challenges, faithfully pressing on in the face of adversity. This journey, however, has an unseen twist, and William learns that the world he's known—and the people within it—are not easily categorized. This epic, detailed journey moves swiftly, punctuated by largely wordless and often glaringly bloody action scenes. The attention to detail is meticulous, and helpful notes explain some of the more esoteric terms and references sprinkled throughout the narrative. Like many other adventure tales, this examines questions of good and evil, but in William's world, lines aren't so clearly drawn, leaving for an open-ended conclusion. An interesting, distinctive adventure for readers tolerant of ambiguity. (notes, discussions) (Graphic fantasy/adventure. 13 & up)
Gwen de Bonneval has illustrated a number of award-winning graphic novels in his native France, including L'Espirit Perdu (an official selection of the Angoulême International Comics Festival) and La Vierge Froide et Autres Racontars (winner of the Prix Essentiels at Angoulême in 2010). Matthieu Bonhomme has been crazy about drawing from young age. A graduate in Applied Arts, he began his illustration career in newspaper advertisements. His work has appeared in magazines and several long-running comic series.