Tales of the Hermit,Volume I: The Castle in the Rain and the Judge by Oscar Adele Ratti
Ratti and Westbrook present a new direction for the graphic novel in a series that follows the Asian adventures of a Western pilgrim who is influenced by the interaction (sometimes violent) of cultures in the Medieval era. The captivating text, presented in a highly developed aesthetic fictional setting, ensures that this new series will also inform, captivate, and inspire readers. The Castle in the Rain and The Judge, published by Via Media as the first volume of a series entitled Tales of the Hermit, belongs to the literary genre known as historical fiction, whose best examples have the dual power to entertain us with their storytelling magic, while opening new vistas for us upon eras, people and events whose impact on our evolution still resonates down through the centuries and across cultures. This volume follows the dramatic adventures and experiences of a Western pilgrim, P�re Dominic, who - while traveling through exotic regions and kingdoms in Central Asia and the Far Eastis influenced by two main cultural streams, the Western and the Eastern, interacting (sometimes violently) in the Medieval and Renaissance eras in both cultures. Forced by political and military upheavals to flee from the urban centers of his mission territory, P�re Dominic is rescued by a mysterious group of mountain dwellers, known simply as the Summit Residents, who slowly reveal many secrets of mountain asceticism and the warrior cults of their region. To them, he introduces the ways of thinking, as well as the technology of Western culture. The authors, with regard to the chosen method of narrative, have joined the time-honored tradition of integrating text and images to tell a story - a traditionthat finds many noble precedents in the carvings of ancient symbols and sculptures in stone, in Illuminated Manuscripts of the High Middle Ages, in the early printed books of woodblocks and type, expanding today into the complexity and refinement of new genres of narrative such as the graphic novel. In their best examples, two components - words and images - blend and complement one another in such a smooth synthesis that (as in certain masterpieces of Oriental brush painting on silk and paper scrolls), they coalesce to represent, captured between two covers, the very essence and drama of life itself.