BOURBON ISLAND 1730 by Appollo


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A quiet yet still somewhat swashbuckling tale of 18th-century piracy and colonial tension on a small French Island. Young Raphael arrives on the island with ornithologist Chevalier Despentes in hopes of finding the Bourbon Island dodo, despite its rumored extinction. Unbeknownst to Raphael and Despentes, the island is in the midst of a coup d’état engineered by pirates (known on the island as “Maroons”) to overthrow the governor and free their leader, Buzzard. When the two groups meet, conflict ensues, and Raphael—who has always dreamed of becoming a pirate—finds himself at the center of the clash. With historically based subject matter and simple pen-and-ink illustrations, this graphic novel is more reminiscent of Scott Chantler’s subtle Northwest Passage (2007) than a splashy Cap’n Jack Sparrow epic. With its population of symbolically selected anthropomorphized animals, it evokes such landmark works as Spiegelman’s Maus. Readers expecting the madcap silliness of Lewis Trondheim’s earlier A.L.I.E.E.E.N. (2006) and others may be disappointed, though history buffs will likely find this enjoyable. Discursive endnotes act as helpful historical anchors to connect the reader to this time. (Graphic fiction. 16 & up; adult)

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 2008
ISBN: 978-1-59643-258-1
Page count: 288pp
Publisher: First Second/Roaring Brook
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15th, 2008


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