In their fifth outing, former circus acrobat Dessa and her nonhuman companions take ship for the “dark island” of Astaroth—first with a smuggler and then with a pirate king (who isn’t exactly a king).
Having holed up until Dessa’s broken leg heals, the trio continue their quest aboard the not-so-good ship Cutlass with proceeds from the sale of a horse stolen from their armored pursuer Capt. Drake in the previous episode (The King’s Dragon, 2014).That voyage quickly becomes a chase. After various misadventures, the Cutlass is overtaken by the fearsome and mysterious pirate king. He not only scoops up the fugitives and their prized map on the way to discovering just why the elusive island has always been so hard to find (hint: It’s not quite fixed in place), but turns out to have something in common with Dessa. Periodically the action cuts over to a city market where Capt. Drake buys a new horse, gets a tantalizing tarot forecast and learns something shocking about Dessa’s missing twin brother, Jared. Along with continuing to tell his adventuresome tale in clearly drawn, easy-to-follow panels, Chantler spices up the plot with banter and major twists aplenty.
This rollicking serial adventure continues to please. (Graphic fantasy. 10-12)