Thursday, August 22, 2013

The Stuff of Legend: Book 3: A Jester's Tale

This really is mostly Jester's story.  At the end of the second book he had gone his own way.  This volume follows his trail more than anything else.  Jester finds his way back to where he left Princess with Arctic and the trussed up Mayor Filmore.  The Mayor's still hanging there but Arctic has taken Princess.  Jester frees Filmore and the two set off to the Indian Lands to find Princess.

But to open the story we see a naval battle between a ship of the Boogeyman's navy and a pirate called the Laughing Ghost who looks like the anti-Jester.  Just like the classic Star Trek episode where two men chased each other to their deaths because one
was black on the left and white on the right while the other was white on the left and black on the right, the Laughing Ghost is black while Jester is white.  The back story is that they were purchased together and given to The Boy and his brother as gifts by an aunt, but the brother broke his toy as soon as they got it.  That half of the pair disappeared into the Dark and became the Laughing Ghost, terror of the seas.  The Laughing Ghost steals a box from the Boogeyman's ship and sinks the ship.

Harmony, Percy and Quackers are still trying to find The Boy (though Percy continues to undermine the effort) and their quest leads them to the Indian Lands, too.  The Boy and his unnamed companion are also headed to the Indian Lands, having escaped the town where they were held and, after some misadventures spurred by the unnamed's risky behavior, found passage on a train, which happens to then be commandeered by a contingent of the Boogeyman's troops.

Most of the adventure is Jester and Filmore's search for Princess.  They obtain money for a boat to sail there when Filmore bets on a fight between Jester and a guy named Anchor.  He carries one around, so you get the idea of his size.  Jester wins the fight and off they go, but don't get too far before their boat is sunk by a sea creature during a storm.  Jester and Filmore wash ashore on Doll Island, ruled by Rebecca, once the property of a girl named Alice.  Most of the occupants of the island are dolls, though there's a foppishly clad badger, too.  In time Jester convinces Rebecca to sail to the Indian Lands where things come to a head.  Princess rejects Jester and his love.  Laughing Ghost sinks Rebecca's ship, killing most of her crew.  Boogeyman shows up to kill Laughing Ghost and retrieve the box and the very important item therein that was stolen from him. 

A lot happens in this book and there's a lot more yet to come.  Maxwell and Scout don't even appear
this time around, so there's obviously more to resolve there. 

Of course, the Wilson art remains stellar and evocative both the era (WWII) and Dark where it takes place.  Raicht and Smith continue to keep the reader wanting more in this very engaging story.  It's no wonder it's a New York Times best seller.

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