Written by Jean-Yves Ferri
Art by Didier Conrad
Original title: Le Papyrus de César
Published by: Les Éditions Albert René
UK Publisher: Orion Children’s Books
The Book: Julius Caesar has finished writing the history of his campaigns in Gaul. His publisher, Libellus Blockbustus, forsees a huge success … but there’s a snag: the chapter about Caesar’s defeats by the indomitable Gauls of Armorica. Cut it, Blockbustus advises, and everyone will believe that Caesar conquered all Gaul. Or will they? Newsmonger and activist Confoundtheirpolitix takes the chapter to Asterix’s village. Can the Gauls make sure the truth is revealed?
Following in the footsteps of Goscinny and Uderzo, the thirty-sixth Asterix album by Ferri and Conrad is a Number Three New York Times bestselling title.
The Review: While Asterix fans in the main welcomed new adventures of Asterix from an all-new creative team in 2014 with the release of Asterix and the Picts, and the book was a massive success, some found the story a little “wanting”, hoping for more of the the classic Asterix they’d grown up with, packed with jokes that worked for all ages, satire and sagacity.
Well, Jean-Yves Ferri and Didier Conrad certainly deliver all that with Asterix and the Missing Scroll, bringing fans a truly wonderful adventure that’s packed with humour and pokes at modern media, too, along with a charming tip of the hat to the original creators, René Goscinny and Albert Uderzo,
Not only do we get plenty of delicious barbs at the expense of modern publishing and tabloid journalism for adults – perfectly observed by writer Ferri – but there’s also the classic “quest” element of the story for younger readers as Asterix and company seek to preserve their story for future generations with the help of some bonkers druids. Hapless Romans trying to stop them prove a great source of humour throughout, while the finale perfectly echoes the healthy respect the rebellious Gauls have for their would-be conqueror, Julius Caesar, that was a vital part of earlier books.
With terrific art by Conrad throughout, Asterix and the Missing Scroll has deservedly earned plenty of plaudits for its humour and storytelling since its reales earlier this year. The book truly does mark what some have called a “return to form” for the long-established series that has sold in its millions since its humble debut in the French magazine Pilote, way back in 1959.
If you’ve got some Christmas money burning a hole in your pocket on your way to your local independent book shop, book tokens or an Amazon gift card, then add this brilliant title to your Must Buy list.