With three books already translated from French to English, writer Xavier Dorison and artist Mathieu Lauffray’s on-going tale of Robert Louis Stevenson’s pirate Long John Silver reaches its fourth and final book, Guiana-Capac.
In the South American rainforest, with their ship gone, Silver, Dr Livesey and two other survivors venture deeper into the ruined city of Guiana-Capac in an attempt to find Lady Vivian Hastings whom Silver had pledged to protect. Inside a huge pyramidal temple they discover that the city isn’t as deserted as they had imagined and that their Indian guide Moxtechica and his tribe are preparing to sacrifice the pregnant Lady Vivian to their gods.
Long John Silver’s roots are obviously buried deep in Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island which most readers will know for its film and TV versions rather than the original novel and the cinematic influences are perhaps more obvious in this book than in previous ones. Firstly we get a blast of Warlords Of Atlantis as the Neptune survivors have to battle past monstrous reptiles to get to the ruins of the pyramid which is then followed by a sequence reminiscent of the underground section of Indiana Jones And The Temple Of Doom.
Yet to describe the story in this cinematic shorthand does a disservice to writer Xavier Dorison whose tale of treasure and treachery has been a delight from book one. With Lady Vivian missing, it is the dishonourable Silver’s sense of honour that drives the survivors on in a suicidal attempt to find and rescue her from the natives and their drug-induced ‘gods’, and it is to Dorison’s credit that he maintains the action and suspense to virtually the last page.
Mathieu Lauffray’s artwork has been of a similarly high standard throughout the series both for his painted covers and his regular interior strip work. With Guiana-Capac he even manages to include a particularly striking painted two page internal spread of the temple pyramid. Yet it is the sense of enclosure that he portrays once all the characters are inside the pyramid, with his choice of angles and colours, that adds to the drama of the situation that they find themselves in.
Long John Silver – Guiana-Capac completes the four book series that Cinebook chose, quite rightly, to publish in full bande dessinee size rather than the smaller US size that they use for many of their adventure series. It has been an impressive series and given that it is now all available, if you have not tried it before, it is well worth picking up.
• There are more details of the Long John Silver series, along with preview pages of each book, on the Cinebook website
• There are more details of the original French language versions of Long John Silver on the Dargaud website (in French)
• There are more details of Mathieu Lauffray’s artwork on his website and there are many Long John Silver illustrations on his blog including the image below of his workspace with the original painting of the book’s cover.
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