Monday, May 30, 2016

The Golden House of Samarkand by Hugo Pratt

Before I tackle the list of books in the last post, first something a bit different: A graphic novel by Italian comic book artist Hugo Pratt 'The Golden House of Samarkand'. This book is from the Corto Maltese series that tells of the adventures of a mysterious sea captain; Corto Maltese. The son of a Cornish sailor and Spanish witch-prostitute Corto is a prototype of the romantic adventurer; loved by the ladies rich and poor alike and feared by enemies.
'Samarkand' is set in Central Asia around World War I. Corto's search of treasure and wish to save his eccentric Russian friend Rasputin take him from Cyprus to Buhara. Like in other Pratt's novels there are numerous historical figures, for example Joseph Stalin and Enver Pasha. The story moves at breakneck speed and mixes historical fact with dream sequences and includes not one, but two femmes fatales, Yazidi shamans and whirling Dervishes.
As usual, the Finnish edition includes an excellent prologue text - a historical primer to the story background.
However, this is not my favorite Corto Maltese story. It moves too fast for me but it's still an excellent read, especially if you're into romantic adventure. If this was not just right for you, but you'd like to give Pratt another chance try to read Tango! It's a Corto Maltese album also, but very different in character from Samarkand.

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