sábado, 13 de mayo de 2017


The illustrations of this fortress are impressive. I just luv remote outposts in the middle of nowhere (aside from warships and war skyships, for the same reasons) because you get a cast of men in period uniform (and sometimes women too) worlds away from the nearest community, crowded within the narrow walls, entirely cut off from the outside world, and that's all it takes to make a good military fiction thriller. No matter if the outpost is on Cyprus (Hussif, Othello's Tower), in Prussia (Küstrin, Templin), in Dorne (oh so many Dornish keeps), or in a fictional Ruritania (interbellum Ruritania, think The Grand Budapest Hotel) like the one in this literary fairy tale, written by Charlie Roscoe and illustrated by Tom Clohosy Cole.
Seriously, seeing this place, "a fortress in the heart of the island," today, made my heart race as usual whenever I see a good isolated fortress (or warship, or airborne aircraft carrier): lots of people in period uniform in a remote location and the things they go through, especially during peacetime. This setting is dark, sinister, ominous... yet the warmth of torchlight and the little vignettes with the military personnel (very one-bit secondary characters, yet to me they could have been the heroes of their own stories) add the fact that these characters are people, only that they're just following orders and donning variations on the same uniform!
The fortress on a craggy peak in the unforgiving blizzard. It's a massive square keep with a single tower, sinister and monolithic in appearance.

A cross section of the dungeon inside the tower. Rafters above, bars at the window, and bars at the door.

Things to look for: 
IN THE LEFT PAGE: a guard sleeping and letting a prisoner escape (that's called dereliction of duty!).
IN THE RIGHT PAGE: officers feasting in a candle-lit dining room hung with a painting of the surrounding landscape, the guard that fell asleep getting chided by one of his COs in the tower, a prisoner shackled in a dungeon, a changing of the guard, an officer sleeping (in a room full of books), another officer watching telly, and of course all the rafters, stairs, and battlements in the cross-section of the fortress (once I drew a scene inside an officer's chest, his heart cross-sectioned into those four chambers; that's what I'm reminded of). This looks like a wellspring for many stories; maybe even for either a thriller like Othello or a comedy like 'Allo 'Allo!
The contrast between few and far between warm torchlight flames and the icy blue penumbra that pervades the whole fortress also lends a lovely air to this setting.

Once the prisoner has escaped. Note the fortress glowing red against the night sky (ominous, right?), the lights on in the windows (not to mention the interbellum cars and flashlights), and the lovely touches such as the winding road down the slope and the telegraph/telephone wire that climbs up another slope.

REVIEWS of the setting:
... into a locked dungeon.
[···] The indigo shadows of the prison ...
(Project Muse)

 ...away in a dark fortress dungeon.

The dark illustrations and sinister mountain settings adds to the sense of fear throughout. 

...in a cold, dark cell, in a secret, remote inland location. 
(Betsy, of Redeemed Reader)

No hay comentarios:

Publicar un comentario