Grandville

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From Publishers Weekly Talbot follows up the admirable but abstruse Alice in Sunderland with an engrossing blend of steampunk, Victorian-flavored detective stories, anthropomorphized animals and 9/11 allegory. The storytelling skills that he brought to The Tale of One Bad Rat are firing on all cylinders as he spins the tale of Scotland Yard's bodybuilding badger, Insp.-Det. Archie LeBrock searching for a murder squad, a trail of violent intrigue leading to France. In this alternate historical setting, Britain fell under French rule during the Napoleonic Wars and became the Socialist Republic of Britain, a situation rife with civil disobedience, explosive terrorism and mutual suspicion between the two countries, all simmering elements that could lead to war. The murder LeBrock and his adjunct, Detective Ratzi, are investigating may somehow be tied to a mysterious grand plan, leading to a tightly woven tapestry of sex, violence and political intrigue containing strong commentary on 9/11 and the political machinations that fueled it. The animal-headed characters—alluding to The Wind and the Willows—just add to an entertaining and multileveled whodunit by a master storyteller. (Oct.) Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. Read more From Booklist *Starred Review* Already famous for creating one of graphic fiction’s most memorable characters, universe-hopping Luther Arkwright, Talbot tries his hand here at creating another, albeit of a very different stripe. And the stripe in this case is literally on the head of Scotland Yard Inspector LeBrock, a muscular, talking badger with a penchant for fisticuffs. The opening installment in a projected five-part series, this beautifully illustrated murder mystery is one part Sherlock Holmes, another part Wind in the Willows, wrapped in a steampunk veneer. Not only badgers, but also rats, dogs, and every other kind of talking animal populate Talbot’s alternate nineteenth-century Britain and France. An increasingly suspenseful plot finds LeBrock and his stalwart assistant, Detective Ratzi (a rat, of course), investigating the murder of a British diplomat. The trail leads across the channel bridge into a second-empire-controlled Paris still reeling from the terroristic destruction of a famous tower. The hirsute pair’s clue-collecting takes them through Parisian back alleys into nightclubs and brothels in which they tangle with assorted gun-wielding canines and uncover a French government plot to launch an even more deadly terrorist attack on its own citizens. Talbot’s masterful attention to detail, down to his character’s muzzles and whiskers, makes every panel a work of art. One of Talbot’s best graphic novels to date. --Carl Hays Read more