The Marquis of Anaon - The Isle of BracAuthors: Vehlmann & Bonhomme
Age: 12 years and up
Size: 21.7 x 28.7 cm
Number of pages: 48 colour pages
Publication: July 2015
Price: £6.99 inc. VAT
Jean-Baptiste Poulain has been hired by the Baron of Brac to tutor his son. When the young teacher arrives on the island off the coast of Brittany, he’s immediately struck by how much the population seems to both hate and fear their lord. Which doesn’t stop the locals from going after the aristocrat’s people. Jean-Baptiste is brutally attacked – just after Nolwenn, the baron’s son, is found beaten to death…
I got a bit confused as I was asked what I thought of "The Isle Of Brac" and thought of Braque for some reason. Aldous Russel from Cinebook set me straight though!
Wow. Firstly,DELF does an excellent colour job on this book and it all melds together nicely with the artwork. But here is the thing, I'm not sure what I was expecting. Vehlmann was the writer that brought us the incredibly fun Green Manor -published by Cinebook. I was expecting a bit of humour but what I got was far removed from humour.
A Baron talking of a secret and the evil machinations of the not-to-be-trusted villagers -and the villagers making it VERY clear to the new arrival "don't get involved". This is pretty dark and violent and a scene involving the Baron on the beach at the end reminds me of a scene in Dennis Wheatley's fantastic book Contraband (1936) -not a horror book but the scene in particular gave me the horrors. Even without that reference the scene here is striking.
This is a one off story with another book to follow later so it's all there for you. Bonhomme's art is just right for this kind of story, too. That cover may well look dark but take it as a warning!