Far Arden

Kevin Cannon, Author, Kevin Cannon, Illustrator . Top Shelf $19.95 (382p) ISBN 978-1-60309-036-0

In this fanciful tale set in arctic Canada, disparate characters struggle to find a mythic paradise island, Far Arden. Despite far-fetched aspects like the evil, bureaucracy-controlled Royal Canadian Arctic Navy, a half-man/half–polar bear and a conniving university professor of psychology, the story becomes mundane through the intertwining character relations and attention to detail in constructing the world. The protagonist, a stoic, rugged arctic pirate, Army Shanks, searches for the island to reunite with his mentor, Simon Arctavis, but is hindered by old acquaintances and ill-fortune. Slowly, the reader becomes immersed in this alternate arctic world. Commonplace and strange are fused, as rants on the dangers of global warming transition into a battle with a polar bear. The thick crosshatched backgrounds and simple fluid characters further ground the story. As the entwined pasts of Army, his ex, her current husband, a college couple and an orphan bent on revenge for his father’s murder are revealed, entwining pasts become clear and the full range of this engrossing story is revealed. (May)

Reviewed on: 04/06/2009
Release date: 07/01/2009
Genre: Fiction
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