cover image Oyster War

Oyster War

Ben Towle. Oni, $29.99 (168p) ISBN 978-1-62010-262-6

Towle (Amelia Earheart: This Broad Ocean) tells a tale of magic, adventure, and seafood in this clever book. Oysters are the cornerstone of the economy in Blood’s Haven, a small 19th-century hamlet overlooking the Chesapeake Bay. Business is booming—but not all who ply the waters have pure intentions. Pirates have been dredging the bay for as many oysters as they can find, heedless of the devastation their practices will bring to the oyster population in a scant few years. In response, the Oyster Navy is created: a motley band of immigrants, veterans, and bare-knuckle boxers willing to risk it all for the future of the oyster trade. Rumor has it, however, that the pirates are after something much more valuable than oysters, something that could grant them dominion over the bay. This charming tale is particularly successful in blending history and folklore. Towle’s character designs and use of color are especially memorable—every single page is wonderfully vibrant, with a strong cast of oddball characters. Occasionally muddled battle scenes don’t detract from what is overall a wonderfully lively and imaginative yarn. (Oct.)