Down the Mysterly River

Down the Mysterly River by Bill Willingham © 2011, Starscape Books 2011 hardcover with illustrations by Mark Buckingham, fiction, YA adventure

This is a tale of a boy, bear, badger and cat in a mysterious wilderness. Max, a top-notch Boy Scout, has no idea how he suddenly finds himself in these woods, nor how he has acquired the ability to talk with the animals who accompany him on this adventure. One thing that is clear is that the Blue Cutters, adult men and women wielding magical blue swords capable of altering personality, even beliefs and memory with each careful cut are chasing them. The deadly swords, used less carefully, they can would or kill.

The Cutters are chasing Max, and Banderbrock the badger,  Walden the bear and McTavish the cat. The four of them form a team to escape the Cutters and journey down the roads and along the large Mysterly River in hopes if reaching Wizard Swift’s sanctuary before they are caught by a large force of Cutters and their pack of hunting dogs, and “altered”.

Along the way we learn a good deal of each characters history, and that none of them seems to remember much about their lives before they found themselves in the great woods.

I like Willingham’s fiction, both graphic novels, especially his Fables books and written, including Peter and Max which came out a year ago. This was a delightful, satisfying book, and the wonderful chapter head illustrations by Buckingham add to the enjoyment. I’m hoping for – expecting – more adventures from Willingham taking place in this interesting world.

About Rick Robinson

Enjoying life in Portland, OR
This entry was posted in books, fantasy, mystery, reading, Review and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to Down the Mysterly River

  1. Carl V. says:

    I’m looking forward to reading it sometime soon. Not sure if I’ll get to it before November or not, but I’m going to try. There are far too few novels with illustrations made these days and when a novel includes beautiful illustrations coupled with a really good story, I consider that treasure.

  2. Richard says:

    Carl, note that the illustrations are only for the chapter headings, not throughout the book. The endpapers are a map, also done by Buckingham

  3. cdpung says:

    Would you recommend this for adults too? I love Fables. Would it be better if I read Peter and Max?

  4. Richard says:

    Yes, I would, I’m an adult and I enjoyed it a lot. No need to read Peter and Max first, they aren’t related.

  5. Carl V. says:

    Oh I know, I have the book. But that kind of thing is done way too infrequently these days and I really enjoy it when publishers allow for that kind of embellishment of an author’s work.

  6. I just heard this mentioned yesterday. It looks like something I’d really enjoy.

  7. I’ve ordered this. Looks good!

  8. Patti Abbott says:

    Wonder if he’s related to Calder Willingham, who I loved.

  9. Richard says:

    No idea, Patti, did you google him?
    Charles, I’ll wager you do enjoy it.
    Way to go, George.

  10. John says:

    I tried Peter and Max last year and just couldn’t get into it at all. Puzzling to me, because I very much enjoyed Jasper Fforde’s similar books (especially The Big Over Easy) with fairy tale characters lifted from the world of fantasy and stuck into a criminal world. Oh well… Maybe I need more parody and jokes rather than Wilingham’s style which is less irreverent than Fforde’s.

  11. Richard says:

    John, I found this to be a different book from Peter and Max, which played off Fables. You might enjoy it.

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