In a nutshell, an injured and deserting soldier named Otto stumbles across a werewolf deep in a forest and escapes whilst the wolf devours some cutthroats. Shortly after, he is nursed back to health by a mysterious trickster and given some enchanted dice that will direct him on his path. This path leads him to a beautiful girl destined to marry a loathsome prince, with whom he falls instantly in love, a wicked Lady of the Nail and her magical Tinderbox, complete with three guardian werewolves and eventually to a village ravaged by sudden werewolf attacks after being immune for so long. Otto, recklessly in love and in possession of more wealth and power than he has ever dreamed of vows to rescue Saffire, his flame haired love from the prince. Who is apparently sleeping with Saffire's step-mother, the sister of the wicked Wolf-Lady.
The illustrations that accompany, anchor and contain the story are absolutely central to this book. They become crucial to the format of the story, separating dreams and reality throughout the story. Beautiful landscapes and portraits, in dusky charcoals and inks- sometimes they look hurried and frantic, sometimes painstakingly detailed and precise. My favourite was definitely the fruit and bread feast that's laid out for Otto in the castle of the Lady of the Nail. The drawings lead the narrative really, the simple black, white and red is more than just an accompanying image, the plot depends on them.
|I love how Guernica this double page spread is|