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Sunday, February 9, 2014

'Delilah Dirk and the Turkish Lieutenant' by Tony Cliff

From the BLURB:

Lovable ne'er-do-well Delilah Dirk is an Indiana Jones for the 19th century. She has traveled to Japan, Indonesia, France, and even the New World. Using the skills she's picked up on the way, Delilah's adventures continue as she plots to rob a rich and corrupt Sultan in Constantinople. With the aid of her flying boat and her newfound friend, Selim, she evades the Sultan's guards, leaves angry pirates in the dust, and fights her way through the countryside. For Delilah, one adventure leads to the next in this thrilling and funny installment in her exciting life.

A little bit Tintin, a little bit Indiana Jones, Tony Cliff's Delilah Dirk and the Turkish Lieutenant is a great pick for any reader looking for a smart and foolhardy heroine...and globetrotting adventures.

Meet Delilah Dirk – a globetrotting troublemaker, daughter to an English ambassador father and famous Greek artisan mother. Delilah was trained by the best marksmen in France, lived in the jungles of India, the beaches of Indonesia, and a Japanese monastery. She is extremely deadly, capable and chaos-incarnate.

Delilah meets Erdemoglu Selim, lieutenant in the Turksih Janissary Corps (and amateur tea-brewer), when she attempts to steal some ancient scrolls from his Majesty’s palace. Selim is sent to interrogate Ms Dirk, but somehow gets caught up in her (inevitable) escape plan – and even accused of being her accomplice! 

Now Selim finds himself unwittingly along for Delilah’s wild new escapade – stealing from the Evil Pirate and Captain – Zakul (the Terrible). 

‘Delilah Dirk and the Turkish Lieutenant’ is the first book in a new graphic novel series by Tony Cliff for First Second Books

I have had this book waiting in my TBR pile for months. First recommended to me by Adele (Persnickety Snark) back in 2013, Tony Cliff’s ‘Delilah Dirk’ was named a Publishers Weekly Best Children's Book of 2013 and a Kirkus Reviews Best Teen Book of 2013. And let me tell you … it deserves all that praise, and more. 

Tony Cliff has created an acerbically witty, charming and ferocious heroine in Delilah Dirk – at once an accomplished (ass-kicking) swordswoman, and member to three royal families. She seemingly traipses the world looking for mischief and doing whatever tickles her fancy; whether it be stealing gold from a terrible pirate or breaking into the Great Palace of Constantinople. She’s like a cross between Adèle Blanc-Sec and Indiana Jones – and utterly, utterly wonderful. I also appreciated that Tony Cliff didn’t sexualise Delilah; she’s definitely not the type of comic-book action heroine we’ve seen too much of lately. 

Readers are seeing this story through Lieutenant Selim’s eyes – we meet Delilah at the same time he does, and we hear his conflicting interiority about her actions and his participation in them. Selim is a great sidekick for Delilah; waylaid by a strong moral compass and utterly horrified by Delilah’s easy brutality. They are a great double-act balance, and by the end of the book readers can rest assured that they have the beginnings of a beautiful friendship. 

‘Delilah Dirk’ is also a very exotic, historic story – we traipse with Delilah from 1807 Constantinople (Istanbul) to the wilds of Asian Turkey and a trip over to Greece. The locations are stunningly drawn, and it’s wonderful to get lost in such exotic locales. I can’t wait to travel with Delilah and Selim, wherever her fancies take them next!

‘Delilah Dirk and the Turkish Lieutenant’ is one of the best graphic novels I’ve read, and easily makes its way onto my favourites list. It’s funny and lushly drawn, Delilah is a worthy heroine and Selim a fantastic narrator. I can’t wait for more adventures with these two.


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