Down the Mysterly River

Bill Willingham, illus. by Mark Buckingham. Tor/Starscape, $15.99 (336p) ISBN 978-0-7653-2792-5
Eisner-winning comics creator Willingham (the Fables series) makes his middle-grade debut with an action-packed and often touching novel (published in a different form by Willingham's Clockwork Storybook collective in 2001) that explores the nature of characters and authorship. Twelve-year-old Max, a Boy Scout and self-professed detective, finds himself in a strange forest with no idea how he got there. He soon meets a group of talking animals who are equally confused about their provenance, including a badger named Banderbrock, a gentle bear named Walden, and the mean cat McTavish. They encounter mysterious hunters called the Blue Cutters, who use their blades to literally cut into the history of creatures, rearranging their pasts to suit the Cutters' desires. Willingham roles out his themes slowly, only fully spelling them out in the final scene, but they don't interfere with the rollicking story, nasty (but fully realized) villains, and heroic camaraderie. Likewise, although references from The Princess Bride to Edgar Rice Burroughs abound, they're smoothly integrated, never letting readers suspect they might be missing a joke. The end result is a stellar example of a novel working both as an adventure tale and as metafiction. Ages 10–up. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 07/18/2011
Release date: 09/01/2011
Show other formats
MP3 CD - 978-1-4558-3748-9
Compact Disc - 978-1-4558-3746-5
MP3 CD - 978-1-4558-3749-6
Paperback - 230 pages - 978-0-9704841-3-0
Pre-Recorded Audio Player - 978-1-4558-4479-1
Ebook - 336 pages - 978-1-4299-8240-5
Paperback - 333 pages - 978-0-7653-6634-4
Compact Disc - 978-1-4558-3747-2
MP3 CD - 978-1-4692-0172-6
Compact Disc - 978-1-4692-0171-9
Prebound-Glued - 336 pages - 978-0-606-26242-2
Stay ahead with
Tip Sheet!
Free newsletter: the hottest new books, features and more
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
Email Address


Log In Lost Password

PW has integrated its print and digital subscriptions, offering exciting new benefits to subscribers, who are now entitled to both the print edition and the digital editions of PW (online or via our app). For instructions on how to set up your accout for digital access, click here. For more information, click here.

The part of the site you are trying to access is now available to subscribers only. Subscribers: to set up your digital subscription with the new system (if you have not done so already), click here. To subscribe, click here.

Email with questions.

Not Registered? Click here.