So What Are You Reading?

Reviews of Books.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006


Cigars of the Pharaoh. Hergé

Cigars of the Pharaoh is an early volume in a series of graphic novel adventures starring the fictional international reporter Tintin, a young man who ends up solving mysteries rather than reporting news.

In this installment Tintin and his talking dog Snowy are taking a quiet holiday cruise where they meet an absent-minded scholar, a movie producer, and the twin Thompson brothers detectives. Arrested by the Thompsons because someone planted heroin in his room Tintin jumps ship in Port Said and bumps into the professor.

He agrees to help the professor seek out a hidden Egyptian tomb. When they find the tomb, it is full of mummified archaeologists and cases of curiously labeled cigars. Then they are drugged and captured and put on a ship.

A series of escapes and captures keeps the story exciting as Tintin keeps running into the professor, the Thompsons, and the movie producer, while running from an international gang of smugglers and making his way from Egypt to India.

Eventually, he solves the mystery of the Cigars of the Pharaoh, while portraying the various populations of this part of the world without patronizing them. An exciting adventure that continues in a second volume called The Blue Lotus.

This series is great at portraying the world between the two great wars in a way that is simple yet respectful. The adventures are well crafted and the color illustrations are sumptuous in detail.

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