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‘We need the literature of other countries to expand our
horizons and stimulate our ideas. Without it, we are not only
diminished, we are starved’
(The Times, Magnus Linklater 29/06/05)
Tintin Volume 4
Age Range: 9-11
The internationally successful ‘Adventures of Tintin’ are Belgian comic writer and artist Hergé’s most well-known and beloved works. Tintin Volume 4 contains three classic Tintin graphic novels available in one deluxe hardcover edition.
The Crab with the Golden Claws
Tintin and Snowy stumble upon a police investigation underway in Brussels that revolves around the mystery of a drowned man. This new adventure takes Tintin to Morocco where he is hot on the trail of a gang of opium smugglers. The Crab with the Golden Claws is the first story where Tintin meets Captain Haddock, an irascible sailor who remains by Tintin’s side for all of his adventures. Haddock is in a bad way: he’s an alcoholic and a virtual prisoner of the ship’s mate, Allan, but Tintin takes the captain under his wing and the long process of rehabilitation begins.
Despite his volatile nature, Captain Haddock quickly proves to be a faithful friend to Tintin. The detectives Thomson and Thompson make an appearance in this story too, but — needless to say — they fail to solve the crime by themselves!
While Hergé was writing this story the German invasion of Belgium on 10 May 1940 took place putting the publication of Tintin on hold. In order to continue publishing his tales and avoid censorship, Hergé set them in exotic lands, far from the tragedies of war.
The Shooting Star
An asteroid is hurtling towards earth, but just when it looks like all hope is lost the asteroid flies by without the major collision everyone had feared. However, part of the asteroid plummets into the Arctic Ocean and an international scientific expedition is set up to search for the meteorite. Tintin, Snowy and Captain Haddock set off aboard the Aurora to search for the meteorite but much to Tintin’s chagrin, the rival expedition is backed by a sinister character that has no intention of losing the race.
The influence of the Second World War on Hergé’s imagination is visible in this tale of international competition and at the time of publication it sparked a heated debate.
The Secret of the Unicorn
Little does Tintin realise when he buys a model ship as a gift for his friend Captain Haddock from Old Street Market that it will prove to be the key to an exciting and dangerous adventure. The ship appears to be a model of a vessel depicted in the background of a painting of the Captain Haddock’s illustrious ancestor, Sir Francis Haddock. While looking through an old chest in his attic, Captain Haddock finds the diary of his ancestor which tells the story of Sir Francis’s run-in with a fearsome pirate, Red Rackham, and also describes a priceless treasure. It is not long before strange events begin to unfold. Tintin’s flat is ransacked and a mysterious collector seems determined to buy the model ship. The Secret of the Unicorn and its sequel, Red Rackham’s Treasure, are two of the best-loved Tintin books of all time.
These three-in-one volumes of Tintin stories are convenient and excellent value. Although they don’t quite match up to the big print of the individual comics making it harder to enjoy the detail in Hergé's layouts, they still provide hours of entertainment as the reader becomes absorbed in the Tintin adventures.