Corto Maltese 5: Celtic Tales


Written and Illustrated by Hugo Pratt

The six stories in this volume are set during 1917-1918 against the backdrop of the First World War, as the action moves from South America to Europe. Pratt further explores such complicated themes as patriotism and greed, revolution and opportunism, and betrayal and seduction.
“The Angel in the Window to the Orient” opens on a small island in the Venetian lagoon, where Corto resumes his search for the gold of El Dorado, only to come face-to-face with a beautiful—and familiar—blonde spy. Selfish pragmatism and rapacity play out in “Under the Flag of Gold,” as he meets fictionalized versions of Ernest Hemingway and Aristotle Onassis. The fight for Irish independence draws the peripatetic sailor to the Emerald Isle and a young revolutionary named Banshee O’Danann in the delightfully titled “Concerto in O’ Minor for Harp and Nitroglycerin.” Magic realism pervades “A Mid-Winter Morning’s Dream,” Pratt’s tribute to Shakespeare, in a story set at Stonehenge on the plains of Salisbury, where Corto is joined by Morgana, Merlin, Puck, and Oberon to save Britain from the Teutonic invader. “Côtes de Nuit and Picardy Roses” unfolds at the time of the Battle of the Somme in April 1918 that led to the death of Germany’s greatest ace, Manfred von Richthofen, the legendary Red Baron. In the final adventure—“A Burlesque, or Not, Between Zuydcoote and Bray-Dunes”—Corto reunites with an old friend from The Ballad of the Salty Sea and is drawn into a hypnotic tale of espionage in the northern communes of France.
Translated by Dean Mullaney and Simone Castaldi
9.25″ x 11.625″ / TPB / B&W / 140 pp / ISBN 978-1-63140-507-5