Script: Haiko Hornig
Art: Marius Pawlitza
Publisher: Graphic Universe (Imprint of Lerner Publishing Group)
Available: This week in bookstores & Amazon.com
Out for English language release this week is the German-language 2016 cult fave, The Accursed Inheritance of Henrietta Achilles, book one of the A House Divided series by life-long pals and tabletop gamers Haiko Hornig and Marius Pawlitza. A Little Orphan Annie meets Night at the Museum in the realm of Dungeons & Dragons romp, Accursed Inheritance tells the tale of young Henrietta Achilles, confused orphan and heir apparent to the great and powerful wizard, Ornun Zol.
Henrietta Achilles is having a seriously confuddling day. Orphaned when her parents were slain in the Hailstorm in the final hours of The War (which war? That one, dolt!) when she was 4, she’s lived fairly uneventfully at the St. Genevieve orphanage until now. Today, she’s 15 and has been met and escorted to the town of Malrenard (a livable place) by a strange but earnest and very pleasant man, in relation to her inheritance.
As the sole surviving and duly named heir of the great wizard Ornun Zol. Her uncle. Whom she’s never met.
And who owned a rather unique and expansively large tower, as wizards do.
With a legendary treasure inside.
Oh, and his…experiments. Who, unattended, are now escaping into the fair (?) city of Malrenard.
But wait! There’s more: warring factions of pirate treasure hunters and queen’s guards have taken up camp in the tower, both in search of the treasure. Except no one, including Henrietta, knows where the treasure it…or, for that matter, what the treasure is.
And she’s being hunted by a huge, vicious predatory cat of some type.
Oh, and finally: portions of the house appear to be a bit, well, sentient. Helpful, in their way. Depending…
The Accursed Inheritance of Henriette Achilles is a fun romp. Targeted toward the YA crowd and with a distinctly tabletop gamer flavor, it’s a story that never takes itself too seriously or darkly, but is fast-paced, comical and exciting enough to keep even this adult’s interest. The fast and frequently comical pace is almost reminiscent of a Mel Brooks film. Dashing rogues, smarmy politicians, talking statues, curious and haunty creatures and stuffy militia. Oh, and stolen quiche. It’s a blast.
Hornig’s script and dialogue are fast and smooth, and have been translated well to English. The characters are fun if fairly shallow (this one’s all about the fun, the action and the plot devices), and the story’s a hoot. He weaves a fun tale in a fascinating medieval setting, one that sets his artist and life-long bud up well for his work.
And Marius Pawlitza covers his part with grace and aplomb. His style is light and cartoony, fitting to both the target audience and the subject material, not letting even the darker parts of the book get too heavy—but with enough monstery action to keep me engaged, as a 48-y/o gamer.
A cult hit in the creators’ native Germany (well, Pawlitza’s actually from Poland), A House Divided is a multipart graphic novel series, The Accursed Inheritance being its first volume, and can be found at bookstores and comic shops throughout the known universe (though given the times, you might want to call ahead to make sure they’ve got it) as well as Amazon.com. Once you’ve devoured this one, look for future volumes in the series from Graphic Universe.
Review by Andy Patch, thePullbox.com