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The Lost Colony, Book One, Collector's Edition: The Snodgrass Conspiracy Hardcover – May 2, 2006

4.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

This somewhat perplexing book is ostensibly the story of an island cut off from the rest of colonial America. The island is populated by a variety of "characters" who are just that—sitcom stereotypes without real motivation. Add to that the strange combination of both faux historical language and modern terms like "dude" and problematic artwork, and you have a book that doesn't quite hit its stride. At its center, this book is trying to tell a story about America in transition, about slavery and technology and capitalism. An old inventor comes up with a machine that will replace slaves, while another man, Snodgrass, attempts to manipulate the local currency. But the reasons for these characters' actions remain vague. The thick black outlines in Klein's artwork are filled in with a vast amount of digital effects, which distract and confuse rather than describe and elucidate. His storytelling is similarly busy, with each page filled with odd-sized panels without apparent rhyme or reason. The Lost Colony stakes out ambitious and worthwhile territory, but it needs to find a focus. (May)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From School Library Journal

Grade 9 Up–Edweard Stoop makes his way onto an island that isnt on any maps and proceeds to paper it with posters for an upcoming slave auction. This act and his very presence precipitate a series of hijinx on the part of the residents. The characters are all given amusing ways of talking, and many have a secret agenda in their interactions, but the main point of the story is to provide or provoke a comic perspective on race and slavery, ending in a resolution that literally comes out of a machine. The exaggerated characters border on offensive, with attitudes that would be easier to classify if the story or artwork, and not the cover flap, informed readers that the action takes place in the 19th century–a claim undercut by relentlessly anachronistic dialogue and situations. The artwork is clever, with marvelous colors and elegantly rendered backgrounds, but the characters have been reduced to an objectified simplicity that makes them difficult to read. Additionally, visual sequences are frequently interrupted by sudden vignettes, either of a flashback or a metaphor rendered literally. These seem to exist in order to inject an additional dose of comedy into the proceedings while breaking up lengthy expository narratives. What they serve to do, however, is jar readers and further fracture the reading experience.–Benjamin Russell, Belmont High School, MA
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Series: The Lost Colony (Book 1)
  • Hardcover: 128 pages
  • Publisher: First Second (May 2, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1596431725
  • ISBN-13: 978-1596431720
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 0.7 x 8.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,532,640 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Paperback
As I read this odd first volume in a projected ten-book series, there was a vague sense of familiarity I couldn't quite identify. The title is clearly an allusion to the real-life "lost colony" of Roanoke Island (circa 1650), and the book itself appears to be set in an isolated village about two centuries later -- a quasi-1850ish America. But there was something about the bright colors, setting, and cast of characters that rang some little bell in the back of my head. Finally, after reading an interview with the author, it all made sense -- I had grown up reading the Asterix series, and so had he. The isolated village, strange characters, and vivid coloring all find their influences in the Asterix series.

With that out of the way, it has to be said that the storyline is a little disorienting. A stranger arrives in town, having crossed over on the small ferry which links the island village to the mainland. His task is apparently to advertise (via posters) an impending slave auction in the nearby city of Port Succor. The young daughter of the town's banker, Birdy Snodgrass, is keen to buy a slave to take over her household chores. Her father, meanwhile, waxes on about various vague financial "shenanigans" whose relevance to the plot is rather unclear. However, the town's Chinese-Mexican pharmacist/alchemist, Dr. Pepe Wong, is keen to erase the stranger's mind so that the village's existence remains unknown. Unfortunately, he entrusts this task to his huge Frankenstein-like helper, a strongman who has a talent for messing up simple tasks (these two characters are reminiscent of Getafix and Obelix from the Asterix series). Eventually Birdy makes it to Port Succor and has various adventures, culminating in her acquisition of a storytelling slave boy. Meanwhile, Dr.
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