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Mini-Review: "Crécy" by Warren Ellis

Bloody Frogs, originally uploaded by soldierant.

Tapped out quickly, cause it's on my mind: if you get the chance, you should definitely check out Warren Ellis' Crécy. It's a you-are-there retelling of the humiliating defeat that the French King Philip and his chivalrous army of nobility suffered at hands of… well, what amounted to a 12,000-strong marauding force of armed peasantry. The battle took place at—where else?—Crécy, France in 1346.

The volume is slim (~40 pages, maybe?) but ambitious. In one taught, economical tale Ellis explains exactly why the English hate the French (and the Welsh hate the Cornish. And Suffolks hates 'em all. And… you get the idea) The narrator, William of Stonham, is a foul-mouthed wonder. (Best line—"Old English proverb: if you keep on being their cunt, they'll keep fucking you.")

You learn a lot about warfare and strategy of the day. How longbows work; why crossbows were feared. (Some really nasty strategies for spreading infections to wounds, too. Yick.) In fact, for the educational value, Crécy kind of reminds me of another series of books I really enjoy by illustrator Stephen Biesty The Biesty books, btw, are much more kid-friendly than this one—in fact, don't get this comic for your kid. (Didn't the quote convince you? Also—David Macaulay treads this same territory, too, though I think I've read-but-not-bought some of his works.)

Crécy is great storytelling, and well worth the 6 bucks and change. Check it out! (Or ask me to borrow it.)



This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on March 21, 2008 4:34 PM.

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