OUT NOW: Sword Master

February 16th, 2017 § 0 comments § permalink


“If there’s one thing people can’t stand having called into question, it’s their certainties,” writes prolific scripter Xavier Dorison, who in previous series such as The Third Testament and Red One has worked with renowned artists from Alex Alice to Terry and Rachel Dodson. In his preface to the 16th century swashbuckler Sword Master, with art by Joël Parnotte, he enjoins readers to imagine first “western civilization if all life, thought, and death were filtered through a single prism: God,” and then “an upheaval that made the invention of the wheel and the discovery of the New World seem trivial in comparison”: namely, the Protestant Reformation. The religious wars are the backdrop to this wintry adventure, which yielded the death of… a distant relative? (Spoiler alert: his head gets smashed to a pulp.)

sword master panel

Dorison sneaks other nifty historical aspects into this bitter tale, like the merits of bastard swords vs. rapiers, working technological change into characters’ personal worldviews and conceptions of honor.

It’s 1537. Deep in the mountains of the Jura, a group of fanatical Catholic mountain dwellers track a young Protestant and his guide. Big mistake. For his guide is no other than the former master-at-arms of Francois I, Hans Stalhoffer. After being defeated in an unfair fight, Hans had exiled himself from the court. Some years later, Gauvin, the surgeon who saved his life, and his young apprentice beg his help. They wish to travel undercover to Switzerland to publish a French vernacular Bible. The only possible route is to take the infamous Jura Pass. Hans, now a drunk drowning in debt, is willing to sacrifice a few days to guide the two men through the hostile mountains. But when the authorities get wind of the scheme, they launch a wide-scale manhunt led by his former court rival. Hunted, injured, and freezing, Hans now faces the hardest fight of his life.

This graphic novel is now available as a digital exclusive from EuropeComics on a number of platforms (Izneo, Kindle, Kobo, Google Play, and Comixology).

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