"Visually stunning and deliciously macabre re-working of a Grimm fairy tale"
September 2023 Book of the Month
You can tell that everyone involved in the production of this book: from author to artist to designer, has relished their task! It truly is a beautifully produced book, with gold foiling and a dark autumnal palette, but the quality of the writing is equally outstanding.
Spare, yet lyrical and sardonically witty this is a personification of Death to match Terry Pratchett! On the birth of his son, a poor fisherman in his leaky cottage, decides to seek out an honest man to be his son’s godfather in the hope of a brighter future for his son than he could provide. Bitingly rejecting the offers of both God and the Devil, he next meets the terrifying figure of Death and must concede that Death is truly honest and fair and invites him to be godfather. The scene where Death attends the christening is very droll, as he tucks into the food “everyone wondered where it went but were all too polite to ask”.
Death bestows upon the fisherman a gift which enables him to earn fame and fortune for his family. But when a sick King needs his skills, he is faced with an impossible choice and discovers that Death will not take kindly to being cheated. Further, when faced with his own demise, his greed leads to a terrible conclusion. The detailed illustrations have an appropriately medieval woodcut feel and are the perfect foil to a perfect dark moral tale that will be fabulous to share around Halloween or to complement any Gothic or traditional tale study. Frankly I would love somebody to commission this pairing to remaster the complete Grimm canon! What a treat that would be.