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42 of 44 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A superb, if flawed, new edition of the Asterix series
The appeal of the Asterix books is universal, and timeless. For children there are terrific stories well told, and dazzling illustrations. For adults - the real audience - there are René Goscinny's wonderful jokes and marvellous puns, interspersed with quotations from classical authors, The Bible, Napoleon, Shakespeare and many many more. And Albert Uderzo's...
Published on 3 May 2004

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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Decent Introduction
I'm a big fan of the series, 'Cleopatra' and 'in Britain' being perhaps the two best of all. It's interesting to see the visual appearance of the characters change through the first half of the book until they reach their final - and best - look.
I'm just writing this to point out that most reviews here seem overpraising. Though...
Published on 4 Nov 2005


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42 of 44 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A superb, if flawed, new edition of the Asterix series, 3 May 2004
By A Customer
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The appeal of the Asterix books is universal, and timeless. For children there are terrific stories well told, and dazzling illustrations. For adults - the real audience - there are René Goscinny's wonderful jokes and marvellous puns, interspersed with quotations from classical authors, The Bible, Napoleon, Shakespeare and many many more. And Albert Uderzo's illustrations are often simply breathtaking. So, many of the visual ideas in "Asterix and Cleopatra" come from the film "Cleopatra" with Elizabeth Taylor and Rex Harrison. Meanwhile, in "Asterix the Legionary" the pirates' ship is sunk by Asterix and Obelix (again). The image of the pirates on a raft in mid ocean is taken from a 19th Century French Romantic painting in the Louvre, "The Raft of the Medusa", by Géricault. In the French version the pirate captain says to the reader "Je suis médusé" ("I'm gobsmacked"). In English this is rendered equally cleverly as "We've been framed, by Jericho".
Ah, the translations. Asterix owes his success in the English-speaking world to the brilliance of the translators, Anthea Bell and Derek Hockridge. They've been responsible for all the Asterix books since "Asterix the Gaul" first appeared in English in 1969, an amazing record. So true is their work to the spirit of the French originals, that it's as though Goscinny and Uderzo had produced the books in English in the first place. Some of the jokes are arguably better in English than in French, especially the names. Having two legionaries called Sendervictorius and Appianglorius, in "Asterix the Gladiator", gives three jokes for the price of two. (Asterix trivia: Anthea Bell is the sister of Martin Bell, the former BBC war correspondent.)
24 Asterix books were written by René Goscinny and illustrated by Albert Uderzo, with the first appearing in France in 1961. Then in 1977 Goscinny died at the tragically early age of 51. Uderzo has since produced seven more books on his own, as well as some collections of other material, and they're very good. But René Goscinny's genius is sorely missed.
The French versions have never been out of print - hardly surprising as Asterix is a French national icon. But the first 24 in the series, the finest ones, have been unavailable in English for several years. Orion Books are now putting that right, and have - for the most part - made a very good job of it. The work of re-colouring and re-inking the pages has transformed them, especially the first in the series, "Asterix the Gaul". The typefaces have also been recast, and are more legible and closer in style to the French edition. The books are now printed, in France, on high quality glossy paper in the classic hardback format. All in all, the English Asterix books are now produced to a higher standard than the current French edition from Hachette. That's quite an achievement.
But there are flaws. Many of the jokes come from the imaginative use of different typefaces, an area in which both Goscinny and Uderzo had a special interest. So the Goths speak in Gothic script, the Egyptians in hieroglyphics (which are often really symbols from the Michelin Guide) and so on. Some of this has been lost in the new Orion versions. So whenever Obelix shakes someone, their words should appear twice, overlapping, to suggest vibration. In the new books this doesn't happen, a good joke missed. Then the lookout on the pirate ship has lost his American Deep South accent. Is this political correctness? It's robbed us of a much loved character. And the cover of "Asterix and Cleopatra" no longer boasts that it's "the greatest story ever drawn" in a deliberate echo of the poster for the film "Cleopatra". And there are some silly mistakes that weren't there before.
But these are quibbles. The Asterix series is triumphantly back in English for a new generation to enjoy. Buy all 31 books (and "Asterix and the Class Act", a fine collection of shorter material). Then get them all again in French from Amazon.fr while you're about it, for more than double the fun. You, and your children, will be glad you did.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Decent Introduction, 4 Nov 2005
By A Customer
I'm a big fan of the series, 'Cleopatra' and 'in Britain' being perhaps the two best of all. It's interesting to see the visual appearance of the characters change through the first half of the book until they reach their final - and best - look.
I'm just writing this to point out that most reviews here seem overpraising. Though good, this is one of the worst of the series, with not much in the way of plot or the ingenuity that at least a few dozen others are full of. If you want to read one Asterix book to see what the fuss is about, it's best to start with another, then read this for completion later on.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Asterix must surrender to Romans to save the village druid., 5 Sep 2000
By A Customer
This is the first of the adventures of the little Gaulish warrior, Asterix. Their little village is surrounded by four Roman camps which have not been able to conquer these indomitable Gauls because of the magic potion they drink that gives them super-human strength. The Romans send a spy to find out the secret of their strengh. When he brings back the report, the Romans ambush the village's druid Getafix (who makes the magic potion) and try to get him to make it for them. Asterix leaves the safety of the village to find his friend. He learns of Getafix's being captured by the Romans and arranges to get into their camp, where he surrenders. Enjoy how Asterix and Getafix pull the wool over the eyes of their captures. Enjoy the wonderful "torture" of being Roman captives. And finally, enjoy how they reveal a plot against their arch-enemy, Julius Caesar. It literally is a "hair raising" adventure. Enjoy!
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The 1st Asterix book, 7 May 2006
The very first Asterix book is a must for anyone who wants to read all the Asterix books. But for those who just want to read one, this may not be for you. The drawing is far cruder than the other books, and the plot is a little thin, although the story introduces all of the characters (except Dogmatix). Maybe not for the newcomer to the Asterix world (because after reading this you may not want to stay), although if you wish to read them all, read this one first.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The first Asterix book in a superbly restored new edition, 20 April 2004
By 
Ad van der Rest (Maidenhead, Berkshire, GB) - See all my reviews
'Asterix the Gaul' is the first of 31 adventures published between 1961and 2001. As this is the first book, some of the drawings are a littlecrude compared to the later stories, and some of the favourite features ofthe Gaulish village have yet to evolve. This is a good story, well toldand drawn, but doesn't yet deserve to be considered 'classic' Asterix,like the fourth book 'Asterix the Gladiator' and the sixth book 'Asterixand Cleopatra' and of course many later stories. The tale itself focuseson Asterix and Getafix the Druid fooling the Romans who want to get theirhands on the magic potion which makes the Gauls invulnerable. The newedition re-inks and re-colours the story. A beautiful job has been done ofthis 'restoration'. My original tatty copy (from 1969!) has crudecolouring and in some places careless use of colour where whole parts ofthe characters are just coloured the same. This edition beautifully shadesthe drawings in the style associated with the later books and 'corrects'the colouring of characters such as Vitalstatistix who in my original copywears pink! and now is restored to his chief-like green. I loved this bookwhen I was eight. I love it still (many years older!).
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Typical Romans, 1 Nov 2007
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Doniaa (London, England) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Asterix the Gaul (Paperback)
I think this book is for 8+ year olds because there are very hard words to read and understand.
Do you want get all of the books like me? (this is only number 1!)
Asterix and his village are based in France 1000 years ago.The Romans try to attack, but always fail because Obelix, Asterix's best friend, mainly fights them away. He can do this on his own because when he was a baby he fell into a cauldren with a liquid that makes you stronger. Asterix has to drink the potion from a bottle like everyone else but it runs out quickly. The Romans got tired of being beaten up. So Julius Caesar has a plan to trick them by dressing one of the Romans like a Gaul!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 14 July 2014
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This review is from: Asterix the Gaul (Paperback)
Fine, no problems.
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5.0 out of 5 stars THE BEST, 24 Jan 2014
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This review is from: Asterix The Gaul (Kindle Edition)
These books are the BEST check out My review under Asterix and the goths I'm so glad I found these.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Asterix The Gaul, 4 Jan 2014
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This review is from: Asterix the Gaul (Paperback)
The book was in good condition arrived promptly, good price my grand son was pleased so I will buy another - what more can one ask?
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great, 27 Aug 2013
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Recommended as it is a good buy. My hubby loves Asterixs and is collecting.
Item was delivered on time and in good condition
Will certainly be buying again
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Asterix the Gaul
Asterix the Gaul by Albert Uderzo (Paperback - 21 April 2005)
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