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4.7 out of 5 stars27
4.7 out of 5 stars
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This 1958 story (original title in Belgium: Coke en stock/cokes in voorraad) is a good place to start, or to give to someone else to get a first taste of a wonderful Tintin series. It has everything in a single volume: slapstick, adventure, exotic locations (Wadesdah, Petra) as well as homely ones (Captain Haddock's castle), evil adversaries, good friends, daring escapes; and the illustrator at the top of his form with crisp, clear drawings, beautiful coloring, excellent ship and airplane scenes. And for the loyal Tintin fan there are a host of old friends and acquaintances: general Alcazar, Abdullah, Dawson (from the Blue Lotus), d'Oliveira, Castafiore... and some surprising ones, too, which I won't give away so as not to spoil the surprise.

It is a story of its time, with Mosquitoes and DC-3s very 1950-s cars, and rather 1950-s treatment of `foreigners'; but Hergé's heart is in the right place with his feelings about arms dealers and slave traders. The book has an old-fashioned charm, but is also rather timeless and modern kids would enjoy it, I think.

I believe Hergé reached his peak in this and the two adjacent stories, the Calculus Affair and Tintin in Tibet. The perfect balance between jokes and adventure, good (the freeing of the slaves) and evil, and the perfect handling of colour, story and page lay-out, makes this an absolute topper.
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on 24 April 2010
This book is definitely the best of the Tintin series, and could even be my all-time favourite graphic novel. Believe me, I've read a few as well.
Herge's novels are never boring. Even when Tintin, Captain Haddock or any of their comrades aren't in peril, there's something to amuse or amaze in there. But The Red Sea Sharks takes it to a new level.
Tintin always seems to stumble upon adventure in the most ordinary places. In this case, it begins in front of a movie theatre, and running into old friend General Alcazar. Next comes a misplaced wallet that can't be returned and the reappearance of the endlessly impish Prince Abdullah (son of the Emir of Khemed) at Marlinspike Hall. But then things go from trying to chilling when Tintin finds out that General Alcazar was in Europe buying up military hardware from an illicit supplier. Tintin is compelled to intervene when this supplier helps to back a coup in Khemed and the Emir goes into hiding.
It's everything you expect from a Tintin novel; laughs take the form of such things as Abdullah's practical jokes, Captain Haddock's attempt at horse-riding, Snowy stealing dinner from a cheetah and a confusion of orders leading to rebel pilots firing on their troops. But it's the exciting parts that win me over. You could swear you're watching a movie rather than reading a book. The book shifts through a plane crash, a flight through the desert, an aerial attack in the middle of the sea, the exposure of a shocking illicit trade in human lives, and it all finally climaxes in a nail-biting cat-and-mouse chase between an old freighter and a lethal submarine.
Buy it. You shall not be disappointed.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 14 April 2010
There's a great deal going on in The Red Sea Sharks, but strangely, at the same time nothing much really happens. Although based on a real story that Hergé read in the newspapers about modern day slavery, Tintin and Captain Haddock's part in uncovering the illegal trade of humans is rather haphazard, the two of them (with Snowy) hopping on planes and boats without really seeming to arrive anywhere and get started on an investigation. An unfortunate tendency of their transportation to catch fire, blow-up or fall apart might have something to do with this.

Recurrent motifs are really all The Red Sea Sharks have going for it in place of a clear linear investigative plot, from the problems with their transportation to Captain Haddock, a man normally averse to the stuff, continually finding himself with water splashed in his face. This kind of thing is common in Hergé's work, but usually takes a back seat to the main story, providing balance, character and even a certain amount of symbolism (The Calculus Affair is a masterclass in its use and in the manner in which it is storyboarded), but here it's taken to the length of almost self-parody, overwhelming the main thrust of the story.

There's a sense of self-parody also in the amount of characters from past Tintin adventures making reappearances. The Emir, Sheik Bab El Ehr and prince Abdullah are the principal characters, the story mainly constituting a sequel to Land of Black Gold, which of course brings in Oliveira da Figueira, but there are a whole raft of characters brought in stretching right back to Dawson from the Blue Lotus, to General Alcazar, Allan, Rastapololus, Dr. Müller, Bianca Castafiore, Calculus (not really adding to the story) and Jolyon Wagg - I think even Mr Cutts the butcher makes a reappearance.

The overall impression is that the story never really gets going - the problems in Khemed and the trade in Mosquito aeroplanes never really add up to much, while the slave trade is more or less stumbled upon in passing - and it's all much too cluttered. Hergé is clearly delighting in the characters he has created, wanting to reintroduce them to his readers, but he doesn't really give them anything to do or any reason to be involved in the underlying story. The artwork, usually so clear and expressive also feels cluttered, giving a sense that Hergé has lost his way with the Tintin series. Much would be regained in terms of simplicity of storyline and beauty of clear-line artwork in the next adventure, Tintin in Tibet - perhaps Hergé's most personal work - but the signs of the Tintin series having peaked with the three mid-period double-length adventures are now clearly evident.
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on 1 July 2014
After a strange encounter with General Alcazar of San Theodoros, and then getting home to see that Emir Ben Kalish Ezab, has sent his thoroughly obnoxious son, Prince Abdullah, to stay at Marlinspike, the Emir is deposed by the evil Revolutionary thug, Sheik Bab El Er.
Tintin and the Captain fly to Khemed, to try to get to the bottom of an illegal arms buying racket and if they can, to help their friend, the Emir.
There they take a boat to Mecca , where they must battle several enemies , in a high adventure on the Red Sea. Before the adventure is through , they will break a slave smuggling ring and ensure the defeat of several villains.
The issue of slave trade by Arabs , of Africans , was not only still going on when this book was written in 1958 , but is still endemic today , in places such as the Sudan.
These adventures are always full, of life and colour.
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on 15 July 2009
Tinitn and every Tintin book is a work of genuis (all right the TV spin off books are a bit pants)but all of the originals are the ideal Big brother/ Dad reading a bed time story. My father did them all with me and i am doing them with my son.

The sheer joy they bring to bedtime for me and my son is imeasurable.
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on 19 January 2010
This is surely one of the best of the Tintin stories, combining superb artwork with a good story, which never bogs down and which will retain your attention to the past page.

Beginning with a chance meeting with General Alcazar, Tintin and Haddock are soon drawn into a world of secret arms shipments and Middle Eastern politics, at the centre of which is their old enemy Rastopolous.

Eventually, after various twists and turns of the plot, they find themselves on board a rusty old tramp steamer which seems sure to be sent to the bottom of the Red Sea.

I won't say any more - just get the book and enjoy the story!
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on 7 August 2015
“The Red Sea Sharks”, originally published in 1956-58, is the 19th volume of “The Adventures of Tintin”, the popular Franco-Belgian comic created by Georges Remi (better known under his pen name Hergé). It has been described as a Tintin family reunion, since many of the supplemental characters from earlier volumes reappear, including General Alcazar, Bianca Castafiore and the arch-villain Rastapopoulos. The story itself is a relative straightforward Tintin adventure, with all the usual ingredients (including the hopelessly racist depiction of Black Africans).

I don't consider “The Red Sea Sharks” *that* interesting, but one aspect is worth noting. When I read the comic in my early teens, I considered the plot awfully unrealistic, since it centers on trade in Black slaves. Surely such things ended centuries ago? In reality, slavery and the slave trade had survived in Saudi Arabia until the 1950's. Hergé got the idea to “The Red Sea Sharks” after reading a magazine article about how Blacks were kidnapped on route to Mekka and sold into slavery. In the comic, however, the main slaver is the White European Rastapopoulos, although he has Arabs working for him. It's unfortunate that a story with an abolitionist message nevertheless depicts Black Africans as stupid!

I'm not sure how to rate this album. With some reservations, I give it three stars.
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on 11 September 2007
I was given this book when I was at Primary and although its a bit battered and dog eared now its still with me and treasured. I have read most of the Tintin stories over the years but this one has to be my favourite. It made me interested in travel and in particular an interest in visiting the ancient city of Petra which is featured in this book.

Anyway, it has everything, fantastic locations, shipwrecks, plane crashes, gun running, slavery and lots of adventure. Tintin is of course accompanied by Snowy and Captain Haddock throughout. if you have to read one Tintin story, read this one!
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on 14 March 2013
I love how TinTin has lasted over the years - I have fond memories of reading them in the school library on a rainy day. Of course the movie was a great 're-launch' in their popularity and when my 7yo son showed an interest after seeing the movie I bought a few books as part of his Christmas sack. He was hooked! I have since bought a couple more for birthday/easter/Christmas as a bit of a traditional 'treat' and he almost has the set. He has read many of them 3-4 times each and still loves them - as he has gotten older and his reading more advanced he has understood the story and the characters that much more each read.
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This 1958 story (original title in Belgium: Coke en stock/cokes in voorraad) is a good place to start, or to give to someone else to get a first taste of a wonderful Tintin series. It has everything in a single volume: slapstick, adventure, exotic locations (Wadesdah, Petra) as well as homely ones (Captain Haddock's castle), evil adversaries, good friends, daring escapes; and the illustrator at the top of his form with crisp, clear drawings, beautiful coloring, excellent ship and airplane scenes. And for the loyal Tintin fan there are a host of old friends and acquaintances: general Alcazar, Abdullah, Dawson (from the Blue Lotus), d'Oliveira, Castafiore... and some surprising ones, too, which I won't give away so as not to spoil the surprise.

It is a story of its time, with Mosquitoes and DC-3s very 1950-s cars, and rather 1950-s treatment of `foreigners'; but Hergé's heart is in the right place with his feelings about arms dealers and slave traders. The book has an old-fashioned charm, but is also rather timeless and modern kids would enjoy it, I think.

I feel Hergé reached his peak in this and the two adjacent stories, the Calculus Affair and Tintin in Tibet. The perfect balance between jokes and adventure, good (the freeing of the slaves) and evil, and the perfect handling of colour, story and page lay-out, makes this an absolute topper.
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