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on 1 April 2012
I'm new to Tintin, except for some distant memories from childhood, and wanted to read some of the books. This little 'companion' volume, at a very modest price, is ideal to help decide what to read. The book starts with a brief description of how the Tintin stories were originally serialised and how then they were published as books. It also introduces Hergé and tells a little of his life, relevant because the stories reflect something of where he was and his situation at the time. All this is well written but quite concise so you can absorb the important facts without thinking you've abandoned the adventures for a heavy biography.

I said that this book helps with the background to each story. The Tintin adventures were written between 1929 and 1983 so knowing the date and events in the real world for each does add to the enjoyment. This information, with a little summary of the plot (beware spoilers!) and notes on the characters is presented for each story in turn, 5-6 pages per story. The book also explains how the stories relate to each other: since some are sequels to others, that's quite useful so you don't read part 2 before part 1. Each story is rated from 1-5, which may also help even if you end up disagreeing with the authors' scores.

The book is rounded out with a lot of facts about publication dates, films, books etc (note that it was published before the release of the 2011 Steven Spielberg feature film). This is all useful reference though not something you're likely to sit and read through. The structure of the book, and a proper index, make dipping-in very easy.

I found that the book added to my enjoyment of the adventures. It also made me appreciate them a little more: given the age of some of them they seem timeless, not old-fashioned in their style at all (though there are some interesting 'period' views, especially in the first two). It may be a little light for established Tintin fans, it's ideal for the rest of us.
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on 26 June 2011
Disappointing and not what I assumed it would be, i.e., an informed little reference-y tome packed with interesting FACTS and INFO about the books and, no, this is extremely limited copy and has all the relevance of ' overhearing someone in a bus queue describing the storyline of an episode of a soap opera that everyone has already seen for themselves.' Billions of blue blistering barnacles in a thundering typhoon!! tis a complete waste of dosh!
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