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The one with the total eclipse of the sun,
This review is from: Prisoners of the Sun (The Adventures of Tintin) (Hardcover)
Prisoners of the Sun is the second part of a story started in The Seven Crystal Balls, but really, until very late in the adventure, there's little reference made to events in the earlier book and consequently, there's no need to have read the previous book, terrific though it is (one of the best Tintin adventures, in fact), since as far as second part is concerned, it can be summed up as... Calculus has been kidnapped.
Well, ok, to expand slightly on that - since it's a regular occurrence in Tintin adventures - Calculus has been kidnapped and taken to Peru, although the reasons for his abduction are rather flimsy, it seeming to be on account of him inadvertently picking up and wearing a precious artefact belonging to the mummy of the ancient Inca ruler Rascar Capac (which seems to have disappeared, vaporised in a ball of lightning in the last book). All you really need to know is that Tintin, Snowy and Captain Haddock are in Peru to try to rescue Calculus from persons unknown, since no-one seems to being willing to give them clues as to who might be holding the Professor. Showing kindness to one young Peruvian boy, Zorrino, however Tintin finally gets a lead and a guide to take him to the mysterious and secret Inca site of the Temple of the Sun.
The abandoning of many of the mystic elements of The Seven Crystal Balls is slightly disappointingly, Prisoners of the Sun becoming much more rational in its explanations and more like a typical Tintin adventure, but in a way this just provides a strong balance for the earlier half. Having used the earlier book as a set-up (and what a set-up!), Prisoners of the Sun just goes for all out adventure in a way not seen since Cigars of the Pharaoh. Consequently, it's one of the most memorable of Tintin books, creating a strong impression particularly on younger readers, for the terrific variety and extremes of terrain that the adventurers have to cross. Snow-covered mountain passes, verdant tropical jungles, rocky deserts and vast waterfalls, all of them are beautifully rendered by Hergé and his studio of artists, each of the locations filled with potential hazards and populated by dangerous exotic animals - llamas ("perambulating fire-pumps" as Haddock memorably describes them), boa constrictors, condors, tapirs, bears, ant-eaters and alligators - that fire the imagination and keep the story moving from one magnificent and thrilling sequence to the next.