Book Reviews 2006 #49: Artesia

Next up, a Graphic Novel, first in a series, long since recommended by Meera.
Artesia, by Mark Smylie.

Artesia Volume 1
Set in a medieval fantasy realm, Artesia begins the story of its epynomous heroine, a war captain, a concubine, a woman who has connections to magic and the other world, whose own world is slowly sliding toward turmoil and war.
Artesia’s story is a vivid and bloody one, as she leads a company of men in the highlands not far from where an ancient Empire starts to bestir itself, to conquer and subjugate its neighbors. Throw in a religious conflict between the old goddesses and a distinctly opposed deity whose followers precede the Empire into the highlands, and mix and stir well. Magic exists, in the form of contacting the spirits of the Otherworld, and perhaps the dead, but it is not trusted.
Naturally, Artesia seems to have a preternatural ability with these powers, apparently inherited from her mother. This distrust of her abilities helps precipitate the conflict between her and her liege lord, even as the Empire’s armies threaten all.
Strongly drawn characters, sharp conflicts and excellent artwork made Artesia a pleasure to read. It does have mature content, and I read it at home rather than commuting for that reason. But if you enjoy fantasy fiction and graphic novels, Artesia may be your cup of tea.
It certainly was mine, and I look forward to the other volumes in the series. There even is a Role playing game based on Artesia’s world.
Artesia: Adventures In The Known World RPG (Artesia)