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WesternSFA
Down the Mysterly River
by Bill Willingham
Illustrations by Mark Buckingham
Tor, $15.99, 336pp
Release Date: September 13, 2011

Bill Willingham is the creator of Fables, a bestselling graphic novel series illustrated by Mark Buckingham. Down the Mysterly River is their children’s book debut.

The inside book flap says: “Max “the Wolf” is a top notch Boy Scout, an expert at orienteering and a master of being prepared. So it is a little odd that he suddenly finds himself, with no recollection of his immediate past, lost in an unfamiliar wood. Even odder still, he encounters a badger named Banderbrock, a black bear named Walden, and McTavish the Monster (who might also be an old barn cat)—all of whom talk—and who are as clueless as Max.

Before long, Max and his friends are on the run from a relentless group of hunters and their deadly hounds. Armed with powerful blue swords and known as the Blue Cutters, these hunters capture and change the very essence of their prey. For what purpose, Max can’t guess. But unless he can solve the mystery of the strange forested world he’s landed in, Max may find himself and his friends changed beyond recognition, lost in a lost world…

The book mostly follows Max and his friends, Walden the Bear, Banderbrock the Badger and McTavish the Cat (sort of), but every now and then we take a look at the Blue Cutters and the mysterious Man in Green. While advertised as a children’s book this is a story that will enchant readers both young and old. Highly recommended. ~~ Stephanie L Bannon

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