Delilah Dirk and Mr. Selim are back in another rip-roaring adventure in Delilah Dirk and the Pillars of Hercules, the third instalment of the Delilah Dirk series!
While in the midst of one of their daring schemes, Delilah and Selim meet Mr. Van Hassel, a writer and enthusiast of ancient history. He recruits the pair to help him explore a nearby ruin and, while they’re ‘liberating’ the treasure, they stumble across an inscription that might contain clues to the location of a mythical city known as The Third Pillar of Hercules. The three embark on a quest to locate the lost city, with Mr. Van Hassel chronicling their various escapades and submitting increasingly exaggerated accounts for publication in the paper. Delilah is quite taken with being a celebrity, but complications arise when their newfound fame draws the attention of an old enemy. Meanwhile, their new friend Mr. Van Hassel might have other motives besides mere historical curiosity for wanting to locate the lost city.
With our two leads having been firmly established and their bond cemented in the previous two books, the Pillars of Hercules is focused on telling a more classic adventure tale, much in the vein of an Indiana Jones story. We have an ancient city that disappeared under mysterious circumstances, a globe-trotting search for clues, a peppering of action scenes as old foes strive to undermine our heroes and, finally, a sense of foreboding that surrounds the object of the search. This comic is just as full of thrills and laughs as the previous volumes in the series, but with the added element of mystery, as the questions surrounding Third Pillar of Hercules build up over the course of the book. It’s clear that something sinister occurred at the city, but the details have been lost to time. Adding to the uncertainty, incomplete and contradictory accounts of the city’s founder are unearthed at the various sites the trio visit looking for clues. One accuses the ruler of being a cruel despot, while another paints him as a brilliant visionary who was unjustly maligned by traitorous factions. There is no way of knowing which version of the story is the truth, or if either account is entirely accurate at all. Interestingly, our two leads disagree on which account they believe, with the more positive Delilah trusting the flattering version, while Selim views it as political propaganda and believes the negative account. This isn’t the only instance that our heroes clash over the nature of truth in this book. Delilah enjoys and encourages Mr. Van Hassel’s colorful and embellished records of their exploits, but Selim objects to the fact that they are spreading stories with elements that aren’t true. Delilah is initially dismissive of his concerns, feeling that the stories are true to the characters of the people involved, if not to the exact facts of events. But over the course of the book she becomes worried about the rumors that will be told about her after she dies. Will the nature of her legacy be determined by accounts created by others, just like this long dead king? It’s an intriguing question and not one with a clear answer. Just like there is a lot about the past we can never know, there is no way of knowing how our lives will be interpreted by people living in the future. All Delilah can do is live in the here and now and hope that her friends and loved ones will have good stories to tell about her when she’s gone.
Delilah Dirk and the Pillar of Hercules poses interesting questions about the nebulous nature of historical record and truth while remaining just as fun and light-hearted as the prior books in the series. If you enjoyed the previous volumes, don’t miss out on this action-packed adventure!
Final Score: 7.5 out of 10.
For more information on Delilah Dirk and the Pillars of Hercules visit the publisher’s website: https://us.macmillan.com/books/9781626728042
Let me know what you thought of this comic in the comments. Also, check out my reviews of the other books in the Delilah Dirk series: