Once in a time of war, when I was a soldier in the Imperial
Army, I saw Death walking. He wore upon his skull a withered
crown of white bone twisted with green hawthorn. His skeleton
was shrouded with a tattered cloak of gold and in his wake
stood the ghosts of my comrades newly plucked, half-lived,
from life. Many I knew by name.
Illustrated by David Roberts
Published by Orion books November 2013
256 pages including over a hundred black and white illustrations
Summary from Orion website
Otto Hundebiss is tired of war, but when he defies Death he walks a dangerous path. A half beast half man gives him shoes and dice which will lead him deep into a web of dark magic and mystery. He meets the beautiful Safire - pure of heart and spirit, the scheming Mistress Jabber and the terrifying Lady of the Nail. He learns the powers of the tinderbox and the wolves whose master he becomes. But will all the riches in the world bring him the thing he most desires?
A young soldier, a captive princess, witches, wolves and Death walk hand in hand in COSTA AWARD winner Sally Gardner's new novel inspired by the Hans Christian Anderson fairy tale, THE TINDERBOX.
This is an extraordinary book. It is full of disturbing, beautiful yet familiar images – like age-darkened Old Masters glimpsed by guttering candlelight. This applies equally well to the artwork and the prose.
Although it is based on a so-called fairy story, it is absolutely not suitable for bed-time reading to young children. It has much more to do with the horrors of war than sweet dreams. That is not a criticism.
There are nightmares, unsettling characters and exquisitely depicted magical settings a-plenty. The artwork is haunting as well. Tinder will appeal to lovers of the ominous and gruesome; readers of Margo Lanagan and John Connolly, Angela Carter, and Neil Gaiman’s grimmer works.
It is told in a straightforward way, unlike Maggot Moon, and from a purely technical point of view, it is not hard to read. However, in common with the tales which it refers
to so well, its simplicity makes it hard-going on the emotions. I would highly recommend Tinder for adults and older teens who like their fairy tales fierce and uncompromising.