Cologne, 1351: Elisabeth and Stephen Hardenstein are twins, but they could not be more different. While Elisabeth is inspired by the family business, absorbing everything her father shows her about the cloth trade, Stephen enjoys a leisurely life and pays little attention to their father's teachings. Elisabeth recognizes her true vocation as a tradeswoman, and though the odds are stacked against her, she pursues her passion.
In the wake of the breakout successes of Walter Moers’ The 13½ Lives of Captain Bluebear, Rumo & His Miraculous Adventures, and The City of Dreaming Books, Moers is back with this fourth book, the tumultuous tale of a little boy and his encounter with Death.
"Laughed out loud!"
Optimus Yarnspinner inherits from his godfather an unpublished manuscript by an unknown writer and sets off to track down the mysterious author, who disappeared into Bookholm—the so-called City of Dreaming Books. Yarnspinner falls under the spell of this book-obsessed metropolis, where an avid reader and budding author can find any number of charming attractions: priceless signed first editions, salivating literary agents, and for-hire critics.
"Entertaining and Fun"
Malaisea, the unhealthiest town in the whole of Zamonia, is home to Echo the Crat, a multitalented creature resembling a cat in appearance but capable of speaking any language under the sun, human or animal. When his mistress dies, Echo finds himself out on the street. Dying of starvation, he is compelled to sign a contract with Ghoolion the Alchemaster, Malaisea’s evil alchemist-in-chief.
"What a ride!"
Called to investigate an ancient secret long kept buried by the church, the Bishop of Bamberg is found brutally murdered, tortured to death by medieval means. His nephew, Lukas - a young Jesuit priest living in Rome - is summoned by the superior general of his order for a special mission: retrieve a cache of long-hidden documents that could rock Christianity to its core.
"Good mystery but too preachy at times"
A thief and a nobleman, both down on their luck, cross paths on a bitter winter’s day in 1701. One, known locally as "The Fowl-Filcher," is fleeing the gallows; the other, the callow Christian von Tornefeld, has escaped execution to fight for his Swedish king. Neither will reach his destination. Sent with a message to secure aid for von Tornefeld, the thief falls in love with his companion’s secret fiance.
On Good Friday, a brutal double murder takes place in the woods, and the killer records the sickening crime on videotape. With the local media building up excitement - and outrage - at the scheduled airing of the footage, two couples in the midst of celebrating the Easter holiday find their idyll interrupted by the breaking news. Against the backdrop of 24-hour news coverage, the four friends spend the weekend playing cards, chatting, eating, and drinking. Despite their best efforts to enjoy this rare time together, they’re unable to stop talking about the murders and the search for the killer.
"I kept hoping it would get beter"
Widely known as "master hairdresser of the seven seas," Sigismund Skrik is famous both as an artist of the scissors and comb, and as the soul of discretion. Not only will he give clients new, life-changing looks - he also gets to know all their secrets. But the days of transatlantic sailing are numbered. It's 1879, and Europeans immigrating to the United States are starting to prefer the huge new steamships that make the crossing ten times as fast.