Delilah Dirk and the Turkish Lieutenant, by Tony Cliff (book review) – swashbuckling adventuress of 1807!

book cover of Delilah Dirk and the Turkish Lieutenant by Tony Cliff published by First Second Like Indiana Jones in the 1800s!
Except she’s a noblewoman,
and an expert swordfighter,
and has a much more “flexible” sense of honor.

Should this be your first meeting with Delilah Dirk, prepare yourself for miraculous escapes, gymnastic evasive maneuvers, and well-timed explosions.

Alas, the Agha of Constantinople did not believe the intelligence reports about her skills… but circumlocutious Lt. Selim still has his head to prove it’s all true.

Just published yesterday as a full-color graphic novel, this swashbuckling webcomic translates so well to the printed page – I had as much fun re-reading it to write this recommendation as I did the first go-round! Read 12 pages of Delilah Dirk and the Turkish Lieutenant here and you’ll be hooked, too.

Here’s hoping that Delilah will have many more adventures for Canadian artist/author Tony Cliff to share with us (and that Lt. Selim can stand all the excitement).

Book info: Delilah Dirk and the Turkish Lieutenant / story and art by Tony Cliff. First Second Books, 2013. [Delilah site]  [author site]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: The Agha’s court of Constantinople in 1807 is hardly the place for a genteel young lady, but then again, adventuress Delilah Dirk is clever, skillful at fighting, and not at all genteel. Just ask Lt. Selim after she rescues him from execution and launches the tea-master into dangerous adventures with her.

Yes, Delilah is related to half the royal families in Europe. Yes, she has trained in weaponry and personal fighting skills her whole life. No, Selim is not fond of flying in the air (how does her ship do that?) or riding horseback for days on end (sorry, bad pun) or being nearly killed by Zakul’s minions repeatedly after Delilah steals her uncle’s treasure back from the pirate warlord.

Delilah insists that she can accomplish this task without Selim – he’s seen her swordwork and knows she’s right. But since Selim owes her his life, he tries to be helpful on her headstrong mission, while brewing the best teas on the entire Aegean Peninsula or Greece or wherever else they land.

Can they ‘liberate’ the treasure?
Will Selim survive the attempt?
What else does Delilah have up her sleeveless flight gown?

This uproarious, mile-a-minute graphic novel adventure features stellar use of color to invoke moods, fantastic drawing that brings emotions and motion to life, and sound effects (GRABB! DODGE’D!) that put an original spin on classic-comics traditions.   (One of 6,000 books recommended on

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