Foreword Reviews

Starred Review:

The Forbidden Harbor

Teresa Radice and Stefano Turconi’s The Forbidden Harbor is an epic labor of love—and a classic story of love—told in graphic novel format.

The Forbidden Harbor is a book anchored in history. Although it is fiction, details of terminology, protocol, and appearance make its early nineteenth century nautical settings (including the port town of Plymouth, England, and the ships that dock there) utterly convincing. One of those ships, the HMS Explorer, rescues a boy, Abel, from a beach in Siam. He wakes with no memory of his past, the apparent survivor of a shipwreck. The mystery of his identity propels the plot in a number of unexpected ways.

Abel is just one of many characters with an important role in this engrossing story. It combines the action of Treasure Island or Patrick O’ Brian’s Master and Commander books with a Dickensian flair for the unexpected. Romance and the supernatural, plus a plethora of well-considered literary references alongside jaunty sea shanties, make The Forbidden Harbor a grand and satisfying tale on every level.

Turconi’s penciled art is an essential, organic part of the story, and the married authors demonstrate their seamless writer-artist partnership on every page with fully realized characters, even among bit players who only appear in a few scenes. The Forbidden Harbor is the result of thousands of work hours by two consummate professionals. More importantly, it’s that rare gift of a graphic novel that embeds itself in a reader’s memory, worthy of occupying permanent space in the mind and on the bookshelf.

Reviewed by Peter Dabbene

Disclosure: This article is not an endorsement, but a review. The author of this book provided free copies of the book to have their book reviewed by a professional reviewer. No fee was paid by the author for this review. Foreword Reviews only recommends books that we love. Foreword Magazine, Inc. is disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

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