Filed under: 7 stars, Geto, Goran Sudzuka, Igor Kordey, Jean-Pierre Pecau, Leo Pilipovic
This omnibus collects books 1 to 7 of the occult alternate history themed series “The Secret History” written by French author Jean-Pierre Pecau:
- Book 1 – Genesis (illustrated by Igor Kordey)
- Book 2 – Castle of the Djinns (illustrated by Igor Kordey)
- Book 3 – The Grail of Montsegure (Goran Sudzuka & Geto)
- Book 4 – The Keys of St. Peter (Illustrated by Leo Pilipovic)
- Book 5 – 1666 (Illustrated by Leo Pilipovic)
- Book 6 – The Eagle and The Sphinx (illustrated by Igor Kordey)
- Book 7 – Our Lady of the Shadows (illustrated by Igor Kordey)
The book starts with Four siblings being entrusted with 4 runes by a dying shaman. The runes represent the houses of the Sword, Shield, Chalice and Lance. They are told never to use the runes at the same time or else they will bring about a huge cataclysm which is of course the first thing they do. The runes give each person special powers and grants them immortality (or at least very long life) and the four siblings (Known as the Archons) are instantly corrupted by these runes and so begins a struggle for power throughout the ages of man.
Each book is set in a particular significant historic time and loosely ties in dramatic events from the period to the power struggle of the 4 Archons. The idea is a good one but it suffers from an oversaturation of supporting characters that change from book to book. Although some of the supporting characters are well known (e.g. Moses, Nostradamus etc) I found myself quite overwhelmed in the first two books and didn’t really develop any sort of empathy for the main characters. Around the end of book 2 I started to get hooked and the 4 archons finally seemed to be standing out from the noise. From book 3 onwards the main story also started to fall into place and the bewildering number of locations and characters became much less of a distraction. Although the time periods are historically quite accurate the story itself is far from tied to any sort of reality (For example Moses using one of the Runes to part the sea). This was not an issue at all for me and I enjoyed it as a good fantasy romp with some elements of the real world thrown in for good measure.
The artwork is functional and depicts the historical periods well by using realistic apparel, weapons, and backdrops which are intertwined with a large dose of the supernatural. There were a few pages in Book 3 that were clearly drawn by a different artist that really stood out. It can still be quite difficult to identify the 4 main protagonists by their art alone but this is because their dress changes to reflect the historical period. There is some nudity, which is to be expected in a French Graphic novel, and it is pretty violent too.
I enjoyed this collection and look forward to reading the second omnibus. Chapters 3 to 6 really stood out for me but I found 1,2, 6 and 7 to be a bit of a challenging read and hence a score of 7 rather than 8. ISBN-13: 978-1932386783. 7/10