|Delilah Dirk & the King's Shilling by Tony Cliff, pub. March 2016, 272 pg.|
I've been on a huge graphic novel kick lately, and the Delilah Dirk series by Tony Cliff is one of my favorite finds. The series follows the eponymous Delilah (a lady adventurer of great renown) and her friend Selim (a Turkish man who makes the world's best cup of tea) as they trek through Europe during the Peninsular War.
In Delilah Dirk and the King's Shilling, Delilah and Selim run afoul of a traitor who tries to frame Delilah as a spy. To avoid any spoilers, I'll leave it at that, but as you can imagine, much adventure ensues!
There are a lot of things I love about this series.
Delilah is a total badass. She can fend for herself in just about any situation, she's constantly doing good deeds for others and she has a hilarious (and biting) wit. She's like a sarcastic Robin Hood in a dress, and she's just as amazing as that sounds.
While she and Selim are close friends, there's no hint of a romantic subtext in their relationship. It's nearly impossible to find a book where a man and a woman are just friends, and it's incredibly refreshing to read a story where two great characters care for each other and have each other's backs in a totally platonic way.
This could easily have been a series where the female lead starts out insisting she's not the marrying type but then falls for her dashing male counterpart and spends a lot of time pining after him, but the author sidesteps that trope neatly. Instead, Delilah makes sure Selim doesn't die on any of their adventures, and Selim always ensures they've got a good restorative cup of tea at the end of the day. It's a perfect friendship.
Whether you want to start reading graphic novels but don't know where to start or are a long-standing fan of the medium, the Delilah Dirk series is worth a read. The story is phenomenal, the illustrations are gorgeous, and you'll be finished reading before you know it.