Delilah Dirk and the Turkish Leiutenant by Tony Cliff

DELILAH DIRK AND THE TURKISH LIEUTENANTI’m often told that adventuring isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, but Tony Cliff’s Delilah Dirk and the Turkish Lieutenant reinforces what my younger self believed wholeheartedly: Adventuring is awesome, if a little lonely. You get to travel the world, collect treasure, and meet interesting people (who sometimes want to kill you). But even the attempted killing adds to the zest of the adventurer’s life!

Delilah Dirk is daring and brave, with the wits to get herself out of any bad situation (even if she can’t always avoid getting trapped in said bad situation to begin with) and a host of tricks and gadgets at her disposal. In her own words, she:

…is the master of forty-seven different sword-fighting techniques … which she’s used, on different occasions, to defeat twenty-nine Sikh warriors … thirty-two Conquistadores … fifty-one aboriginal Australian warriors … a small pride of lions … and one very large Mongolian man with a large sword, a small brain, and a bad temper.

She’s even, briefly, got a flying boat! If you want to know why the boat only makes a brief appearance, you’ll need to ask Lieutenant Selim, who is far more content to stay on dry land and indulge his expansive knowledge of tea. Even Selim can’t deny that Delilah makes things more interesting, though, and after a set of mishaps that drive him from his comfortable post in Turkey, his experiences with Delilah open up a host of opportunities for adventure, companionship, and yes, tea. As to what she’s doing in Constantinople/Istanbul in the year 1807, and what’s led her to such an extravagantly globe-trotting life, that’s not my story to tell — I’ll leave that for readers of Delilah Dirk and the Turkish Lieutenant to discover on their own.

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Cliff’s art style is effortless and wonderfully expressive, with a clear sense of mobility and fluidity. Characters are fully alive in their environments and many panels seem to be just on the verge of breaking out of their boundaries. Cliff has a great eye for color, light, and shadow, using all of them to terrific effect. Sound effects are written out in interesting ways, the dialogue itself is fun, and the interactions between Delilah and Selim run the gamut from laugh-out-loud hilarious to solemn and profound, whether they’re audibly conversing or communicating through wordless gestures.

Delilah Dirk and the Turkish Lieutenant is fun, and a perfect antidote to my winter doldrums. I’ll be cracking open the first sequel, Delilah Dirk and the King’s Shilling, as soon as possible, with an eager eye toward the series’ third book, Delilah Dirk and the Pillars of Hercules, currently expected to be published in late summer 2018. Delilah Dirk and the Turkish Lieutenant is equally suitable for younger readers or adults, and highly recommended for both.

Published in 2013. A NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER. Lovable ne’er-do-well Delilah Dirk is an adventurer for the 19th century. She has traveled to Japan, Indonesia, France, and even the New World. Using the skills she’s picked up on the way, Delilah’s adventures continue as she plots to rob a rich and corrupt Sultan in Constantinople. With the aid of her flying boat and her newfound friend, Selim, she evades the Sultan’s guards, leaves angry pirates in the dust, and fights her way through the countryside. For Delilah, one adventure leads to the next in this thrilling and funny installment in her exciting life. Tony Cliff’s Delilah Dirk and the Turkish Lieutenant is a great pick for any reader looking for a smart and foolhardy heroine…and globetrotting adventures. A Publishers Weekly Best Children’s Book of 2013. A Kirkus Reviews Best Teen Book of 2013


  • Jana Nyman

    JANA NYMAN, with us since January 2015, is a freelance copy-editor who has lived all over the United States, but now makes her home in Colorado with her dog and a Wookiee. Jana was exposed to science fiction and fantasy at an early age, watching Star Wars and Star Trek movie marathons with her family and reading works by Robert Heinlein and Ray Bradbury WAY before she was old enough to understand them; thus began a lifelong fascination with what it means to be human. Jana enjoys reading all kinds of books, but her particular favorites are fairy- and folktales (old and new), fantasy involving dragons or other mythological beasties, contemporary science fiction, and superhero fiction. Some of her favorite authors are James Tiptree, Jr., Madeleine L'Engle, Ann Leckie, N.K. Jemisin, and Seanan McGuire.

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