In the first volume of the core Dungeon series, we were introduced to the Guardian (who seems to have changed his title to the Keeper in this volume, which is perhaps simply a glitch in translation from the book’s native French), an entrepreneur with his own Dungeon. This is designed to be a honey-pot to adventurers, who’ll bring their gold and their magical weapons into the labyrinth, get slain by one of the Keeper’s beasts, and add their trappings to the general allure of the Dungeon.
However, life isn’t staying that simple for the Keeper. In the first of two stories that make up this book, his marketing department is rapidly running out of ideas for attracting new punters to the dungeon. Herbert, the duck from the first book, comes up with the idea of writing fake damsel-in-distress letters from a fictitious princess and distributing them throughout the land. This works a treat until it’s discovered that he used the name of a real princess who actually is in the dungeon, and her family turn up demanding her back. The second story sees the death of the Keeper’s venerable dragon, so Marvin and Herbert are sent out to procure a new one.
As with the first book, both missions collapse into farce, leaving the Keeper in even more trouble than he started with, but that’s something for the next book in the series to deal with. The dialogue is wonderful and the plotting is great, with some superb set pieces – a section where the princess tries to befriend a group of trolls has hilarious consequences when she realises that trollish culture really isn’t in any way in-keeping with that of a princess. The artwork is imaginative and coherent, holding the characters, story and setting together nicely.
If you’ve read the first book, you’ll know what to expect and won’t be disappointed – it’s more of the same and certainly none the worse for being so. Anyone coming to this review without sampling the original should certainly start off at the beginning though.
Other titles in the Dungeon series: