For the history lovers out there, "A Castle in England" is the perfect plunge into five eras of one castle's history and the fascinating (and oftentimes dark) stories that can be found within. Writer Jamie Rhodes teamed up with the National Trust to compile stories from deep within the archives of Scotney Castle in Kent, England. The stories were then brought to life by comic artists Isaac Lenkiewicz, Briony May Smith, William Exley, Becky Palmer, and Isabel Greenberg, who put their own unique spin on each chapter of Scotney Castle's notable past. The castle's life is off to a bloody start, even before construction is completed. In 1381 the peasant laborers building the castle revolt against their unfair treatment, only to be met with a terrible fate. In 1590, a devout Catholic family living in the Scotney Castle is under persecution by Elizabeth I's Protestant monarchy. Despite the risks, the family agrees to shelter a desperate priest in the walls of the castle. The castle passes to Arthur Darrell in 1710, who goes on to be involved in a wild tale of smuggling, murder, and a death that may or may not have been faked. In the 1800s, Anne Hussey and her son Edward, the heir to Scotney Castle, flee the deteriorating building after a series of tragic deaths in the castle. Edward returns years later to transform what remains of the castle. The final story follows Arthur Hussey's travels around the world and the strange souvenirs he sends home to his sister and mother, including the illness that may have cut his adventures short. Each comic is rendered in its own loose, lively style that keeps potentially dry material feeling fresh and contemporary. Though each story looks distinct, they are all are unified by a warm orange and brown palette. The colors bring to mind the sepia tones of the old photographs and time-worn documents that Rhodes sifted through during his research. For readers who want to dive a little deeper into the history, the stories are accompanied by helpful family trees, historical context, and factual background on the castle to clarify wherever the comic may have strayed from reality. You don't necessarily have to be a history buff to enjoy "A Castle in England," just someone who loves a little drama, tragedy, and intrigue all wrapped up in one place.
"A Castle in England" is available for purchase online.