Le lagune dei misteri and The Celts (1971-1972)

CYCLE 3

Texts and drawings by Hugo Pratt

This cycle includes episodes 12 to 17 and moves the action from South America to Europe. The years are 1917-1918 against the background
of the First World War.

The beginning of The Angel in the Window to the Orient is set in the tiny island of San Francesco del Deserto (Venice), situated between Murano and Burano, then moves to Malamocco, where a beautiful blonde spy is sending mysterious messages to the Austrian Air Force. Under the Flag of Gold takes place largely in the Caorle area of Venice at the time of the Battle of Caporetto (October 1917) and Corto meets the writer Ernest Hemingway and the Greek, future billionaire, Onassis. Another scenario and another war, that of the fight for independence in Ireland in Concerto in O’ Minor for Harp and Nitroglycerin where Corto meets up with Banshee O’ Danann, a young revolutionary woman whose aims are shared by Corto. The story A Midwinter Morning’s Dream set at Stonehenge in England, is an evident tribute to Shakespeare. On the plains of Salisbury, near the gigantic megaliths of a past era, Corto is joined by fata Morgana, Merlin the magician, Puck and Oberon to save old Britain from the German invader. The figure of Lady Rowena Welsh, with Saxon blood flowing through her veins, is a perfect icon in her role as a spy and Corto is not indifferent to her charms. The episode Côtes de Nuits and Picardy Roses is clearly set at the time of the Battle of the Somme in France in April 1918, that led to the death at Vaux-sur-Somme of Germany’s greatest ace Manfred von Richthofen, the legendary Red Baron. The Côtes de Nuits burgundy is one of France’s most prestigious wines and in this adventure it plays a considerable role. The period and the atmosphere is the same in Burlesque between Zuydcoote and Bray-Dunes where Corto gets involved with Melodie Gael, a sophisticated and perilous traitor. There is an interesting appearance here of captain Rothschild of the French Bureau de la Sûreté and a member of the French branch of the Rothschild family, the one that produced the famous Château-Lafite wines which Corto states he had come especially to France to drink.