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Down the Mysterly River [Paperback]

Bill Willingham
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)

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Book Description

April 2001
They were four unlikely friends, united by a common enemy. As odd a collection of fugitives as there ever was: A wolf who is not a wolf; a badger who is also an ex-army veteran; the brave sheriff of a lost forest realm; and a big, ugly, stinky, yellow monster. Together they’re on the run from the dreaded Blue Cutters, who seem bent on their destruction. To escape the Cutters, the four friends will have to flee out of the hills and down the Mysterly River, to reach the one far away place of safety the Cutters aren’t allowed to go: the castle of the Wizard Edgar.

Product Details

Product Description


Praise for the works of Bill Willingham:

Winner of 14 Eisner Awards

2003 Eisner Award for Best New Series

2004 YALSA Quick Picks Selection for Reluctant Young Adult Readers

2007 YALSA Great Graphic Novels for Teens Selection

2009 Best Writer Eisner for writing on Fables and House of Mystery

2009 Hugo nomination for Best Graphic Story

“Eisner-winning comics creator Willingham (the Fables series) makes his middle-grade debut with an action-packed and often touching novel...that explores the nature of characters and authorship…The end result is a stellar example of a novel working both as an adventure tale and as metafiction.”—Starred review, Publishers Weekly

“Willingham’s Fables comics tapped into the deep fairy-tale structures in my psyche and never let go. Now, Down the Mysterly River finally delivers the same opportunity for younger readers. Lucky them!”—Cory Doctorow, New York Times bestselling author of Little Brother

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Publisher

In his Heroes Wood, Bill Willingham has created an enchanting new land of magic and adventure that might lie just down the river from Toad Hall, down the road from Narnia, or over the hill from the Hundred Acre Wood. Willingham gives us deadly sword fights, narrow escapes, lethal traps, surprising betrayals, and all of the other necessary elements of a thrilling adventure tale. But at its heart this is also a mystery story, and if the four fugitives can’t first solve the mystery of the Heroes Wood they may never live to reach sanctuary.

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Customer Reviews

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4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Exciting and thought-provoking Jan. 6 2003
While the publisher's summary may make it sound like a children's book, I have discovered that its adventures are as exciting as they are thought-provoking. Every page fills the reader with questions. And every time a question is answered, more rise up to fill its place. While young readers will surely enjoy the adventure, older readers will enjoy its deeply probing questions of life, freedom and originality.
I bought this book after reading Bill's comic series Fables, and I'm glad I did. If anyone enjoys this book, then you will enjoy Fables (or vice versa). The first 5 issues have been collecting into a trade paperback called Fables: Legends in Exile, which can also be found on amazon. Coincidently, this first story arc is a murder mystery.
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4.0 out of 5 stars The Mystery on the Mysterly June 1 2001
I just got the book yesterday. Read it all. While I had read most of the story on [...] before I bought the book, I didn't get to finish it.
It was worth every penny. It is a fun read. There is a ton of adventure and humor on every page. It's twisted in just the right way.
I recommend this book to anyone who likes ERB, Heinlein's juveniles, and just plain reading. A book for everyone in the family.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Pretty good YA Dec 31 2001
This is pretty entertaining young adult fiction, with an edge, and a deeper level of meaning than the surface. It's pitched at about the same level as the Harry Potter books, with a young protagonist, adventure, some real danger and death. If you've enjoyed Bill Willingham's comic book work then check this out. Check it out anyway even if you haven't.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Fictional Folks June 20 2001
I read this book in under 3 days. It's a marvelous fantasy with a bigger message on creativity. I encourage any who dreamed of putting pen to paper and writing a novel to pick up "Mysterly." You'll love the sheer joy that shines through as the writer crafts his tale. It's rare to see an author show such affection toward his gifted characters.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The enchanted quest (spoilers) Feb. 20 2012
I've never read "Down the Mysterly River" before. But while reading it, I felt as thought I was dipping back into a well-loved childhood classic like "The Hobbit" or the Prydain Chronicles.

And as you would expect from the author of the "Fables" series, it has a lot of talking animals, a resolute Boy Scout who discovers the darker side of the world, some genuinely spooky villains, and a metafictional twist that I honestly saw within the first few chapters. Willingham's powerful, atmospheric writing style and knack for clever whimsy are absolutely stunning.

Boy Scout detective Max "the Wolf" finds himself lost in a strange forest, with no memory of how he got there. Even stranger, he soon runs into talking animals -- warrior badger Banderbrock, mellow bear Walden, and the feral cat McTavish the Monster. Unsure how they got there, the little group travels down the "Mysterly" (named after McTavish's mispronunciation of "mystery") River.

But they are soon attacked by the Blue Cutters, an elite force of warriors whose blue swords are able to change the reality of anything they cut. And they have decided to "save" Max and his friends by making them "better." The little group's frantic attempts to escape the Cutters lead them on a journey across this "mysterly" land, encountering a water dragon, the Eggman, and the one responsible for bringing Max here...

The only real problem with "Down the Mysterly River" is that Willingham hints too heavily about the EPIC PLOT TWIST at the end, and thus I figured it out about two chapters in.
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