The Ghost of Silver Cliff

The Ghost of Silver Cliff, the followup to Garlands of Moonlight, continues from where the previous volume left off. The wise woman and schoolteacher leave their Indonesian village for mixed reasons: they desire to help others, but they also seem bitter over what has happened. Although they were trying to protect their neighbors and drive out a demon, their neighbors’ disbelief has left unpleasant feelings.

The two travelers join up with a trading crew who are on their way to a cursed village. The sailors need the village’s product, but they are uneasy of its reputation, so the abilities of the two in dealing with the supernatural provide reassurance.

The Ghost of Silver Cliff cover
The Ghost of Silver Cliff
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The art and pages are in the same style and format as the previous book, complete with silver ink, and they’re gorgeous. The legend of the ghost — a bride-to-be who tried to kill herself after her fiancé was murdered — contrasts with the more prosaic dangers of the Dutch overseers seizing the natives’ property.

I wondered when I read of the monsters killing the Dutch, who then left the villages alone, how many purposes these legends served for their listeners and propagators. The schoolteacher character provides a similar skeptical viewpoint. The mix of healing potions with prayers and holy waters indicates a culture in transition, adopting various coping strategies. The ending similarly wraps both threads of religion and politics together in a satisfying way.

Jai Sen has also written The Golden Vine, a graphic novel presenting an alternate history of Alexander the Great.

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