I have a faint memory of this illustration being on the inside cover for the cassette of this book, but my tape of The Final Reckoning is being lent out to a friend at the moment, so I’ll get back to you all on that. Anyway, what an image! Those empty-eyed, ice-spear-wielding spectres are enough to give anybody the heebie-jeebies. No wonder the mice turned and fled!
There’s a lot to appreciate about this. It’s a fantastically cinematic action sequence, it’s got depth and movement and bats falling to their deaths and ghostly claws reaching and Thomas cutting a swathe through the foe. I love Oswald up in the corner there, chucking bits of the Book of Hrethel and dodging ice spears.
I mean – just look at this illustration! Piccadilly, looking more savage than you’ll ever see him and Morgan, looking more vulnerable than you’ll ever see him. The details are just awesome: the snow angling down, the knife poised over Morgan’s throat, which Piccadilly has bared by pushing Morgan’s head back, the famous anti-cat charm that did away with Jupiter the first time.
We kind of know that Jupiter is a lot larger than a regular cat this time around, but it really hits home when you see this picture of his immense gullet and the tiny silhouette of Audrey standing in front of him. There’s only one word for this one: Apocalyptic. I can still dream that maybe one day we’ll all have beautiful cloth-bound editions of these books complete with illustrations to take us back to our childhoods.