The Truth Is a Cave in the Black Mountains: A Tale of Travel and Darkness with Pictures of All Kinds
by Neil Gaiman
Cover Artist: Cover and Interior Art by Eddie Campbell
Review by Gayle Surrette
William Morrow Hardcover ISBN/ITEM#: 9780062282149
Date: 17 June 2014 List Price $21.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK
Our narrator, a small man or dwarf, has traveled far to find Calum MacInnes. The narrator has heard that there is a cave filled with treasure on the Misty Isle and that Calum has been there and returned wealthy. The small man wants to hire MacInnes as his guide. MacInnes agrees to guide the small man to the cave, but states up front that he won't go into the cave with him.
On their journey, the reader learns a bit about both of these men. The small man gives a reason for wishing to find the cave and the treasure -- to fund the return of the true king. It's obvious that they are each keeping some things close to themselves even when they appear to be talking openly of their past or present. More is going on that just a trip to a magical cave for gold.
The artwork shows a harsh and yet beautiful countryside and mountains of beauty and danger. The story flows naturally from their conversations but the art often fills in the pauses and more details of the remembrances. It doesn't take the reader long to realize that there is more than what meets the eye to this journey to the cave and to worry about what will happen at journey's end.
There's subtle differences in the design of the book from simple text with illustrations to panels as if it was a graphic novel. But always the continuation of the story, whether by highlighting the things not said, or furthering the stated purpose of their journey.
It's a story of hope, revenge, justice, and forgiveness. But the implementation of each of these words is what makes the story so powerful. It's a story that will stay with the reader long after the last page.