Delilah Dirk and the King's Shilling by Tony Cliff, 272 pp, RL: Middle Grade
When I reviewed Delilah Dirk and the Turkish Lieutenant by Tony Cliff in 2013, I began by apologizing for the reductionist comparison between his insanely awesome character, Delilah Dirk, and Indiana Jones. But the thing is, Delilah Dirk is the closest I have found in all my reading to a girl character that I have no doubt could overcome the supposed reluctance boys have to reading books with main characters who are girls. But, this is all beside the point. The bottom line is that Tony Cliff has created a character and a world that is completely immersive and absorbing. Upon finishing Delilah Dirk and the King's Shilling, I felt as though I had read a 300 page novel and watched a fantastic movie. Seriously, these books are so beyond superlatives. I hope I can write about it coherently enough to convince you to give them a try! Enjoy several pages of Cliff's superb illustrations to find a short summary of book two in what I hope is a long series...
Of course I don't want to give away too much of the plot of Delilah Dirk and the King's Shilling, but rather tempt you with some key details. Delilah Dirk, daughter of a Greek mother and English father who was a foreign ambassador, allowing him to provide a well traveled and uncommon childhood for his only child, and Erdemoglu Selim, former Turkish janissary and killer tea maker, have been traveling companions for two years. While not avoiding conflict, sword fights and occasional gun battle, the two have been mostly staying out of trouble - until they cross paths with Major Jason Merrick in Portugal where the British are preparing to battle the French in the Peninsular War. Merrick decides to frame Delilah for his treasonous activities and she does not go lightly, taking a bullet to the arm in the process. Of course Delilah and Selim escape and she insists on returning to England to confront Maj. Merrick and restore her reputation. Selim is a loss to understand Delilah's insistence, but he follows her to a country and class of people who assume he is her servant.
Cliff brings great character development to Delilah Dirk and the King's Shilling, both for Delilah and Selim. While there is plenty of action and fight after fight, the personalities, motivations and struggles both face are so compelling - as compelling as Delilah's strong jawline and voluminous hair. And, happily, with her return to England and her familial estate, we get to see where Delilah inherited these physical - and personality traits from!
Source: Review Copy