Updated on May 19, 2015
28. ‘The Truth is a Cave in the Black Mountains’ by Neil Gaiman
The Truth is a Cave in the Black Mountains was originally published in a collection of Neil Gaiman’s stories. Essentially it is a short story, that has been transformed into a novella by the illustrations of Eddie Campbell. The book itself is a lovely object – hardback with silver writing on the spine – so I’m delighted to add it to my newly growing collection of graphic novels.
The story is about a dwarf who tracks down a man called Calum McInnes and asks him to take him to a cave on Misty Isle. This cave is infamous for the treasure it contains and the price you must pay to get it. McInnes, reluctant at first, agrees to takes the dwarf, but says that he will not go into the cave.
The unusual pair set out and, along the way, we learn about the dwarf’s secret abilities and McInnes’ shady past. We also learn more about mysterious cave which, in the end, reveals some unsettling and dangerous truths. The climax of the story is exciting and quite unexpected; it rounds off beautifully and leaves the reader a little unsettled. Overall this book has the atmosphere of an ancient legend, told and retold through the ages, reflected by its slightly archaic language.
I thought the illustrations were a bit of a mixed bag. Some of them I really loved (particularly one of a waterfall, in which the paint looks so like water that I just had to touch it) but some of them I didn’t really like. I was a fan of the big landscapes, but the ‘close ups’ of people with their thick black outlines didn’t really appeal to me. According to Gaiman’s introduction, the story was inspired by the Isle of Skye and I think Campbell does a good job of capturing the rugged beauty of that landscape. Overall, The Truth is a very quick read that will likely haunt you for a while after you’ve finished reading.
I requested my copy from BookBridgr. If you liked my review, why not read the book and let me know what you think?