The Truth Is A Cave In The Black Mountains by Neil Gaiman and illustrated by Eddie Campbell (book review)

November 30, 2016 | By | Reply More

‘The Truth Is A Cave In The Black Mountains’ is an illustrated novelette set in the Isle of Skye written by Neil Gaiman. The story follows the journey of a dwarf who hires a guide, Calum MacInnes, to take him to the cave in the black mountains. The cave itself contains golden treasure but the inhabitants of the island claim that a curse is set on the gold, anyone who takes the gold loses the ability to feel emotions as they used to. The dwarf hires Calum, as he had once taken gold from the cave himself. It is quickly apparent that there is more to the dwarf than he reveals. He is faster and stronger than someone of his size should be and, while he seeks to find the cave, it is not for the gold.


I don’t really know much about art so this is just a layman’s opinion on Eddie Campbell’s illustrations. I thought the chalk drawings were lovely, they seemed to really mirror the dark tone of the book itself but I really didn’t like the comic strip-like drawings. These were done digitally and it’s almost as if they are very rough sketches to be redone properly. The colours were drab and lifeless and the words in the speech bubbles could have really been written using a better font. I definitely think they should not have incorporated the comic sketches into the story, it was confusing and a bit pointless, it stopped the natural flow of the words.

This book is another one of Gaiman’s folk tale-like stories. It’s dark and disturbing at times and it’s only when I got towards the end that I realised just how much foreshadowing there had been at the beginning. Though the book is written through the eyes of the dwarf, you begin to see Calum’s perspective, too, as their journey progresses. I enjoyed the slow simmering nature of the book, how you start to understand the characters by piecing together their characters and pasts as the story unfolds.

Supreethi Selvam

November 2016

(pub: Headline, 2014. 73 page illustrated square hardback. Price: £12.99 (UK). ISBN: 978-1-4722-2107-0)

check out websites: http://www.headline.co.uk/, http://www.neilgaiman.co.uk/ and www.neilgaiman.com

Category: Books, Fantasy, Illustration

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