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Master of fantasy, Neil Gaiman, teams up once more with illustrator Chris Riddell ( The Graveyard Book ) for a fairy tale that weaves together a sort-of Snow White and an almost Sleeping Beauty with a thread of dark magic .
The publication of any new book by fantasy legend Neil Gaiman is cause for celebration. But when that new book also boasts illustrations by Chris Riddell – whose work has previously graced such Gaiman classics as The Graveyard Book, Coraline and Fortunately, The Milk – there’s cause for extra excitement.
Lavish, witty and enchanting, The Sleeper and the Spindle – which you can buy now here – is a synthesis of writer and artist working in harmony to take traditional fairy tales in an exciting new direction full of clever twists and surprises. With its illustrations enhanced by eye-catching metallic ink, the book looks absolutely beautiful too. If you buy it as a present for someone this Christmas, you’ll probably have to buy two copies, because you won’t want to give it away.
On the eve of her wedding, a young queen sets out to rescue a princess from an enchantment. She casts aside her fine wedding clothes, takes her chain mail and her sword and follows her brave dwarfs into the tunnels under the mountain towards the sleeping kingdom. This queen will decide her own future – and the princess who needs rescuing is not quite what she seems.
Throughout his unfeasibly prolific career as a comic scribe, novelist, screenwriter and (occasional) lyricist, Neil Gaiman’s multi-award-winning gothic fantasies have often evoked and referenced the essence of traditional fairy tales, so The Sleeper and the Spindle feels like the tale he was always destined to tell.
The award-laden Chris Riddell has illustrated hundreds of children’s books, including Pirate Diary by Richard Platt and Goth Girl and the Ghost of a Mouse , which he penned himself. He has also worked as a political cartoonist for the Observer , caricaturing John Major and George W. Bush among others.
Riddell’s illustration of the UK children’s edition of The Graveyard Book really captured the public imagination and became the defining “look” of the book.
After that hugely acclaimed collaboration, Riddell was asked to provide new illustrations for the 10th Anniversary edition of Gaiman’s Coraline in 2012. They then teamed up again for last year’s Fortunately, The Milk . And The Sleeper and the Spindle finds them both at the peak of their creativity.
The Sleeper and the Spindle is published by Bloomsbury on 23 October. Discover more and order your copy now .