Rumo & His Miraculous Adventures


Who says you can’t craft a totally compelling story around a horned dog named after an imaginary card game?

Walter Moers’ 13 1/2 Lives of Captain Bluebear was most excellent, and this book surpasses even that. It’s cartwheeling, free-associating, spectacle-topping, coincidence-breaking fun, pure and simple. Though of course it isn’t simple. Nothing in Zamonia is, really.

The story begins with a tiny horned puppy, raised by dwarves (a kind of dwarf called a Hackonian, in case you were interested). But of course it can’t always be crumpets and daisies; sooner or later, everyone’s carted off to a free-roaming island by one-eyed giants that like to eat their prey live (the livelier, the better). And it’s from there that the story gets its wings and flies well beyond the stratosphere of creativity.

The titular Rumo is, as we find out, a Wolperting–a horned, superquick, civilized warrior dog. Held captive by the one-eyed beasts on Roaming Rock, he’s given the name ‘Rumo’ by a giant, eight-armed semi-aquatic and bulbous Shark Grub called Smyke.

But let’s not give away too much. Curious, astounding things happen, fate is defied, and we learn a little more about Zamonia and all its bizarre inhabitants in the process. Rumo’s a born hero–that much you should know: if you were hoping for a book centered around a vain, evil, megalomaniac badger-creature with wings, this isn’t the book for you.

Rumo is an epic like not much else. A different kind of epic. There’s alchemy, fortune-telling, sentient weapons, talking trees, living fog. Journeys beyond death.  Rumo falls in love, learns cabinetry, and journeys into lands typically braved only by the criminally deranged and the dangerously brutish.

More than that, the story is wickedly, brilliantly paced.  It’s filled with comical (and occasionally frightening) illustrations by the author, who also happens to be a cartoonist.  You follow Rumo along through danger and excitement with an unshakable curiosity and sense of awe, and before you know it, you’re at the end of the book, wishing you were only getting started.

Maybe you can go back and re-read The 13 1/2 Lives of Captain Bluebear.