BOOK REViEW: Flight 714, Hergé

When Tintin, Cuthbert and Haddock (and Snowy, of course), en-route to an astronautical conference in Australia, bump into Skut (of the Red Sea Sharks fame) in Jakarta airport, they end up joining the party of Laszlo Carreidas, the “millionaire who never laughs”, a great if rather unattractive character (apparently Hergé based his character on Marcel Dassault, a real French aviation tycoon), they find themselves embroiled in another of their exotic adventures. Cuthbert’s antics at the airport are priceless, rather quickly causing Carreidas’ soubriquet to seem somewhat unwarranted.

Set mostly on a small volcanic Australasian island, with underground remnants of a strangely South American sort, this is one of the most beautifully realised Tintin adventures. Plot-wise it’s jammed full of incident, comedy, and good characterisation. Oh, and it gets pretty nutso too, but I won’t spoil it for you. Rastapopolous and Allan re-appear, there are new characters worth encountering, like Dr Krollspell and Rastapopolous’ other henchmen, as well as the mysterious Mik Kanrokitoff. But it’s the visual aspect of the book that is the best single feature… it’s a real beauty!

After this there was a hiatus, then Tintin and the Picaros, and that was it (I don’t count Alph-Art, as it wasn’t finished). It shows that, overall, Hergé and his team continually got better over time. A classic!

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