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Pride of Baghdad
Vaughan, Brian K.
Adult Fiction VAUGHAN

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From Publishers' Weekly:

Starred Review. This story of a pride of lions that escape from the Baghdad zoo during Operation Iraqi Freedom bombing is simple, lavishly drawn and devastating. The four lions--Zill; his two wives, the young, ideological and passionate Noor and the older, more cautious Safa; and his son, Ali--must negotiate life outside their pen. The insanity of war and of Saddam's state comes out in Henrichon's stunning images, which can move seamlessly from earth-rocking video game to a grieving peaceable kingdom. A turtle mourning his dead family notes that the local humans called their tanks "the lions of Babylon," and then the tanks rush in. Later, an image of Safa facing a portrait of a winged lion backed by lightning is startling, as she wanders the splendor of an abandoned palace in wonder. Without taking sides, Vaughan has his marvelously imagined characters debate the concept of freedom versus desire for safety, and fills the animal conflicts between lions, antelopes and monkeys with all-too-human tropes of honor and betrayal. Pride parodies the surrealism of war, with bewildered yet realistic animals among the ruined, megalomaniacal monuments of Baghdad--and the total effect is memorable. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved All rights reserved.

From Library Journal:

During an American bombing raid in 2003, four lions escaped from the Baghdad Zoo. That true story is the basis for this excellent fable by Vaughan (Ex Machina; Runaways) and Henrichon in which the animals can talk to one another and discuss the relative merits of captivity and life in the wild. After they're unexpectedly freed, Zill, the alpha male; his one-eyed ex-lover, Safa; his current lover, Noor; and Noor's cub, Ali, must fend for themselves in an unfamiliar land: the ruined city. They discover dangers both man-made and-despite Noor's insistence that animals can rise above their baser natures-among their own kind. This graphic novel works as an adventure story; a meditation on the pursuit, the problems, and the meaning of freedom; and a thoughtful allegory about the war in Iraq, with every scene having a deeper subtext. Vaughan's lions, with distinctive and well-rounded personalities, inspire sympathy; Henrichon's animals are expertly rendered, and his coloring is lush (with some gore in the battle scenes). This is an important work, strongly recommended for all adult collections.-S.R. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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