Written by Bryan Talbot
Review by Doug Kemp

This is a sumptuously illustrated graphic novel, by an author-artist who received wide acclaim for his 2007 book Alice in Sunderland. Grandville, according to the author, is “an anthropomorphic steampunk detective-thriller”. It is set in an alternative Belle Époque Paris, where humans are minions (known as dough-faces) under the rule of animals, in a time when Napoleon beat the British at Waterloo and Europe is under French dominion. Technology is steam-based and has developed along arcane and wondrous lines. Detective-Inspector LeBrock (yes, a badger!) of Scotland Yard investigates a series of crimes in Paris, which seem to implicate England in a plot against the French Empire. With nods towards modern-day conspiracy theories, the superhero LeBrock reveals a despicable plot that goes to the very top of the French political ruling class. The graphics are inspired by the 19th-century French illustrator Gerard, with references also to the Tintin books by Herge. Tremendous fun!