Prisoners of the Sun
|Prisoners of the Sun
(Le Temple du Soleil)
Cover of the English edition
|Series||The Adventures of Tintin|
|Published in||Tintin magazine|
|Date of publication||26 September 1946 – 22 April 1948|
|Preceded by||The Seven Crystal Balls, 1948|
|Followed by||Land of Black Gold, 1950|
Prisoners of the Sun (French: Le Temple du Soleil) is the fourteenth volume of The Adventures of Tintin, the comics series by Belgian cartoonist Hergé. Tintin and his friend Captain Haddock continue their efforts to rescue the kidnapped Professor Calculus, through Andean villages, mountains, and rain forests, before finding a hidden Inca civilization in the Temple of the Sun.
The story was first serialized in Tintin magazine from 26 September 1946 to 22 April 1948 before being published in book form the following year. Prisoners of the Sun is the second volume in a two-part adventure begun in The Seven Crystal Balls (1948). The two books were adapted into a 1969 film, Tintin and the Temple of the Sun by Belvision. It has been also adapted into two episodes of the 1990s television series The Adventures of Tintin, a video game, and a musical stage production.
In the previous adventure, The Seven Crystal Balls, the Sanders-Hardiman expedition members have been afflicted with a mysterious illness after unearthing the tomb of the mummified Inca, Rascar Capac. Professor Calculus has been kidnapped by a band of men including the Quechua native Peruvian Chiquito, one of the last descendants of the Incas. Tintin and Captain Haddock discover their friend is on board the cargo ship Pachacamac bound for Callao, Peru and are on a flight to rescue him.
When Tintin and Haddock intercept the ship, Tintin encounters Chiquito and learns Calculus is to be put to death for wearing the bracelet belonging to the Inca mummy. Unable to rescue Calculus, Tintin and the Captain must set off on the trail of the natives who have taken him. It leads them through the small town of Santa Clara, to the mountain town of Jauga, where a train is sabotaged in an attempt to kill them. They find both the authorities and the locals extremely unwilling to help them track Calculus' kidnappers because of the wrath of the Inca.
Tintin encounters a young Quechua native boy named Zorrino, whom he protects from two bullying men of white descent. For that, a mysterious Indian gives Tintin a medallion, telling him it will save him from danger. Zorrino then offers to take them to the Temple of the Sun, where he claims their friend is being held prisoner by the Inca. "The Inca, in these days?" asks Tintin. "White men not know, señor." replies Zorrino. "Only you know." The Temple lies deep in the Andes, and the journey there is long and eventful, involving hindrance from natives and the Captain being terrorised by local wildlife.
Finally, Tintin, Haddock, and Zorrino come upon the Temple of the Sun—and stumble right into a group of Inca who have survived until modern-day times. They are brought before the noble Prince of the Sun; on the left stands Chiquito, on the right stands Huascar, the mysterious Quechua Tintin encountered in Jauga. Zorrino is saved from harm when Tintin gives him Huascar's medallion, but Tintin and Haddock are sentenced to death for their sacrilegious intrusion. The Inca prince tells them they may choose the hour that the Sun himself will set alight the pyre for which they are destined.
Tintin and Haddock end up on the same pyre as Professor Calculus. Tintin has, however, chosen the hour of their death to coincide with a solar eclipse, and the terrified Inca believe Tintin can command Pachacamac, their god, the Sun. The Inca prince implores Tintin to make the Sun show his light again. At Tintin's command, the Sun obeys, and the three are quickly set free.
Afterwards, the Prince of the Sun tells them the seven crystal balls used against the Sanders-Hardiman expedition members who had excavated Rascar Capac's tomb contained a "mystic liquid" obtained from coca, which plunged the seven explorers into a deep sleep. Each time the Inca high priest cast his spell over seven wax figures he could use them as he willed, as punishment for their sacrilege. Tintin convinces the Inca prince the explorers wished only to make known to the world the splendours of their civilisation. The Inca prince orders Huascar to destroy the wax figures and at that moment in Europe the seven explorers awaken.
After swearing on their own accord to keep the colony's existence secret, Tintin, Captain Haddock and Professor Calculus are bestowed with a gift of gold and jewels, only a sample of the treasure of the Incas for which the Spanish conquerors searched in vain for so long. Zorrino decides to stay with the Incas; his new friends return safely to Europe.
Prisoners of the Sun was the first Tintin adventure to be published in the newly created Tintin magazine in 1946. The pages were published in a landscape design crossing two central pages rather than the standard portrait way. The original version begins with Tintin on his way to Marlinspike following his visit to the hospital where he witnessed the mass panic attack of the explorers in The Seven Crystal Balls.
In order to fit the story into 62 pages when published in book form, many scenes had to be edited out.
The edited or deleted scenes included:
- Tintin, walking to Marlinspike, is so engrossed by a newspaper report of recent events that he misses a plank of wood and falls into a river. (The story then proceeds to Haddock and Tintin setting off for the city port and on to Peru. These events were ultimately published in the book The Seven Crystal Balls.)
- When Tintin meets Alcazar at the port and Chiquito on board the ship, the three men act as if the meeting at the theatre in The Seven Crystal Balls had never taken place. Those scenes had originally been published in 1943 and Hergé may have felt that readers needed more than just a reminder.
- While waiting for Zorrino near the bridge in Peru, Tintin and Haddock meet the mysterious Indian who gave Tintin the medallion. He smiles at Haddock's insults with the words "Anger is bad for one's health, señor."
- While walking through the mountains, Haddock discovers a skull mounted on a pole. A terrified Zorrino says that it is a warning that he is under sentence of death for guiding foreigners to the Temple of the Sun.
- During their trek through the jungle, Tintin shoots a jaguar as it leaps towards them, and Zorrino strikes a snake with a stick when it attempts to bite Haddock.
- Haddock discovers and pockets gold in the Inca's cave behind the waterfall. He is later forced to give up the gold in order to get through the hole into the Inca tomb.
This original version was published in book form in France and Belgium in 2003.
Pachacamac, the name of both the cargo ship and the Inca Sun god, is an ancient Peruvian temple in the vicinity where the story is set.
The eclipse scene is possibly inspired by Columbus's use of the March 1504 lunar eclipse on Jamaica.