Rumo and His Miraculous Adventures
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|Original title||Rumo & Die Wunder im Dunkeln|
|Cover artist||Walter Moers|
|Publisher||German: Piper Verlag GmbH. English: Overlook TP|
Published in English
|Media type||Print (hardcover)|
Rumo and His Miraculous Adventures is a fantasy novel, written and comically illustrated by German author Walter Moers.
The story follows the progress of a young Wolperting (which are distinct from the Wolpertingers of Bavarian Folklore) in the fictional land of Zamonia, who is named Rumo, after the famous Zamonian card game, by Volzotan Smyke. When an entire city, called Wolperting –where civilized Wolpertings go to live, socialize, and even play chess – goes missing, it is up to Rumo to save the day and find it.
The novel takes place on the fictional continent of Zamonia, which is also featured in Moers' previous novel The 131⁄2 Lives of Captain Bluebear. While Rumo is not a prequel to Bluebear, the two do have many parallel events, and returning characters such as Volzotan Smyke, Professor Nightingale, and Fredda the Alpine Imp.
The first book follows Rumo's childhood, beginning at puppyhood. From an early age, he is able to scent colored threads in the atmosphere—one being a Silver Thread, which he is compelled to follow. Unfortunately, all of the Hackonian Dwarves and Rumo are kidnapped by the Demonocles, a breed of giant Demons that delight in eating living things alive (in opposition to many Zamonians). While in the Demonocles' prison, Rumo meets and is befriended by the Shark Grub Volzotan Smyke. Smyke names him Rumo and teaches him to speak, watching him grow into a Wolperting - a strong canine creature with small horns and high intelligence. They eventually devise a plan to escape the Demonocles' clutches using Rumo's newfound speed, cunning, and incredible ability to fight. Rumo and Smyke adventure together, but eventually they decide to go their separate ways, since Smyke wants to find civilization, and Rumo wants to follow the mysterious Silver Thread. The Thread leads him to a city named Wolperting, full of Wolpertingers and immensely guarded. Rumo discovers the source of his Silver Thread - a beautiful female Wolperting named Rala. After discovering what a girl was from his "assigned municipal friend" Urs, he falls in love with her, but cannot seem to catch her attention, until his Master in woodcarving suggests a "Three-fold Token". Rumo, with his newfound two-pronged sentient knife Dandelion, he sets out into Nurn Forest to singlehandedly kill the Monsters, obtain a Nurn Leaf, and carve a casket for Rala. Upon his return, the enigmatic Black Dome has opened, revealing an entrance to the Netherworld. Scenting the Silver Thread, Rumo descends into the dark to rescue the others.
Smyke's story during the first book recounts his return to civilization and his drink of the Wine of Death. His ghostly, decrepit apparition foretells "They'll be coming for you." When Smyke returns from his ghastly hallucination, he attempts to find Professor Kolibri who was last seen embarking to Murkholm, a city immersed in a mysterious fog. Smyke's appetite for knowledge leads him to follow the Nocturnomath, and he finds Kolibri's study strangely empty. However, Kolibri's diary is recovered by Smyke, and he flips through it. The account shows Kolibri's descent into madness, and his eventual realization of the evil of Murkholm. Just then, the Murkholmers appear and Smyke realizes--
"They've come for me."
The second book describes Rumo's journey to Netherworld/Hel—a kingdom ruled by Gornab the Ninety-Ninth, a cruel tyrant who is misshapen and insane. Among the inhabitants are the Dead Yetis, the Vrahoks,and Friftar, Gornab's right-hand man and translator who plans to overthrow the throne. General Tick-Tock, a fairly new citizen, takes Rala from the abducted group of Wolpertingers, and uses her to perfect his machine of torture (the Metal Maiden). Rumo, after passing through several deadly trials, is led to Hel by Ribble and his master. Rumo and the other Wolpertingers (along with Smyke and Professor Kolibri) eventually rouse a rebellion and escape back to the Overworld. As the story closes, Rumo approaches Rala's house, holding the casket in hand. The story ends with Nightingale's saying, "Some miracles can only happen in the dark."
The book was illustrated by Walter Moers in a cartoon style.