After their visit to The Temple of Oblivion, Roxanna, Bragon and the mysterious warrior now at least know where the Time Bird is, but as this is a fantasy quest, getting there is far from simple. Plus, they’re on a deadline with now only four days left to save the world of Akbar, or at least having a chance of doing that.

Régis Loisel’s sample art is a threefold display. If there were still any doubt after two earlier volumes, it shows what a skilled artist he is, along with the predatory dangers on the hostile world of Akbar. It also displays that paper from the 1980s doesn’t always age well. Still, it’s the art that’s the star, and Loisel becomes more ambitious by the album, here creating astounding surroundings, with the decorations on the stone city worth the price of a used copy no matter the paper quality. Alternatively, though, there’s the collected edition The Quest for the Time Bird, which recolours the art to better effect.

The trail to the Time Bird leads across the lands of the Riege Master, known to Bragon of old, and a man unconcerned with the fate of Akbar if there’s the prospect of a challenging hunt on the horizon. It makes for the best book of the four volumes. It’s a more straightforward story on the part of Serge Le Tendre, but a less predictable one, largely due to the wild card of Bulrog, and the sheer scale of the territory, while the ruins that Loisel draws so imaginatively add to the expansive feel. Plus the ending is genuinely surprising and touching.

Roxanna’s quest ends in The Egg of Darkness.