Delilah Dirk and the King’s Shilling is the second book in the delightful Delilah Dirk series. If you’re interested in reading my thoughts on the first book, check out my review of Delilah Dirk and the Turkish Lieutenant.
King’s Shilling takes place a couple of years after the events of the Turkish Lieutenant and opens with Delilah And Mr. Selim in Portugal and in the process of rescuing a young boy who is in danger of being caught up in a conflict between the English and French armies. The mission is a success but not long afterwards Delilah and Mr. Selim accidentally run into a group of British soldiers. Their leader, Major Jason Merrick, accuses Delilah of being a spy for the French and, although Delilah and Mr. Selim are able to escape, the pair are now wanted on charges of espionage and Delilah’s reputation is in ruins. Determined to clear her name and revenge herself against Major Merrick, Delilah and Mr. Selim follow the Major to England. But getting to the bottom of the Major’s schemes without exposing their true identities will require patience and delicacy, and these are, unfortunately, not things that Delilah Dirk is particularly known for.
While the Turkish Lieutenant focused a lot on Mr. Selim, this book puts the spotlight directly on Delilah. We get to meet her family and see a glimpse of the stuffy and sheltered life of an English noblewoman that Delilah has rejected in favour of her adventurous lifestyle. The sullying of her good name is a deep and personal blow to Delilah, not just because it threatens the life of freedom, but because she has been raised in a society where a women’s reputation is critical. The idea that her reputation could be ruined, not by her own actions, but by the slanderous words of a dishonest man, offends her deeply and Delilah spends the book consumed by righteous anger. She is obsessed to the point that, as Mr. Selim points out, she is more interested in getting back at Major Merrick then she actually is in clearing her name. Her recklessness leads to conflict between her and Mr. Selim. Although the two of them have been traveling together and working as partners for some time now, Delilah is still in the habit of acting impulsively and frequently leaves Mr. Selim in the dark or fails to take his wishes into account. Over the course of the book, Delilah learns that, if she wants to keep being partners with Mr. Selim, she needs to be more considerate and treat him more like an actual partner.
Delilah Dirk and the King’s Shilling is just as funny and action-packed as the previous instalment in the series. This volume introduces several wonderful new supporting characters, the standout being Major Jason Merrick, who is perfectly hate-able as the story’s villain. He was such a smarmy jerk that I couldn’t wait for him to get his comeuppances! His fate at the end of the comic is left somewhat open-ended so I am wondering if he is destined to become a recurring antagonist of this series. The main draw of the comic, however, remains the wonderful friendship between Delilah and Mr. Selim. The two have a great rapport and their banter continues to be hilarious. Their bonds are tested over the course of this volume, but they ultimately come to a greater understanding and their relationship has only grown stronger by the end of the book. If you liked the first volume of the series then don’t hesitate to pick this one up, as it’s even better than the first.
Final Score: 9 out of 10.
For more information on Delilah Dirk and the King’s Shilling, check out First Second Book’s website: https://us.macmillan.com/books/9781626721555
Please let me know what you thought of this comic in the comments and be sure to check out my reviews of the other books in the series: