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Uncle Scrooge #342 (Uncle Scrooge (Graphic…
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Uncle Scrooge #342 (Uncle Scrooge (Graphic Novels))

by Don Rosa

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I was asked once, about the bitter fight between Scrooge and his sisters, (see The Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck, by Don Rosa, chapter 11) that sent them away and out of Scrooge's life forever...what happened to the sisters?

What happened to Donald's mother is a mystery at this point, we know from the old stories that Donald was raised not by his mother Hortense (Scrooge's sister), but instead by Grandma Duck aka Elvira Coot--there is no mention of her ever past the fight between her and her brother in L&T's. However, we do know that Scrooge's other sister, married Prof. Ludwig Von Drake and than moved back to Scotland to live at the family castle, Von Drake however is rarly seen as his profession keeps him ever on tour around the world, and so with this knowledge in mind, move on to...

"The Old Castle's Other Secret...or A Letter From Home", by Don Rosa

Gemstone Uncle Scrooge #342 June 2005

This is the last or at least the current last chapter of the "Tralla-La" saga. This segment takes us back to Dismal Downs, in Scotland and a dark, somber story, that spends much of it's time in the McDuck clan cemetary, and the dungeons of Castle McDuck.

This story assumes that you have read Barks' story "The Old Castle's Secret", and has many refferances to it.

The usual gag-lines that Don Rosa is noted for, are scattered through-out this story, but it's not the gags and puns that drives this story onward----it's the sheer heart-break that Scrooge now lives in, thinking back of an earlier time when he and his sisters were a loving family, contrasted to the bitter fueding and sharp remarks that are scattered throughout as Scrooge and his sister Matilda are reunited after 25 years of not speaking to each other...we see referances to the dark day in Africa, when Scrooge burned Foola Zoola's village (L&T's chapter 11)....true to Zoola's words, it's not Bombie the Zombie that haughts Scrooge, it's his own guilt and the shame that he brought down on his family, the knowledge that he could never face his sisters after what he'd done....

Along with this there is another reason for being back in Scotland---the Templar Knight guarding the crown lost in Hati, (The Crown of the Crusader Kings, by Don Rosa) had been a McDuck, and he had been the guardian of a far greater treasure----the Holy Grail and the vast treasure vault of the Templar Knights, and hidden in the tombstones of the McDuck cemetary, are encrypted clues to the whereabouts of that vast treasure...a treasure that to Scrooge's utter horror, had been guarded by his own father, and had been know of by the entire family---but they had sworn to never tell Scrooge about it, for fear that his greed for gold, would end the family's honor entirly.

This knowledge, bears down harder than anything else that's ever happened to Scrooge, for the lesson he had only half learned in Xanadu (Return to Xanadu, by Don Rosa) finally sinks in once and for all and it is to his own horror that his greed for gold has utterly destroied whatever faith his family had in him. Only Donald and the 3 little nephews are still able to see past the greedy miser, to see the old man that seeks nothing more than the love of his family.

And yet, unknown to Scrooge and his family, is that while they are all professing they hate each other...the same spy and theif that had followed them to Hati, has stolen the crown, gone to France and stolen the Philosopher's Stone, has followed them to Scotland, and is now hiding under the window listen to their every word...and their words end in one last fit of hatred beteween Scrooge and Matilda, resulting in Scrooge storming off for the dungeons while Matila runs outside saying she's not returning to the castle until Scrooge has left Scotland, and she runs right into the waiting hand of the gun-toting spy...

No spoilers in this review, sorry. This is one of those ultra long 30 page Don Rosa stories, and what I've told you here only takes you about 15 pages in...

I'm going to say, here and now that this by-far out ranks the "Life & Times" story.... I'm not going to tell you how this "Tralla-La saga" ends...and when I get done writing this post, I'm gonna go cry my eyes out, because I do know how this story ends, and I've yet to get through reading it without a box of hankies...

$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

If you want to read the entire "saga" of the story of Tralla-La, there are 5 stories that it consists of...

First of course is "Tralla-La", by Carl Barks (1955)

Next you will need to read "The Lost Crown of Genghis Khan", by Carl Barks (1956)

After this Don Rosa picks up the story with "Return to Xanadu". (1991)

Followed by "The Crown of the Crusader Kings", by Don Rosa (2005)

And currently the story has lead us to this issue here "The Old Castle's Other Secret: or A Letter From Home", by Don Rosa (2005)

We only see the ducks visiting Tralla-La twice----in Carl Barks' "Tralla-La and again in Don Rosa's "Return To Xanadu"....however, the story itself goes beyong the 2 trips to Tralla-La.

Also it's helpful if you read these 2 before starting the Tralla-La series, because the last 2 chapters do a lot of referance back to these 2 stories...

"The Old Castle's Secret" by Carl Barks 1948 (look at that date! Scrooge don't look like the Scrooge we all know in this one; this is Scrooge's second story)

"The Fablulous Philosopher's Stone", by Carl Barks

$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

Now I think I'm gonna go read A Letter From Home again. It's quickly becoming my favorite story. I love this story. It is by far the greatest story Don Rosa has ever written. I need to get another copy, I'm gonna wear this one out.

"A Letter From Home" goes way past 5 stars, and I don't think 10 stars are enough either....this one should get a full 100! ( )
  EelKat | Dec 6, 2007 |
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0911903763, Paperback)

Gemstone's Uncle Scrooge 342 is an excellent addition for fans of Don Rosa's Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck. The main tale, "The Old Castle's Other Secret, or A Letter from Home," is a modern-day follow-up to Rosa's life history of Scrooge, in which he, Donald, and Huey, Louie, and Dewey return to the old homestead, Castle McDuck, in search of the treasure of the Knights of the Templar. Filler stories include Byron Erickson and Wanda Gattino's "The Customer Is Always Wrong" (featuring Gyro Gearloose), Lars Jensen & Jack Sutter and Maria Jose Sanchez Nunez's "The Door Trap" (the Beagle Boys), and "Raven Mad," a Carl Barks classic featuring another attempt by Magica De Spell to capture Scrooge's no. 1 dime. --David Horiuchi

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 17:59:24 -0400)

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