In this final volume of Moebius’ collected works, we follow the story of Stel from the Aedena arc, and we get to witness the most majestic of Moebius’s visuals.
We open with a chase; Stel fleeing from a strange monster which looks like a cross between a dinosaur and a parrot. He is still on the quest to find his partner Atana, who we last saw in Book 7 (The Goddess).
After finding refuge in a rocky crevice, he sets out at night and bumps into Master Burg, the enigmatic celestial being whom he first encountered in The Gardens of Aedena (Book 5).
He learns that the dinosaur-parrot monster is actually a manifestation of the Paternum, the psychic being whom Atana seemingly defeated previously. His powers have diminished, but not completely. Stel wants to learn about the whereabouts of Atana but Master Burg cannot help him.
The only clue he gains is a message from an Aedelf; an elemental fairy who warns him that Atana is in grave danger.
The next day Stel is again chased by the Paternum monster but is saved by some Nesters whose shuttle has broken down.
Stel is hopeful that through the Nesters, he can locate Atana. He sets about fixing their shuttle, and they are soon ready to set off.
However, their leader has a psychotic episode, and the Paternum (who’s changed into a lizard) latches on to him, controlling him like a puppet.
Stel is taken prisoner by the Paternum and transported to another Nest; one which has not fallen to rebellion. It is here that he slowly uncovers the terrible truth about Aedena, and the creation of the Nest.
This book is a joy to delve into, even including the frustrating ending, and has some of the best artwork by Moebius in the whole Aedena arc. He seems particularly drawn to the desert, presenting it as a place full of possibilities, and by God, the culmination of his ideas are simply sublime to behold!
He concocts wondrous landscapes which transport you to the world he envisions. In a strange way he is like the personification of his own creation; a Master Burg or Major Gulbert who create worlds derived from our own dreamscapes.
The ending is open, and a strange feeling of sadness pervades it. The feeling of being so close and yet so far. In hindsight, it is a masterful stroke by Moebius, the story is open to our own interpretations.
He, like his art, will live on.