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Sebastian Ross
Sebastian Ross

Nordguard Across Thin Ice: An Epic Arctic Adventure with Anthropomorphic Animals

Nordguard Across Thin Ice: A Review

If you are looking for a graphic novel that combines adventure, drama, and anthropomorphic animals, you might want to check out Nordguard Across Thin Ice, the first book in a planned trilogy by Tess Garman and Teagan Gavet. This graphic novel tells the story of Pi and her team of sled dogs, who are part of an elite rescue organization called Nordguard in an alternate history version of early 20th century North America. In this review, we will explore what makes this graphic novel so captivating and unique.

Nordguard Across Thin Ice.pdf

The Story

The story of Nordguard Across Thin Ice begins with a distress call from a remote mining outpost in the frozen north. Pi and her team are assigned to deliver a military officer and a field surgeon to investigate and assist. However, they soon discover that there is more to this mission than meets the eye. They have to face bandits, blizzards, thin ice, and a mysterious threat that could spark a war between three rival nations.

The setting of Nordguard Across Thin Ice is inspired by the real history of exploration, industry, and conflict in the Arctic regions during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The authors have done extensive research to create a realistic and immersive world that blends historical facts with fictional elements. For example, they have invented a new language called Maguruq for one of the native tribes that inhabit the north.

The main characters of Nordguard Across Thin Ice are Pi, a female husky who is the leader of her team; Blackjack, a male malamute who is Pi's second-in-command; London, a male wolfhound who is an experienced tracker; Diesel, a male German shepherd who is a skilled fighter; and Cricket, a female border collie who is a cheerful rookie. Each character has their own personality, backstory, and motivation that make them relatable and memorable.

The Art

One of the most impressive aspects of Nordguard Across Thin Ice is the art. The graphic novel is hand-painted in watercolors by Teagan Gavet, who has a remarkable talent for creating stunning landscapes, expressive characters, and dynamic scenes. The art style is realistic but also stylized, giving a sense of motion and emotion to every panel.

The colors in Nordguard Across Thin Ice are also carefully chosen to convey the mood and the atmosphere of the story. The palette ranges from the cold and bleak whites and blues of the snow and ice, to the warm and cozy yellows and oranges of the fire and the fur, to the eerie and ominous greens and purples of the aurora borealis and the shadows. The contrast between light and dark, warm and cold, and natural and artificial creates a visual impact that enhances the narrative.

The details in Nordguard Across Thin Ice are also remarkable. The authors have paid attention to every aspect of the world they have created, from the clothing and equipment of the characters, to the flora and fauna of the environment, to the architecture and culture of the different locations. The graphic novel also includes maps, sketches, notes, and references that show the amount of work and research that went into making this graphic novel.

The Themes

Besides being an entertaining and thrilling story, Nordguard Across Thin Ice also explores some deeper themes that resonate with the readers. Some of these themes are:

  • Survival: The graphic novel shows how the characters have to overcome various challenges and dangers in order to survive in a harsh and unforgiving land. It also shows how they have to rely on each other and work as a team to achieve their goals.

  • Loyalty: The graphic novel shows how the characters have to deal with issues of trust, betrayal, and allegiance in a complex political situation. It also shows how they have to balance their loyalty to their friends, their organization, their nation, and their ideals.

  • Identity: The graphic novel shows how the characters have to cope with their own personal histories, traumas, and secrets. It also shows how they have to face their own fears, doubts, and hopes for the future.

The Awards

Nordguard Across Thin Ice has received critical acclaim and recognition from various sources. Some of the awards and nominations that it has received are:

  • Nominated: 2012 Russ Manning Promising Newcomer Award

  • Double Winner: 2011 Ursa Major Awards, "Best Other Literary Work" & "Best Published Illustration"

  • Winner: 2011 Readers' Choice Awards, "Comics"

The Pros and Cons

Like any other work of art, Nordguard Across Thin Ice has its strengths and weaknesses. Here are some of the pros and cons of this graphic novel:

The Pros

Some of the positive aspects of Nordguard Across Thin Ice are:

  • The realism: The graphic novel portrays a realistic and believable world that is based on historical facts and events. The authors have done a lot of research and have included many details that make the world come alive.

  • The suspense: The graphic novel keeps the readers on the edge of their seats with its fast-paced and action-packed plot. The authors have created a lot of tension and mystery that keep the readers guessing what will happen next.

  • The emotion: The graphic novel makes the readers care about the characters and their fates. The authors have created a lot of drama and emotion that make the readers feel what the characters feel.

The Cons

Some of the negative aspects of Nordguard Across Thin Ice are:

  • The violence: The graphic novel contains a lot of violence and bloodshed that may not be suitable for some readers. The authors do not shy away from showing the brutality and cruelty of some of the situations and characters.

  • The cliffhanger: The graphic novel ends with a cliffhanger that leaves many questions unanswered and many threads unresolved. The readers may feel frustrated or disappointed by this ending, especially since there is no clear date for when the next book will be released.

  • The availability: The graphic novel is not widely available or easy to find in some regions or platforms. The readers may have to order it online or look for it in specialized stores or websites.

The Verdict

deep thematic exploration, and a lot of awards and recognition. However, it also has some drawbacks, such as the violence, the cliffhanger, and the availability. Therefore, we give this graphic novel a rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it to anyone who enjoys a good adventure story with a twist.


Here are some frequently asked questions about Nordguard Across Thin Ice:

What is Nordguard?

  • Nordguard is an organization that provides exploration, rescue, and aid services in the north. It is composed of volunteers who are trained and equipped to handle the harsh conditions and dangers of the Arctic regions.

Who are the authors of Nordguard Across Thin Ice?

  • The authors of Nordguard Across Thin Ice are Tess Garman and Teagan Gavet, who are also known by their collaborative pseudonym "Blotch". They are both artists and writers who have been working together since 2004.

Is Nordguard Across Thin Ice based on a true story?

  • No, Nordguard Across Thin Ice is not based on a true story. However, it is inspired by real historical events and facts that took place in the late 19th and early 20th centuries in the Arctic regions.

Is Nordguard Across Thin Ice suitable for children?

  • No, Nordguard Across Thin Ice is not suitable for children. It contains a lot of violence, bloodshed, and mature themes that may be disturbing or inappropriate for younger readers.

When will the next book in the Nordguard trilogy be released?

  • There is no official date for when the next book in the Nordguard trilogy will be released. The authors have stated that they are working on it, but they have also faced some delays and challenges due to personal and professional reasons.


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