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Title: Asterix in Corsica
Series: Asterix #20
Authors: Goscinny & Uderzo
Rating: 3 of 5 Stars
Unlike most editions of the series, the map that is shown before the story begins does not present Gaul and a close-up of the village with the four surrounding Roman camps. Instead the reader is shown a map of Corsica and a multitude of camps around the coastline.
The story begins with a banquet celebrating the anniversary of Vercingetorix’s victory at the Battle of Gergovia. As part of the celebrations, the indomitable Gauls always attack the local Roman camps; as a result, the Roman soldiers always go on “special manoeuvres” en masse to avoid the punch-up.
On this particular year various people who have helped the Gauls against the Romans in previous books have been invited along with their wives (this may be because this was the last story published in Pilote magazine, or because this was the 20th album). They include:
Petitsuix from Helvetia (Asterix in Switzerland),
Huevos Y Bacon and son Pepe from Hispania (Asterix in Spain),
Instantmix, the Gaulish restaurateur from Rome (Asterix the Gladiator),
Anticlimax from Britain alongside Dipsomaniax the tavern-keeper, McAnix the Scotsman, O’veroptimistix the Irishman, and Chief Mykingdomforanos (Asterix in Britain),
Drinklikafix of Massalia, Jellibabix of Lugdunum, Seniorservix from Gesocribatum (Asterix and the Banquet),
Winesanspirix and his wife from Gergovia (Asterix and the Chieftain’s Shield).
The Roman camp of Totorum, too, has visitors: three Roman soldiers escorting the Corsican leader Boneywasawarriorwayayix, exiled by Praetor Perfidius. He is left to spend the night in the Centurion’s tent, to its owner’s dismay. While the other camps are deserted, the Romans of Totorum have no option but to stay and be decimated by the Gauls and their friends, who discover Boneywasawarriorwayayix awakening from a long siesta (afternoon nap).
The proud Boneywasawarriorwayayix attends the Gaulish banquet and leaves the next day for Corsica with Asterix, Obelix and Dogmatix accompanying him. At Massalia, he hires a ship crewed by none other than the pirates. When the passengers go aboard it is too dark for the captain and the Gauls to recognise each other. But when, in the middle of the night, the pirates attempt to rob the Corsican and his three companions, they recognize the sleeping Gauls and the entire crew vacates the ship in a rowing boat.
The following morning, the passengers awake to find the ship is deserted. Boneywasawarriorwayayix then invites the Gauls to share a pungent Corsican cheese. Unaccustomed to the strong smell, they feel unwell, but then the Corsican realises that they are off the coast of his native island, abandons the cheese and excitedly swims ashore.
The arrival of the three men and dog is noticed by a Roman patrol. The Romans later investigate the ship but find nothing suspicious. As they leave, the pirates arrive to reclaim their vessel, only for a burning torch to ignite the Corsican cheese’s fumes, blowing up the ship.
A keen young Roman called Courtingdisastus captures the pirate captain and takes him to Praetor Perfidius in the Roman city of Aleria. From him, the Romans learn that Boneywasawarriorwayayix, a known revolutionary leader, has returned from exile. Perfidius appoints Courtingdisastus to lead a party assigned to recapture Boneywasawarriorwayayix. But in fact, Perfidius has few illusions that the mission will be successful and starts making his own plans to flee Corsica, leaving his men in the lurch and sailing away with all the loot he has purloined from the Corsicans.
Courtingdisastus and his men go to Boneywasawarriorwayayix’s village, but are faced by his second-in-command Carferrix, who intimidates them into fleeing. Meanwhile, the Corsican leader and the Gauls travel through the maquis to a rendezvous where several clan chieftains gather to plan their attack on Aleria to recover the wealth the Praetor has extracted from them.
The attack begins before Perfidius can make his escape. Boneywasawarriorwayayix then makes a proud and defiant speech stating that Corsica will never be ruled by an Emperor unless he is a Corsican himself.
After the victory over the Romans, a vendetta between the clans of Boneywasawarriorwayayix and Olabellamargaritix, fought over various but complicated age-old issues, is settled by the diplomatic Asterix (though, when the Gauls leave, there are strong hints that other Corsican chieftains will resume the feud with Olabellamargaritix even if Boneywasawarriorwayayix has called his off).
The Gauls return home with fond memories of their trip.
This was an amusing story with absolutely non-stop wordplays. I think the map at the beginning, showing Corsica and ALL the roman fortifications around it, says enough about the story.