Rooted in Jewish folklore and set in Prague, this retelling of a 16th-century legend about a ruler obsessed with alchemy and a rabbi who works magic says much about Podwal´s (The Book of Tens) ability to work creatively and respectfully within the folktale tradition. When the Jews of Prague face unbearable persecution, a rabbi reluctantly fashions a Golem, a giant made from mud; the rabbi knows of the Golem´s potential for vast destruction, but the Jews need a protector. Both thought-provoking and mystical, this adaptation refuses to shy away from the story´s darker aspects. The King´s greed-driven madness and his exchanges with the rabbi, the afflictions of the Jews living in the ghetto, the desperate creation of the Golem and the ensuing violence are presented without apology. Rather, Podwal couches his narrative in tightly concentrated imagery. Trees are torn from their roots and tossed to the moon, an evil astrologer wears a silver nose, and the golem wears the ´´emperor´s palace on top of its head like a crown.´´ Although dull brown tones dominate the jacket, the interior art is bright and jewel-toned-in many places the artwork possesses an almost Gauguin-like sunniness, a skillful counterpoint to the shadowy, mythic power of the text.