Prisoners of the Sun

Prisoners of the Sun

Graphicnovelbox| englishtitle=Prisoners of the Sun
foreigntitle=Le Temple du Soleil

caption=Cover of the English edition
series="The Adventures of Tintin (Les aventures de Tintin)"
origdate=September 26 1946 - April 22, 1948
transtitle=Prisoners of the Sun
transpublisher=Methuen Publishing
transseriestitle="The Adventures of Tintin"
translator=Leslie Lonsdale-Cooper and Michael Turner
previssue="The Seven Crystal Balls", 1948
nextissue="Land of Black Gold", 1950

"Prisoners of the Sun" is the fourteenth of "The Adventures of Tintin", a series of classic comic-strip albums, written and illustrated by Belgian writer and illustrator Hergé, featuring young reporter Tintin as a hero. Its original French title is "Le Temple du Soleil" ("The Temple of the Sun"). The album continues the story begun in the previous book, "The Seven Crystal Balls".

The book, along with "The Seven Crystal Balls", was adapted into a 1969 film, "Tintin and the Temple of the Sun" by Belvision. It has been also adapted into two episodes of the 1990s television series "The Adventures of Tintin".


Tintin and Captain Haddock arrive in Peru to look for Professor Calculus, following the events in "The Seven Crystal Balls", which ended with Calculus being kidnapped for putting on the bracelet of the mummified Inca, Rascar Capac. Although Tintin and Haddock intercept the ship carrying Calculus, the "Pachacamac", near Callao, they are unable to rescue him, and they set off on the trail of the Quechua-speaking natives who have taken him. It leads them to the mountain town of Jauga, where a train is sabotaged in an attempt to kill them. They find both the authorities and the locals extremely unwilling to help them track Calculus' kidnappers.

Tintin then encounters a young Indian boy named Zorrino, whom he protects from two bullying men of white descent. Following that, a mysterious Indian gives him a medallion, telling him it will save him from danger. Soon after, Zorrino offers to take them to the Temple of the Sun, where he claims their friend is being held. The Temple lies deep in the Andes, and the journey there is long and eventful - it involves hindrance from natives and Captain Haddock being terrorised by the local wildlife.

Finally they come upon the Temple of the Sun - and stumble right into a group of Inca who have survived until modern-day times. Zorrino is saved from harm when Tintin gives him the medallion (the Indian who had given it to him reveals himself as one of the Incan high priests, and explains that he gave it to Tintin because he was moved by his effort to protect Zorrino from abuse), but Tintin and Haddock are sentenced to death for their sacrilegious intrusion and end up on the same pyre as Calculus. Tintin has, however, chosen the hour of their death to coincide with a solar eclipse, and the terrified Inca believe he can command their God, the Sun. Afterwards, the leader of the Incas tells them the "magic liquid" mentioned in the preceding volume was a coca-derivative used to hypnotize the explorers who had excavated Rascar Capac's tomb as punishment for their sacrilege. Tintin convinces him to break the curse, and they return to Europe with a gift of Incan gold and jewels, while Zorrino decides to stay with the Incas.

Publication history

"Prisoners of the Sun" was the first Tintin adventure to be published in the newly-created "Tintin Magazine" in 1946. The pages were published in a landscape design crossing two central pages rather than the standard portrait way.

The original version begins with Tintin on his way to Marlinspike following his visit to the hospital where he witnessed the mass panic attack of the explorers in "The Seven Crystal Balls".

In order to fit the story into 62 pages when published in book form, many scenes had to be edited out.

The deleted scenes included:
*Tintin, walking to Marlinspike, is so engrossed by a newspaper report of recent events that he misses a plank of wood and falls into a river. (The story then proceeds to Haddock and Tintin setting off for the city port and ultimatly to Peru. These events were ultimately published in the book "The Seven Crystal Balls".)

*When Tintin meets Alcazar at the port and Chiquito on board the ship, the three men act as if the meeting at the theatre in "The Seven Crystal Balls" had never taken place. Those scenes had been originally published in 1943 and Hergé may have felt that readers needed more than just a reminder.

*While waiting for Zorrino near the bridge in Peru, Tintin and Haddock meet the mysterious Indian who gave Tintin the medallion. He smiles at Haddock's insults with the words "Anger is bad for one's health, señor."

*While walking through the mountains, Haddock discovers a skull mounted on a pole. A terrified Zorrino says that it is a warning that he is under sentence of death for guiding foreigners to the Temple of the Sun.

*During their trek through the jungle, Tintin shoots a jaguar as it leaps towards them, and Zorrino strikes a snake with a stick when it attempts to bite Haddock.

*Haddock discovers and pockets gold in the Inca's cave behind the waterfall. He is later forced to give up the gold in order to get through the hole into the Inca tomb.

This original version was published in book form in France and Belgium in 2003.

Historical inspiration

The trick used by Tintin to fool the Inca into believing that he could control the Sun (involving a solar eclipse) was inspired by Christopher Columbus's account of his own encounters with Arawak Indians in Jamaica in the early 1500s. While Columbus claimed to have performed a similar ruse, it would have been unlikely that the Inca, a civilization with much knowledge about the Sun, would have been unaware of the true nature of an eclipse.


*The map of South America shown at the beginning of the book dates before 1942, as one can see that Ecuador still has its western Amazonian territory, which it lost to Peru in a war in 1942.


A video game and an animated film were made based on this book.

A stage musical was also made and premiered in Antwerp on the 15th of September 2001 [] .

External links

* [ Prisoners of the Sun] at

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