Nathan Hale, the author’s name, was also America’s first spy, a Revolutionary War spy that famously said “I regret that I have but one life to give for my country” before being hanged. In the Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales series, author Nathan Hale channels his namesake to present history’s roughest, toughest, and craziest stories in the graphic novel format.
One Dead Spy tackles the story of Hale himself, who was an officer and spy for the American rebels during the Revolutionary War. Author Hale highlights the unusual, gruesome, and just plain unbelievable truth of historical Nathan Hale—from his early unlucky days at Yale to his later unlucky days as an officer—and America during the Revolutionary War.
In 1776, George Washington asks for a volunteer for a mission: to spy behind enemy lines before the coming to a Battle . Captain Nathan Hale of the 19th Regiment of the Continental Army stepped forward and subsequently become one of the first American spies of the Revolutionary War.
Disguised as a schoolmaster, the slipped behind British lines on Long Island and then successfully spied about British troop movements for the next several weeks. While Hale was behind enemy lines, the British invaded the island of Manhattan; they took control of the city on September 15, 1776. When the city was set on fire on September 20, 1776, British soldiers were put on high alert for sympathizers to the Patriot cause. The following evening, on September 21, 1776, Hale was captured while sailing Long Island Sound, trying to cross back into American-controlled territory.
Hale was interrogated by British General William Howe and, when it was discovered that he was carrying incriminating documents, General Howe ordered his execution for spying, which was set for the following morning. After being led to the gallows, legend holds that Hale was asked if he had any last words and that he replied with these now-famous words, “I only regret that I have but one life to give for my country.” There is no historical record to prove that Hale actually made this statement, but, if he did, he may have been inspired by these lines in English author Joseph Addison’s 1713 play Cato: “What a pity it is/That we can die but once to serve our country.”
Patriot spy Nathan Hale was hanged by the British on the morning of September 22, 1776. He was just 21 years old. Although rumors later surfaced that Hale’s capture was the result of a betrayal by his first cousin and British Loyalist Samuel Hale, the exact circumstances leading to Hale’s arrest have never been discovered.
Tintin and his dog visit their friends Captain Haddock and Professor Calculus. There, they learn that Bianca Castafiore, her maid Irma, pianist Igor Wagner and the detectives Thomson and Thompson have been imprisoned in San Theodoros for allegedly attempting to overthrow the government. Their government have further declared that the plot was thought up by Tintin, Haddock, and Professor Calculus. Tapioca invites the trio to visit San Theodores, promising them safe passage, but Tintin deems it to be a trap, leaving Haddock and Calculus to go alone. Once there, the Captain and Professor are taken to a rural villa, where they are closely monitored by the security services.
Tintin joins his friends a few days later, where he notices to Haddock and Calculus that their villa is troubled. He recognises one of the staff as Pablo, a man who had saved his life in The Broken Ear. From Pablo, Tintin learns that the entire scenario is a plot organised by Colonel Sponsz, a figure in the Bordurian military who is assisting Tapioca's government in order to gain revenge against Tintin for the events of The Calculus Affair.
With Pablo's assistance, Tintin, Snowy, Haddock, and Calculus escape from their guards and seek refuge with General Alcazar and his small band of anti-Tapioca guerrillas, the Picaros, who are hiding in the San Theodoran jungle. After realising that Pablo is a double agent working for Tapioca, they escape an attempt on their lives and then shelter for a time with the Arumbaya, an indigenous community who live within the forest. Here, Tintin is reunited with his old acquaintance, the explorer Ridgewell, who is living with the Arumbaya. Leaving the Arumbaya settlement, they eventually arrive at the Picaros' encampment, where they meet Alcazar's wife, Peggy.
Alcazar realises that the Picaros will not be able to launch a successful coup against Tapioca while they remain drunkards (owing to frequent parachute drops of whisky from Tapioca's forces), and to combat this problem Calculus provides them with tablets which render the taste of alcohol disgusting (and which he has been secretly testing on Haddock, Tintin, Ridgewell and the Arumbayas in the course of the story). Soon afterward, Jolyon Wagg and his troupe of carnival performers, the "Jolly Follies", arrive at the camp, having lost their way to Tapiocapolis where they mean to take part in the carnival. At Tintin's suggestion, the Picaros disguise themselves in the Follies' costumes and enter Tapiocapolis during the carnival. There, they storm the presidential palace and seize control; Alcazar becomes president, with Tapioca and Sponsz being exiled to Borduria. Thomson and Thompson are rescued from a firing squad, while Castafiore and her assistants are released from prison.
In the penultimate panel of the book, as Tintin, Haddock and Calculus's flight back home departs from the newly named Alcazaropolis, it flies over a slum that was seen earlier when they flew into the country. In a stroke of political commentary, the upheaval of the government has caused virtually no change to the slum or the lives of its inhabitants.
While Captain Haddock and Tintin are walking through the country, they encounter a community camping in a landfill area. The two question them and after discovered that the community only chose the landfill area due to being prohibited by the police to use any other location in the area. Captain Haddock invites them to use the grounds of his estate, Marlinspike Hall, despite the doubts of his butler Nestor. Not long after that, Bianca Castafiore, the famous opera single, chose to invite herself to Marlinspike for a holiday, much to Haddock’s dismay. For some time before this, one of the marble steps in the foyer in Marlinspike Hall has had a dangerous plate-sized chip missing. Nestor has arranged its repair but has been waiting for the repairman to arrive. When he contacted the repairman Mr. Bolt he had merely fobbed Haddock off.Upon learning of Castafiore's imminent visit, Haddock hurries to pack for a trip to Italy, believing that now would be a good time to visit, because he had always avoided visiting the country in the past, specifically to avoid her. In his rush, Haddock misses the broken step, which, just moments before, he had been conceitedly warning Nestor and others about. He sprains his ankle as a consequence. A doctor arrives to examine the Captain and insists that the foot and ankle must be encased in a cast and imposes at least a fortnight's bed rest. As a result, the Captain has to use a wheelchair for a majority of the book’s remainder. The broken step then becomes a continuing source of comic relief for the rest of the story, and every main character, except Castafiore herself, slips and falls down the step at least once.
The Castafiore Emerald
Bianca then arrives bringing with her a sizeable amount of luggage, her entourage and a parrot, as a gift for the Captain, called "Iago." Just like the parrots encountered in Red Rackham's Treasure, the bird manages to pick up some of the Haddock’s slang, much to the Captain's annoyance. Haddock narrowly avoids having to share his study with Bianca and her piano, by managing to persuade her to locate the instrument, along with Igor Wagner, in a gallery. Wagner, it is later revealed, indulges a penchant for betting by making secretive runs into the local village to place bets. Adding to the Captain's problems, two over-zealous reporters from the Paris Flash newspaper, fabricate a story claiming that Haddock and Castafiore intend to marry, after a misunderstood discussion with the hard-of-hearing Professor Calculus. This leads to an avalanche of congratulatory notes from friends from all around the world. Subsequently, Captain Haddock himself learns to his horror the rumours of his alleged engagement spread by the tabloids. As a result he is forced to house an entire television crew, who reside in Marlinspike Hall for several hours while recording an extensive interview with his alleged fiancé.
The TV interview crew inside Marlinspike Hall.
A few days later, Castafiore's most prized possession, her emerald, goes missing, and all eyes turn to the Roma. The authorities search their encampment despite their claims of innocence. They are, however, vindicated when, in a deliberately anti-climactic dénouement, the culprit turns out to have been a thieving magpie. As soon as the emerald is found, it is (temporarily) lost once again by the detectives Thompson and Thomson, only to be seen still a few frames later by Snowy, who calls it a "brandyball," underlining the fact that the emerald is merely a device for the whole story to happen, and is in itself meaningless. Apart from the initial encounter with the Roma at the landfill, the story never leaves the confines of the Marlinspike estate, the story being decidedly domestic.
On board a train, Tintin reads the newspaper about seven explorers who have returned from a two-year expedition in the Andes, where they discovered the tomb of the Inca. The Captain, now a member of the group, invites Tintin to an evening at the music hall. There they witness a performance of a clairvoyant, Madame Yamilah who predicts the illness of one of the members of the expedition. They also view the act of Bianca Castafiore, as well as a knife thrower—whom Tintin recognizes, is General Alcazar former President. They have a glass of aguardiente with the general who introduces them to his assistant Chiquito.A mysterious illness begins afflicting the members of the expedition; one by one, they fall into a mysterious coma. The only clue is fragments of a shattered crystal ball found near each victim. Concerned, Tintin, Captain Haddock, and Professor Calculus go to stay with Calculus's old friend and only expedition member yet to be affected, the ebullient Professor Hercules Tarragon. Tarragon is keeping Rascar Capac's mummy in his house and is being tightly guarded against any attack. A lightning storm strikes the house and sends a ball of fire down the chimney and onto the mummy—which evaporates. Tarragon, clearly shaken, informs them a prophecy has come true:
A crystal ball
Rascar Capac has returned to his element and punishment will descend upon the desecrators.After Tintin, Captain Haddock, and Professor Calculus are each visited in their nightmares by the mummy, the three awaken to find Professor Tarragon comatose with the telltale shards of crystal by his bed. The attacker bypassed the police watch by coming down the chimney. The police shoot the attacker as he flees, but fail to capture him. Tintin states the crystal balls have done their work and claimed the last of the seven.Tarragon awakens and screams about mysterious figures attacking him, before slipping back into a coma. The plot thickens even further when Calculus takes a stroll around Professor Tarragon's house, discovers a striking gold bracelet, puts it on (remarking on how nicely it goes with his coat), and then mysteriously disappears. The bracelet had previously been worn by the now-vanished mummy.While searching the grounds, Tintin and Haddock discover the attacker had eluded them by taking refuge in a tree and deduce that he then jumped Calculus and stole the mummy's jewels. Tintin and the Captain are then fired upon by an unseen gunman who escapes, having kidnapped Calculus, in a black car. The alarm is raised and the police set up road blocks, but the kidnappers switch cars and slip through the net. Tintin visits a hospital where all seven of the stricken explorers go through the same horror—they awaken from their coma, scream about figures attacking
The hospital where all the members of the expedition were admitted
them, and slip back into their coma—at a precise time of day.Back at Marlinspike Hall, Captain Haddock is devastated by the loss of Professor Calculus. But after he receives a telephone call from the police, he disappears into his bedroom, then reappears—dressed as a sailor again and ready for travel. As he and Tintin drive to Westermouth, he explains the kidnapper's car was seen there; he believes the kidnappers boarded a ship with Calculus and he intends to follow. When they reach the docks, they find the kidnapper's car abandoned and they spot General Alcazar boarding a ship to South America. The General informs them his music hall career is over since the disappearance of his partner, Chiquito, one of the last descendants of the Incas. Tintin realizes Chiquito disappeared the same night Professor Tarragon was attacked and Calculus kidnapped he could be one of the kidnappers. Out of leads, Tintin and Haddock decide to go to a different dock, Bridgeport, to visit Haddock's friend, Captain Chester. Snowy retrieves an old hat found there, and Tintin recognizes it as belonging to Professor Calculus. Checking with the harbormaster, they discover that Calculus must be on board a ship, which is bound for Peru. They board a flight and resolve to meet his ship there.