The Gift
2021

Conundrum Press

86 pages
$18

"The Gift opens on the snow-blanketed grounds of the Alexander Palace in Western Russia where a moth has come to attend the birth of the fourth Romanov princess, Anastasia. She and her siblings grow up in a gilded world, isolated from the society beyond the palace walls despite their dominion over it. After mysteriously receiving a camera on her fifteenth birthday, she begins to document her world, but the gift carries with it a weight she can’t yet see. A creature moves on the edge of her vision and stalks her dreams. As the revolution unfolds, the confines of Anastasia’s world keep closing in. Something is following her, and it might not be human. The Shining meets Sophia Coppola’s Marie Antoinette in this gripping debut from an award-winning talent."

Advance Praise
& Reviews

"Zoe Maeve’s The Gift is an unsettlingly atmospheric graphic novella from Canadian publisher Conundrum Press, whose output is always delightfully unpredictable. Maeve’s story is expertly paced; feelings of brooding tension and inescapable fate are constant companions throughout our time with Anastasia. [...] Both quietly understated and yet chillingly ominous in tone, The Gift is a disquieting journey into pseudo-history."

-Broken Frontier

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“A moth drifts through a palace and we follow, entering a dreamy, surreal, and haunting imagining of the life and last days of the 4th Romanov princess, Anastasia, gorgeously penned in delicate inks. We are caught between the scenes Anastasia captures with her camera, a gift from someone unknown, and the strange figure she glimpses from the corner of her eye. Poignant and powerful, a sensual fever dream building to the inevitable tragic ending, we are enveloped in an ethereal foreboding.”

-Jo Treggiari, The Grey Sisters

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"Although based on historical events, The Gift feels like a dreamscape where the unknown delicately unfolds in front of our undiscerning protagonist. Maeve has a strong instinct for narrative; telling us just as much in the silence and gaps as she does with her choice of words and beautifully drawn images."

-Meags Fitzgerald, Long Red Hair

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"Maeve delicately renders the loneliness and melancholy of a doomed princess in precise, sparsely composed panels awash in the blue of a long winter dream. With its deliberate, suspenseful pacing Maeve commands a poetic mastery of the medium in The Gift."

-Drew Shannon, The Montague Twins

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"Both the pleasures and the eeriness of The Gift are achieved from Maeve’s meticulous attention to details– a tense glance, a long shadow, or a hand across a ruffled skirt. This comic is intriguing, unsettling and extremely beautiful."

-Lee Lai, Stone Fruit

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