A Letter From Home
, also known as The Old Castle's Other Secret
, and its companion story, The Crown Of The Crusader Kings
, is a two part epic Disney Ducks Comic Universe
story, made by Don Rosa
, and, along with The Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck
and The Lost Library
, considered his magnum opus.
In The Crown of The Crusader Kings
, Scrooge learns that the location of the eponymous crown, made by all the wealthiest gems in medieval Europe, and the western counterpart to the crown of Genghis Kahn, which he previously lost in the Don Rosa
story Return To Xanadu
, can be found in the diary of Christopher Columbus, which was lost during his return trip. Scrooge remembers that he knows the location of the diary, as it belonged to Swedish/Finnish polar explorer Adolf Erik Nordenskiöld, whom Scrooge purchased an Australian map from in 1892, when Nordenskiöld offhandedly stated he lost it while exploring the northern part of Brutopia.
After retrieving the book in Brutopia, Scrooge and his nephews head to Paris, where they meet with two representatives of The International Money Council — Maurice Mattressface, whom they previously ran into in the Carl Barks
story The Fabulous Philosopher's Stone
, and his superior, Monsieur Molay. Molay accompanies them to Haiti, where Columbus' flagship Santa Maria had capsized while he was trying to deliver the crown to the Emperor of Mongolia, on behalf of the Templars, in order to hide it from the wrath of the French king. Here, they find that an abandoned anchor on a hilltop is the clue to locating the crown, as watching through the anchor's eye on Christmas Day reveals the true position. However, Molay betrays them and tricks them into searching an entire valley for the crown, finding nothing. He then takes the crown for himself, but one of the nephews reveals that, due to the calendar change, the date, on which the Knights Templar, actually the International Money Council, obtained ownership of the crown never existed. Molay tries shooting them but is subdued by a Haitian priest, who then takes the crown for a local museum.
In A Letter From Home
, Scrooge notices that the pattern on the cloth used to cover the crown was the tartan of the Clan of McDuck, meaning a member of the family had hid the crown on behalf of the Knights Templar, which would mean the rest of the grand treasure was most likely hidden by a McDuck. Scrooge and his nephews return to Castle McDuck in Scotland, where they come face to face with his younger sister Matilda McDuck, who abandoned him after the events of The Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck
. Molay escapes from his imprisonment, steals the crown, and heads to Scotland with Maurice. As Scrooge works his way down the clues to the treasure, he also has to confront his family issues with Matilda. Eventually, Molay kidnaps her to use her as a bargaining object to Scrooge, Maurice betrays him, realizing he is evil, and Molay reveals his allegience to the Priory of Sion, an evil faction of the Knights Templars.
Molay reaches the central chamber under the castle, along with the ducks, and they realize that the crown is the key to the treasure. Molay forces them to unlock the treasure chamber at gunpoint, but the timely intervention of Maurice allows Donald to defeat him. Subsequently, they unlock the treasure chamber, and Matilda finds a small box, hidden above the chamber, left by their father, Fergus. In it, Fergus reveals that he had always understood Scrooge's obsession with adventure and knows that he values hard work, not money in itself. Scrooge gets the right to administer the treasure, while Molay is arrested, and Scrooge reconciles with Matilda.
Tropes used in Crown of the Crusader Kings, and A Letter From Home:
- Arc Welding: Hoooo, boy. This story is a direct sequel to Rosa's own Crown of the Crusader Kings, which was itself a semi-sequel to Carl Barks's Fabulous Philosopher's Stone (which introduced Mattressface). However, in terms of being set in Castle McDuck and involving a treasure hunt for a treasure hidden by Scrooge's ancestor, it acts as a Spiritual Successor to Barks's The Old Castle's Secret (as reflected in this story's alternate title, The Old Castle's Other Secret). Finally, it also acts as a Distant Finale of sorts to Rosa's Life and Times saga, with Scrooge finally meeting and making amends with his sister and his father's memory.
- Ascended Extra: Maurice has only a minor role in Crown of The Crusader Kings, but becomes a major character in A Letter From Home.
- Bald of Evil: Molay
- Beard of Evil: Again, Molay. Doubles as Badass Beard.
- Bears Are Bad News: A polar bear attacks the ducks and menaces Donald in Brutopia.
- Big Bad: Molay
- Call Back: The entire story opens with Scrooge mourning his loss of the crown of Genghis Kahn in Return To Xanadu.
- Cardboard Prison: Molay escapes between the stories, using the Philosopher's Stone.
- Cool Boat: Scrooge's ship in Brutopia.
- Dan Browned: Don Rosa bragged that all his historical details of the story were correct, but as he later pointed out himself, the Priory of Sion was proved to be a hoax.
- Distant Finale: In some ways, it is one to Rosa's Life and Times of Scrooge series, though it is not officially a part of it.
- The Dragon: Maurice Mattressface.
- Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: Molay's first assumption, when he sees a subdued Scrooge leave the clan cemetery, is not that he was mourning for his parents but that he failed to find a clue he was looking for.
- Filler Villain: The Brutopian military.
- Heel Realization: Maurice in A Letter From Home.
- Heroic Sacrifice: Scrooge attempts one, when Molay tries to shoot Matilda, but the gun fails as it was turned to gold. It serves to reveal his true nature, though.
- Historical-Domain Character: Several of the late ones, Columbus and Nordenskiöld being the most significant.
- History Marches On: The Priory of Sion never existed, but this was unknown to Don Rosa when he wrote the story.
- Jerkass Façade: The last half of A Letter From Home centers on Scrooge losing this.
- Knight of Cerebus: Molay is darker than your usual Scrooge McDuck villain, such as when outright tries to kill Matilda.
- The Knights Templar
- MacGuffin: Several. The diary of Columbus in the beginning of Crown of the Crusader Kings, the crown of the crusader kings in A Letter From Home, and also, the Philosopher's Stone in the latter story.
- Noble Top Enforcer: Maurice.
- Posthumous Character: All the Knights Templar, Columbus, Nordenskiöld, and Fergus McDuck.
- The Reveal: Again, several: Molay was a traitor, the International Money Council is the modern Knights Templar, a McDuck hid the crown, Molay is a member of the Priory of Sion, and finally, Fergus understood Scrooge, and had searched for the treasure himself.
- Savage Wolves: Just before the bear attack, a pack of wolves chase the ducks in Brutopia.
- Taking the Bullet: Scrooge does this when Molay tries to shoot Matilda, but the gun fails.