Thursday, June 9

The Bronze Battlefield (2005)

By Mark and Karen Eidemiller (Bronze Saga #5)

This is another gripping, high-octane action thriller in the “Christian Adventures of Doc Savage,” available as a free download here. This time, briefly, a villain from a previous adventure comes back with a vengeance, carrying out a hostile takeover of Pat Savage's island base, which she has transformed into a haven for the world's abandoned and orphaned children.  "Clark's" latter-day band of brothers (and sisters) springs into action to save the day.  The real hero of the piece is, however, not the man of bronze himself, but our erstwhile narrator.  We have, once again, real character progression among our heroes, including a bit of a moral lapse due to diminished judgment. The book ends with a promise of a major life change for Clark Savage, Jr.  

I have described my reactions to this unique "Christian-pulp mash-up" in general in previous posts (most recently here). Let me just add that an element of realism is present in this volume that actually had me worried because it could have gone unrealistically a totally different direction. If, in the end, the primary villain of this piece had been shown to undergo a radical conversion, I would have doubtless protested. Certainly God's grace can work in the most unexpected ways, and sometimes truth can be stranger than fiction, but as a fictional character this guy was built up so thoroughly bad that I don't think there was any way to realistically portray him as being redeemed in the end, and the Eidemillers did not even try to pull that. He died without ever recognizing or accepting God's saving grace. His cohort (who ultimately kills him just before herself dying of wounds he inflicted) is played a bit more ambiguously, however, although we are meant to be left with the impression that she does see the light in the last fading instants of her life.  

One interesting development:  Our main (though not exclusive) narrator (and the varying viewpoint is, I think, sometimes a bit of a distraction and not generally considered a good narrative technique, but hey, I'm not a lit-critter so what do I know) along the way gains a new and amazingly "pulpish" ability that I did not see coming in this hitherto pretty down-to-earth series.  Applying "down-to-earth" to Doc Savage may seem odd at first glance, but by it I mean that there's so far not been anything too far outside the realms of real-world plausibility in the adventures, as there generally were not in the 1930s-40s originals (reading them properly, as products of their times).  I guess I should have known the envelope would be pushed in this latter-day series, considering I know that a subsequent adventure will incorporate in some fashion - I'm not certain exactly how as yet - the adventures of a certain man of steel....  This time, its handled pretty well, I think - this reader just accepted and went with it.


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