By Win Scott Eckert (Kindle ebook ed. 2014)
I grabbed this book last year right after reading The Evil in Pemberley House [LINK], but only just, on a whim, set out to read it. I don’t have a whole lot to say about it. With the permission of the Philip Jose Farmer estate (who share the copyright), Eckert takes the baton to continue the adventures of “Doc Savage’s” daughter on her own in the 1970s. He does so very ably, even more than the first volume managing to reproduce the feel of “Kenneth Robeson’s” (Lester Dent’s) 1930s pulp prose. A continuing mystery, referred to but undeveloped in this novel, is what exactly became of the Man of Bronze and his wife themselves – doubtless being saved as a subplot running through future adventures.
The plot is pretty standard Doc Savage fare – a deafening howl accompanies the transmutation of persons and objects into crimson glass which then shatters to pour forth scarlet smoke in the form of a yowling jaguar, striking first individuals to inspire terror which paves the way for an extortionate threat to the global economy. Pat and a small (but obviously to grow) band of companions are drawn into the crisis, first through her new England-based Empire State Investigations and then on behalf of Her Majesty’s Secret Service. I’ll say no more than that, other than that since this is part of the Wold Newton universe connections with the wider pulp, Victorian, and pop-culture world of literature abound – it’s well worth reading for yourself. And I have quite a bit less hesitation in recommending this novel than its predecessor [q.v.] which bore much heavier the stamp of PJF with regard to sexual perversion, which is only really hinted at in these pages. Personally, I’m thankful for that – it’s one reason I delayed so long in actually reading this novel. I doubt I’ll let the next installment, whenever it appears, lie unread for so long. All in all, this was a quick, light read, much like the 1930s pulps themselves. And sometimes that’s just what the old boy needs.