Monday, November 17, 2014

The Ice Genius - Kenneth Robeson (Will Murray and Lester Dent)

It's hard to believe that I've been reading and enjoying Doc Savage novels for more than 50 years, but it was September 1964 when Bantam published the first three volumes in the reprint series, THE MAN OF BRONZE, THE THOUSAND-HEADED MAN, and METEOR MENACE, which was the one I found first, on the spinner rack in Tompkins' Drugstore. I was hooked right away.

So I'm glad that Will Murray is writing new Doc Savage adventures all these years later and doing such a spectacularly fine job of it. His latest, THE ICE GENIUS, is one of the longest and most epic in the series, concerning as it does a worldwide war and possibly the fate of all mankind.

It opens, simply enough, with an archeological dig headed up by the eminent William Harper Littlejohn, one of Doc's associates, but as archeological digs usually do in books and movies, something goes wrong and Johnny winds up uncovering the frozen corpse of one of history's most brutal warlords and conquerors, Tamerlane. But is Tamerlane really dead, or could he be revived from his icy sleep?

I think you know the answer to that.

Naturally enough, with Tamerlane threatening to put together an army and conquer China along with who knows what else, Doc and the rest of his crew arrive on the scene. While they're trying to corral the warlord, the Japanese bomb Pearl Harbor, and our heroes find themselves in the middle of a war. As usual, Doc and his friends are up to their necks in action as they attempt to set things right, but this time all they may be able to do is keep a bad situation from getting worse...

This book also features the return of a villain from previous books, a very colorful character who's one of my favorites. What happens to him turns out to be very surprising.

Will Murray continues to capture Lester Dent's style perfectly, while at the same time expanding the scope of the series. THE ICE GENIUS is one of the best books I've read this year, and if you're a Doc Savage fan (even if you haven't been reading them for 50 years or more), you definitely should check it out. Highly recommended. 

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