Friday, January 26, 2018

Forgotten Books: Ki-Gor--and the Temple of the Moon-God - John Peter Drummond

Some minor spoilers ahead.

A legal thriller isn’t exactly what you’d expect to come across in the pages of a Ki-Gor novel, but that’s kind of what KI-GOR—AND THE TEMPLE OF THE MOON-GOD, from the Summer 1941 issue of JUNGLE STORIES, turns into at times. This one finds Ki-Gor and his beautiful redheaded wife Helene visiting with a friendly tribe of natives. Ki-Gor agrees to help them hunt down a giant killer leopard that’s been plaguing the village. The chief’s son accompanies the hunting party, and when a tragic accident leaves him dead, Ki-Gor finds himself accused of murder and put on trial in the Temple of the Moon-God, which is the center of the tribe’s rather elaborate legal system.

The proceedings end in what we would call a mistrial, and Ki-Gor’s fate is left to the Priestess of the Moon-God, who decrees that he must go on a quest to determine his guilt or innocence. He has to accomplish two things: he has to find a place where the stars shine at midday, and another place where the sun’s rays are cold instead of hot. If he fails to complete this quest, he will be judged guilty and executed by being put in a crocodile pit, but if he doesn’t get back in time, the sentence will be carried out on Helene instead, who will remain a prisoner until then.

All this is pretty interesting and handled well, and that continues as Ki-Gor sets off on his quest to prove his innocence and save Helene. KI-GOR—AND THE TEMPLE OF THE MOON-GOD is a little low on action, but the author keeps the pace moving right along anyway and gives us more of an effective suspense novel, with a hint of mystery, rather than a slam-bang yarn.

I suspect that the unknown author of the previous novel, LAIR OF THE BEAST, wrote this one as well. The smooth prose style is very similar, and there’s a colorful supporting character in this one as well, a brash young native named Ekka who attaches himself to Ki-Gor during the quest and proves to be helpful as well as being a huge annoyance and providing some comedy relief. Best of all, Ki-Gor’s main sidekick Tembu George returns and is, as always, a fine character, smart and brave and likable. I really enjoyed KI-GOR—AND THE TEMPLE OF THE MOON-GOD and look forward to continuing with the series as it seems to be hitting its stride.


Charles Gramlich said...

Thanks for the heads up

George said...

I've enjoyed the KI-GOR volumes from ALTUS PRESS. Fun reading!