Friday, April 19, 2019

Forgotten Books: Captain Shark #2: Jaws of Death - Richard Silver (Kenneth Bulmer)

The second Captain Shark novel, JAWS OF DEATH, begins mere seconds after the previous novel, BY PIRATE’S BLOOD . . ., ends. (See last week’s Forgotten Books post for the story on that one.) This makes me even more convinced that author Kenneth Bulmer, who wrote these books under the pseudonym Richard Silver, intended for the story to be told in one long novel.

The cliffhanger from the previous book is resolved quickly, and then Captain Shark sets out on a new adventure, a quest for Morgan’s Gold, the treasure that famous pirate Henry Morgan was after when he sacked Panama, but then the loot mysteriously disappeared. What’s a pirate yarn without a treasure map, and to get his hands on it, Shark has to resort to disguise as he penetrates into the very heart of his mortal enemy’s stronghold.

It’s all very dashing and swashbuckling and romantic (of course there’s a beautiful countess at said stronghold), and just as you’d expect, the action winds up on the deserted island where the treasure is buried, with Shark and his crew in a desperate race against the Spanish to reach the treasure and recover it first. There’s no cliffhanger this time, but once the action is over, one of the buccaneers declares, “Cap’n Shark will return!” Alas, he doesn’t. That’s the end of this short-lived series.

However, the two books taken together make for an exciting, if somewhat rambling, tale. Bulmer has a sure hand with the action scenes, Captain Shark is a likable protagonist (and for a bunch of bloody-handed pirates, his crew is pretty sympathetic, too), the villains are properly despicable, and some welcome touches of humor crop up here and there. These novels are also as violent and lurid as you’d expect from books written for the men’s adventure market in the mid-Seventies, which, of course, doesn’t bother me a bit. I have quite a few historical novels by Kenneth Bulmer on hand and look forward to reading them.


Anonymous said...


thingmaker said...

Hmmm... I sense a new musical playlist coming on. As the Kindle is cheap, I will try one of these. Needless to say, I had no idea how many different genres Kenneth Bulmer wrote in. I discovered him in the '60s through one or another Ace Double SF.