With the Winter 1949 issue, DOC SAVAGE returned to its pulp roots, going back to the traditional pulp size after several years as a digest magazine. The covers by George Rozen also attempted to recapture the adventurous dynamic of the classic Walter Baumhofer covers from the magazine’s early years. The first novel in this attempted revitalization of the lagging publication was “The Green Master”, and it’s the next one up in my continuing project to read all the Doc Savage novels I’ve never read.
Globe-trotting adventure was always one of the hallmarks of the Doc Savage series, and this novel delivers when the action shifts to South America. I don’t think it’s too much of a spoiler to say that, yep, there’s a lost city, and it’s a good one. Doc, Monk, and Ham wind up being in on plenty of action. (Doc’s other aides aren’t even mentioned this time around.)
The ultimate explanation for everything is a little unsatisfying, as if author Lester Dent didn’t have room to develop the plot as much as it should have been. THE GREEN MASTER probably isn’t more than 30,000 words long. But Dent’s writing is so sharp and funny that the book is still very enjoyable. It may not be a true return to greatness, but it’s a good stab at it.