Sunday, January 22, 2017

Doc Savage and the Empire of Doom -- Kenneth Robeson (Will Murray)

Doc Savage and the Shadow are together again in a rip-snorting, ocean- and continent-spanning adventure that pits them against one of the Shadow's famous foes, Shiwan Khan, and ends in caverns measureless to man.  

The story begins when Shiwan Khan, using his amazing hypnotic powers, steals a U.S. Destroyer from the Brooklyn Navy Yard and uses the guns to destroy a rundown hotel Midtown Manhattan, which houses the secret sanctum of the Shadow, along with some powerful weapons that the Shadow has captured.  And the chase is on.

Shiwan Khan has mental powers that Doc Savage can scarcely credit, including not just the power to take over minds by telepathy, but the ability to create a fog of total blackness and to reanimate a corpse.  The Shadow, having dealt with such things before, finds it easy to believe them.  And besides those things, Doc and his crew (everyone buy Johnny) and the Shadow have to deal with the killing machines that Shiwan Khan as taken.  There are plenty of battles both among men and between super science and amazing mental powers.  Doc and members of his group are declared dead more than once, as is the Shadow. We readers, of course, know better than to believe such things, but the calls are close. 

I tore through this one at a record pace, and for me the best thing about it, even better than the adventures and the battles, was the fun Robeson (Will Murray) has with the Shadow's shifting identities.  Lamont Cranston has a bit part in this one.  Even more fun was the problem that Doc has with trying to keep the Shadow from killing people.  Once the Shadow fires up that Thompson or one of his killing machings, people die by the scores.  It makes Doc a bit cranky.

Although this is a handsomely produced volume printed on heavy paper, I could almost feel the brittle, yellowing edges of pulp pages flaking off as I turned them.  If you like Doc Savage and/or the Shadow, you can't miss with this one.  Great stuff.

1 comment:

George said...

I'm ordering DOC SAVAGE AND THE EMPIRE OF DOOM right now! But, I have to confess I'm a half dozen Doc Savage books behind in my reading! Will Murray writes them faster than I can read them!