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The Sting of the Silver Manticore Paperback – April 24, 2012
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The Silver Manticore has appeared in 2 prior stories in Pro Se Presents. One uses the 1930/40s Manticore (the main character here) and the other uses the 60/70s Manticore (who appears in the later part of the book).
At first glance the Silver Manticore is a mix of the Green Hornet and The Shadow. As the main story is set in the 1940s, he is obviously based on the radio GH. He has a background based on the Shadow (with a hint of G-8 as his old spy moniker was G-9) with some hints of "The Copperhead", the hero of the "Mysterious Dr. Satan" movie serial. We soon learn that there have been many Silver Manticores in the past, with previous ones taking on the equivalent roles to the Man in the Iron Mask, Scarlet Pimpernel, Zorro, and Lone Ranger. In later sections of the book, others takes up the mantle of the Silver Manticore, the final one in an equivalent role of the tv Green Hornet (with a new character based on the Bruce Lee version of Kato).
His main foe is Hanoi Tsin, obviously meant to be Fu Manchu. Another associate is Siam Khan, who I think is meant to be a nod to Shiwan Khan, the Shadow's Fu Manchu-like foe. Other foes are based on Fantomas and other such villains. The Silver Manticore is aided by others (similar to the Shadow), including analogues to The Spirit and his associates, The Shadow's Harry Vincent, Operator #5/Secret Agent X-9, Nick Fury, SHIELD/UNCLE, and Doc Savage and his associates.
Overall the book is pretty good. I did feel there was too much dropping of foreign words at times that made it confusing to understand what was being said. There was also some issues with proofing. A few times sections where in italics for no apparent reason, I caught a few typos and in one case a cross-out that should have been removed.
I do look forward to further Manticore stories. The setup is such that the author could delve into prior characters as well, and there is stuff to take this 'character' further.
The book has a large cast of characters fortunately there is dramatis personae glossary to keep the reader informed. With so many characters, I felt some were given a broad brushstroke while others seemed non-essential to the plot and even at times it seemed our main hero took a backseat to other characters in the novel. There could have been more stronger, well developed female characters and more romance in the book. The novel is a great throwback to the era of pulp adventure stories with hint of modern sensibility to entertain readers of all ages. The universe that the author has created is a solid foundation for more exciting stories to come. There is potential with the mythology involved behind the manticore name in itself, to develop perhaps more supernatural elements to this mysterious crimefighter and develop the character even further.
This is a most unusual book. When I read it, after only twenty pages, I was sure I was going to hate it. Wrong! The story, at least the long one that makes up most of the book, was a real treat!
But the book is filled with shadows, echoes, distorted reflections of a vast variety of Pulp Heroes from the pulp magazines, comics, novels, old radio, TV, and motion pictures. The characters in the novel are put together like a Frankenstein Monster, parts of this hero, parts of that one, additions from a third, etc. Here you will find echoes of all of the following and more:
The Green Hornet
The Fab Five
Nick and Nora Charles
Sherlock Holmes, Doctor Watson, and Mycroft Holmes
Secret Agent X
Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde
The Man from U.N.C.L.E.
Enjoy the search for these references and enjoy a rip-roaring pulp novel at the same time!
One thing did bother me, however. Some time ago, I posted a mock cover of a Doc Savage novel on various forums. It was called Skyscraper Kamikaze, and dealt with the supposition that the July 28, 1945 crash of a US Army B-25 bomber into the Empire State Building was an attempt to kill Doc Savage. I was stunned to find that idea written into this book. I have to wonder if that is where the author got his idea...
Quoth the Raven...
Most recent customer reviews
The Silver Manticore is a combination of The Green Hornet, The Shadow, The Coperhead, and maybe a few other heroes from pulp,...Read more