Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Doc Savage is Back! THE WAR MAKERS by Will Murray and Ryerson Johnson

Will Murray has given us several fine posthumous collaborations with Doc Savage author Lester Dent, but The War Makers is something new. This one’s a collaboration with one of the other Kenneth Robesons, W. Ryerson Johnson.

Ryerson Johnson was a writer of many talents who worked in several genres and a variety of media before his death in 1995. During the last twenty years of his life, he and Will developed a relationship, and Will learned that Ryerson had a plot for a sequel (of sorts) to one of his three Doc Savage novels, The Motion Menace.

Now, at last, that plot has been given life, and it’s another crackling good adventure with Doc and the gang. What begins as inexplicable behavior involving automobiles and their brakes soon escalates into a globe-spanning crisis that has planes falling out of the sky.

While most Doc Savage adventures claim very few lives, the death toll in The War Makers climbs into the thousands. Doc’s up against some very bad dudes in this one, calling upon him to employ extreme measures. The story builds to a wild climax, and there’s plenty of fun along the way. As we’ve seen, Doc is a master of disguise, but this one finds him in what is probably the bizarre—and embarrassing—disguise of his long career.

Though The War Makers is related to the events in the 1938 adventure The Motion Menace, and also the 2012 story Death’s Dark Domain, this novel stands alone. Having read the others (or reading the others afterward) would no doubt enhance your enjoyment of this book, but the events in The War Makers are thrilling enough on their own.

I met Ryerson Johnson briefly myself in the late ‘90s, and had the privilege of listening to him expound on some of his pulp writing experiences. Sadly, I was not aware of his involvement in three Doc Savage adventures (the others were Land of Always-Night and The Fantastic Island) or I would surely have got him talking about Doc and Dent. Still, it was great to see him—and the always entertaining Mr. Murray—back in action.

The War Makers is available for your ordering pleasure HERE.


Anonymous said...

Ron Goulart's book Cheap Thrills quoted Johnson as saying that he wrote Land of Always Night, "another one," and one about monsters in the Galapagos Islands. From the Galapagos reference, I deduced that the last one mentioned was The Fantastic Island. Now, thanks to your blog post, I finally know the name of that "other one."

Odd that three of my favorites were written by someone other than Lester Dent.

Evan Lewis said...

Can't say I remember The Motion Menace, but I liked the other two too.

Rick Robinson said...

Cool, and another one to put on the order list. I've gotten behind reading the new ones, must remedy that. Just finished a 890 page triple novel, now need something short and fast to read.

Cap'n Bob said...

Has he got a bazooka in his right pocket or is he just glad to see you?