002 07/34 The Thousand-Headed Man

Chuck Welch
July 31, 1994 - 1934 / bama / Bantam 001-012 / baumhofer / nanovic / novel

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With a mysterious black Chinaman, Doc Savage and his amazing crew journey to the jungles of Indo-China in a desperate gamble to destroy the infamous Thousand-headed Man.

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  1. Andrew Salmon says:

    This is one of those non-stop docs! It has everything a great Doc adventure should have. Action, suspense, endless escapes, and exotic locales make this one a great read. Also, it is a bit longer than the usual tale which allows for some of those colorful descriptions that make pulp what it is. And, it also happens to feature what could be the best last line in Doc history! Great fun!

  2. Barry Ellis says:

    Originally NOT one of my favorite Docs, but it has grown on me over time. Always a sucker for those foreign climes and a semi-lost civilization.

  3. Paul Cook says:

    I would rank this story in the top five of all-time best Doc Savage adventures. Dent seemed absolutely inspired when he got hold of this one. In fact, this is one of the few Docs where the aides seem actually useful, especially Monk being a chemist, of all things! While I wouldn’t introduce someone to Doc with this book, it would be the third or fourth I’d show them. As nearly perfect as a pulp adventure can get.

  4. A Cat says:

    There is a good surprise that is repeated, getting less and less interesting, in this book. It is a pretty good one. Some explanations are weak, but the three black sticks do improve the story. The middle is the best part. Some things aren’t explained, but overall, a good Doc Savage book.

  5. Thomas Fortenberry says:

    The Thousand-Headed Man was one of those titles and images I loved best when I was a kid. Sounded so bizarre. But the story was not a real grabber for some reason (kind of like the not-a-werewolf tale that intros Pat) and I left it alone for many years afterwards.

    But reading it now I have some different thoughts on it. I agree with aforementioned comment that you have to love any exotic semi-lost civilization tale. This story, following King Maker and a good paced international tale, features another “anatomy” civilization, with temple complexes built around the theme of body parts (hands, feet, heads, etc). I find it interesting now to realize this occurs in other Doc tales, like the giant stone man city lying in amazonia. It’d be cool to survey the series and document every time this occurs. Try to uncover the hidden psychological pattern behind it all.

    This story features early phenomenal Doc, able to accomplish amazing feats of stamina and strength. When he fights he is a noiseless bronze storm. He jumps atop walls, climbs like a fly, and treetop-travels through a jungle (in one scene his heightened senses allow him to evade a tiger hunting him). He leaps entire streets, carrying another man, and travels building to building through a city this way. He shatters solid stone (though even here he uses his brain and employs historically famous leverage). Also, we see Doc’s immense stamina and training let him overcome terrible shocks to the system which woudl be fatal to others.

    But, as always, Doc isn’t infallible. His insatiable curiosity costs him dearly in one scene. Doc and girls..nuff said (though this tale has a strange undercurrent of sensuality in the text itself with gunshot kisses and the finding of girls after jumping roses; we need Dr. Freud). Doc’s fame is worldwide. We learn here Doc is a secret Scotland Yard agent because England owes him big time.

    One final note of interest: in one of the only times I can ever remember it even being mentioned, it says here Doc, as a real doctor, carries a doctor’s kit which never leaves his possession. This in any other book?

    Thomas Fortenberry

  6. Mark Carpenter says:

    There’s a reason Bantam chose to publish “The Thousand-Headed Man” as the second in the series

  7. Lee Dorrance says:

    The one thing that really stands out to me in this superb adventure is we see in the first half of the book that Doc is not completely infallible. He simply forgets to look right instead of left when crossing an English street and is nearly run down for his trouble.
    Is he finally showing signs of fatigue from all the non-stop adventure? Not only is he nearly run over, he also falls for a simple “door slam trick” as well as getting shot (creased) in the shoulder by a sureshot English Bobby. Is Doc wearing down? I don’t think so. I think Dent is simply trying to remind us that Doc is, above all else, human.

    Overall a fantastic adventure, definitely a Doc top-ten!

  8. R Luengo says:

    The Thousand-headed man :
    There is a snake that spurts its poison towards the shiniest spot of its prey – usually the eyes. It’s called a black manta and it lives in the African savanna, not in Indo-China

  9. Michael Bloom says:

    Just finished this one. Wow. I agree with the previous comments, this one ranks in the Top 10, maybe the Top 5. Dent came back from his vacation and wrote a hell of a tale. And having Doc be fallible is a plus because it makes his accomplishments all the more impressive!
    ps- I think Habeas ends up with more time “onscreen” than Ham in this one! *laugh*

  10. Jim says:

    I have to agree with the others on this being one of the top five for me. I have read this one many times and still enjoy reading.

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