091 09/40 The Purple Dragon

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Graduates of Doc’s college for criminals who revert to their former identities. A master trickster who will stop at nothing to further his evil plans. A ferocious monster that turns men’s minds to mush. All are part of a cunning scheme which the Man of Bronze and his loyal companions must smash — or die trying.


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  1. Bryan Bullock

    I really kind of liked this one. I always considered the “Crime College” to be a big vulnerability for Doc and in this adventure, someone takes advantage of it. It’s something that doesn’t happen much (“The Flying Goblin” is one, if I’ve got the right title), and it’s interesting in this one when it does. Though couldn’t they have come up with something more scary than a PURPLE dragon? Like a red dragon or a black dragon? I don’t know, purple just isn’t a scary color for me…

  2. Andrew Salmon

    This one works for me. Normally I don’t like the mystery (hook) turning out to be something ordinary but with this one, the purple dragon is too ridiculous to be real so you can’t really be disappointed when the secret is revealed. I like Docs that touch on the crime college as it is something quite unique in fiction of any era. I wonder what people thought of it back then. The way it is handled in the books, I guess it was controversial. It sure would be now. All in all a good Doc adventure and I recommend it.

  3. Todd Pence

    Once again I completely disagree with Philip Jose Farmer in his estimation of a Doc novel. Farmer calls “Dragon” one of the best of the series. It’s actually one of the worst. Although it starts off promisingly enough with an intriguing and compelling opening scene, it quickly deteriorates into a dreadful mess. This one reads as if it was one of those internet collaborative novels so popular these days. As the novel progresses, Harold Davis continually pulls plot threads further and further out of left field, with little or no continuity to what has gone before. Characters behave obliquely and illogically. I defy anyone to write a plot summary to this novel that doesn’t sound like total gibberish. “The Purple Dragon” emerges as one of the examples of what seems to have been a hastily written novel, the antithesis of the best of the series.

  4. I agree totally with Todd. This one was sad! I kind of had a feeling when I read it it that it wasn’t Dent responsible. Harold Davis, though, is normally above this kind of thing, witness THE GOLDEN PERIL for example. It annoyed me that what seemed like an intriguing premise – former Crime College ‘graduates’ returning to their evil ways – disintegrated into chaos so quickly. But I suppose we can’t expect every Doc to be an imperishable classic.

  5. Scott Kimball

    I found this one entertaining, but completely implausible. In the “Crime College” Doc performs what amounts to lobotomies on captured criminals before releasing them back into society. How could this be undone by mere hypnotism and drugs?

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