A legion of tiny terrorists launches a startling series of raids against Crescent City. Death, destruction, and a disease which drives men mad, are the results of the audacious attacks. The Man of Bronze meets a new quartet of allies — and confronts the oddest opponents he’s ever challenged….
5 thoughts on “The Gold Ogre”
This was one of the strangest Docs I’ve read and by no means the best. This time Doc is teamed with a bunch of kids who serve the same function as the Fabulous Five! Monk and Ham sneak in at the end for no reason other than to be captured. The mystery starts off interesting but the usual explanation for the mystery is not satisfying. This one is notable for having Doc working with a different group but all in all this is not one of Doc’s better moments.
This is a quite unusual Doc novel. But it is obvious why it is so. That the mystery is in the end no real mystery and that the bizarreness up front is rather overplayed isn’t what is so different about this book, but trather that this adventure is one obviously written for the young Doc Savage fans of the day. Not only aimed directly at them, but starring them.
The entire book is basically about a young Doc, large strapping handsome Don Worth, and his group of unique aids, Funny Tucker, Mental Byron, and B. Elmer Dexter. This gang of four are Boy Scouts and upstanding members of their community who admire Doc and what he stands for and want to make a difference in the world and save their families and town, and hence America. Cue anthem. They command center stage in the drama, open up the mystery, investigate it on their own, uncover a significant portion of it, and only call in Doc Savage as a last resort afterthought when they lose control of the situation (almost 40 pages in). Doc appears alone (his own aids out of country or busy), using this youthful gang as surrogate aids, and is starts investigating only to be quickly killed, twice.
So, for about another 20 pages, the boys have to struggle bravely on in the direction Doc told them to go, trying to live up to his example, and solve the whole affair on their own. But it isn’t so easy being Doc. Out of luck, in utter desperation and despair, they finally call in Monk and Ham. (p 86) Monk and Ham race across country thinking Doc dead and are ready to tear down the entire town, only to fumble directly into being captured. (p 95) Well, it was good while it lasted.
Luckily, since they all failed, are captured, and the mastermind is accomplishing his demented goal, Doc isn’t dead and resurfaces (literally) to save the day in the nick of time. Cut! That’s a wrap.
Sorry if you think I gave something away. I must say that this book is so obviously a Doc Savage fan club book that it made me wonder if it weren’t the most popular book in the series back in its day, at least amongst the youth. It screams, “I can be Doc too.” Pretty cool as a Doc Boys guidebook.
Some cool notes for the hardcore Doc fans: 1) There is a great description of Ham’s voice in this book. (p 86) 2) There are some awesome examples of camoflage in this book– with the villains wearing all green coveralls in the woods and even in some cases covering themselves with twigs, leaves, moss, etc. to blend in flawlessly with their surroundings– showing yet again that the series was ahead of its time. 3) There are some great descriptions of Doc’s size, power, stamina, and abilities in this book, seen from the common man perspective. Mentions the truth of Doc goes much farther than any fictions. 4) It says Doc used most of his vast Mayan fortune during the Great Depression to help poor communities and support businesses so that workers could find work. (p 67) 5) Finally, despite being a “kids’ book” Doc, this one pulls no punches. Doc is almost killed once and barely survives being handgrenaded in a sawmill pond. The concussion is so severe he is knocked out for a while, severely weakened, and rendered deaf for the rest of the book. That’s pretty shocking stuff. Proves that poor old Doc never gets a break against evil.
The four youthful protagonists of this one give the reader the feeling that they are reading a Hardy Boys story instead of a Doc story. However, the four characters of the boys are really well drawn, and it would have been nice to have seen Dent use them in another Doc book. A juvenile spinoff series featuring the boys also would have been cool.
Though this story never quite turned me on (I don’t like series that add kids to the hero–Batman and Robin for example–hoping to attract more young readers). But I always liked the pulp cover where Doc is about to get beaned by a gorgeous redhead.
This one is a real turd. Really poorly written, cheezy, weird but not in a good way, listless and awkward. Nothing was done well in this book. It is entertaining because it so bad. It is indeed like a Hardy Boys story, only really twisted, as if maybe David Lynch had written it.