9 thoughts on “The King Maker

  1. I think this might be one of the most underrated early Docs, maybe because Bantman reprinted it so late into the series. It has some genuinely great moments and is a very solid Doc advenutre. The ending is classic Monk and Ham and I think this was Fred Pfeifer’s best paperback cover for the series. Very somber and elegant.

  2. I agree with Hopkins: this is an often overlooked Doc. It is a great Doc Savage tale, with thrilling action, technology, and foreign adventure, plus one with obvious importance because it is mentioned in several other Doc Savages, in asides about his reputation, with people who had heard about the incident, and about repercussions of the secret weapons, war and his kingship. I think it is one of the hallmarks of the series. A touchstone, if you will.
    The Kingmaker also is a crucial moment in the Doc Savage mythos. Can you think of anyone better suited to rule? Yet, there is the ethical delimma: how can someone dedicated to serving humanity become ruler of it? This was an ultimate test and one that Doc Savage passed. It proved his character by fire and becomes a monumental achievement in his life.
    I also agree that the cover is fantastic. I loved that brooding Doc on the throne (a la Conan the Barbarian, you might say) and it was one of my favorites in childhood.
    Thomas Fortenberry

  3. One last thought: I often wondered if this tale, The King Maker, wasn’t the basis for Doctor Victor von Doom, technological wizard and mad scientist king of a small Balkan kingdom in Europe.
    The parallels are striking and it is easy to conceive of Doctor Doom as an anti-Doc Savage (who is, in fact, the basis of the ethical genius Reed Richards and the Fantastic Four in their New York City skyscraper headquarters atop the Baxter Building, the nemesis of Doctor Doom). I’ve found a lot of Marvel parallels over the years and believe that Stan Lee was a big time Doc fan. Maybe I’ll ask him someday.
    Thomas Fortenberry

  4. Echoing some of the earlier comments, I, too, think this is a pretty good story, and I also happen to think that this is Fred Pfeiffer’s best cover. It’s such an unusual pose for Doc Savage and it captures all that Pfeiffer was good at: distinct planes of light and diffuse colors. According to some histories, this novel may be a collaborative novel between Dent and another writer. It certainly shows more polish than the usual Dent novel. Still, this is a very good Doc Savage novel framed in a world in international intrigue in the Balkins (the site of the origin of World War One).

  5. An excellent adventure that offers a very distinct twist 2/3 of the way through. The Monk vs. Ham conflict is elevated to new heights near the beginning of the book as Monk paints a crimson Harvard flag on Habeas’ flank. Hilarious!

  6. An interesting, and long, novel, apparently co-written by Dent and Harold Davis.
    It’s big on adventure and short on incredilble thrills or sci-fi.
    But I will say this: The mystery weapon presages the invention of the heat-seeking missile! I found thi s amazing for a novel published in 1934.
    Dent returned to full-time action following this novel to give us THE THOUSAND-HEADED MAN, so the time off did him good!

  7. I just recently acquired this in the Nostalgia Ventures reprint edition, with the original Baumhofer/Clarke cover. I’m glad this site has the Bantams up for comparison, because this is one of the rare occasions where both the pulp and paperback covers are equally powerful, and equally memorable, in totally different ways. The pulp cover drips with a feeling of history and destiny. The pocket book is pure mood and lighting– and for once the Bamaesque design for Doc, which I’m not always a fan of, seems wholly appropriate, with the exaggerated widow’s peak suggesting a crown . . .

  8. I read it at 12, was the best action book, not too many pages, most awesome Doc cover. Inspired me to make better art.
    The cover did it’s job, it made you want to find out what happens next.

  9. Just recently reread this. I didn't find the story all that gripping, but is was OK and I agree the cover is one of my favorites. Sort of like "Red Snow".

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