Across the Arctic wastes, Doc Savage races deadly enemy agents on skis and in bombers — to a remote island off the Greenland coast. The quarry is a secret so great that the future of nations hinges on Doc and his crew … and their ability to stand solidly against menacing forces of evil.
3 thoughts on “The Lost Giant”
The Lost Giant is one of the best of the Doc-as-spy style adventures of the latter years. He’s working virtually alone (though Monk and Ham appear to help out) and under intense pressure, with no time to stop to even catch a breath and the future of the free world and outcome of WWII riding on his shoulders. This is a very good spy thriller, and Doc is top-notch (even though I have always preferred the earlier years and their more heroic aspects than the nitty gritty later war years. But if you are looking for down-to-earth thrill-a-minute action, this is the book. This is Hollywood blockbuster type Doc, in the Clancy vein. And this Doc book is everything that the last Bond movie wishes it were.
I’ve written about this book before in the lists, so I’ll only mention a few interesting points about this Greenland church and hill yarn (wink, wink, nudge, nudge). There’s a wonderful line of description here, that perfectly captures how big and important Doc adventures are on the whole. When one character asks another about how important and big this thing is they are involved in, he answers: “I don’t think I can tell you that,” Fay said. “But it happens to be something important enough to — well, it’s hard to describe.” he frowned thoughtfully. “Very hard. It’s a little like trying to put the Grand Canyon into words.” (Bantam p 155) I love that description and think it one of the best in all of the series. What better way to capture the mystery, importance, and vastness of the typical Doc Savage adventure?
There is also a scene when Doc is just railing against himself for his inability to comprehend women. They are his Achilles heel and he knows it, has known it his entire life, but still can’t get around this flaw. This is one of the longest internals Doc has on the subject in the series and one of his strongest emotional responses ever: On top of everything else, he thought with horror, now something like this. He wished he knew women. He wished to God he knew more about the feminine half of the human race. He wished he could look at their pretty faces and tell just one little thing about them. Because this girl was frightened, but he hadn’t known it until now. She had looked natural and sounded natural. Mostly, his emotion was anger. She was a Trojan horse; and he hadn’t thought anything was wrong. He hadn’t known she was terrified, and he blamed her because he hadn’t knwon it. Damn women and the way they could deceive him! He didn’t know what to say or do. But his emotion, his feeling about it, was terrific. His feelings must have shown on his face, and they msut have looked like fear to the girl. Actually his emotions were mostly fear, too. She said, “For God’s sake don’t look so scared. I don’t want them to know I’m asking you for help.” She leaned forward. “Wipe that wild look off your face!” she said frantically. (p 147)
Whew! Doc in turmoil is just shy of the windspeed of a major tornado. This is an intense thriller and that’s one of the most intense moments in the series. You can just feel the upwelling of fear and uncertainty in Doc, which just pisses him off when he’s spent a life trying to box everything in. He’s knows he doesn’t know women and at this moment almost loses it all. Rare to see Doc flying off the handle. But then that is exactly why many people like these adventures of the latter years. Doc is more human and more emotional. We get to see a little beneath that bronze skin of his.
Anyway, this is a great, grounded war time thriller with nothing outlandish but well worth the read. It is also a nice contrast to see how this title plays out against its story compared to tales of the early years, literally and figuratively.
One of the best “Doc vs. the Axis” yarns I’ve read to date. A bit slow at first, as Dent keeps the object of Doc’s mission a secret for most of the story. (The name “Doc Savage” isn’t even spoken until at least the half-way point.) The climax, involving German He-177 bombers and the igloo snow fort, is a dynamite action scene.
I still remember the ”culture shock” when I first read this yarn! From Doc the near-invincible superman of the earlier years, we had this seemingly pale imitation who not only had lost control over his superb self-composure, but had been reduced to mere normal human strength and abilities as well. Now, I realise that Dent had had an editorial directive to tone Doc down to more realistic levels, but as he had shown the previous year (1943 ), he was able to up his writing level to a less over-the-top approach to the Bronze Man yet still give us the superman Doc. Edgar Rice Burroughs, who was the pulp-writer’s pulp-writer, was able, in “Tarzan And The Foreign Legion”, to write what was perhaps the closest approach to realism in the Tarzan series and yet still give us the same Ape-Man as in the earlier novels – and it worked. I still believe that the Doc Savage stories could have been more realistic with Doc retaining those super-abilities that made him the supreme adventure-hero of his time.