TO BATTLE BEYOND
By C.J. Henderson
It isn’t often you get to review a book you helped bring about. As most of you know, aside from these reviews, I also produce pulp novels and anthologies for Airship 27 Prod.
A while back C.J. Henderson approached me with an idea he had for a book wherein a group of lesser known classic pulp heroes would band together to save the world from some horrible catastrophe. I loved the idea and encouraged C.J. to write it, which he did and here it is now available from Marietta Publishing out of Georgia. As to why we didn’t publish it is a story for a later date. What matters here is how absolutely terrific this book is.
Set in the months prior to the start of World War II, strange weather patterns fall upon America both on the west and eastern coasts. Savage, brutal storms that leave a wake of death and destruction in their paths. When several colorful characters, at divergent locales, begin to investigate these supposedly natural tragedies, they soon uncover an evil malevolent force that is anything but natural.
Within days, an occult magician named Ravenwood, summons three people to his New York apartments. They are Ellen Patrick, the crime fighting Domino Lady from California, Anthony Quinn, the blind lawyer from New York who is really the avenger known as the Black Bat and lastly, Inspector John Raymond Legrasse of New Orleans, a veteran in fighting the forces of arcane evil. This is very much the pulp version of “The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen” and the conceit works extremely well. Taking a bunch of second string pulp heroes, Henderson ties them to the world of H.P.Lovecraft’s Ancient Gods myth by brining in Legrasse, a character he’s used many, many times in other horror orientated adventures.
Henderson is brilliant at capturing personalities with only a few words and I found myself seeing these familiar heroes in an entirely new and exciting new light. The interaction between them is fun and as always C.J. doesn’t scrimp on the action. There’s plenty of it, all in the rousing traditional bloody pulps mode. So if, like me, you truly enjoy pulp action and adventure, pick this one up. Oh, and did I mention it has an introduction by some pulp fan named Fortier?