"Blade kept trying to remember--he flexed his right hand at his side, extending the thumb and tightening the muscles, pulling the fingers straight in to a chopping edge... Yes it was coming back to him now. His right hand was, literally, a flesh axe!"
My friend Bruce from Bookgasm handed me a stack of Richard Blade books, something I had never encountered and as soon as I read the synopsis I figured this would be right up my alley. And is it ever. Add in the fact that the first 5 volumes are penned by Manning Lee Stokes (of Killmaster infamy) and I was hot to get my eyeballs on #1, THE BRONZE AXE.
This was even better than I imagined.
Richard Blade is introduced to us as a tough, yet swingingly 60s, spy for Her Majesty. He is dashing and cool, and is also due for a vacation of course. However, his enigmatic superior that goes by the name J calls him in for a quick trip in to London first. There he meets Lord Leighton, a hunchback scientist that has a new super computer (remember this is 1969) and wants THE PERFECT MAN that our agent Blade is to be his test subject.
Things go a bit wonky. After being hooked up to the computer Blade blacks out and just wakes up in the middle of Lankhmar St. and Cimmeria Ave. Luckily, his crack training provides him all he needs to adventure in this weird dimension X. He immediately saves the sexy, young and virginal Princess Taleen as she tries to escape the clutches of a wicked Queen. He also bumps headlong in to a crazed bunch of cannibal women along the way, as well as a pirate crew, a warrior pit where he must slay bears, an old hag with a good body that he must service while noting her false teeth carved of animal bone and yes...he gets blowjobs from a sexy cannibal. Talk about putting it all on the line for Princess, Queen and Country!! Aided by his man servant, the wackily deformed Sylvo, Blade conquers all-and in this short novel goes from secret agent to ultra man of Dimension X.
The final chapters are truly classics of trash entertainment in novel form...the reader knows what is going on, Blade begins to realize it as well, as Lord Leighton tries to summon our hero back to his own reality. So, in truly staggering fashion, Blade decides to screw it all, literally, taking the princess and making her not only cry out her love, but proclaim him the largest (ahem) most amazing man on the planet. And then he goes home! J and Leighton are left to wonder what has happened and also realize that the agent has brought back physical evidence of his trip with a perfectly form pearl of a material that has never been seen before by human eyes! The potential!! The Mighty United Kingdom shall rise again!
And I think that Blade is going to smash a lot of heads, bust a lot of teeth and bed many maidens before we are through.
Manning Lee Stokes pushes the envelope of being flat out sexist and gore mongering without going in to the philosophical nonsense of certain other authors-and while he is not going to be the permanent author of the "Jeffrey Lord" titles, this one really got me interested in the entire series. Fast paced Fantasy mixed with a little spysploitation and a hero that is of course invested in the scenario, one that can change with each book no less, is a great idea and has a Maciste like feel that appeals. We are never led to believe that Blade is invincible in Dimension X-and he actually does come up physically shorter, except for sexually, than many of the barbaric hordes he encounters.
I'm hooked. Aside from this, I'm fascinated by the series history. It appears the US version cease at #37, but the Gerard de Villiers factory of fleshy fantasy and ballistic brazen badness has kept "Jeffrey Lord" and Blade alive for more than an additional 150 novels! Incredible...I must know more. So, I shall read all the English language novels in the next year and report back! Check THE B-SIDE BARBARIANS for many more Blade updates in the future!
One more classic...
"This was sensual witchcraft beyond his experience, and in the throes he did not know if she were human or not. That she was the mother of all fellatrices he did not doubt..."