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Ralph E. Vaughan
5.0 out of 5 starsVictory is Never Without Sacrifice
Reviewed in the United States on December 24, 2019
This adventure comes to us from very early in the Saint's career, so the character of Simon Templar may seem a bit raw, more brash than we may be accustomed to portrayals in radio, film and television. Here, we have a Saint who is quite ruthless, almost savage in his pursuit of the Good Cause, the Holy Crusade, doing Right when everyone else claims he is wrong. And, yet, he is the Saint we admire and envy, able to laugh at the foeman and utter a mocking quip even when looking down the barrel of a gun. In this particular story, we see the Saint and his little band of heroic followers fight an epic battle against relentless foes, both foreign and domestic, even against their own country, an England so blinded by fear that it has lost sight of what is Right and Wrong. The Saint will do anything to triumph over the forces of Darkness, but here he learns, quite soberingly, that an epic victory often requires an epic sacrifice.
5.0 out of 5 starsNo license to kill but that doesn't bother the Saint
Reviewed in the United States on October 14, 2020
This, the second Saint book, was originally titled THE LAST HERO. The first book being the difficult to obtain, THE SAINT MEETS THE TIGER. The third is ENTER THE SAINT which Leslie Charteris and others recommended reading first. Apparently Charteris would have bern happy for the public to ignore THE SAINT MEETS THE TIGER which I believe he wrote when he was 20. I think I remember that he wrote maybe the first 30 Saint books while he was in his 20's.
Steve Bailie in the forward to THE SAINT CLOSES THE CASE recommends next reading THE AVENGING SAINT followed up by THE SAINT'S GETAWAY. In his words, "And as soon as you have finished it, go straight to The Avenging Saint, which picks up three months after The Last Hero (aka The Saint Closes the Case) ends. Then read The Saint’s Getaway. Together, all three volumes make up one of the Saint’s biggest and greatest adventures.
In this novel, Simon Templar is a sort of free lance James Bond using any means at his disposal, legal or illegal, to prevent spies from stealing a new, vicious weapon which would alter the world. He and his companions also judge this weapon to be so dangerous that they believe even Great Britain shouldn't have it. They plan to suppress it even if it is necessary to kill the inventor. To accomplish all of this, the Saint fights furiously, fiercely and, for some of his enemies, fatally.
The younger Saint in these early books is more direct, more action oriented, and more violent than the more mature Saint of later books. That later Saint, while never shying from a fight, excelled at such things as conning con artists and forming sophisticated plans to foil the "ungodly." He also exhibited the patience this younger Saint lacks while never losing his exuberance for life, action and danger.
This was my first Saint book. The author definitely has a unique writing style and a way with words. That, alone, makes for an interesting read. This book was written around 1930, so that definitely plays into the plot of the book. The Saint and his buddies do take the law into their own hands, but not for their own good, for the good of mankind. The Saint is pretty much answerable only to himself. In his mind, the end justifies the means. He is almost superhuman, reminding me of Louis L'Amour's heroes. They could do it all and had few weaknesses. The Saint is in love, but nothing is blatant, maybe implied. A good detective-type story, though they aren't really detectives, just adventurers.
Reviewed in the United States on September 26, 2016
This is the first Saint novel and to be enjoyed it has to be viewed as a period piece. The narrative is basically at the comic book level ("He fixed his steely blue eyes on the villain as righteous anger rose in his breast as he..."). Not an actual quote, but you get the idea. With the right attitude, the book is kind of fun, and shows some promise of more tongue-in-cheek volumes to come (e.g., the Saint's valet is "Orace" with a properly dropped Cockney "H"). The plot line also shows some prescience about the coming of the Second World War fairly long before its specter actually arose. So enjoy it for what it's worth, but don't come looking for deep drama or suspense.
This adventure was written and set in the early 1930's and I first read and enjoyed Saint adventures as a young teenager living in a foreign land, Switzerland, with few English- language contacts. I suspect that the stories I liked most were from a bit later in the series. In any case, this one seems a bit sophomoric and the writing a bit overblown. The circle of friends is a bit more engaging than a semi-lone wolf like Bond, and this guy is without government support against the baddies. You have to admire that. In the end, I skipped about 60% of this work on my Kindle.
5.0 out of 5 starsMy first, and the one I had to buy
Reviewed in the United States on December 29, 2014
This was the first Saint book I read, way back from the library of Union, New Jersey. The humor and attitude of Simon Templeton appealed to a 13 year old. The only thing that has driven me crazy is my inability to locate the books that brought the Saint, Roger, Norman, and of course Patricia Holmes together. The subtle intamacy between Simon and Patricia proofed that sexy relationships don't need to be salacious or filthy
Reviewed in the United States on November 18, 2017
I have recently started reading the Saint and this is the second book I have read. It was fantastic. The other one was fun but this was fun, intriguing, exciting, suspenseful, and touching. Charteris has a way of expressing common ideas or actions in a way that makes them heroic. If you want a taste of the true Saint, this is it.