Wednesday, September 11, 2013

The Iron Duke - Audiobook Review

Author: L. Ron Hubbard
Narrator: Michael Yurchak, R.F. Daley, Lori Jablons, Jim Meskimen, Richard Rocco
Unabridged Length: 2 h, 0 m
Published by Galaxy Audio, 2008
Genres: Pulp Fiction

From the Publisher:
Meet Blacky Lee, ruggedly handsome with a quick wit and a roguish charm. Think Clark Gable—with larceny in his heart and a price on his head. A price put there by the German Gestapo. But Blacky’s always got an angle, and this time it’s as audacious as they come. He’ll hide in plain sight, impersonating the crowned head of a Balkan kingdom. He’ll become The Iron Duke.

My Review:
The Iron Duke is set in Europe in the pre-World War II 1930s. This pulp fiction adventure revolves around American arms merchant Blacky Lee and his sidekick Stub Doyle. Blacky is an adventurer, the doppelganger of Prince Phillip, the archduke of Aldoria. He discovered this early on and made a point of adopting Phillip’s mannerisms and speech patterns and accent. He learned trivia about the prince. He figured this may come in handy someday if he was in a pinch, and he definitely is in a pinch as he’d sold the Nazi’s dud weapons and is now on the run across the Balkins to Aldoria. He’s been a crook throughout most of Europe so really has nowhere to go otherwise.

Of course, as always, there is a lady that complicates things; in this case, the Countess Zita. She mistakes him for Prince Phillip, and it seems to work for him. Things get further complicated as The Sons of Freedom, a group of communists with the intention of trying to take over the country, kidnap Blacky, thinking he is the prince, and offer him his life and a lot of cash for a guarantee of his abdication and an election.

The adventures escalate with the inevitable meeting of Blacky and Phillip, an assassination attempt, and the election. As usual, this is great escapism entertainment and as with all of these Galaxy Audio productions, the multicast performance is top notch. R.F. Daley gives his always impressive performance as the narrator, as his delivery style and tone is perfect for pulp fiction.

Other notable cast members include Michael Yurchak as Blacky Lee; Jim Meskimen (channeling Buddy Hackett) as Stub Doyle; and Lori Jablons as Countess Zita. Meskimen also directs the performance. The Iron Duke was originally published in the July 1940 issue of Five-Novels Monthly. The cover is representative of the pulp fiction artwork in that era.

Hubbard’s Stories from the Golden Age are all somewhat predictable, less than politically correct, and highly entertaining. The music that precedes each chapter is original, appropriate and well done. Sound effects are spot-on. Galaxy Audio sets a high standard for multicast dramatized audiobook production. 

A review copy of The Iron Duke was provided by Galaxy Audio through the Solid Gold Reviewer program of Audiobook Jukebox.

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