Professor Challenger: The Island Of Terror by William Meikle (e-book review).

June 5, 2022 | By | Reply More

Many well-known old characters have fallen from copyright into the public domain so anyone can write stories about them. Professor Challenger is perhaps Arthur Conan Doyle’s second most popular hero, after that detective chap, and is most famous for ‘The Lost World’, where he went to a plateau in the Amazon and found…dinosaurs! There are several film versions of this yarn.

Author William Meikle takes up the story a few years later. As with ‘The Lost World’, the first-person narrator is reporter Edward Malone. His editor has heard rumours of people being murdered on Dartmoor but the British government doesn’t want it investigated. Malone heads for Devon and questions local villagers, including the undertaker. Soon enough, he meets up with Challenger, who is two steps ahead in his own enquiries and in trouble with the British army. Later, Lord John Roxton gets involved. In fact, he started it all when, down on his luck, he sought to cash in on their Amazon discovery.

It’s no spoiler to say that dinosaurs are involved, as you can see them on the cover. The species is Dromae Osauridae but they are velociraptors to you and me: smart, dangerous, and not to be underestimated. The island of terror is Lundy in the Bristol Channel, which is quite safe now in real life but has had a turbulent history and makes a realistic setting for the tale.

‘Professor Challenger: The Island Of Terror’ is an action packed pulp fiction story that will entertain for a few hours and a quick, easy read for when the world gets you down. It contains scenes of tobacco smoking and alcohol drinking which are very naughty now but were all the rage back in the day. Arthur Conan Doyle’s original Professor Challenger stories are available cheaply or even free and are worth looking up. ‘The Lost World’ has this little ditty as a preface:-

  I have wrought my simple plan

  If I give some hour of joy,

  To the boy who’s half a man

  Or the man who’s half a boy.

William Meikle writes entertaining pulp fiction for a living and I’m sure he would go along with that sentiment for his own book, minus the sexism. This is the 21st century, after all. Recommended for fans of adventure, monsters and old-fashioned slam-bang action. Someone should adapt it as a graphic novel or even a B-Movie!

Eamonn Murphy

June 2022

(pub: Dark Regions, 2013. 132 page ebook. Price: £ 3.16 (UK), $ 3.99 (US). ASIN: B00D7OEZSY)

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Category: Books, Scifi

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