Thursday, April 1, 2010

FORGOTTEN BOOKS: THE FALCON STRIKES!

FORGOTTEN BOOKS: THE FALCON STRIKES!

MARK RAMSAY


I’ve recently been branching out more often into historical mysteries. I’ve particularly enjoyed several titles in John Maddox Roberts SPQR series. As a result, I was pleasantly surprised to learn (while browsing around the recent vintage paperback convention in Los Angeles) Roberts was the author behind the pseudonym Mark Ramsey used on the Falcon series of historical adventure titles from Signet/New American Library in the ‘80s.


I remember this series as an outstanding set of well-written stories about Draco Falcon, a knight of the First Crusade, and still have all four titles on my bookshelves. Signet had produced a scattershot of similar series at the same time, but this was the only one of any lasting value.


The stories are almost aimed at a sophisticated young adult audience, as opposed to the traditional mouth-breathing men’s adventure series, with plenty of sword slinging action as Falcon returns from the Crusades only to find his father murdered and the need for vengeance pounding through his blood. With his mercenary band, Falcon returns to Europe, to seek revenge against the men who betrayed the Christian cause and murdered his father.


THE FALCON STRIKES


Draco Falcon is the ultimate warrior in an age of chivalry and slaughter. He wore the armor of a knight, but called no lord his master. Some said he fought for gold. Others, that he fought for vengeance. But all agreed on one thing: Draco Falcon fought to kill.


If men would not fight for what was theirs, they deserved to lose all they had. He had long ago divided all of mankind into two camps: those who would fight, and those who would not. He knew which camp always prevailed.


John Maddox Roberts would later go on to also write a number of Conan titles, and the Falcon books read almost as a warm up for those adventures – a high recommendation.

THE FALCON SERIES


THE FALCON STRIKES (1982)

THE BLACK POPE (1982)

THE BLOODY CROSS (1982)

THE KING’S TREASURE (1983)