Sexton Blake: The Silent Thunder Caper by Mark Hodder and G.H. Teed, Obverse Books, h/c, £9.99/eBook, £4.99, Website
Reviewed by Dave Brzeski
Sexton Blake has been around a long time. Since 1893 in fact. Frankly, the very early stories were nothing special. Like the equally long-running Nick Carter, in the USA, Blake stayed pretty much the same age, while the world around him updated. My first exposure to Sexton Blake was the sixties version, both in comics and the fourth and fifth series of the Sexton Blake Library. I should mention at this point that this book is actually the Sexton Blake Library, sixth series, issue one.
However, most Blake fans, including this reviewer now agree that the Sexton Blake stories of the twenties and thirties were by far the best. Rather than follow the original trend to update the character to the present day, Obverse Books have chosen to set this new adventure during his heyday.
The Three Musketeers are a trio of villains who plagued Blake on numerous occasions in the twenties. Since ‘The Silent Thunder Caper’ takes place after all of their original appearances, it has to be set sometime after 1927. It opens with a clever prologue that seems intent on convincing the reader that this is an entirely different genre of story. We are, however, soon embroiled in a well-written, fast-paced tale of stolen historical and art treasures, doomsday weapons and an elusive criminal mastermind. All that and an airship too!
There could be no better choice of author, in my opinion, to relaunch the Sexton Blake Library than Mark Hodder, who also runs the superb Blakiana website, which is an amazing resource for information on all things Blake.
Backing up this worthy addition to the Blake canon is a reprint of the very first appearance of the Three Musketeers. ‘The Wireless telephone Clue’, by G.H. Teed first appeared in ‘Union Jack’ #977, in 1922. Frankly, it isn’t quite as good as the new tale, but it’s a welcome opportunity to read the origins of these three master-thieves.
I’m really pleased that the other consulting detective of Baker Street is back with us, and I look forward to the next issue of the Sexton Blake Library.