"The Falcon Killer"
by L. Ron Hubbard
produced by Galaxy Audio
Approx 2 hours.
I'm really loving the vast array of genre's from L. Ron Hubbard's pulp fiction days. More to the point I'm loving the production work of the Galaxy Audio releases of these stories from the various genres. During the mid-20th century Hubbard wrote numerous stories for the numerous pulp fiction magazines that were published during the time. What got me hooked were the science-fiction and fantasy stories, which are my favorite genres of any literature. After listening to all the Stories from the Golden Age in the sci-fi/fantasy genres I was highly impressed by the production of each audiobook.
Galaxy Audio, part of Galaxy Press, is releasing all the old Hubbard stories to create these 2 hour audio pulps, that bring to mind the old radio dramas from around that same time. Each one of these audiobooks is a flash back to when stories were fun. Galaxy Audio has a great team of voice actors for the books and the sound effects and music are superb. Just picking out any book will get you hooked.
This time around I listened to one of Hubbard's Tales from the Orient, "The Falcon Killer," which was originally published in April, 1939. This story takes place in War-torn China in the early part of the 20th century. This is the story of an ace free-lance fighter pilot, nicknamed "The Falcon Killer (Tzun Kai)," who is actually Bill Gaylord, raised in Peking by his American parents. Gaylord lost both of them as a child during the violent Boxer uprising and then saw his foster family slaughtered in wartime. With a past that's hardened his soul and given him nerves of steel, Gaylord has used his resolve to down more Japanese aircraft than can be counted. Gaylord has a tattoo of a half dragon which has some meaning that only the Chinese know. This tattoo provides the great twist at the end of the story that makes this a true Hubbard pulp-fiction.
Events pit Gaylord against a Japanese spy who has caused untold trouble for the Chinese. Gaylord must somehow find and defeat him or risk losing an ancient Chinese kingdom to the land of the rising sun.
Just before the local ruler can sell out his people Gaylord is discovered to be within the town and is called join the ruler for dinner. Gaylord discovers his dinner has been poisoned, but will it be too late before the Japanese move in and take over, creating one more province under the rising sun banner?
This story has some great aerial battles, escapes and intrigue that will keep you wondering whether the Falcon Killer will live to see another day.