Best 1911 Adventures (3)
November 22, 2016
One in a series of 10 posts identifying Josh Glenn’s favorite 1911 adventure novels. Happy 105th anniversary!
Jean de La Hire’s Le Mystère des XV (also known as: The Nyctalope on Mars).
Léo Saint-Clair, alias the Nyctalope, is an indomitable Doc Savage-style crimefighter gifted with night vision. As we learn somewhat late in the series, he’s also equipped with an artificial heart, which he gained after being tortured and nearly assassinated, and which prevents him from aging. In this, the first of a series of exploits published through the mid-1940s, the Nyctalope battles Oxus, leader of the sinister Society of the Fifteen, who is plotting to conquer Earth from his secret base on Mars. Later, however, he allies himself with Oxus and the planet’s benign inhabitants in order to defeat H.G. Wells’ evil Martians. Then he gets married!
Fun fact: French title: Le Mystère des XV. In subsequent adventures, the Nyctalope will travel to the planet Rhea, discover a lost civilization of Amazons in Tibet, and have himself cryopreserved — so that, 170 years later, he can defeat an enemy who has also been frozen (hello, Demolition Man and Austin Powers).
Let me know if I’ve missed any 1976 adventures that you particularly admire.