’ll admit that I was in the middle of a religious book that was as tedious as a sermon on a rainy afternoon. Had a bus, train and cycle ride home and I wanted to read something fun. So up goes good ol’ Project Gutenberg, where I found this wonderful tale of truth and virtue and pluck and right, written way back in the twenties, a little thing that plays counter to the actual dreariness of history.
So three gentlemen of adventure, Ramsden, Grim and Jeremy (the burly Australian) (oh, and Narayan Singh, their loyal Sikh) bounce back from the horror of a Middle East battlefield looking for new adventure. And they find it in the terms of Feisul, a man hinted at in 1920’s Syria history. They seen oddly supportive of Syrian (or Arabic) independence, in this case from the French. And they are willing for little reason to throw their support (and Jeremy, his deeded gold mine) to support him.
It’s a very interesting story that gets a little confusing, what with all the 20s slang and chatter. But it was rather fun if but for the scenery porn and exotic locales. At one point, the heroes (along with a plucky little doctor’s wife) are playing and interesting game of cat and mouse (or truth or dare) with a band of ruffians on a rickety train, attempting to safeguard a fake letter of critical importance, hide the real one, and survive being outnumbered at least three to one. But the Arabs are Arabs; they can’t deal straight, not even with each other, and so in the critical battle in the cars, they spend precious combat phases chucking their former leader from a train window and down a 400-foot drop. Yeah, it’s all fun and games until someone gets hurt.
I really liked this one. Sure, it was a little tough in places (and I’d hate to have been quizzed in the end regarding the finer points of plot) but it was a spiffy short read, something to do when Bible studies won’t suffice. In the end, I attended to look up what actually happened and didn’t see much of it in actual history. But who cares? It was fun.
I actually thought of George McDonald Frasier when I read this, and wondered if perhaps some of his period setting slang came from novels like this.