cover image The Iron Duke

The Iron Duke

L. Ron Hubbard, . . Galaxy, $9.95 (113pp) ISBN 978-1-59212-319-3

Prolific pulp-fiction author Hubbard (1911–1986) offers a variation on a familiar romantic theme with this fast-paced if derivative thriller set in pre-WWII Europe. Blacky Lee, an American weapons dealer, just happens to be the spitting image of Archduke Philip of Aldoria, a coincidence that enables him to dodge Nazis and ensnare the heart of the attractive Countess Zita, plot elements familiar to readers of Anthony Hope's The Prisoner of Zenda and Rupert of Hentzau . Those 19th-century swashbucklers successfully blend action with emotion, while Hubbard's breezy romp is only an easily digested, quickly forgotten time-filler. (Jan.)