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Cindy Vallar, Editor & Reviewer
P.O. Box 425, Keller, TX  76244-0425


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Books for Adults - Fiction

Cover Art: Typewriter in the Sky
Typewriter in the Sky
By L. Ron Hubbard
Galaxy Press, 2014, ISBN 9780992365004, £2.50 / $2.99
Also available in e-book formats

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Poised to audition with the Philharmonic, Mike de Wolf practices on the piano, barely listening to his friend, Horace Hackett, elaborate on the plot of his latest novel, Blood and Loot. Mike pays scant attention to the tale of buccaneers waging war on Spain in the Caribbean until Horace describes the Spanish admiral, a devilishly handsome don, named Miguel Saint Raoul de Lobo, who bears a striking resemblance to Mike. And why not? The English version of that grand Spanish name simply boils down to Mike de Wolf. The more he hears the more irked he becomes. He doesn’t want to be a character in one of Horace’s books, especially one of the villains since they always meet a gruesome end.

On a trip to the bathroom, Mike passes out and when he awakens, he discovers he’s no longer in 1940 New York. He’s traveled back in time three hundred years to the tropical island of St. Kitts. The exact place where Horace’s book unfolds. Not only that, buccaneers pursue him; before they can slay him, a beautiful woman appears like an angel, forbidding them to harm the injured stranger. Their pleas that he’s a Spaniard fall on deaf ears, and before long, Mike finds himself ensconced in a bedroom, the guest of the governor and his daughter.

Mike promptly falls in love with the enchanting Lady Marion Carstone, but being of good English stock, she will never fall for a Spaniard. To protect his life and to win her heart, he vehemently denies being Don Miguel de Lobo. He glibly introduces himself as Black Irish. His grandfather, a Spaniard washed ashore on the Emerald Isle after the sinking of the Armada, wed an Irish woman.

Hotheaded and brawny, Tom Bristol becomes a buccaneer after being cashiered from the Royal Navy. He is the toughest and cleverest of all the brethren, and has a single goal – to deliver Don Miguel’s head to the governor. Only when he succeeds in this mission will he be permitted to wed Lady Marion. After destroying the almirante’s ship, he brings treasure and prisoners to the estate. Mike fears his men will betray him, but none of them reveal his true identity until a young lad is overwhelmed to see his commander alive and well. His masquerade unveiled, Mike and his men battle the buccaneers and escape.

In the ensuing days, each adversary plots revenge. Since Bristol will be defending St. Kitts, Mike attacks Tortuga. While his men plunder and ravish the town, he stumbles upon a woman he never expects to find. To protect Lady Marion, he takes her to his home in Nombre de Dios, hoping to persuade her to love him as he loves her. He must also figure out a way to change the ending of Horace’s story. In quiet interludes, he hears the clatter of the typewriter, but Mike refuses to accept that he is the villain of the story or that he will suffer an excruciating death. But time grows short, for once Bristol learns Marion has been kidnapped, he will unleash the full might of the buccaneers to rescue her. And he might just succeed since Mike’s antagonism toward the church and his odd behavior make for enemies at home as well as abroad.

Kevin J. Anderson sets the stage for this novel in his wonderful introduction about L. Ron Hubbard, his career as a writer, and this particular novel, which first appeared in 1940. Typewriter in the Sky is a fabulous swashbuckler that’s fun to read. For readers, this larger-than-life extravaganza keeps you glued to the manuscript until the story ends. It’s all that and more for other authors. Although the tools we use have changed with advances in technology, writing itself has not. Hubbard pokes fun at the “rules” we’re supposed to adhere to – such as the miraculous appearance of articles of clothing or weapons at just the moment when they are needed. Or Mike’s innate ability to sail a ship, even though he’s never set foot on one before. The imagery is stellar, such as when the publisher deems the climax boring and demands a rewrite, we hear the ripping of paper as Horace tears the manuscript’s pages in half. If you long for one of those great adventure novels, reminiscent of the grand scale of Sabatini’s Captain Blood or Salgari’s The Black Corsair, Typewriter in the Sky is the perfect read.

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Review Copyrighted ©2015 Cindy Vallar

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