The Courageous Exploits of Doctor Syn

This is the fifth book in the Doctor Syn series, rollicking good tales about smugglers led by the cunning “Scarecrow” of Romney Marsh.

Like the previous book in the series this was an episodic collection of adventures, although there was an underlying story of a brilliant naval captain sent to capture the Scarecrow.

The various adventures that Doctor Syn and his trusty sexton “Mipps” went through were all reasonably entertaining, but it was really just more of the same.

The story moved along at an odd pace at times. In some chapters the story would slowly plod along in great detail, building up to what should be an enthralling conclusion, only to be hastlily wrapped up within just half a page or so. Sometimes the reasons for Doctor Syn’s cunning escapes from certain capture were not explained at all.

The language as in the previous books was hard to understand at times. For example, I had to look up what “lawn sleeves” were (the sleeves of a bishop’s ceremonial garments), but it is all part of the fun of reading about 18th century smuggling in dear ol’ England, and educational to boot.

An entertaining read, but I hope the next book in the series, Amazing Quest of Doctor Syn, is as amazing as it proclaims.

Next up on my Kindle is The Day of the Triffids.

Book count 2018: 2

Doctor Syn

Doctor Syn is the main character in a series of books about pirates, smugglers, Marsh Phantoms, and skulduggery. I am currently reading the third book in the series which is a rollicking good one too. Last night I decided to watch another Doctor Syn film having already seen the excellent Captain Clegg with Peter Cushing.

This film was made in 1937 and starred George Arliss (born Augustus George Andrews) who was a successful British actor in the 20’s, 30’s, and 40’s. It was based on the first book in the series and some of the filming was done in Dymchurch which is where the original story is based (Dymchurch has a celebration of the novels every two years).

The film itself was quite average, but because of the book I found it fun to see the story I know well in moving pictures and sound, even if it was 80 years old.

It would be great to see a modern blockbuster version of this film. The Clooney would be perfect as the dashing Doctor Syn/Captain Clegg, with Joe Pesci as the Sexton Mipps. It would certainly give the awful Pirates of the Caribbean series a good thrashing. One can but dream.

Date watched: September 28th
Score: 6/10
Film count 2017: 109

A Couple o’ Books

In the last day I have finished reading two books that I started reading some time ago, both on my Kindle.

The first, which I actually only started reading a few weeks ago was “Alive and Worldwide” by Edward G. Talbot. I have actually known Ed Parrot and Jason Derrig (they write books under the Edward G. Talbot name) for some years now, and have designed several of their book covers and even their website. Like me they are amateurs, so they pay me by sending me their self-published books and ebooks. Actually, a package arrived from them a couple of weeks ago with this very book in softcover form. Here is the cover:

It is quite fun designing covers, but coming up with ideas can be a bit frustrating when I get book-cover-designer’s block.

The second book which I just finished this morning was “Doctor Syn on the High Seas” by Russell Thorndike, published in 1935. Here is the basic outline from Wikipedia:

It tells the story of how the young clergyman, Christopher Syn, loses his wife to a seducer. He embarks on a quest of vengeance, taking on the identity of the pirate Captain Clegg to hunt them down.

The story is quite simple, and it is swashbuckling stuff. It is very un-PC by today’s standards, and if it was to be made into a film it would be rather gruesome in places (stabbings, limbs being sliced off, shark attacks, etc). But, I like a good pirate story, so I rather enjoyed reading it.

While this book is the second in a series of seven, it is chronologically the first, and thus, it is a kind of origin story. For example we learn how he chose his pirate name, Captain Clegg (named after the Cleg fly, a blood-sucking type of Horse fly).

I read the first some years ago (and saw the film starring the perfectly cast Peter Cushing) which is chronologically the end of the story. I now have the third book ready on my Kindle.

Book count 2017: 3