Here is another cover for Monster of the Maze. As you can see it’s in a fine, B-movie tradition, right down to having a tagline that makes no sense.
But we would be remiss if we passed over the audiobook cover for this. I apologize for the horrendous image quality. Still, this one is not to be missed:
I appreciate that this cover is the only one to actually advertise the book’s real hook: our hero turning into a weird man-baby. With Tom Cruise’s head, apparently! Also there’s a snake and a sexy nurse.
Weirdly, this does somehow feel like it captures the essence of this book quite well.
Moving on, let’s get back to the story.
Holding her at the point of his erect, erm, sword, Richard Blade discovers that the intruder behind his drapes is none other than the Princess Hirga. Her voice is a “deep, husky contralto” and when she steps out from behind the curtain she is a total hottie – although, rudely for a woman in this book,
She was the first woman he had seen in Zir who covered her breasts.
Since Blade just finished… entertaining… Valli, he naturally has some concerns:
“How long have you been behind my drapes, and how came you there?”
She stared at him. Her eyes were large and a deep sea green. He noted that her breathing was fast and there was a swollen, puffy look around her mouth and eyes. She had been there long enough. She had seen and heard everything and it excited her.
Either that or she’s having a dangerous allergic reaction. This sounds a lot less like arousal and a lot more like anaphylactic shock, if you ask me, Blade.
She went to the bed and sat on the edge. She put a hand on the pillow and looked at Blade and half smiled. Her teeth were very small and white. As she stared and stared, as though she could never see enough of him, she caught her nether lip in her teeth and bit it and there was no mistaking the speculation in her glance. Beneath the golden doublet her bosom swelled and moved, and he plainly heard the rasp of breath in her throat.
Seriously, someone get this woman an epinephrine injection.
Blade knew he could tumble her in an instant if he chose. This was a sensual woman and she was aroused to a high pitch by what she had seen and heard.
Hirga put a hand on the pillow again. “Still warm from your harem whore.”
Readers will quickly guess that there is something weird going on with Princess Hirga, and that it is more involved than a simple case of wantin’ the D (as in Dick!). The Princess informs Blade that she did not come here merely for an eyeful of his leather lollipop. The High Priest Casta would like a word with him.
Casta and his priests are headquartered in the Izmir’s unfinished
pyram – er, triangular stone monument. All the old dead Izmir’s are entombed in pyr triangular monuments. But the Izmir’s will be the largest yet and contains an elaborate maze to stop anyone from disturbing his body.
Hey! A maze! I sure wonder if that will figure largely into the story later! Maybe it will contain some sort of… monster?
Who can say???
Blade for some reason agrees to go into the strange maze which is the headquarters of the evil priest cult so he can talk to the high priest who hates him because… sure, why not.
The Princess departs. The next day Blade heads out to the Not Pyramid, where he is escorted by black-clad priests into the gloomy stone labyrinth within. Soon he finds himself alone in a ‘vast cavern’.
The Princess Hirga appeared from the gloom. She was wearing the silver trousers, but this time her breasts were bare and Blade felt a spasm of desire as he gazed at those perfect cones.
Wow, cone-shaped boobs! Move over, Madonna!
Our traffic cone princess escorts Blade into Casta’s presence and where he stands, shrouded in mystery.
“Turn your face to the fire, priest.”
The chuckle was low, throaty. “Yes. That is fair. Look, Blade!”
The eyes, huge and burning black, were torches in a skull. The face was a death’s head, bone with saffron flesh drawn over it like a drum. A skull. Blade could see the veins writhing like blue worms. The nose was vulpine, sharp as a nail, and the lips a bloodless anus.
Ol’ Anus-Lips wants Blade to join him so they can rule the galaxy as father and son, or some shit. Blade plays along, especially when Casta reveals that he has something that Blade wants – a huge-ass diamond. These ginormous diamonds are apparently everywhere in the barbaric land of the Hitts. But people think of them as completely valueless and use them only for cutting and decorations. Because obviously it would never naturally occur to the people of Zir to place an intrinsic value on extremely beautiful shiny crystals.
Mr. Rectal Throat has one last piece of information to persuade Dick to see things his way: the Izmir is dead. He has expired within the last hour of natural causes. Blade, feeling uncharacteristically vulnerable, agrees to play nice with his new frenemy for the time being. There are two conditions he has to follow. One, he has to conquer the barbaric Hitts. Two, he has to marry Princess Hirga and do married-people stuff with her.
Like, immediately. Continue reading “Richard Blade #6: Monster of the Maze, Part 2”