Richard Blade #2: The Jade Warrior

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Ahh, number two. Somehow, always more satisfying than #1.

The next volume in our action-packed, erotically-charged, and highly-pulperiffic Richard Blade series is “The Jade Warrior,” by Jeffrey Lord. Except not really by Jeffrey Lord, because Jeffrey Lord is just a legal fiction for some anonymous, ink-stained wretch hammering away at the keys of his Smith-Corona as he tries desperately to churn out 60,000 words within the parameters of the impossibly tight deadline his paymasters have given him.

Let us pause for a moment to remember this unsung hero.

Very well, then. To the plot!

Plot

We return once more to Jolly Old England, where it has been some months since MI6-a agent Richard Blade’s tumultuous unplanned excursion via computer to the land of Alb. Blade’s boss “J” and hunchbacked mad scientist Lord Leighton are attending a garden party where they are engaged in a philosophical discussion with a politician about Blade’s little interdimensional jaunt.

“And yet this Richard Blade, when you have altered the molecular structure of his brain with the computer, and sent him into a new dimension, will be a viable example of solipsism. He will contain an entire new world, or even a cosmos, in himself. In relation to ourselves back in this dimension, of course.”

Heady stuff for swords-and-sandals pulp.

But it highlights this book’s, and indeed, the entire series’, confusion about how, exactly, a computer sends a big naked dude to another dimension. The idea presented here and elsewhere is that the computer has essentially altered Richard Blade’s perceptions of reality – he hasn’t physically moved, he can just see dimensions that he couldn’t before. His body, presumably, continues to occupy coordinates in our own ‘Home Dimension,’ as the book calls it.

Of course, if this is so, then when ol’ Dick Blade is fighting the barbarian warlord in Dimension X, people should see him swinging his fists at thin air back in the Home Dimension. When he’s running from hunting dogs with a sexy princess, he should be smacking into the walls of the underground bunker he’s really in. When he’s playing “hot dog in the jungle” with the evil-but-sexy witch queen, he should be giving Lord L an eyeful of his leather lollipop. Not, I suspect, that the pervy old dude would mind.

Blade also shouldn’t be able to bring stuff back if he’s only traveling in his mind.

The book makes ZERO effort to explain these obvious logical contradictions, and instead just keeps piling on the pseudoscientific technobabble. This time, Lord L’s main concern, besides having a piece of beefcake to grease up and put in a loin cloth, is preserving Blade’s memories. While Blade was in Alb on his previous trip, you may recall, he had trouble remembering his life in the Home Dimension. And when he returned to England, his memories of Alb faded almost entirely. Which is currently causing him some problems, romantically.

Blade is not at the garden party. He is up in Dorset, getting frisky with girlfriend Zoe.

Blade had slipped off Zoe’s very brief panties and flung them to one side in the tall growing thyme and heather. By now they were dew sodden.

Zoe’s dew-sodden panties are now available on ebay for $54.99.

Despite all the damp underwear in play, things aren’t all peaches and cream between Blade and Zoe. It appears that Blade has been having some very exciting dreams at night while lying next to Zoe, where he makes passionate, barbarian-style whoopie with an unknown woman and calls out the name ‘Taleen.’ Zoe tells Blade,

“You were going through the actual physical motions of love – sweating and groaning and crying. And you – you…” She broke off her words and looked at him.

I don’t think we need Zoe to finish that sentence. Let’s just say she’s been keeping a towel by the bed lately.

This news disturbs Richard Blade, who has only vague flashes of memory of Taleen and his time in Alb.

He pulled Zoe to him in an embrace that was nearly savage. She cried out. “Dick! Please – you’re hurting me.”

Well, I think we’ve all heard that one before, amirite???

Anyway, this is putting an understandable strain on Blade and Zoe’s relationship. As is the Official States Secrets that bind Blade,  which won’t let him tell Zoe what he does for a living, why he undergoes frequent long absences, or even let him ask her to marry him. Zoe has just about had enough.

Just at this awkward moment, Blade gets a call from J, summoning him to London for another trip through the computer.

The only possible response for a manly man like Blade is to have passionate breakup sex and leave without saying goodbye. This he does.

Beneath the Tower in London, Blade is remorseful, J is concerned, and Lord Leighton is enthusiastic. There’s a bunch of gobbledygook about his new ‘memory molecule’ which will let Blade remember everything. You know what, book? None of this makes any fucking sense on any fucking level and we don’t fucking care. So stop prattling on about it.

Thank God it’s soon over. Lord L throws the switch, and then we get some weird hallucinogenic clap-trap as Blade goes hurtling off into

Dimension X

Blade wakes up naked under a hot sun on a pile of rocks. Alas, he’s not alone by a lake with a nubile princess this time. He is in fact in the middle of a battlefield. On a plain all around him men are fighting and dying. Then all of a sudden there’s a massive explosion and he sees that an enormous cannon high on a fortified wall has fired a giant, transparent green ball. Blade quickly deduces two things: 1, the cannonball is made of pure, glass-like jade; and 2, it is heading right towards him. He takes cover just in time to avoid being impaled by fragments of jade when the cannonball shatters. The humongous cannon isn’t very accurate, but it sure is terrifying.

So where are we, anyway? What genre has our naked MI6-a agent invaded? Here, I’ll give you a hint:

A mile beyond his vantage point a great wall undulated along the horizon like a yellow snake. Blade drew in his breath and shrugged his big shoulders in admiration. He was impressed. That wall must be fifty feet high, broad enough for four horsemen to ride abreast, and it had no end. It stretched away to either side as far as Blade’s keen eyes could see.

Okay, jade cannonball, great wall, yellow snake reference… Yes, dear reader, we’re in Fantasy Asia. Fantasy Asia is great for your pulp writer, because he can substitute detailed research with broad stereotypes and casual racism! And when he runs out of stuff he thinks he knows about Fantasy Asia, he can just mix in stuff from a hodgepodge of other Fantasy cultures.

Blade is watching the Fantasy Asian armies murderize each other when suddenly it gets dark. That’s the gimmick of this Dimension X, apparently. The sun rises and sets really, really fast. No, the day/night cycle isn’t shorter or anything like that. It’s just sunset and sunrise happen instantaneously.

“Wait? But how? That doesn’t – Why would it… The science doesn’t… The fuck?!?”

Yeah, you and me both, friend.

Not wishing to spend a third of the book pants-less this time, Blade crawls down to the battlefield to pillage a corpse. Now he gets a close-up look at the stereotypes combatants:

One, of the party that had sallied from the wall, was tall and well formed and even in death had a certain dignity. His skin, as best Blade could see in the uncertain light, was a light yellow. Lemon colored.

His companion in death was a swarthy man with thick dark hair, very coarse in texture. He was bowlegged and powerfully muscled. He wore leather chest armor and on his head was a pointed leather cap.

You know, I haven’t been to Fantasy Asia, but I’ve spent a fair amount of time in Real Asia and I have yet to see anyone with ‘lemon yellow’ skin.

At any rate, one of the tall, yellow, wall-defender corpses has gold plated armor and is wearing a golden orb. Blade decides that whoever this dead guy was, he must have been important donning his gear might be useful, so he puts on his stuff. Not a moment too soon, as Blade spots a search party drawing near. Thinking quickly, he decides to play dead. Lucky for him, because it seems like these guys are looking for a dead emperor.

A voice of command said: “Look farther over there. To the right of the pile of Mongs. And do not look for a face, fools, but rather for his armor. You all know what manner of armor the emperor wore!”

The voice was light, high pitched, with a silky cultured quality and an odd singsong effect, like spoken music.

Oh really, book? Did the voice go, “Ching chang chong ding dong” too?

Sure enough, they think Blade is the dead emperor, and place him on a litter to take him to the Jade Empress. I hope she’s a sizzling sexy lady!

(spoiler alert: yep)

The litter bearers bring Blade into a temple and lay him on an altar, then get the heck out of dodge, because apparently mere mortals aren’t allowed to lay eyes on the empress. Good thing, too, because when she emerges she is a hottie with, like, tits and stuff. She’d be even hotter if the book didn’t insist on describing her skin as being the color of ‘old ivory,’ which will just never sound sexy.

Like all women Blade encounters, she smells all woman-y:

Another step toward him. She was breathing harder now and Blade could smell the fragrance of her. The body sheath she wore was so nearly transparent that he saw her breasts tautly outlined, sharp and hard, the nipples erected by her excitement and hate.

It really annoys me when my nipples get erected by hate.

Blade doesn’t have long to ogle the imperial tits. The Jade Empress has such a nipple-hardening hate-on for the deceased Jade Emperor that she immediately attempts to impale what she thinks is his corpse with a dagger.

Blade stops faking death just in time to stop himself getting stabbed. The empress, being a frail, hysterical female and all, faints. When she comes to, Blade attempts to parley with her and persuade her to help him rather than summoning guards. This seems to be working, but then all of a sudden she goes to scream for help.

He lunged for her and covered the scream in time. She pulled away from him, struggling with surprising strength, and drew breath for another scream. Blade had fallen off balance, pinning her to the altar, and he covered this second scream the fastest way he could. With his mouth.

Hostilities are suspended, and it’s time to park the beef bus in tuna town, if you get my drift. Say what you will about this book, but it’s only chapter 3 and we are already getting some actual sexy times!

Blade’s strategy of porking the empress into seeing things his way turns out to be a good one, as she immediately decides that he will be her consort and that she will come up with lies to explain his existence to everyone. Blade, it seems, has a very persuasive penis.

The empress tells Blade to call her Lali, because that’s what her daddy used to call her (paging Dr. Freud!). Oh, and FYI, Lali was the one who had her husband the Jade Emperor murdered on the battlefield, not that anyone really cares. The important thing is that she’s happy to bonk the stranger wearing her dead husband’s clothing, and she wants to pretend he’s her daddy.

Yikes.

This all works out pretty well for Dick Blade, though:

They were waited on by a score of pretty bare-breasted girls, wearing only what he thought of as a bikini bottom. Lali paid absolutely not attention to the girls except to give orders.

Oh, by the way, this land of Generic Fantasy Asia is called Cath.

Blade dubs himself Sir Blade and becomes Lali’s chief military advisor slash boy toy. That Blade, always sleeping his way to the top.

Blade inspects the situation on the wall and finds that the invading Mongs’ (get it – Mongols???) only strategy is to throw masses of troops suicidaly against the Great, er, Giant Wall. Apparently, Khad Tambur, the Mega Mong, wants the cannon, because of a legend that if the gun is ever captured, Cath is doomed.

DOOOOOMED!

However, the Mongs soon try a new tactic. They send a dwarf with a gift for ventriloquism up to the Great Large Wall to talk. Through their spies they have heard of this ‘Sir Blade’ and they want him to face their champion in single combat. If the Mongs win, they get the gun. Blade huddles with Lali and she tells him this idea must come from Sadda, Khad Tambur’s sister, who he also schtupps on the side. Lali really, really hates Sadda. It probably makes her nipples hard just thinking about it.

Blade tells the dwarf that they’ll agree to the terms on the condition that if he wins, they get Sadda, so Lali can lock her in a cage or whatever. During this negotiation, the dwarf makes his donkey appear to talk, and he and Blade have kind of A Moment.

If anyone wants to right slash fiction about Richard Blade and the ventriloquist Mong dwarf, I’m all about it.

Fast forward, and it’s fight time. Blade is out on his horse before the wall, waiting for the Mong champion. The dwarf comes up to him and whispers, “Beware the ground Sir Blade.” Then he rides off.

In “The Bronze Axe,” Blade was mostly facing opponents like Redbeard who were bigger than he was. To change things up, here he gets an opponent named Cossa who is smaller and faster than Blade and is armed with a bow. Blade has a mace and a shield. That doesn’t really seem like a very even match-up to me, but I guess I don’t know shit about Fantasy Asia.

It’s a tough fight for Blade. Blade manages to take out the other guy’s horse first, but then Cossa shoots Blade in the leg with an arrow. At last Blade manages to throw his mace at Cossa and break the guy’s legs, then he cuts his throat.

Blade is triumphant, but in his excitement he forgets the dwarf’s warning and rides his horse towards the Mong lines, triggering a booby trap which throws him from his horse and –

Wait, how the fuck is that fair??? What in the fucking fuck? Why would the Cath stand for something like this? When their entire fucking army is watching? Wouldn’t they all rush in and fight? And who booby traps a single combat?? What the fuck, book? FUCK YOU!!!

Okay, okay, I’m better now. Just had to get that out.

Blade wakes up in a Mong tent a prisoner. Fortunately, Blade is good at being a prisoner. He just needs to figure how who he needs to kill or fuck to take over. It’s really just a matter of time and he’ll be running things in the enemy camp.

The dwarf appears and tells him that he’s been sent by Sadda, the Mong princess, to check Blade out for her. Fuck it is, then.

Blade learns that the dwarf’s name is Morpho, and that he is the royal fool for Sadda and Khad Tambur, the Boss Mong. And it turns out that Morpho is not alone. No, he’s accompanied by still more cringey stereotypes!

A vast shiny black face poked itself into the tent. Blade stared in surprise. He had not known there was anyone on guard outside.

The black wore a tall peaked turban and a colored sash wound about his loins.

The ‘blacks,’ it transpires, are eunuchs, and also they’ve had their tongues cut out. They haul Blade off in chains to meet Rahstum, who is the Captain of the Mong armies and seems more likeable then the other Mongs, possibly because he is basically a white guy:

He was taller than any Mong Blade had seen before, and his eyes were a piercing light gray instead of the usual dark brown and did not have the Mong slant to them. They stared at Blade now, above a thick sprouting beard, with a mingle of curiosity and contempt.

Rahstum takes Blade to Khad’s tent, which, in an admirable effort to cover all the bases of Asian stereotypes, features belly dancers:

As the tent flap parted Blade caught a glimpse of a girl dancing in a cleared space before the dais. But for a loin cloth she was naked, sweating and whirling and undulating in a pale yellow light while the wild music swirled behind her. Her belly was like a thing apart from her, with a life of its own, shimmering and shaking, the sleek muscles writhing like a basketful of snakes.

Inside the tent, Blade is brought before Khad Tambur and Sadda. Khad is a cripple with one eye and a twisted spine, so we know he’s evil. Sadda wears a veil which covers her face, and pantaloons, but her boobs are bare and are described in great detail, so we know she’s hot.

Blade is supposed to kneel before the Khad and Sadda, but he refuses. The Khad orders his guards to beat him, but Sadda tells them to wait, because she wants him for her personal slave. After some discussion the Khad agrees to this. Sadda then demands Blade kneel before her. Blade again refuses. A bunch of the ‘blacks’ enter with a wooden block and a long knife.

She turned to one of the blacks. “Show him what he will be if he does not kneel.”

The black unwound a cloth from around his waist and groin and in a moment stood naked before Blade. It was the fist time he had seen a eunuch and he did not like the sight.

It’s touch-and-go now for ol’ Dick Blade, who greatly values his lady dagger. Still, he refuses to kneel, and at the last moment Sadda tells them not to chop off his frank-and-beans. Blade is pretty relieved.

At least a dozen times a day he glanced down to reassure himself that he was still a whole man. He was, and that, for the moment, was enough for him.

Now Blade is officially Sadda’s slave, but not yet her love slave. Apparently you have to put in your time as a regular slave before you graduate to sexy tent times. Blade is lead to a stockade near Sadda’s tent and imprisoned. Here he makes the acquaintance of a legless man named Baber. Baber is also not a Mong, in fact he’s from the ‘Cauca tribe,’ which presumably means he is nice and white and trustworthy.

You may note some types in play here that we saw in “The Bronze Axe:” the second-in-command to the bad guy who is a good guy, and now the lowly, helpful dude who will eventually become Blade’s manservant. Thank goodness, however, the authors don’t try to squeeze any supposed ‘comic relief’ out of the legless Baber. He is here mostly to spout exposition.

From Baber Blade learns that Khad Tambur has some twisted predilections. And I don’t mean just having the hots for his sister.

“He is impotent, it is well known. Except with little girls not yet old enough to be married. So when the madness is on him the Khad takes whatever child pleases him and has his will of her. Then another and another until the madness passes for the time.”

More proof that Khad Tambur is eeeeevil – he digs young girls. An upstanding heroic type like Blade would definitely never sex up an underage girl… hmmm…

Let’s just move on.

Eventually Blade is summoned to Sadda’s tent to see if he can do good at sexing. Well this is Richard Blade we’re talking about, and he’s pretty much good at two things: fighting with medieval weaponry and knocking boots. So before you can say “hide the hamster” Blade is an Official Mong Sex Slave, with a golden collar and everything.

But it’s not all veils and silk pantaloons for Blade. A plot is afoot to overthrow the insane Khad. Blade receives secret messages from Morpho the dwarf. Then he meets with Rahstum and learns of the secret conspiracy to assassinate Khad Tambur.

No sooner has Blade been taken into Rahstum’s confidence then, after a particularly successful round of the ‘ol squeeze and squirt, Sadda confides to Blade that she is plotting to have Khad Tambur. And who is she going to have do the killing? Morpho the dwarf, whom she has some secret hold over. Wheels within wheels, man.

But before all the various conspiracies against the Khad can be sprung, his madness takes a rain check, he starts the army marching north, and all assassination plans are on hold.

Blade has long thought that the Mongs should try and march around the Great Big Wall rather than launching endless futile frontal assaults against it, and now it seems the Khad has seen the light as well. But the march north requires going through the desert and then up into the mountains and is long and arduous. During it, two things happen. One, Sadda seems to be falling in love with Blade. It seems even heartless evil princesses can’t resist the Blade Penis. Blade secretly loathes Sadda, but he plays along.

The other thing that happens is that Morpho comes to Blade’s wagon one night and takes him to a wagon at the very back of the Mong’s great caravan. There, Blade finds that Morpho has a daughter, a beautiful twelve-year-old girl who is blind who he has kept an absolute secret because of the Khad’s twisted desires. She is sick with a burning fever and for some reason Morpho has decided that Blade, the brawny barbarian/sex slave, is the only one who can help. Amazingly, Blade is somehow able to break her fever, which naturally requires a great deal of stripping the girl naked and descriptions of her ‘budding breasts’.

Having added ‘healer’ to his unusual resume as an MI6 agent, Blade gets back to administering Sadda with regular man jam injections. Unsurprisingly, one day Sadda tells him that she is pregnant.

At last, the Mongs round the end of the wall and begin working their way back. Now they are nearing the sea and a walled stronghold of the ‘Sea Caths’. The Mongs have never seen the sea before, but Blade smells a trap. The moat in front of the city is dry, and Blade suspects that the sea can be poured into it when the Mongs attack.

In an audience with Khad Tambur, Sadda asks that Blade be set free so that he can marry her. The Khad grants this, but is clearly jealous of this hunky barbarian banging his smokin’ sexy sister. So he tells Blade he has to prove himself by being in the front rank of the assault on the city. Then the Khad falls into a seizure. DUN DUN DUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUAnyway, Blade and Captain Rahstum make a plan for the taking of the city, and then there’s a pretty exciting battle scene where they storm the city while the Sea Caths fire huge chunks of jade from catapults and assassins sent by the Khad try to murder Blade when his back is turned.

The Sea Caths do indeed flood the moat, killing a lot of Mongs, but Blade has a cunning plan to use the Mong wagons to cross the flooded moat. Rahstum is badly wounded, but the plan succeeds. The Mongs enter the city, raping and killing everyone. Yaaaaaaaaay...?

The conspirators plan to assassinate the Khad during the victory celebrations that night. Morpho intends to do it with a fast-acting poison, since he is the Khad’s food taster. He and Rahstum want Blade to then kill Sadda, but at this moment Blade breaks the news that Sadda is his baby mama. Rahstum is not happy about this, but agrees to merely have Sadda imprisoned.

That night at the celebration, the Khad has a surprise announcement: he’s getting married! Tonight! And guess who it’s too???

No points if you guessed it was Morpho’s blind twelve-year-old daughter. Yes, it turns out Sadda knew about Morpho’s daughter and that was the leverage she had over him which she was using to force him to assassinate the Khad. Of course, this is a completely insane and stupid time for her to throw away that leverage.

Morpho immediately realizes what has happened, rushes Sadda, and murders her. Meanwhile, the Khad’s has been successsfully poisoned, and he goes down in a bunch of frothing convulsions. Rahstum’s men come in, take control of the situation, and just like that, Sadda and Khad Tambur are dead and Rahstum and Blade are in charge of the Mongs.

Morpho survives the ordeal, amazingly, as does his daughter. Blade is sad that his baby mama got knifed, but has to grant that she totes had it coming. Eventually he and Morpho kiss and make up. The Mongs continue their forward advance, and their scouts begin encountering something curious in the Cath villages: little statues of jade, carved in Blade’s likeness.

Blade, staring at the little statuette, was dumbfounded. He reached to take it in his hand. It was a foot high, of faultless jade, and carven in the exact image of he himself as he had been in Cath.

Apparently the empress thinks Blade is dead and has been so overcome with grief she has had jade likenesses of him struck and distributed throughout her empire. Blade’s penis does seem to have that effect on people.

Blade decides that there should be peace between the Mongs and the Caths now, so he manages to negotiate one whereby the Mongs will get to settle in peace in the Sea Cath city and the Caths, who have now arrived with their main army, won’t slaughter the Mongs. Also, Lali, hearing that Blade is alive, has turned up to see if his real ‘footlong statue’ matches up to the ones she’s been making. I’m talking about Blade’s penis again. Cause it’s big, right???

Blade is once again beginning to get the headaches which mean Lord Leighton is trying to drag him back to a dimension with 74% less sexy Asian princesses. Before Blade and Lali can get properly reacquainted, Blade is dragged back into the Home Dimension – fortunately for posterity, with one of the jade statues of himself in hand.

Back in London, Lord L is happy that his memory molecule seems to have worked. In fact, he had Blade put under hypnosis, taped everything he said, and is now listening to it all over and over. Especially the parts about Lali and Sadda and being a sex slave, I’ll bet. Lord Leighton is a pervy old man.

J has apparently had his hands full keeping Blade’s girlfriend Zoe from blowing his cover, what with her being all female and everything:

As J left the Tower he suddenly thought of Blade’s girl, Zoe. Saucy little wench! Sticking her nose into things that didn’t concern her. He had to smile as he tried to hail a taxi. The lass had pretty well blown the Whitehall cover thing, nosing about and asking questions and using her relatives and friends.

Oh yeah, that cheeky tramp Zoe, trying to figure out why her boyfriend just vanished for six months. The nerve! Get back in the kitchen, you little bitch!

As for Blade, he goes out frantically looking for Zoe. He can’t find her at any of her usual haunts, so he finally drives up to the cottage. Just before he enters he sees her damp panties lying where they left them months before. And then he hears her inside. He pockets the panties and heads in. Hopefully to throw them away, because that stank underwear been lying in the dirt for six months. Ew.

The End.

Problematic Stuff

To the previous book’s sins of retrograde views on women, “The Jade Warrior” adds a role call of casually racist stereotypes against people of African, Central Asian, and East Asian descent. Not the least of which is that the book assumes that all these people would be found together in roughly the same milieu and historical time period. I mean, c’mon. We’ve got turbaned black Africans next to belly dancers mingling with slanty-eyed Mongol hordes and yellow-skinned Chinese who speak in ‘sing song’ voices.

The relative slantiness of people’s eyes, or lack thereof, is a major concern of the writer. Lali’s eyes are described as:

Long almonds of green, narrowed but with no slantiness, wherin chrysolite seas moved and washed.

The Caths, if stereotypical, are at least portrayed as noble and civilized. People of ‘Mong’ descent, however, are written as bad, sub-human, and, naturally, slanty-eyed.

Sadda, of course, is a Mong:

When she first removed her veil for him, Blade had not known what to expect. Was she ugly or a beauty? She was neither. She had the slightly flattened nose of most Mong women, but her cheekbones flared higher. This, with her almond dark eyes, gave her an exotic look that the common Mong women did not possess. Her teeth were marvelously even and white and her mouth was large, and, belying what he knew she was, had a sweetness about it. All this with a matte complexion that had the sheen of old gold with a honey patina.

Well at least she’s not as ugly as the other Mongs!

Just to drive home the ugly racism at work here, once Blade gets to the Mong camp, pretty much the only good guys he meets are non-Mongs, e.g. white guys, including Baber, who is even from the ‘Cauca’ tribe.

Meanwhile, just about everybody who is Cath or Mong has some variation on ‘yellow’ skin. In fact the Caths are described as having ‘lemon yellow’ hides. Wow. Those Caths must practically glow in the dark!

Surely in 1969, the year this book was published, people knew that Asians don’t actually have day-glo skin?

Let’s move on from all this lovely Asian stereotyping for a moment and talk about this series’ creepy fixation on sexualizing underage girls.

Khad Tambur, the Mong leader, is setup as an evil creepazoid who preys on young girls. The chief exemplar of this is Morpho’s daughter, a blind girl who is age 12 and very pretty. Of course, even as the book is telling us how eeeeeeevil the Khad is for creeping on young girls, it is encouraging the reader to voyeuristically ogle the daughter. As she lies feverish on her sickbed, we are treated to detailed descriptions of her skin, bare breasts, and legs.

And while Blade isn’t macking on any jailbait in this book, he sure did in the last one. If you’ll recall, the virginal Princess Taleen, the object of his affections in that book, was estimated to be about fourteen. That’s not twelve, okay, but it’s not a lot fucking better, either.

I get that cultural norms have shifted a lot since the late 1960’s, but it says a lot about the writers and the presumed readership of these books that so many of the sex objects that they keep serving up are prepubescent girls.

Also, as in the last book, Richard Blade proves himself surprisingly accepting of mass rape. This time he helps the Mongs take the Cath city, a people whose side he was originally on. And when they start raping and killing everybody in it, his reaction is basically: “Well, whatcha gonna do?”

When in Rome, rape as the Romans do appears to sum up Blade’s philosophy.

Wrap-up

Problems aside, as pure entertainment “The Jade Warrior” stands head-and-shoulders above “The Bronze Axe.” It’s a shorter, tighter, more focused narrative, for one. It serves up the sexy situations earlier and with greater frequency. And there’s actually a great deal of intrigue and complexity in the plot, a great deal of which I’ve glossed over for brevity’s sake. (Yes – I said ‘brevity’. This review could have been even longer. You should thank me!) The big fight scene is pretty enjoyable, the big battle scene is rousing, and the stuff in between feels like it is actually going somewhere. This was a legitimately enjoyable piece of pulp.

Here’s a handy checklist so we can tally how “Jade Warrior” stacks up to “Bronze Axe”:

  • Blade gets greased up by Lord L – check!
  • Blade is forced to be someone’s sex slave – check!
  • Blade bones an underage girl – nope
  • Blade bones an older woman who looks like a young woman – nope
  • Blade takes on a lower class rogue with a good heart as his manservant – check!
  • Blade befriends the bad guy’s second-in-command – check!
  • Blade takes over the bad guy army – check!
  • Blade condones casual rape – check!
  • Blade sleeps his way to the top – check!
  • Blade drops his pants for someone – nope

7/10, not too shabby!

Join us next time when Richard Blade’s penis is an object of fascination in a gender-divided dystopia in: The Jewel of Tharn!

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