God, this cover. Look at this nonsense! It’s like the artist couldn’t even be bothered to do the most basic research.
For starters, it doesn’t show Richard Blade naked. Where, I ask you, is the svelte, muscled ass that should be on full display? Or if not the ass, the well-shadowed groin hidden behind a strategically placed foreground object?!
If anyone involved in creating this nonsense had so much as skimmed the book, they would know that our hero is in the altogether with his wiener hanging out for much of the proceedings.
And then there is Blade’s female companion. Here again the artist has completely failed to calibrate the appropriate level of nudity. Virtually none of the women in this book are wearing clothing. This woman should, at the very least, be topless – how else would our hero be able describe her “superb breasts” which are “round and firm” and “crowned with rosy nipples” with sufficient detail? He wouldn’t, would he.
Almost everything about this cover is a complete failure. Okay, fair enough: they did include an angry monkey.
Let’s try an alternative illustration:
Ahh yes, that’s much better.
So: this is book #5 in the Richard Blade series – Liberator of Jedd! – pseudonymously penned by various scribes; in the case of this volume, our ink-stained guide is once again Manning Lee Stokes.
Picture the scene!
Our hero, Manning Lee Stokes, is seated at his desk in his tiny, windowless office. Time and tide have streaked his hair with silver and weathered his narrow, bony figure. He is lounging in his chair, a celebratory glass of scotch in his hand (he keeps a small flask in the lower left drawer). He is enjoying a moment of quiet celebration because he has churned out the manuscript for Slave of Sarma in record time – and it’s a rollicking good read, if he does say so himself. Not Great Art – god no! – but he fancies its one of his better efforts. This, despite the relentless demands of his editorial paymasters. He rises his glass in silent toast to the naked bulb of the lone lamp that hanging from its chain above his desk.
Without warning, the door slams open! A short, balding man reeking of cheap cigars bustles in. Stokes curses inwardly – can’t the man fucking knock? But when he speaks, his words are conciliatory. “Chief! I’ve just left the draft for the next Blade book on your secretary’s desk.”
“Great job Stokesie, tremendous stuff,” bellows the editor. “Another triumph for ‘Jeffrey Lord,’ right? Hahah! And loooots of steamy love scenes, eh?” The man leers and nudges him. Stokes hates the way the editor calls him ‘Stokesie’.
“Boss, I literally just finished it. You can’t possibly have read it,” he protests.
“I don’t have time to read these things, Stokes! And neither do you! Our public is hungry for more. Listen, there’s an opening at the printers Friday after next. Think you can have the next manuscript wrapped up by then?”
“What?!?” Stokes sputters, covering his editor’s face in a fine scotch mist. “Boss, I haven’t begun the next one. I don’t even know what -”
“Easy Stokesie,” wheezes the editor. “Don’t sweat it. Just do your usual thing. Here, I’ve thought up a title for you: Liberator of Jedd! Like that one, hey? That’s a freebie!”
“Where’s Jedd?” asks Stokes sourly.
“Who the fuck cares?” says the editor. “Somewhere where there are lots of buxom broads in loincloths, that’s where! Hey, I’ve got it – Richard Blade travels to prehistoric times.”
“Blade doesn’t time travel,” objects the writer.
“It’s some kind of prehistoric dimension or whatever, alright? This one has ape men and volcanoes and dinosaurs everywhere, not to mention blonde cavegirls with big bouncy knockers who don’t know what ‘clothes’ are.”
“Sure! Hell, maybe she’s a cro magnon broad – still got a little bit of ape in her. An animal in the sack, you know what I’m saying?!?” The editor chuckles unpleasantly.
“Gross,” says Stokes.
“Hey Stokesie, you’re the writer. Don’t let me tell you what to do. Have it on my desk by the 18th or you’re fired. Hahah! Do me proud on this one, son, and maybe we’ll talk about that advance you’ve been bugging me for.”
With these words, the editor bustles out of the tiny office, slamming the door behind him. Stokes sags in his chair. He pours the rest of his meager supply of scotch into his glass and downs it with a single swig. Then, sighing deeply, he stuffs a blank sheet of paper into the typewriter and hammers out the words LIBERATOR OF JEDD. For just a moment he stares at the blank page with an equally blank look. Then the hammers start to clack as he begins to type…
Aaaaaand – scene!
Okay, so the above is very much a work of fiction, but don’t let that diminish its essential plausibility for you. Slave of Sarma felt like a book where the writer was able to stretch his legs and have some fun. For all its problems (and they were many) it was a diverting read. Solid pulp stuff.
Liberator of Jedd, on the other hand, feels very much like it was banged out to meet an all-too-short deadline. It contains very little of Stokes’ trademark purple prose. There are sadly few quotable lines. The action is not particularly memorable.
Nevertheless, there is plenty of pulpy gold to be mined here! Let’s get started.
We start with the usual sort of non-excitement – J has accompanied Lord Leighton to a lecture seminar put on by leading brain researchers. Thrilling stuff!
J is distracted, though. He is worried about only one brain – Richard Blade’s. J feels as though all these trips through the computer into Dimension X have caused personality changes in Blade. He thinks that the stress is taking its toll on him.
During Lord L’s lecture, J becomes suspicious that his Lordship intends to experiment on Blade’s brain. Afterwards they get into an argument about this. Lord L is all, “for science!” Although he has no particular designs on Blade’s brain at the moment, he likes to leave his options open. J objects vehemently and vows to fight him at every step. At the end of the chapter, J wonders where Richard Blade is at this very moment.
Naturally, Blade is almost naked and thinking about his penis.
Richard Blade was naked but for a jockstrap. He floated and stared at the sullen dark sky, overcast and with no hint of stars or moon. A cold wave slapped at him viciously. Blade rolled through it and slid down into the trough.
Jockstraps traditionally leave the ass bare. Why Blade chooses to wander around in one during his leisure time is… an interesting question.
Blade is at the beach with his totsy-of-the-week, a dancing girl who calls herself ‘Viki’.
She was a tall girl with an elfin face and gypsy eyes, slim legs and arms and a tiny waist, and surprisingly large cone-shaped breasts.
OK, now I’m imagining a girl with two traffic cones strapped to her chest.
Blade is also worried about personality changes in himself. He is drinking heavily and also boning heavily.
And there was the little matter of satyriasis. Blade’s smile was grim. HIs sexual appetite these days was excessive, to say the least. Not at all like the old Blade.
Oh I don’t know. Maybe a little like the old Blade.
Let’s not pretend that Blade won’t shag at the drop of a hat, or that he has ever had any standards whatsoever in this area.
He surfaced, blowing hard, and struck out for the cove in a fast racing crawl. Viki waved, and desire surged in him and despite the shockingly cold water he began to achieve tumescence. The hard bind of his jockstrap cause him a slight discomfort. Nothing, he thought, to what Viki would presently feel.
Such a considerate lover, that Dick Blade.
Yes, apparently Blade has been inflicting his penis on this poor, conically-breasted woman with such frequency and vigor that she is now walking a little bow-legged. Blade emerges from the water. She protests Blade’s advances when it becomes clear that he wants to go another round.
Viki has a “whiny voice,” per the book, and is generally portrayed here as nagging and shrewish. As you might guess from previous books, she behaves stereotypically while Blade manages to pull off a combination of boorish and condescending. At the same time, this girl does, for once, call Blade out for his naked chauvinism:
“The trouble is, darling, that you treat me like any stupid totsy. Just another dumb showgirl. You don’t really talk to me. You talk at me. And you’re never serious, not even for a moment. You act as if it would be a waste of time to be serious with me, as though I wouldn’t understand you.”
Further danger of self-awareness on the part of this book is averted when Blade manages to distract her by fondling her and then prevails upon Viki to give him a BJ.
Anyway, we won’t spend much time on Viki because if you think she’s not going to be mentioned again after the first couple of chapters, you are so very right.
After dispensing with his duties towards this mildly irritating piece of womanflesh, Blade ruminates on what’s going on with he, Richard Blade, manly MI6-a agent. He has a moment where he realizes that he’s afraid of going back to Dimension X. Then he decides that he’s not really afraid, just lonely because he has to bear this mighty burden alone. Having managed to submerge any psychological vulnerabilities in gruff manhood, Blade leaves whatshername and heads to London.
Before you can say ‘barely repressed homoeroticism’, Lord L has Blade greased up in a scant loincloth and seated in the chair. This time, Lord L has a surprise for Blade: reciprocal fisting!
No, just kidding. Actually, Lord L is going to use the computer to try and send Blade back to Alb for a moment. You may recall Alb as the name of the land Blade’s first excursion through the computer sent him. If the computer can do this, Lord L says, then when Blade finds useful stuff in a Dimension X they can send him back to retrieve it.
Alb! Blade smiled as he remembered the Princess Taleen. A saucy wench. Lovely and tawny skinned and a savage in lovemaking. It would be nice to see her again.
Wait, wait, hold the phone. The first two books went to great lengths to establish that due to the restructuring of his brain (or some dumb shit) Blade couldn’t remember his trip to Alb, unlike subsequent excursions to Dimension X. I mean, this was a plot point that was beaten into the reader at great lengths. And now, apparently, we’ve just casually dispensed with the whole idea. Not cool, book. How ’bout some frigging continuity??
At any rate, Lord L calibrates the computer to a setting that he thinks will send Blade back to Alb.
Now, despite Lord L being constantly praised as a genius in these books, whenever he tries to anything specific with his magical super-computer it always goes completely haywire. Remember that the first time he sent Blade to another dimension he was just trying to make him smarter. Personally, I think Lord L’s abilities are highly overrated.
Case in point: Lord L flips the switch, and – instead of being transported to Alb, Blade finds he is now locked in the chair, frozen as electricity flows over him. Suddenly, smoke and sparks are pouring out of the computer. Lord L manages to shut the machine down, freeing Blade just in time for a large, hairy man with a stone axe to appear and attack Lord L. Blade and the axe-wielding savage lock arms and fight. Finally, Blade manages to subdue him long enough for Lord L to inject him (the savage) with a sedative. The hairy interloper doesn’t appear to be capable of regular speech, instead communicating primarily by grunting “Ohhrrrrrggrrr” a lot.
Yes, reader, they’ve somehow brought a caveman though the computer. And not just any caveman, but the most cliched caveman possible, right out of central casting! Blade, Lord L and J dub the caveman Ogar, because they are creatively bankrupt. Lord L, in his infinite scientific genius, decides the best way to ‘study’ Ogar is to build him a ‘cave’ in one of the basements, pipe in scary jungle noises, and then have Blade pretend to be another caveman and befriend him.
Blade is not into this idea, but J and Lord L prevail upon him. Soon enough he is dressed up in animal skins, equipped with a club, and on his way to hang with Ogar in his (actual) man cave.
In the cave, Lord L and J watch through peepholes as Blade attempts to win over Ogar by demonstrating his physical prowess and then offering him his meat. Er, I’m referring to food here. At any rate, Ogar is deeply cowed and impressed by Blade’s display of manliness – like many other benighted Dimension Xers before him. He’s so impressed, in fact, that he squats and takes a dump right in front of Blade.
Ogar chose this moment to defecate, literally in his tracks. He had been squatting by the fire, Blade apparently forgotten, and now he crouched and grunted and let fly. It was a spattering mess and the odor was horrible. Worse than Ogar’s own.
Needless to say, Ogar and Blade enjoy lots of quality time along these lines. Soon Ogar is worshipping Blade like a god and Blade is learning Ogar’s language (no word if he’s changing Ogar’s diapers).
Having now begun this beautiful friendship, the plan is to send both Blade and Ogar back to Ogar’s Dimension X, where Ogar will act as a guide to Blade. Blade and Ogar are both strapped into back-to-back chairs with the usual electrodes and loincloths and things. Blade acquiesces to this with surprisingly little protest, given that last time he was almost electrocuted.
A switch is thrown. Blade hallucinates being disembowled by a doll with a giant head. And then, we find ourselves in –
And not before time, too. It took us seven chapters to get to the action, this time, after an already excessive six in Slave of Sarma. God, I hope this does not represent a trend.
Dick Blade awakens in a strange place and takes stock of his surroundings.
He was lying naked on marshy land, a sort of tundra that moved and quaked beneath his weight. But not so barren as tundra. Quite the opposite, in fact, for he lay in coarse grass that grew close-spaced and towered over him. This strange grass was a reddish-brown in color and the blades half a foot across; by looking straight up he could see the tops, some thirty feet high, and beyond them a fast-darkening sky.
Blade also hears nearby noises as of massive, violent, prehistoric beasts thrashing about. He realizes that there is no sign of his buddy Ogar.
Suddenly, the giant grasses part and Ogar is there – swinging a club directly at Blade’s head. Apparently the computer has wiped clean Ogar’s memory of Blade. Despite this reversion, Blade manages to disarm and subdue Ogar and then to persuade him, in his grunting cave-language, to lead Blade to food, water and safety. They soon find a path which leads towards a line of dark cliffs. In front of these cliffs are campfires. Ogar’s people, presumably.
Just as Blade starts thinking that hey, maybe this guide thing will work out after all, he steps into quicksand. Ogar has lead him into a trap. While Blade starts sinking, Ogar pelts him with small rocks. At last Blade manages to catch one of the rocks and knock Ogar down with it, and then grab a sharp stick and lever himself out of the pit. By the time Blade gets out, Ogar has disappeared. Not for long, though. A giant monster, here described as a cross between a crocodile and an anteater, appears and sucks Ogar up with its long tongue, swallowing him whole.
Before the creature can devour Blade as well, another monster appears and eats the first one. Classic!
Blade hightails it out of there, pushing through the tall grass. Other huge creatures, including a giant toad, chase Blade towards the cliffs. With no choice to go back, Blade heads onward and upward.
Blade soon arrives near the campfires at the base of the cliffs. It is completely dark now. He crouches behind a rock and observes the people there. They are all like Ogar, with small hairy bodies and big heads. They are also all naked, and the women have tits and stuff!
Blade pondered. he could not go back into the tall grass. Death was certain there. he was cold and hungry, naked, lacking in everything but a superb brain, matchless physique, and all the guts he needed at any given moment.
Holy humblebrags, Batman!
Blade decides to approach a fire and attempt to communicate with these savages in their own language. This leads to the entire family group packing up and running off to hide in the darkness. They leave their stuff behind, though, and Blade outfits himself with a loincloth, a hide cloak, and a stone knife. (Do not fret, gentle reader: our hero will be naked again soon!)
The natives are not gone for good, though. Blade is napping by the fire, when –
She came in silent abjection, on her hands and knees, crawling into view of the cliff side of the fire. Just within the aura of light she stopped and gazed at Blade, dog-like in her feer and cringing subjection. Blade understood. This young female had been sent to appease him.
Sure, she’s a hairy, thick-skulled Neanderthal. But she’s also a hottie!
The girlchild-thing, for so he thought of her, lacked some of the brutishness of feature common to Ogar and the others. Her body was supple, silm, fully revealed. Her body hair was lighter in color and not so thick as that of the males. Her legs were short and somewhat bowed, her waist small and her breasts, nearly hairless, were firm and plump with rigid out-thrusting nipples half an inch long.
Ooga ooga, Blade!
This paleolithic strumpet is hot to trot, massaging her breasts for Blade and then laying on the ground and spreading her legs. Blade greases up her calves with some honey and takes his –
Surprisingly, for once Blade does not succumb to temptation. Despite having, in the past, boned or been willing to bone haggard witch queens, deformed women and under aged girls, this hairy offering is a bridge too far for ol’ Dick. Maybe it’s his better instincts showing. Maybe it’s because she’s kind of a butterface.
Before we give Blade too much credit here for not boning someone who is wildly inappropriate for him, I should note that he will more than make up for this by the end of this book.
The next morning, Blade scales the cliffs and proceeds on his way without further interaction with the late Ogar’s tribe. At the top of the cliff is a rising plain “like an uptitled washboard,” with a dark fringe of forest on the distant horizon. As he crosses the plain, Blade encounters no water and nothing to eat, so he proceeds into the forest. There he finds a stream and also: giant bunny rabbits.
Nope, not making that up. These megabunnies have apparently never encountered any kind of predator before and so are not afraid of Blade. He rewards them for their innocent state by murdering and eating one of them
If you think the bunny’s lack of fear is an ominous sign, you’re smarter than Mr. Supersecret Agent Man here.
Blade makes a fire and beds down for the night, only to be awakened by a strange tingling sensation. In an absolutely disgusting scene he discovers that slug-like leaches have come out of the ground and covered his body.
He had gotten over the worst shock and he fought back with revulsion and frenzy and went about the grim business of extermination. It was not easy. They were a solid wriggling and sucking mass on his back, from his anus to his shoulders, and he could not get at them. They writhed around his groin and in his pubic hair.
Blade is ultimately able to use a flaming stick from his campfire to remove the leaches, but he is now badly drained from loss of blood. He resolves to sleep in the trees in the future.
Blade’s next encounter of note is a clearing around a lake. There are people living on the lake – what appear to be normal men and women (the latter, of course, 100% bare-breasted). These humans, however, are slaves to a bunch of ape men, who abuse them and beat them, especially the women. When a female slave goes down from to much work, the apemen beat her to death and then take turns raping her dead body. Blade watches from a distance, but seems disinclined to intervene in this rather horrific scenario.
He does observe, though, one of the youngest and hottest female slaves make a break for it while the apemen are killing another woman. He watches her make it to the forest, where the apemen give up the chase. I’m sure we won’t see her again!!! HA HA HA!
Blade continues through the forest, trapping and killing another giant bunny rabbit. He soon realizes he is being followed. Gasp, who could it be?? Blade makes camp and then sets traps around the campfire. Sure enough, before a long he hears a snap and a scream.
She was well and fairly caught. The thick vine clutched her by her shapely ankles as she dangled five feet off the ground. Naked. It was the female slave whom he had watched escape from the apemen. Blade held the torch high and moved in for an inspection.
This is kinky shit. Who here thinks that, back in the home dimension, Blade is into bondage?
She was young, certainly in her teens, and here again he could see beauty beneath the matted grime that now caked her regular features. Her eyes narrowed at him and glittering green in the torchlight, were well spaced under luxuriant dark brows. Her superb breasts, even as she dangled in this undignified position, did not droop or flop.
This girl is so hot that gravity does not apply to her tits.
Blade asks who she is, and the girl tells him to cut her down and she will tell him her story.
Blade pondered it. She was only a girl, a naked girl without a weapon. There was no possible danger. He severed the vine and let her fall to the ground, all the while conscious that beneath his scanty loincloth of animal skin he was excited.
How excited? Let’s just say that things get rapey quick.
[N]ow he only wanted to penetrate her, then and there, and send his seed bursting into her.
He might have fallen atop her then and there, forced her, willing or not, had she not been too quick for him.
Yes, left to his own devices in the woods, Blade wants to rape an escaped slave girl who is in her teens. What a class act.
The girl attempts to escape. Blade manages to catch her, knock her unconscious, and tie her up. By that time, fortunately, he has put it back in his loincloth, so to speak. When the girl comes around she tells him her name is Ooma. Blade just instructs her to call him ‘master’. (Why not ‘daddy’, Blade? Missed opportunity, big man!)
Ooma tells Blade she is one of the Jedd (so, presumably, Blade will be liberating them). The Jedd live beyond the forest and some high mountains, on a rising plain that is higher still. The Jedd are ruled by an aging empress, called the Jeddock.
Blade, in turn, tells Ooma that he came ‘by magic’ from another world. She doesn’t buy it and accuses him of lying.
“I do not lie,” he said calmly. “I have magic of my own, which I may show you if we remain friends.”
I think we all know that Blade is talking about his… magic wand.
As for my name, it is Blade. That is what you will call me, Blade. Blade master. Try it, Ooma, see how it sounds.
She frowned at him and showed her white teeth, but slowly she pronounced the words: “B-la-de mas-ter. Blade master.”
He nodded. “That is it. It has a good sound on your lips.”
Despite all this filthy talk, Ooma announces that she won’t sleep with Blade. In an effort to win her trust, Blade unties her, at which point she slaps him with a length of vine and runs off into the darkened forest.
Before Ooma has been gone a minute, there is a terrifying animal shriek that “curdles Blade’s blood”. Blade lies down by the fire, and before long Ooma comes creeping back. This time she’s in a more humble frame of mind. Much more humble.
“I am more afraid out here by myself. Let me return. I, I will let you do anything you wish. To me.”
Blade lets Ooma come back to the fire, because hey! She spends some time grooming herself, and of course she cleans up real nice. Blade pays special attention when she starts working on her pubic hair. Then she approaches Blade and spoons with him.
He felt her breasts velvety and firm against his back, the nipples rigid and like warm little needles boring into his flesh.
Warm little needles?!? What the fuck. That is either some shit level writing, or Manning Lee Stokes has not ever actually encountered nipples. But just when you thought this couldn’t get worse, the two of them start getting into some real hanky panky and we get this gem:
She guided him into the sleek, wet, tight and rough-walled grotto.
I… I can’t. I just can’t.
After she and Blade do a bit of the old rumpy-pumpy, Ooma falls asleep. Because he’s such an outstanding dude, Blade leaves her sleeping by the fire and lies down in the shadows so that if any intruder comes into their camp, it will attack Ooma first.
And they say chivalry is dead!
Fortunately, Ooma does not wind up becoming bait during the night. Not that the book treats her much better. The next chapter begins on this winning note:
Ooma turned out to be a chatterbox. When she was not using her tongue for his, and her, sexual gratification, every night after dinner and before sleep, she talked incessantly.
“She only shuts up when he puts his penis in her mouth”? Really, book? Jeez.
Okay okay, let’s focus on the plot here.
Blade has noticed that the land keeps rising steadily as he travels, and theorizes that altitude in this Dimension X must correspond to evolutionary epochs. Way down at the bottom live the prehistoric monsters, then the Neanderthals. Ooma’s Jedd seem to correspond to what we would recognize as baseline humans, although not very advanced ones. Their home lies ahead. But between them and the Jedd, Ooma informs him, are the terrible Api.
Oh, but first I gotta mention this: Blade and Ooma have a little romantic interlude when they stop to bathe in a hot springs. Ooma starts to groom herself, causing Blade to have, and I quote, “an enormous erection.”
Helpless, he watched his flesh dilate, grow and grow until jutted as hard and firm as a steelyard.
That’s good, it had been a while since we got a thorough catalog of the particulars of Blade’s penis.
Ooma objects to this inappropriate display.
“This is not the time for love, Blade master. In darkness, and after food, is better. Can you not control your monster?”
The reason Ooma is objecting is that her people revere a set of scriptures known as the Book of Birkbegn, which apparently states that “sex is only sanctified after the sun has set.” Blade has actually previously encountered an ancient copy of this book in a hollowed out statue right before he ran into the lake people.
Needless to say, Blade overcomes Ooma’s objections and the two of them do some organ grinding their in the springs.
Ok, I just had to share that little tableaux with you. Let’s get back to the main story.
Now, to reach the Jedd, Blade and Ooma need to traverse a wide plain and a steep range of mountains with only one narrow pass. But this entire area is occupied by the Api, who it transpires, are giant, rape-happy ape men. The Api are eight feet tall, armed gorillla men who are smart enough to fight like a military force. So they’re going to be tough opponents for Blade.
(It’s not clear, in case you’re curious, whether these are the same kind of ape-men who were enslaving the lake people or a different brand altogether.)
Ooma has some legitimate concerns about Blade fighting the Api.
“If the Api slay you,” she explained, “they will take me as captive and use me as a common woman for all of them. Unless you kill me first, or I can kill myself.”
Ooma goes into some detail about the horrors of what the Api do to women. Suffice to say, it’s not pleasant.
Ooma is worried enough about gorilla gang-rape as a possible outcome that she demands Blade’s stone knife so that she can cut her own throat if worse comes to worse. For once the gentleman, Blade obliges.
The two of them reach the plain where the Api live, mostly in a series of guard towers that communicate via smoke signals. Blade watches a small troop of Api emerge and begin marching around. The Api have high, weirdly effeminate voices – possibly to assure the reader that despite their great size and aptitude for rape, they’re still not as manly as the heroic Dick Blade!
Blade’s plans, as we have already learned, typically call for some combination of faking, fucking, or fighting his way through any situation. Here, he decides to go for a combination of options one and three. He brashly approaches the Api and demands that he and Ooma be allowed to pass across the plain unmolested. The Api are willing to let Blade pass, but of course they wish to have Ooma in payment. Blade is all like, “no way, come at me bro.”
The Api make a circle around Blade and their leader draws his sword. The other Api have their weapons out and when Blade backs into the ring around him they prod him with the sharp ends of their spears. Blade is in trouble because he now has no way out, and he is not a match for the leader. He starts dodging and parrying but is tiring quickly.
Getting desperate, Blade goes for a Hail Mary of sorts. He jumps up onto his opponent’s chest, and before he can get crushed to death, claws out his eyes. Then, while the Api leader is still in shock, Blade grabs his massive sword. The enraged, blinded Api charges at Blade, impaling himself on the sword and – boom, Blade has won the day.
As is traditional in this kind of fiction, the troop of Api are so awed by this display of prowess that they do not immediately tear Blade limb-from-limb in revenge. Blade seizes the moment to try bluffing his way through again, telling the Api that if they will just let him pass for now he’ll bring them Jedd women. The book is careful to go out of its way to make clear that Blade does not intend to honor this agreement. I’m glad it does so, because with Dick Blade you just never know.
The Api agree to let Blade go, and also to not immediately alert the other Api.
This basically gets Blade and Ooma across the plain home free, but the pass through the mountains is full of more Api – Api who presumably can’t be bribed, bluffed, or bypassed. So Blade decides that they will instead climb the mountains. Naturally, the book informs us that back in the home dimension Blade is an expert mountaineer.
Considering that Blade is wearing only a loincloth and Ooma is buck naked, this is quite a feat. High up in the mountains, it quickly becomes very cold, so Blade heads for a nearby cave. Some kind of large horned animal charges out of the cave, but Blade manages to kill it. Ooma is on the verge of freezing to death, but Blade has a solution. He drags the animal into the cave, cuts it open, and stuffs her inside.
(And yes, I know what you’re thinking. The Empire Strikes Back came out a full decade after this book was published. Now, George Lucas’s original concept for Star Wars was very heavily influenced by pulp and TV serials, a category the Blade series certainly falls into. Of course Liberator of Jedd probably isn’t the first pulp novel ever to use the idea of keeping warm by crawling inside of an animal carcass. But how weird would it be if Lucas had read this book and been influenced by it?!?)
When Blade and Ooma come down the other side of the mountains, they find themselves in an empty, Edenic valley. They are walking hand in hand, naked through the valley. At one point they pass a small shrine and Ooma insists they go in and make love on the altar. Afterwards Blade thinks he spots a giant snake slithering away.
This is… quite the book to try and shoehorn in an Adam and Eve metaphor. Bravo, Mr. Stokes.
Soon Blade and Ooma approach the city of the Jedd, but all is clearly not well there. The city is surrounded by smoking pits. Men clad in yellow are unloading bodies into them. It appears that a plague called the Yellow Death, which kills people with unstoppable manic laughter, is sweeping the city.
Ooma brings Blade to the home of some friends of hers, a fat drunkard named Mok and his two wives. There they are finally given proper clothing.
Blade takes the opportunity to get Mok drunk and pump him for information about the political situation which, is of course, complicated. Stokes has apparently seized yet another opportunity to indulge his taste for labyrinthine plots of thickly layered political intrigue. So, I’ll try to put this in a nutshell:
The old empress of the Jedd is dying. There is a successor in place, a child named Mitgu. But forces are conspiring to see who will really wield power once the old empress is dead. There are five military captains, and then there is the empress’s chief counselor, known as the Wise One. This man has a huge head and is “more brain than body.”
Mok thinks that if the Wise One cannot control the child princess he will have her murdered. With this information, Blade concocts a plan, but first he needs to sober up ASAP.
He got up and staggered outside, put his ringer down his throat and was sick for a long time.
Hooray for bulimia!
Blade kisses the sleeping Ooma and heads out to put his plan into action. What is his plan, you ask? Well it involves murdering a bunch of random people.
No, seriously! See what I mean in Part 2!!!