By. L. Ron Hubbard
Director: Jim Meskimen
Starring: Michael Yurchak, R.F. Daley, Lori Jablons, Jim Meskimen, Richard Ricco
Studio: Galaxy Press
Pub. Date: January 19, 2009
Approx. 2 hours
I know that audiobooks have been around practically my entire life in some form or another, but I have never listened to one until last year when I reviewed several titles from Stories from the Golden Age, which are all by the late L. Ron Hubbard. The majority of the short stories were written during the 1930s and 1940s where there was a boom of magazines on the newsstands. Many of them were cheap looking, made from pulp paper and featured countless adventure tales from well-known writers. Galaxy Press was generous enough to send me a box of audiobooks last month in exchange for my honest review on each one.
My latest audiobook that I listened to this week is titled The Iron Duke (winner of the Earphones Award from AudioFile Magazine) and it originally appeared in the July 1940 issue of Five-Novels Monthly. The plot centers on a weapon smuggler Blacky Lee, who isn't liked by the Nazis and most of Europe due to him selling malfunction weapons. He doesn't have very many friends, beside from his loyal companion Stub Doyle.
Blacky and Stub end up in a strange kingdom called Aldoria, where Blacky comes up with a new scheme. He learns that he is the twin image of the drunken Prince Phillip of the nation and he posses as the prince. Everything is going smoothly until he meets the beautiful Countess Zita, who suspicious of him.
This little kingdom has its secrets. One of them is the underground Communist party that plans on rigging the upcoming election and taking over the nation, but Blacky may be the only one that can stop them.
After listening to several audiobooks by L. Ron Hubbard, one would think that his stories would become predictable for me, but that is not what happened in this engrossing tale that plays out like a feature film from the era. The plot of taking over someone's identity that resembles you, reminds of the classic Mark Twain novel, The Prince and the Pauper and most recently the Selena Gomez film Monte Carlo. There were many twists and turns that kept me glued to headphones. Overall, The Iron Duke is a fun listen with a great voice cast with amazing sound effects. I recommend it to everyone.