Thursday, February 21, 2013

Review - Under the Black Ensign

Under the Black Ensign
By: L. Ron Hubbard
Director: Jim Meskimen
Voices: Marisol Nichols, R.F. Daley, Jim Meskimen, Phil Proctor, Thomas Silcott, Michael Yurchak
Studio: Galaxy Press
Release Date: September 8, 2008
ISBN: 978-1592123339
Running Time: Approx. 2 hours


The golden age of the 1930s and 1940s was otherwise known as the Pulp Fiction Era as the newsstands were overflowing with magazines. Some were the fancy, glossy magazines and the rest had ragged trims, vivid covers, cheap brown pulp paper, and very cheap prices. These pulp magazines were full of stories ranging from adventures on the high sea to quests on other planets. Galaxy Press has been releasing L. Ron Hubbard's short stories from that era onto audiobooks under the Stories from the Golden Age, which they sent me a complimentary copy of Under the Black Ensign in exchange for my honest review.

Under the Black Ensign was originally released in the August 1935 issue of Five Novel Monthly and centers on the first mate of the ship Randolph, Tom Bristol, who happens to be forced in becoming a crewman aboard the British HMS Terror led by Sir Charles. The crew aboard the military ship is treated horrible. Trouble occurs for Tom when he is accused of trying to kill someone with a marlinspike. Then the unthinkable happens! The HMS Terror is attacked and taken over by a band of deadly pirates!

Instead of being taken prisoner, Tom gets appointed to navigator for the now pirate ship HMS Terror, but trouble seems to follow the poor lad. He is soon accused of killing a fellow shipmate and for knowing that an ensign happens to be a Lady. For punishment, he is marooned on a deserted island. He is left with a supply of water and a gun with only a few bullets. As it turns out, he is not exactly alone on the island. After some quick thinking, Tom comes up with a plan for revenge.

Swashbuckler adventures in books and movies (except for Pirates of the Caribbean films) are a thing of the past and it is nice to see Galaxy Press bringing this lost sea tale onto an audiobook with a great voice cast and amazing sound effects that made me feel like I was actually there on HMS Terror. There are many similarities between Under the Black Ensign and The Curse of the Black Pearl. The part when Tom Bristol get left behind on an island reminds of when Captain Jack Sparrow got kicked of the ship and left on the island with Elizabeth Swan. Overall, I more than enjoyed listening to this thrilling sea adventure. Under the Black Ensign has a wonderfully written plot with matching dialogue that will satisfy any swashbuckler!

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