Hunt for Adventure

From the towers of Manhattan to the jungles of South America, from the sands of the Sahara to the frozen crags of Antarctica, one man finds adventure everywhere he goes:


Backed by the resources fo the $100 million Hunt Foundation and armed with his trusty Colt revolver, Gabriel Hunt has always been ready for anything – but is he prepared to enter . . .

The Cradle of Fear

When a secret chamber is discovered inside the Great Sphinx of Egypt, the mystery of its contents will lead Gabriel to a rmote Greek island, to a stone fortress in Sri Lanka . . and to a deadly confrontation that could decide the fate of the world!

Perspective: Although the flavor text set the novel in my shopping cart, it was the cover art that made me pick it up.  This book looks like a pulp-era adventure story.  I expected Indiana Jones in a modern day setting, and I was not entirely misled. I love the pulps – simple stories for a simpler time, full of derring-do, swashbuckling, mysterious lands, and unfathomable mysteries.  Those stories contain a clarity of purpose and characterization in stark contrast to the conflicted and enlightened leading man of today.  I bought this book desiring a return to that kind of clarity.

Background: Hunt Through the Cradle of Fear is book two of the Gabriel Hunt series from Dorchester Publishing.  It is marketed through their “Action/Adventure” line, and may be found in discount stores, book stores, online, or through Dorchester’s own book club.  The series revolves around Gabriel Hunt, a modern-day millionaire adventurer.  The central conceit of the series is that Gabriel is relating these accounts to ghost authors, and that the stories are factual accounts.  Gabriel Hunt may be found online at his website: Hunt for Adventure.

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Characters (Pass/Fail) – Pass

In point of fact, Gabriel Hunt owes more to Doc Savage than Indiana Jones, both in story format and character.  This is unabashed action-adventure suits the character of Gabriel Hunt and his supporting cast just fine.  The book does not suffer from in-depth exploration of psyche, drawn-out emotional passages, or drama hinging upon a critical moment of self-doubt.  These characters are portrayed cleanly, starkly, and without apology.  Even those moments when Gabriel reflects on the fate of his parents are indulged in only for the reader’s required information.

Story (Pass/Fail) – Pass

There are no complications in this story: it is exactly what it describes itself as – a confrontation between good and evil, with the fate of the world (and often the well-being of our hero and heroine) hanging in the balance.  Not to say there are no plot twists are unforeseen complications, these things actually drive the action from scene to scene, but the point of the story is to take the reader on the printed equivalent of a thrill ride, with strategic breaks so that he might pause to appreciate the scope or mystery of what’s coming next.  The front cover describes the book as “escapism at its best”, and it is true.  Do not look here for philosophy, cultural commentary, or cleverness.  Just action.  When the climactic scene finally unfolds, not only has it been beautifully set up, but the payoff is grandly accomplished with a final, nail-biting denouement.

Complexity (Pass/Fail) – Pass

Possibly drawing inspiration from its pulp roots, each chapter of Hunt Through the Cradle of Fear sets out to depict a sequence or scene with clarity and completeness.  Little effort is wasted on extraneous things like metaphor, foreshadowing, parallellism, or witty social commentary; this story is solitarily about the action, and it executes well.  Chapters are well-sized, leaving the reader with convenient bookmark locations at logical breaks in the action.  The reader is under no pressure to commit large chunks of time to reading portions of the book; it may be enjoyed at will.

Content (Pass/Fail) – Pass

In spite of the lurid reputation of the pulps, this book contains no such material.  There is a single scene in which a woman undresses for a shower, but it is neither dwelt upon nor gratuitously described; the book contains no sexual material other than this.  Action sequences are tense, violent, dramatic, and deadly, without being gory or offensive.  The language is generally acceptable, notwithstanding the occasional curse; abusive language is not employed, and curse-bombs are few and far-between.

Shelf-Life (Pass/Fail) – Pass

This book can be read multiple times without diminishing its enjoyment.  It may be loaned or given to others without fear of reprisal.  The cover design looks nice whether  spine-on or displayed facing.  The content is not culturally or generationally specific, and so will be enjoyed equally by a wide audience.  The book leaves the reader with a desire for more adventure of this kind, a sure selling point for the rest of the series.

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