Reviews and Recommendations by Mel Odom, Professional Writer

THE SUNS OF SCORPIO by Alan Burt Akers

Dray Prescot The Suns of Scorpio

The Dray Prescot sword and planet books have made every move I have made since I was a kid. I moved the first lot out of my parents’ house when I got married. Then I kept adding to them over the years and moving them from place to place. Unfortunately, they’re in a box somewhere. Fortunately, all of them are now available as ebooks on Amazon. I’ve been meaning to get back to them and Christmas downtime seems as good a time as any.

The Suns of Scorpio is the second book of the series. I’d read it before, decades ago, but I wanted to read it again. Kenneth Bulmer, a long-time science fiction and Pinnacle writer, wrote many of them under the name Alan Burt Akers. I remember being swept away by them when I was a kid.

It was harder getting into this one than I remembered, but it seems as though I had a bit of a problem even then. Bulmer was cranking out about a book a month during that time, and a first-person narrator lends itself to waxing eloquent. I was a little disappointed at the lack of action after the first couple chapters, but Dray was off exploring the Eye of the World and I explored it with him.

Ths book seems to be Bulmer’s riff on Spartacus to a degree. Dray ends up being a slave, then becomes a privateer and a Krozair (martial arts pirate), and finally returns to lead the slave revolt that was hinted at in the earlier pages.

I like the character a lot, and when the story tightens up and things come to a boiling point, I enjoyed myself. There’s still a tendency to breeze through things, and maybe some of the things Dray ends up doing (training and equipping an army under severe taskmasters) is a little easier than it could be, but the story fills out nicely.

Delia of the Blue Mountains, Dray’s love of two worlds, isn’t in this novel, but Dray doesn’t go very long without mentioning her. There’s considerable world-building that is used later on in the series, as well as a host of characters, but the story is a little uneven in spots. Some of these spots really stand out because some of the “cassette tapes” Dray used to record his adventured turned up missing, leaving a big chunk of the story cut out. Which is really okay, but I wonder what Bulmer thought he was doing by arranging that in the narrative.

Despite the fact that the narrative is a lot looser and not as well defined as present-day novels, The Suns of Scorpio stands up and presents a slam-bang pulp style adventure in the style of Edgar Rice Burroughs, which it was meant to do.

Several books in this series are grouped together as “cycles” and are much cheaper to purchase that way.

One Response to “THE SUNS OF SCORPIO by Alan Burt Akers”

  1. I have a bunch of these but never read any. By the time I started picking them up, I was so far behind in the series that I was discouraged.

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