Wednesday, June 6, 2012
DAMBALLA, by Charles Saunders
Charles Saunders created "Imaro," the first black sword and sorcery hero, over 30 years ago. He made history with that one, folks. Now, with his new novel, DAMBALLA, Saunders has once again made history -- giving us the first black crime-fighting superhero in pulp fiction. But this novel is a lot more than an action-adventure story. This one is set in the world of boxing, in 1938 Harlem. It's film noir and hard-boiled detective, with a wonderful cast of characters. Filled with Nazis, gangsters and jazz, cultural insight, plenty of atmosphere, and a serious subtext dealing with bigotry and racism, this action-packed novel climaxes in one blistering boxing match, and an ending that is both justice served, as well as emotionally satisfying. Saunders knows how to write, how to tell a story and fill it with twists and surprises, and he is an authority on boxing.
Charles encouraged, supported, inspired and mentored many, many writers -- your truly, included. He showed us how to combine tight-plotting, clear, concise prose, and plenty of action with a depth of character uncommon in those long-ago days of sword and sorcery fiction. He has always brought something more to the table, taking S&S and fantasy to new heights, leading the charge all the way. Now, with DAMBALLA, he takes pulp fiction to a whole new level, setting the bar higher for us all: I would be very happy if my fingers could brush that bar, just once.
I highly recommend this novel to anyone who likes a great story with characters who live and breathe. You won't be disappointed. I guarantee it.