As I’ve pointed out with other of Philip José Farmer’s ‘Wold Newton’ books, many of the characters, especially those who have an active copyright were thinly disguised under different names. Here we have a jungle man, John or Jack Cloamby aka Lord Grandrith, who is all but Tarzan and Doctor Caliban with the remaining two of his entourage who is all but Doc Savage. However, similarities from there on barely touch. Cloamby really is a naked wild-man, prone to erections in acts of violence and will eat anything, humans included, if he’s hungry enough. Caliban is a law unto himself, committing brain surgery on felons he apprehends (which actually Doc Savage himself did) but is forever seeking new challenges and he has Cloamby in his sights. Oddly, both men are also immortal, although neither were affected by the crashed meteorite in Wold Newton. They both were granted extended life by regular visits to Uganda to drink a water elixir from a protected source.
In fact, apart from Caliban wanting to kill Cloamby because he believes the latter killed his blood-relative Trish Wilde, they are both due for the elixir. Thing is, the Nine who supervise its dispersion have finally lost one of their number to old age and the duo will have to fight to the death to accept the honour or no more elixir for the survivor. Before he can do that, Cloamby has to return to Ireland to rescue his wife, Clio, from Noli, whom he recently escaped and whom Caliban had sent there to kill her. There’s a bit more in the detail but that’s spoiler.
I should point out that the sexual detail is explicit but not necessarily pornographic – that is in terms of gratification sort if you see what I mean. Farmer was known for the sexual content of his books and until this book, I thought this was over-blown. This one isn’t so should be kept out of the hands of minors. The Afterword by Arthur Sippo puts everything in context and might actually be worth reading before the main book.
Even so, Farmer is still an excellent storywriter and even despite the often graphic violence as well, everything is put in context and makes sense. As there are more books in this series and Titan Books are committed to releasing them, then ‘A Feast Unknown’ is only the start of the meal. Don’t go hungry.
(pub: Titan Books. 303 page small enlarged paperback. Price: £ 7.99 (UK), $12.95 (US), $15.95 (CAN). ISBN: 978-1-78116-288-0)
check out websites: www.titanbooks.com