Re-reading the '80s

Every summer I re-read Jilly Cooper's novels. I know, I know, but I'll never forget my teenage self discovering the Rutshire Chronicles, read under the covers. Around the same time I was finding out the wonders of the old Hammer Horrors that used to be shown late at night, Sunday I think, on BBC2. I would sneak downstairs while the rest of the family slumbered, and feast my gaze on Christopher Lee and co. There began a life-long love affair with both Cooper and Lee.

It got me thinking about other books from the time of teen - Harold Robbins, Arthur Hailey, Sidney Sheldon and so on. I was delighted to find that they're available on Kindle now, so I gave Harold Robbins another go.



Well. I hadn't misremembered the steamy scenes, but the story held up really well. From the blurb:

From the author of The New York Times #1 best-selling novel The Carpetbaggers comes a tale of violence, sex, betrayal, revenge and intrigue. The Adventurers is a story of revolution and danger in the sultry jungles of South America.

As a young boy, Diogenes Alejandro Xenos (“Dax”) witnesses the brutal rape and murder of his mother and sister by government troops—experiencing the drama of revolution, loss, and tragedy firsthand. He is sent to Europe by the victorious rebel leader to rebuild his country’s diplomatic and financial status post-revolution, and is immediately thrown into the elite environment of Europe’s jet set society of international bankers and diplomats.

Outwardly, Dax lives a life of privilege as one of the continent’s most sought-after, hedonistic playboys—wanted by men and women alike, but for very different reasons. Inside, however, he channels his fear, anger and hatred for the new regime, which he realizes is as corrupt as the old, into a desire to disrupt the status quo. Once a favorite of the general-turned-dictator, Dax quickly becomes an outlaw in his own country, living on the fringes of society as a rebel hell-bent on a new revolution.

This epic tale of escape from the horrors of a third world regime is one of Harold Robbins’ most ambitious novels ever, combining his trademark sensuality with political intrigue, a globe-spanning variety of exotic locales, and themes that never seem to change—political intrigue, greed, power, money, violence, sex and betrayal.

With Dax Xenos, Robbins thrills and excites us with one of his most memorable and intriguing characters—a flawed and complicated hero.

The Adventurers was one of Robbins’ most successful novels, spending 41 weeks on The New York Times best sellers list. Today, this novel easily proves that Robbins’ compelling prose still has the power to surprise, titillate, and move readers.
— Amazon

Fast paced, wonderfully plotted, I'd recommend giving it a whirl - as long as you can get over all the throbbing this-es and tumescent thats. Highly enjoyable.

And in honour of my celluloid hero's 93rd birthday yesterday: