This is Sam Moffieâ€™s fifth time at the printing press, and each book gets better and better. To Kill The Duke takes the reader back to the 1950â€™s the golden age of Hollywood and also the depths of the Cold War.
Sam openly admits that it is a work of fiction, however it is rooted in fact. To Kill The Duke concerns a soviet plot hatched by Stalin to kill none other than American film icon John Wayne. While this sounds preposterous it is actually true. Some historical documents released by the Kremlin prove that Uncle Joe Stalin did hatch an assassination project and may well have dispatched a couple of agents to the US to carry out the mission.
For the backdrop to the book Sam has selected the 1956 box office disaster The Conqueror, this in itself at first seems the work of some over active neuron activity deep within the over stimulated brain of the author! Lets face it, who in their right mind would make a movie with John Wayne playing the part of Genghis Khan? Well it did happen. Howard Hughes was the money man and Dick Powell was the director.
To Kill The Duke is a masterful piece of penmanship, the author weaves his strange tale through the harsh reality of history. I have a real love of the fictional characters that Sam has created in all of his books. They are always slightly over the top, and delightfully real. For this excursion the reader gets to meet Ivan Viznapu, a would be film maker who finds himself relegated to the position of projectionist for Stalin. As Ivan would say this is Toughski shitski. Of course things could be worse, at least Ivan was not Trotsky Number seven. Now there was a guy with a job that sucked! I will let the reader discover what that might beâ€¦
Not to be left out of the mix is cook â€˜Two Spoonsâ€™ Boris Gila. It is this unlikely group that becomes part of the most secret cold war mission.
Sam Moffie blends these. To share more of the plot would be a great disservice to any reader. To Kill The Duke is a book with some wonderful dark humor combined with a great story line.
In fact it started me on a quest. I had to find out more about The Conqueror. What a journey of discovery. The desert scenes were shot just outside St George, Utah on an A-bomb test ground. Within a decade a large percentage of the people involved in making the film had contracted some form of Cancer.
Jack N. Young is 85. But he remembers The Conqueror, he was a stunt man on the movie, and in fact even gets a mention by Sam Moffie. Jack has survived four bouts with cancer. But does not attribute them to The Conqueror. My investigations also led me to Sylvia Lewis who had a solo dancing role in the film.
To Kill The Duke is a fabulous read, Sam is at the top of his game. The fiction is wonderful fiction, and the facts are historically true.
Â There is also a supporting web site that is worth a visit.