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Another Cleary man-of-action hero saves George V from assassination in India. . . but meets his match in an American newspaperwoman. In 1911, Clive Farnol of British intelligence hears rumors that certain princes want to kill King George, who is coming to Delhi for his coronation as Emperor of India. Clive's superior officer scoffs at him--but, on a trip from Simla to Kalka (along with Boston Globe reporter Bridle O'Brady and the Ranee of Serog, Clive's sometime mistress), it becomes clear that someone's trying to kill Clive. First the train is stopped by a landslide caused by dacoits--and the party must detour to the palace of the Ranee's mad brother Prince Mahendra. Meanwhile Clive has been attacked by an assassin; still another assassin kills the Nawab of Kalanpur's favorite wife, who takes a bullet meant for Clive. But, amazingly, Clive has not been wounded once, though he almost drowns when a rope bridge gives way beneath an elephant (Bridle and his faithful servant Karim save him). The villains? Obviously: Prince Mahendra, the Nawab, and his cousin Prince Sankar, who draw straws to see who will kill George in the presentations line at the crowning. And chosen king-killer Mahendra will first strangle his sister the Ranee (a nymphomaniac). . . and is about to plunge his jeweled dagger into George V when Clive takes the blade into his own chest. (He'll survive, of course.) A deathproof hero, exotic villains, sprinklings of sex and scenery: old-fashioned derring-do for fans of zesty, unsophisticated period adventure.

Pub Date: March 15th, 1982
Publisher: Morrow