IMPERIAL KELLY by Peter Bowen

IMPERIAL KELLY

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KIRKUS REVIEW

 Charming, wily Luther Kelly (Kelly Blue, 1991, etc.) follows orders from a blackmailing Theodore Roosevelt--orders that will take him around the world via Cuba, South Africa, and the Philippines. Mohandas Gandhi, Lady Randolph Churchill and son, William Howard Taft, Butch Cassidy and Sundance, and Philippine patriot Emilio Aguinaldo are among the real-life figures who cross the path of western scout and extremely reluctant US Army Major Luther ``Yellowstone'' Kelly as he does the bidding of America's most ambitious imperialist--the man he calls ``Teethadore.'' The future president persists in sending Kelly, now in his late 40s, to every trouble spot on earth to check out the possibilities for imperial interests. Kelly and Roosevelt are actually in harness in Cuba, where Kelly, as usual, saves the Rough Rider's bacon. Kelly has one politically unrelated and thoroughly profitable escapade, a trek with his San Francisco Chinese tailor to recover a pure jade boulder, the profits from which set Kelly up for life. Kelly sets out to escort the fabulous rock to China but is sidetracked by a typhoon in mid-Pacific and winds up in the middle of the Boer War- -where he runs into his old South African flame, his son Dirk (of whose existence he had been unaware), Young Winston, and Young Winston's mum. Lady Randolph is now Mrs. Cornwallis-West and busy as she can be running a hospital ship. Of course, she's not too busy to minister to the attractive Mr. Kelly for the second time in her life. And Mr. Kelly is certainly not too busy for Lucretia Sams, the gorgeous adulteress he meets on duty in the Philippines.... The ironic ``aw-shucks'' prose style that never lets up will not be to everyone's taste, but Kelly's ribald adventures can usually wear down the resistance of even the most cynical reader as history is revised with a vengeance.

Pub Date: Aug. 1st, 1992
ISBN: 0-517-58285-6
Page count: 272pp
Publisher: Crown
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15th, 1992




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