Book: Dillon and the Judas Chalice
Author: Derrick Ferguson
Format: PDF E-book
Have had the time to partake of 'Dillon and the Judas Chalice' this morning I have to say I enjoyed it thoroughly. When I first heard of the character, Dillon, I felt he would be a return to the pulps and had a strong resemblance to Doc Savage, Man of Bronze, and indeed, the physical description of Dillon, initally gave me that impression. But Dillon is not Doctor Clark Savage, Jr. The two are spiritual brothers who approach their lives of adventure in disparate ways.
Even in their naming, they represent the age of their existence. Doctor Clark Savage, Jr. comes from an age where legacy was everything, receives his skills, training and equipment from his father, the famed Doc Savage. Dillon, while sharing a pulp heritage reflects a more modern bent using only his first name Dillon and sharing very little of his past with anyone, even his closest compatriots. Besides his amazing physical training received at some point in his youth, with what he claims were Buddhists, and his near-superhuman use of modern weaponry, little is know about Dillon's acquisition of skills or knowledge other than his history of adventuring and clashes with mercenaries, militaries and police forces around the world.
Both men find the lives of the common man worth defending but choose to live apart from them. Savage because he was raised a man apart, both in intellect and in temperament, Dillon because his rough-and-tumble adventuring lifestyle practically demands it, people who are physically close to Dillon risk getting hurt if they can't keep up. Dillon and Doc Savage, seek adventure but have completely different views of life, in general. Dillon is a man's man. He seeks adventure, the grander, the stranger the more exotic, the better he seems to like it. Dillon savors life, he drinks and knows his way around the liquor cabinet, he smokes, and loves a good cigar, he lives life loud and to excess which makes him exactly the opposite of his spiritual brother, Doc Savage, who is despite his superhuman prowess, is shy and retiring, neither drinks, nor smokes, and spends his non-adventuring time in invention, contemplation, honing his scientific skills, exotic training and living up to the example set by his father.
Dillon has excellent physical acumen, his abilities both in stealth, combat and overall kinetic expression, are impressive and expected for the pulp genre. But Dillon surprises in that not only is he intelligent, he is social, something rare for the pulp hero. He has a gift for both gab and storytelling and has the power to inspire trust, instinctively, in people he meets. Between adventures he finds the time to stay well read, well laid, physically fit, able to use anything that shoots bullets, flies, floats or has wheels, seems to love history, has a sense of world politics and knows his way around the globe's police, military and espionage communities, both public and private. Where Doc's stature is one that makes him friendly with police structures, Dillon remains at odds with public police forces, challenges military agencies, and often used or abused by the secret community as a tool or weapon which they believe they can use with impunity. Dillon, unlike Doc, holds a grudge and hates to be used. Dillon does share the respect of police forces, who do appreciate his timely interventions on their behalf, even if they can't always say so.
Neither Doc nor Dillon are on good terms with the idea of family. Clark Savage has a cousin who shares his physical characteristics and genes, but lacks the superior conditioning imposed on him by his very demanding, off-putting father, whose legendary status, Clark spends the rest of his life trying to live up to. Clark, while very attractive to women, seems for the most part, uninterested in women, in his continued quest for perfection. Dillon, whose family has died, what for the reader is currently an unknown death, is a sore spot for him. Both men seems to make his family of their friends and compatriots and even the occasional enemy who survives more than one encounter with them. Their friends tend to be highly skilled operatives themselves, sometimes with questionable morals, but an overwhelming respect for their Hero. Both men have friends willing to lay down their lives and both men see that their friends never have to make that choice, willing to sacrifice themselves first.
Lovers of the pulp era of story-telling will find much to enjoy with the man called Dillon. His adventures are fast, think James Bond fast, with hot cars, great fights, wonderful heroines who don't need rescuing, villains who still retain a sense of honor, manners, class and dignity, even if their moral compasses no longer point North. And those that don't have as many socially redeeming qualities and are just monsters, through and through, they end up getting what's coming to them, delivered Dillon style. Dillon may generate that next wave of larger than life, bad-assed heroes, who still remember the difference between right and wrong and choose to be right. Heroes who understands the world is not fair and that we must shape it if we want fairness. Dillon reminds you, if you want justice, you might have to go out and get it cause nobody's delivering it anymore. Dillon makes his own rules, answering to his refined and educated sense of morality.
Doc Savage has endured for nearly fifty years, an icon of the pulp era. His spiritual brother, Dillon has the chops, the style, and the sensibilities to generate an entire new era of pulp the same way Doc did. He is not Doc Savage, and that's a good thing. As a character, Dillon has plenty of room to grow, new friends to make, new and terrible artifacts to find (or lose), plenty of bad guys in need of a comeuppance, and many an evil dictator whose island lair needs to be hit by their own death ray. Who knows, the next generation of pulp heroes may, one day, if they are lucky, get to compare themselves to him. Dillon rocks!