Hostage to Death by L. Ron Hubbard

Hostage to Death
by L. Ron Hubbard
Multi-cast performance
Produced by Galaxy Audio (2009)
Approx. 2 hours

Once again it’s time to dive into the Golden Age of Stories, when many Americans could get great escapism fiction from pulp magazines.  One of the most prolific pulp fiction writers was L. Ron Hubbard, writing stories from many genres and being published in nearly all the pulps.  This time around we go on a far flung adventure and join up with the French Foreign legion.

I can remember when I was young that a young man would instead of run away and join the circus had the option of running away and joining the Foreign Legion, I think I remember some TV show where a kid threatened to do so but being only 9 years old was talked out of it by his parents.  The French Foreign Legion has been known to be an elite force with training that is more intense than any other military allowing anyone from any nationality to serve the French Army.

This story, “Hostage to Death” was originally published in “Five Novels Monthly” July, 1935 and is an adventure that will lead to double crosses within double crosses.  Legionnaire Officer, Bill Reilly receives a severed hand that serves as a message and a threat.  The hand is that of some unlucky soul that crossed into Abd El-Ulad’s territory and that if nothing is done an Englishwoman, Kay MacArthur’s hand will be sent next, basically challenging the Legion to rescue her.  Knowing it could be a trap, Reilly’s sense of honor overrides and he sends his squad in to rescue the woman.  The good news, the woman is rescued. The bad news, it was a trap and the railroad they were supposed to be guarding is blown up.  Reilly is tried and convicted to 15 years for abandoning his post.

But the Legion has other plans for Reilly.  Now that Reilly is known to be sent to the roughest prison in history the Legion plans for his escape so he can infiltrate another enemy’s camp, that of Abd El-Krim.  Reilly takes to Krim the plans for movement of ammunition and basically sells Krim several trainloads of Legion weapons.  The Legion does this so the enemy can attack and weaken Spain, who is threatening the French.  The problem is that the French have one more plan of doublecrossing Reilly which could put him and Kay MacArthur in the path of certain death.

Once again Galaxy Audio productions along with a superb cast present an adventure from the Stories from the Golden Age.  The sound effects alone put you in the middle of the fight with rattling machine guns and clashing of blades.  You may find yourself ducking the gunshots while trying to rescue the dame while listening.