Showing posts with label Gardner F. Fox. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Gardner F. Fox. Show all posts

Monday, March 21, 2022

Rebel Wench

Gardner F. Fox (1911-1986) began writing for the comic book industry in 1937. Throughout his prolific literary career, Fox authored over 4,000 comic books and helped create characters like Hawkman and Flash. While reaching an iconic level within comics, Fox also wrote over 150 paperback originals encompassing genres like science-fiction, fantasy, western, and romance. I recently purchased a Historical Fiction ebook bundle from the Gardner Francis Fox Library. Included was Rebel Wench, originally published by Fawcett Gold Medal in 1955. The book is also available as a paperback reprint and also exists in digital through Wildside Press.

Despite the book's cover, the protagonist of Rebel Wench is Billy Joe Stafford, a plantation owner embroiled in the American Revolutionary War in 1781. In the character's history, readers learn that he is a third generation farmer that was taught to hunt and survive at an early age by a Native American. Stafford is respected by the slaves, including his lifelong servant and friend, Old Gem. His marriage to Laura Lee developed a large rift in 1777 – Stafford joined the Continental Army to fight for independence and Laura became a Tory in support of Great Britain. 

The “rebel wench” of Fox's story is Deborah Treat, a beautiful spy working with the rebels under Brigadier General Daniel Morgan. In the opening chapters, Stafford rescues Deborah from the clutches of an evil brawler, a villain that appears repeatedly throughout the narrative. After dismissing Deborah as a prostitute, he soon learns that she is a sharpshooter, a cunning strategist, and a fierce lover. As an aid to Morgan's Rifles, Stafford and Deborah team up to infiltrate British forces controlled by Cornwallis. 

Central to the plot is a striking love-hate relationship between Stafford and his wife Laura. Stafford wants Laura to join the rebellion, but she's in love with a British Colonel who hopes to take over the plantation once Stafford is killed. There's a bit of heated intrigue surrounding a lavish party where Stafford and Deborah pose as siblings to expose plans created by Cornwallis. In sultry style, Fox seduces readers with a few tepid sex scenes, most of which concern Laura's bedroom romps with both Stafford and the Colonel. My interest was the historical aspect and, for the most part, Fox fills the gaps with a great history lesson on battles and guerilla fighting between armies and divisions up and down America's Eastern Coast. 

Rebel Wench would have easily appealed to the 16 year old boy in the 1950s or American soldiers serving abroad. With plenty of gunfights, fisticuffs, beautiful women, and galloping horses, Gardner Fox absolutely knew his storytelling strengths and what his fans were expecting. If you control your own expectations, there's nothing to dislike about this fun adventure. Recommended.

Buy a copy of this book HERE.

Wednesday, June 16, 2021


Gardner F. Fox (Gardner Francis Cooper Fox, 1911-1986) was a prolific comic book writer who created, or co-created, many legendary characters like Flash, Hawkman, Batgirl and Justice League. Beyond the comic industry, Fox authored stand-alone novels for original paperback publishers like Fawcett Gold Medal, Ace, Signet, Monarch and Belmont Tower. The author contributed to numerous genres including Western, Fantasy, Spy and Romance. My look at Fox's work this month is his career late natural disaster novel called Hurricane. The book was published in paperback format in 1976 by Leisure Books.

The book takes place in the course of a summer in a Northeastern beach hamlet named The Point. This small tourist retreat is comprised of rich residents who work hard and play harder. Fox's story explores a handful of families and the sexual games they play with secret lovers.

Lawyer Trevor Whitehead is having a torrid affair with a neighbor while his wife Connie manages to seduce her son's teenage best friend. Corporate banker Bob Hume offers his hot wife Leona to rich clients in exchange for financial accounts. These are the two plots that explode with passion, lust and sex as Fox skillfully exposes these corrupt characters.

Despite the title of the book, the storm is not mentioned until page 137 of 200. It finally arrives a mere 40 pages before the book comes to an end. Readers looking for a white-knuckled natural catastrophe thriller will find that the "hurricane" is really the sexual chemistry that pervades the surf side. While hurricane survival and rescue attempts consume the last pages of the book, the book is mostly just a sex affair with these characters jumping from bed to bed. 

If you love a romance novel with great sex, Hurricane is sure to please. It did not meet my personal expectations and for the most part left me disappointed by the lack of storm action despite its marketing attempt. 

Buy a copy of this book HERE