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Thursday, 2 September 2010

Pulp Adventures 2 & 3


First Published in August 1933 - 256 pages

Biggles and Algy go to visit Biggles' Uncle. Biggles used to called his father 'Pa' and when he was a toddler called his father's brother, Dick, 'Dickpa' - and the name has stuck ever since. Biggles and Algy find Dickpa's house in a state of siege. Whilst exploring in Brazil, Dickpa had struck the trail of some ancient treasure, but his villainous porters found out and turned against him. Escaping to England, they have followed him and have him trapped in his own house. Biggles escapes from the house with a plan. Returning with a rented aircraft, Dickpa and Algy are rescued from the house and together with Biggles' old Flight Sergeant, Smyth, they all travel to South America on a treasure hunt. They have bought a plane and shipped it out with them. Arriving at Manaos, a settlement on the Amazon River, they find trouble. Dickpa is arrested and thrown into jail by a corrupt official. Biggles gets him out, with the help of Algy and Smyth and they make a getaway in their amphibian aircraft, which they have named the 'Condor'. Suffering a magneto failure, Biggles is forced to land on the river. Here, they are caught up by the current and swept towards the falls. Smyth manages to fix the problem in time for Biggles to fly off the falls just as they go over. Landing, Biggles goes off to explore. When he returns, Indians have captured the rest of the crew of the 'Condor'. Trailing after them to their camp, Biggles uses flares to scare the Indians away and save his comrades. Moving to a safer place, the adventurers travel to where Dickpa has previously found gold in a cave. Here they find that there has been a rock fall and they have to spend time clearing it. On the return journey, they are shocked to see another plane - the villains are after them again. Returning to the 'Condor', they find it has gone! Guessing that the baddies have spotted it from the air and landed to tow it away, Biggles realises that it must be down river. Crossing the Amazon on a Balsa raft to where he knows there is an abandoned canoe, Biggles is able to get them transport. Biggles, Algy, Dickpa and Smyth find the 'Condor' and steal it back. Parachuting down to ensure a safe landing area, Biggles watches Algy land and they all make camp. Next morning they and the 'Condor' are attacked by ants. Returning to Dickpa's cave, there is an earthquake and everybody is trapped inside. Smashing their way through a man made wall, a path is found that eventually leads to the top of a plateau. Here they find a vast crater and in it, an old long lost city. Here, the bodies of the long dead inhabitants remain and eventually a huge room filled with a fabulous treasure is found. Taking a few portable items, they plan to return to the 'Condor' and fly up and land on the plateau. Biggles is the first to cross a precarious bridge made out of a tree, when an earthquake strikes and he is lucky to make it to the other side before the bridge collapses. Embarking on a dangerous journey alone, Biggles is attacked by a huge bird called a King Condor and has to survive numerous perils on the small cliff side path. Failing to jump a gap, Biggles falls into a waterfall and is washed to the bottom of the cliff. Surviving this, he is then shocked to find a man in their aeroplane. The man, called Aaron Speakdetruf, has escaped from virtual slavery in a rubber plantation. He helps Biggles to take off and watches him do so - only to be cruelly murdered by Blattner, one of the enemy, who has just arrived - moments too late to stop Biggles. Biggles lands on the plateau and the plan is to load the treasure and fly to Bolivia. However, at that moment the volcano where the plateau is situated, erupts and our heroes are lucky to escape with their lives. Flying away in the 'Condor' they are then attacked by the baddies plane. This plane is armed with a machine gun and Biggles has no armaments. Algy uses an oil drum as a missile and brings the enemy plane down. Flying to Bolivia, the 'Condor' becomes fog bound and eventually lack of fuels means that Biggles has to make a forced landing. Surviving this, Dickpa notices the strange ore in the rocks where they have crash landed. They have discovered silver! Their adventures at an end, they return to England, this time by boat. Having some items of the original treasure and after securing a mining concession on the silver, it has all be very worth while.

First Published in May 1942 - 191 pages

Biggles, Algy and Ginger are flying an amphibian called the Wanderer to Central America to examine the possibilities of an air service between British possessions on the mainland and the West Indies. Stopping at Belize, Biggles looks up an old friend called Carruthers who is acting Governor there. Carruthers tells Biggles of a problem he is having with the so called 'King of the Forest', who is interfering with supplies of chicle (the sap of a tree used as a basis for making chewing gum) - the colony's most important export. Biggles offers to use his aircraft to help out, as Belize has no air force. Starting by exploring the so called 'unknown river', Biggles comes across a wounded native chicle collector, they nickname 'Dusky'. Dusky had been shot whilst escaping virtual slavery by a man called Cristoval Bogat. Dusky has a story to tell. Bogat is the right-hand man for the 'King of the Forest'. Carruthers and his assistant Marcel Chorro visit Biggles. Carruthers swears in our three heroes as special constables in order to enable them to deal with the 'King of the Forest'. After flying Carruthers and Chorro back, Biggles finds his aircraft has been sabotaged. Bogat and his associates attack Biggles' camp and our heroes are forced to fly off. Ginger spots an old ruined city on a plateau in the mountains and Biggles lands in order to explore. They discover a huge staircase carved in the side of the mountain that leads down to the jungle. Dusky thinks this may lead to where he was held captive as he recalls seeing steps carved into a mountainside. Biggles and Ginger go down to explore and accidentally meet the 'King of the Forest' in his own base. Captured, they are put into a cage divided into two, with a Panther in the other half. The plan is to feed them to the panther. Algy, who had been left with the aircraft, sets off on the long trek down the mountain steps and is able to rescue Biggles and Ginger. Pursued up the steps, our heroes get away in their aircraft but not before a bullet has holed their fuel tank and forced them to land on the river. Here they face a number of perils before they are able to obtain more fuel sent to them by Carruthers. A storm-swollen river forces Biggles to take off without Algy, Ginger and Dusky. Biggles flies back to Carruthers to report on progress so far. Whilst he is away, Algy and Ginger are captured by natives and meet up with another captive, an American called Eddie Rockwell. Eddie has come to Belize on a treasure hunt but his business partners had betrayed him and left him to die in the forest. Bogat attacks the native village and captures the three white men and takes them to the 'King of the Forest'. Biggles returns and Dusky is able to tell him what has happened. Following on, Biggles finds himself returning to the mountain plateau via the lengthy flight of steps. Algy, Ginger and Eddie are being used, amongst others, as slave labour to dig for the treasure. The two men who abandoned Eddie have now joined forces with the 'King of the Forest'. Biggles, disguised as a native, joins Algy and Ginger and later helps them shoot their way out. Ginger however, has discovered a secret chamber whilst digging. After the initial escape, our heroes hide in an abandoned house on the plateau but later under the cover of darkness, they move to hide in Ginger's hidden chamber. Biggles goes to scout around and whilst he is away, the house where they were hiding is blown up. Unbeknown to Biggles, this has the result of trapping Algy, Ginger and Eddie. Biggles returns to find Dusky who he had previously left when he joined the slave labour party. Returning down the steps, Biggles captures Bogat and Chorro who has been betraying our heroes. During an attack by native Indians, both Bogat and Chorro are killed. Returning to the aircraft, Biggles and Dusky fly back to Carruthers and return with a small army in order to take the King's base. Meanwhile, Algy, Ginger and Eddie have found a secret passage that has lead them to the treasure. Further exploration helps them find a way out. Meeting up with Biggles and his reinforcements, the King of the Forest is captured and taken back to civilisation to be tried.

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