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[BOOK REVIEW] The Last Hero (AKA The Saint Closes The Case) By Leslie Charteris 1930

Seb Toombs

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It will soon be Christmas and I wanted to share one of my favorite books of all time - If you get a wee bit of fun reading time you may well enjoy this...

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"“From battle, murder, and sudden death, Good Lord, deliver us!’’ ’ he quoted once. ‘How can any live man ask for that? Why, they’re meat and drink – they’re the things that make life worth living! Into battle, murder, and sudden death, Good Lord, deliver me up to the neck! That’s what I say . . .’" (This may sum up how we feel about our favorite game!)

So the Saint gives his life rule ... This book is wondrful! Technically the third Saint book after Meet The Tiger and Enter The Saint it was actually the first Saint novel published by Hodder & Stoughton and kind of kicked off the whole series. Charteris wished he'd never written 'Tiger' and 'Enter' was a rewrite of some earlier 'Thriller Magazine' short stories, published within a few months of Last Hero, in order to give some background to the Saint.
Originally known by the much better title 'The Last Hero' and published in 1930 we meet a young, fearless, energetic, poetic, idealistic and inspirational Saint.

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This super rip roaring adventure of yesteryear, is a wholesome Good vs Evil thriller where The Saint and his Cherubs battle even their own country to save Europe from another War, and the world from an invention so terrible that no right thinking person would ever want on the battlefield. Sadly, there is much worse now, so this remains a period piece set firmly in 1930. Having said that its a weapon we might find pretty handy in the bocage!!

In indignation the Saint sums up his distaste for this weapon in this dialogue with the scientist that invented it...

"In England today there are thousands of men blind, maimed, crippled for life, who might have been whole now. There are as many again in France, Belgium, Germany, Austria. The bodies that God gave, and made wonderful and intricate and beautiful – torn and wrecked by your science, often made so hideous that men shudder to see them . . . Does science need no justification for that?’</blockquote>

‘That is not my business.’ Says the Scienist, motivated by money and power, and in so doing seals his fate!

There is a nobility in this story, a beauty and morality too. The sentiment, ‘Nothing is won without sacrifice.’ appears as a theme throughout the book and is found on the 'Last Hero's' lips, who interestingly, is not The Saint, despite, sarcastically the book's villian awarding Templar that epithet.

There is some wonderful, sparkling old fashioned dialogue, I loved this to the villian, "Weren’t you the stern of the elephant in the circus my dear old grandmother took me to just before I went down with measles? Or were you the whatsit that stuck in the how’s-your-father and upset all our drains a couple of years ago?’"

And this to the love of his life, "Oh, Pat, dear lass, I love you too much to be unselfish! I love your eyes and your lips and your voice and the way your hair shines like gold in the sun. I love your wisdom and your understanding and your kindliness and your courage and your laughter. I love you with every thought of my mind and every minute of my life. I love you so much that it hurts. I couldn’t face losing you. Without you, I just shouldn’t have anything to live for . . . And I don’t know where we shall go or what we shall do or what we shall find in the days that are coming. But I do know that if I never find more than I’ve got already – just you, lass! – I shall have had more than my life . . .’"

Brilliant!

I loved this period thriller and believe it well worth your time! https://www.amazon.co.uk/Saint-Clos...swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1544810590&sr=8-1

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(An updated review based on a review I published on Goodreads under my real name)
 
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julianj

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Never read the books but the TV series stuck in my mind as a "young 'un" and I can hear the theme music right now. Roger Moore is supernaturally handsome.
 
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