Thursday, May 06, 2010

Madeleine Brent/Peter O'Donnell:
An Appreciation.

While most items around the Internet about the writing career of Peter O'Donnell, who died on Monday at age 90, have focused on the intrepid Modesty Blaise, only the Times of London and the Guardian have (briefly) mentioned his alter ego: Madeleine Brent, author of nine romantic suspense novels. These are splendid looks into historical periods (e.g., the Boxer Rebellion in Moonraker's Bride, 1973) with heroines who are consistent with their time yet possess enormous strength and courage. One (Heritage of Shadows, 1983) had a shocking revelation about the heroine that readers do not guess, although the clues are there for all to see (no spoilers here). The supporting characters are just as well crafted as the protagonists; a particularly delightful episode in Merlin's Keep (1977) features a family attempting to best government bureaucrats.  My sister is very fond of a cranky elderly general in Moonraker's Bride who tells one of the male characters regarding the heroine, "She's worth ten of you, you young rip.").

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