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The Zeppelin Destroyer: Being Some Chapters…

The Zeppelin Destroyer: Being Some Chapters of Secret History

by William Le Queux

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This book came out in 1916, and takes place around then, as well, detailing the development of a weapon that will ignite the gas-bags in Zeppelins-- to my disappointment, the "Zeppelin Destroyer" means a destroyer of Zeppelins, not a Zeppelin that destroys. The protagonists, just like le Queux's later Terror of the Air, are a British aeronaut and his plucky flying fiancée.

It's not as science fictional as many of its contemporary proto-sf stories, nor even as science fictional as le Queux's other works: it's a pretty conventional spy/war story, with some military policy critique in the style of The Battle of Dorking or The Riddle of the Sands, with characters explaining to each other that they have nothing personally against the defence departments, and they're sure they're trying their hardest, but couldn't they institute better airraid warnings? There's also some pretty good scenes of mass destruction when the Zeppelins are attacked.

I was amused that the narrator admires his fiancée for not acquiring any hardness of feature despite her outdoor exploits, and doesn't seem to recognize the dissonance a couple hundred pages later when he complains that too many women wear makeup these days.
  Stevil2001 | May 23, 2016 |
It is 1915 and England is under attack by German Zeppelins who are bombing the country with impunity. Claude Munro,his friend Teddy Ashton and Munroe's girl,Roseye Lethmere are all intrepid flyers. They are engaged upon a series of inventions,designed to halt the Zeppelin air superiority. They finally manage to invent a means of transmitting an electrical impulse that will blast the airships out of the sky. After several abortive attempts by German secret agents to sabotage this invention and to kill Claude,they kidnap Roseye and subject her to various unspecified tortures. So far so good - an exciting and original tale with excellent descriptions of aviation in it's fairly early days. Loses out a little when the German 'Invisible Hand' organization together with the leader,the 'woman with the leopard eyes',which started out so well,is quite simply dropped at the end of the book without further reference. It is nevertheless still a thrilling read. ( )
  devenish | Sep 28, 2011 |
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