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Monday, May 21, 2012

Hell's Legionnaire (audiobook) by L. Ron Hubbard

 Join the French Foreign Legion for grit, danger and adventure.

Multicast performance  
Published by Galaxy Audio
Duration: 2 hours, 18 minutes

First published in the magazine Mystery Adventures in 1935 , Hell's Legionnaire is part of a large series of books and stories that are being re-published by Galaxy Press as part of their Golden Age Stories series. In reality, they are a collection of L. Ron Hubbard's early works that were published in magazines and as pulp fiction books. Hubbard was a prolific writer and he wrote a lot of action stories that translate quite well into the multicast performance audiobook format. The book is performed by several cast members with sound effects and are reminiscent of the old-time radio shows that were popular when the stories were written.

This audiobook consists of three short stories. All of the stories are about the famed French Foreign Legion and their fights with the Berbers in North Africa. The first is the title story. Hell's Legionnaire features a member of the Foreign Legion who has gone AWOL because he has killed an officer in self-defense. As he is fleeing, he stumbles across a Berber camp that has taken a group of American geographers prisoner and has tortured and killed them all, except for one beautiful woman. The escaping Legionnaire must decide if she should save her and possibly lose his own life (to the Berbers or to the French).

The second story, The Barbarians, is the best of the three stories, but also the most gruesome. It features graphic violence and details a torture scene. When the head of a legionnaire is sent to a Legion fort in a box, Captain Jack Harvey is sent out to find Caid Kizigh, the Berber tribal leader who is responsible. Of course, lots of violence and mayhem ensue.

The last story, The Squad That Never Came Back, is a sad commentary on human nature. It is the longest story (at 1 hour, 10 minutes it is longer than the other two stories combined). It tells the story of a corporal who leads an eight man squad out on a patrol only to find that the Berbers are a dangerous enemy, but gold-crazed legionnaires are even worse. It turns out several of his men know where a ancient stash of gold and jewels are hidden in an ancient Roman city and some of them are determined to get it  - and get rid of everyone who could claim a share of it.

I rate this audiobook 4 stars out of 5.

This audiobook can be found on Amazon.com here: Hell's Legionnaire.

Reviewed on May 21, 2012.

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