It was all a great mystery. Who was this man called Dan Thunden who claimed he was one hundred and thirty years old? Did he really have the secret of the fountain of youth? What was this island called Fear Cay that spelled horror and death? What was the strange thing that turned men to bone? These were the mysteries that Doc Savage and his fearless crew had to solve at peril of their very lives.
192 pages with a reading time of ~3 hours (48234 words), and first published in 1934. This DRM-Free edition published by epubBooks, 2016.
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One of two pedestrians walking on a New York street turned, pointed at the big bronze man they had just passed, and said earnestly, “I wouldn’t trade places with that bird for a million bucks!”
The pedestrian’s companion also looked at the bronze man.
“You said it,” he agreed. “I wouldn’t last a day in his shoes, if half of what I’ve heard is true.”
If the bronze man was aware of their attention, he gave no sign. Many persons turned to stare at him; newsboys stopped shouting abruptly when they saw him; but the bronze man merely went on with long, elastic strides.
“He’s not often seen in public,” some one breathed.
“And no wonder!” another exclaimed. “The newspapers say his enemies have made countless attempts to kill him.”
The heads of the tallest individuals on the New York street did not top the bronze man’s shoulders. He was a giant. Yet it was only the manner in which he towered above the throng that made him seem as huge as he really was, so symmetrically perfect was his great frame developed.
“They say he can take a piece of building brick in one hand and squeeze it to dust,” offered a man.
Huge cables of sinew enwrapped the bronze man’s neck, and enormous thews stood up as hard as bone on the backs of his hands. There was a liquid smoothness about the way they flowed.
Persons who saw the metallic man’s eyes made haste in getting out of his path. Not that the eyes were threatening, but there was something about them that compelled. They were like pools of flake-gold, those eyes, and the gold flakes were very fine and always in movement, as if stirred by diminutive, invisible whirlwinds.
Strange eyes! They held power, and the promise of an ability to do weird things.
Two policemen on a corner saluted the bronze giant enthusiastically.
“Hello, Doc Savage,” they chorused.
The mighty man who looked as if he were made of metal acknowledged the greeting with a nod and went on. His features were strikingly regular, unusually handsome in an emphatic, muscular way.
More than one attractive young stenographer or clerk felt herself inexplicably moved to attempt a mild flirtation the instant she saw the big bronze fellow. But the amazing giant had a manner of not seeming to see such incidents.
The bronze man came to a section where the sidewalk was almost deserted. He stopped.
On the walk before him lay a small object of leather. Stooping, he picked it up.
The article was a pocketbook of good quality, and its plumpness hinted at a plentiful content. The sinewy cables on the bronze man’s hands flowed easily as he opened the purse.
There was a popping sound, such a noise as might have been made by a stubborn cork being pulled from a bottle. Instantly after that, the bronze man dropped the wallet, and it slithered along the sidewalk for a few feet before coming to a rest.
The man’s arms became slack, his strikingly handsome head slumped forward, and he began to weave slightly from side to side. Suddenly, as if a master nerve controlling all of the muscles in his mighty frame had been severed, he collapsed upon the street.
Numerous individuals saw the bronze giant drop, but one was nearer than the others. This man was a bulky fellow with an extremely long nose, a round puncture of a mouth, and a skin which was flushed redly, as if the fellow were very warm. One thing particularly outstanding about the man’s appearance was the manner in which he always seemed to be perspiring a little.
The man carried a small, plain black leather case.
He ran toward the prone form of Doc Savage, swooping enroute to pick up the pocketbook which the bronze man had been examining an instant before he collapsed. This went into a pocket.
Reaching Doc Savage, the perspiring man sank to a knee. As he placed his black leather case on the sidewalk, it came open–and those curious persons who ran up, saw that it held a doctor’s equipment.
“This man has been stricken by heart failure!” the man said loudly, after a brief examination.
A taxicab swerved to the curb and the driver craned his neck. The perspiring man stood erect and beckoned sharply at the hackman.
“Give me a hand!” he shouted. “We’ve got to rush this big fellow to an emergency hospital to save his life!”
The taxi driver tumbled from his machine, ran over and lent his aid to moving the recumbent Doc Savage. The hackman was burly, but the two of them grunted and strained, so heavy was the giant bronze form they were carrying to the cab.
A cop pounded up, puffing. “Begorra, what’s goin’ on here?”
“Heart trouble,” he was told. “The big bronze fellow had an overworked heart, and it caved on him.”
They managed to haul Doc Savage into the cab. The long-nosed man, perspiring somewhat more freely, dashed back, got his bag of instruments, and piled into the taxi.
“Begorra, I’m goin’ along,” said the cop.
“Is that necessary?” snapped the sweating man.