Citadel of Fear

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Author: Francis Stevens (Gertrude Barrows Bennett)
Published: 1918
Language: English
Wordcount: 64,493 / 184 pg
Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease: 75
LoC Category: PS
Downloads: 4,234
Added to site: 2007.06.09 17287

"The stupendous fantasy of the Aztec hounds turned loose on the modern world!" A lost world story that focuses on a forgotten Aztec city rediscovered during World War I.

Show Excerpt

shman's dusty boot. Foreseeing trouble for the young lady, he stooped and gently disengaged her.

"I've a little sister at home, colleen," he said, "that's the spit and image of yourself, save she's the eyes like blue corn-flowers. Don't you be crying, now. We'll see each other again."

As she still clung, her father stooped, lifted her and faced her about in the desired direction. "Go--in!" he commanded, with a gentle sternness that this time won obedience.

Boots looked at her regretfully, for he liked children. He was, indeed, to see her again, as he had promised; but not to know her--not though that recognition would have saved him terrible and bitter pain. But now she was to him only a small girl-child, who went at her father's insistence, and going turned to wave a chubby and reluctant farewell.

Upon her disappearance the fathers manner relaxed.

"You took me by surprise," he explained. "We are seldom favored with guests here, but I meant no inhospitality. You come from --


Average Rating of 2 from 1 reviews: **

This book starts promisingly enough as a relatively decent lost civilization story. It starts quickly and grabs the reader with an interesting, larger than life adventurer. Until the halfway point, I found it rather enjoyable.

But at the meridian this decent lost civilization story somehow descends into a plodding, lackluster detective story. Some connection with the interesting first half is hinted at but much more than is necessary is left to the imagination of the reader.

This might not be a problem if the first half of the book were not painted so vividly. The effect is almost as if the author had penned a good short story and then attempted to extend it into a novel. In this respect, the attempt was a failure.

Nevertheless, though the first half eclipses the second, loose ends abound in this story. Interesting story lines are picked up; half explored, and then dropped in favor of the main plot. It also suffers some fairly jarring quantum shifts. At several points, I found myself with furrowed brow attempting to find some continuity and regain my understanding of what was going on.

Perhaps this is the author's style. But portions of the story are detailed so painstakingly and written so well in comparison that I find it difficult to attribute these anomalies to anything less than lack of skill.

There was a moment of anxiety towards the end that I must concede raised the hairs on the back of even my jaded neck. But unfortunately it was short lived and tangled in an obtuse mess of half realized imagery and broken consciousness.

Citadel of Fear is certainly not the worst book I have ever read. But from the halfway point until the end I did find it an absolute chore to read. It's a shame. It started out well and held much promise. I really wanted to like it.

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