He’s a lady’s man, a man’s man—and a wanted man, on the run in 1930s Europe.
Meet Blacky Lee, ruggedly handsome with a quick wit and a roguish charm—with larceny in his heart and a price on his head. A price put there by the German Gestapo. But Blacky’s always got an angle, and this time it’s as audacious as they come. He’ll hide in plain sight, impersonating the crowned head of a Balkan kingdom. He’ll become The Iron Duke.
Can he pull it off? Win the love of a country … and of a beautiful woman? All Blacky has to do is risk everything—and, for once in his life, find a way to do the right thing.
“Filled with realistic sound effects and a classic film noir atmosphere, this inspired and well-polished entertainment will immerse listeners.”—Publishers Weekly
* An AudioFile Award Winner
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
L. Ron Hubbard and Clark Gable were fast friends and fellow adventurers. While Mr. Hubbard was writing for Columbia Pictures in 1937, the studio often called upon him to doctor scripts for Gable—giving him a unique knowledge of the man and inspiration for characters like Blacky Lee.
The Iron Duke Glossary
Stories from the Golden Age reflect the words and expressions used in the 1930s and 1940s, adding unique flavor and authenticity to the tales. While a character’s speech may often reflect regional origins, it also can convey attitudes common in the day. So that readers can better grasp such cultural and historical terms, uncommon words or expressions of the era, the following glossary has been provided.
Abd el-Krim: (1882–1963) the Berber leader of the Rif, a Berber area of northeastern Morocco. He became the leader of a wide-scale armed resistance movement against French and Spanish colonial rule in North Africa. His guerilla tactics are known to have inspired others.
Antony, Marc: (83–30 BC) a daring general in the army of Julius Caesar who rose to become one of his closest colleagues. After the assassination of Julius Caesar, Antony took most of the treasure from Caesar’s house and took it into his own charge. He also received all the eastern empire provinces and commandeered all the treasure of Asia Minor. Upon his death, his lover, the Egyptian queen Cleopatra, buried him in royal splendor.
Atlas: Atlas Mountains; a mountain range in northwest Africa extending about fifteen hundred miles through Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia including the Rock of Gibraltar. The Atlas range separates the Mediterranean and Atlantic coastlines from the Sahara Desert.
Balkans: the historic and geographic name used to describe a region of southeastern Europe containing the Balkan mountain range. It is bounded on the east by the Black and Aegean Seas and on the south by the Mediterranean Sea.
bat: a binge; a drinking spree.
Berber: a member of a people living in North Africa, primarily Muslim, living in settled or nomadic tribes between the Sahara and Mediterranean Sea and between Egypt and the Atlantic Ocean.
blackguard: a man who behaves in a dishonorable or contemptible way.
bravo: a daring villain; one who defies law.
cannon cracker: a large firecracker.
carbines: short light rifles, originally used by soldiers on horses.
cold-decked: to cheat by use of a cold deck. A cold deck is a deck of playing cards arranged in a preset order designed to give a specific outcome when the cards are dealt. It is switched with the deck actually being used in the game to the benefit of the player and/or dealer making the switch. The term itself refers to the fact that the new deck is often physically colder than the deck that has been in use, as the constant handling of playing cards warms them enough that a difference is often noticeable.
Colt Police Positive .38: a .38-caliber revolver developed by the Colt Firearms Company in answer to a demand for a more powerful version of the .32-caliber Police Positive. First introduced in 1905, these guns were sold to many US police forces and European military units, as well as being made available to the general public.
Croesus: the last king of Lydia, an ancient country encompassing what is now Turkey and bordered by the Aegean Sea, which fell to the Persians in 546 BC. Croesus was noted for his great wealth.
dragoons: a member of a European military unit trained and armed to fight mounted or on foot. The name derives from the dragoon’s primary weapon, a carbine or short musket called the dragon. Dragon carbines were so named because, like the mythical creature, they “breathed fire.”
faro: a gambling game played with cards and popular in the American West of the nineteenth century. In faro, the players bet on the order in which the cards will be turned over by the dealer. The cards were kept in a dealing box to keep track of the play.
G-men: government men; agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
hie: to go quickly; hasten.
High Atlas: portion of the Atlas Mountain range that rises in the west at the Atlantic coast and stretches in an eastern direction to the Moroccan-Algerian border.
hussars: a member of a European light cavalry unit, renowned for elegant dress.
Legionnaire: a member of the French Foreign Legion, a unique elite unit within the French Army established in 1831. It was created as a unit for foreign volunteers and was primarily used to protect and expand the French colonial empire during the nineteenth century, but has also taken part in all of France’s wars with other European powers. It is known to be an elite military unit whose training focuses not only on traditional military skills, but also on the building of a strong esprit de corps amongst members. As its men come from different countries with different cultures, this is a widely accepted solution to strengthen them enough to work as a team. Training is often not only physically hard with brutal training methods, but also extremely stressful with high rates of desertion.
longsword: a type of long medieval sword used by knights and men-at-arms from the end of the thirteenth century to the end of the fifteenth. The longsword is commonly held in combat with both hands and is used for striking, cutting and thrusting.
Loyalist: supporter of the government during the Spanish Civil War (1936–1939). The war ended in victory for the insurgents and the founding of a dictatorship under General Francisco Franco.
Magyar: the Hungarian language.
Morocco: a country of northwest Africa on the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean. The French established a protectorate over most of the region in 1912, and in 1956 Morocco achieved independence as a kingdom.
phaeton: a small light four-wheeled carriage, usually with two seats and usually drawn by two horses.
rasette: cheap wine.
rattler: a fast freight train.
Riff or Riffian: a member of any of several Berber peoples inhabiting the Er Rif, a hilly region along the coast of northern Morocco. The Berber people of the area remained fiercely independent until they were subdued by French and Spanish forces (1925–1926).
sacrebleu: (French) used as a mild oath to express surprise or annoyance.
Scheherazade: the female narrator of The Arabian Nights, who during one thousand and one adventurous nights saved her life by entertaining her husband, the king, with stories.
Strand: a well-known street in London. In the Victorian era, the Strand became a fashionable address where many avant-garde writers and thinkers gathered. It was also the hub of theater and night life that continued into the twentieth century.
Sûreté: (French) the criminal investigation department of the French government.
Tuaregs: members of the nomadic Berber-speaking people of the southwestern Sahara in Africa. They have traditionally engaged in herding, agriculture and convoying caravans across their territories. The Tuaregs became among the most hostile of all the colonized peoples of French West Africa, because they were among the most affected by colonial policies. In 1917, they fought a vicious and bloody war against the French, but they were defeated and as a result, dispossessed of traditional grazing lands. They are known to be fierce warriors; European explorers expressed their fear by warning, “The scorpion and the Tuareg are the only enemies you meet in the desert.”
Wagner: Richard Wagner (1813–1883); German composer and conductor primarily known for his operas or “music dramas” as he called them. Wagner pioneered advances that influenced the development of European classical music. The Magic Fire Music is a musical piece from Wagner’s romantic opera entitled Die Walküre, written in 1856.
Webley: Webley and Scott handgun; an arms manufacturer based in England that produced handguns from 1834. Webley is famous for the revolvers and automatic pistols it supplied to the British Empire’s military, particularly the British Army, from 1887 through both World War I and World War II.
zut: (French) damn.