#117 – The Ravagers, Donald Hamilton BOOK REVIEW

December 7, 2018
krauserpua

Matt Helm The Ravagers

I wonder how hard-boiled and ruthless a protagonist can be before he ceases to become the hero, or even anti-hero, of a novel. There comes a point where the reader can think, “hang on, it isn’t just the baddies, but everybody in this is a cunt!” I found that while watching the first three seasons of House Of Cards. Absolutely every character is a soulless, nihilistic rat. Even when one of them is initially set up as honourable, something will happen to reveal their true snake-like heart.

For example, the Secret Service bodyguard to Hillary Hatchet-Faced Man-Jaw Cuntlady takes sick leave and as he’s dying of cancer he admits he was a creepy gamma obsessed with her. His replacement appears to be a by-the-book man of honour until suddenly he’s revealed as a degenerate faggot, actually kissing Kevin Spacey’s character [1]. The female journalist crusader turns out to be just another greasy-pole climber, not unlike the New York Times slag caught sleeping with the Head of Security for Senate Intelligence Committee in exchange for the un-redacted 82-page Carter Page FISA application [2].

Anyway, House Of Cards is total shit. The Trump era has aged it badly. Now it’s just a load of wrinkly old faggots bumming each other [3]. The point is that everyone in it is a cunt. How can you possibly watch drama when there’s no goodie to support? I think perhaps this whole meta-trend started with the flawed-good guy trope that was big in 1990s action movies onward, such as Bruce Willis in Die Hard (mildly flawed) on through Arnie beginning some movies as a suicidal drunk. It seems many movies and TV shows dispense with the “good” in good guy altogether.

Goodies

Goody, goody yum yum. Yesterday.

Everything is relative. Who is to say what is good and what is bad? Don’t be so judgemental!

Anway, it makes me sick talking about millennials and their bankrupt nihilistic culture so lets get back to Matt Helm in The Ravagers. He’s a hard, hard man but he’s also a patriot and willing to sacrifice for his country. Consider the famous George Orwell quote:

“We sleep soundly in our beds, because rough men stand ready in the night to do violence on those who would harm us”

By the way, that’s the entire lesson of The Lord Of The Rings. The only reason the Hobbits in The Shire can fuss about who has the best marrows at the village fete is because the men of Gondor are keeping the Turks Orcs at bay on the frontier. TLOTR is a warning to the English not to take their ideal society for granted [4]. Matt Helm is one of those rough men. That’s what’s good about the stories: he’s a ruthless killer, but he’s our killer.

God, I wish we still had plenty of these men in the West. They could assassinate all the top brass of the world’s NGOs in a single evening. Imagine a world free of Medicin San Frontiers, Oxfam, Barnardos, UNICEF, and Greenpeace. Wouldn’t that be amazing!

Open Arms

Lock everyone in the hold, then sink it

Anyway, I bring this up because of the brutal ending to The Ravagers. The plot concerns the wife of a scientist who has run off with his briefcase full of military secrets, attempting to make a rendezvous on the East coast of Canada [5]. It’s the usual spy-vs-spy tale of Team Helm trying to outfox Team Corbyn Russia with brutal professionals engaging in deceit and counter-deceit. It all ends in an abandoned mine near the rendezvous. The female commie aims an acid pistol at the aforementioned wife and Helm is able to get a shot off first, shattering the pistol, spraying acid all over the commie’s face [6]. She screams and stumbles off into the mine, clawing at her disintegrating formerly-pretty face.

Helm escorts the wife out of the mine, makes a phone call, and only then returns to find the enemy agent. Here’s how the scene plays out, as he tries to get her to divulge a last snip of information.

“Dave?” [Helm’s cover identity]
The voice was strange and kind of thick. It seemed to come from deep down and far away. I said, “That’s who.”
“Kill me, ” the voice said.
I said, “Sure. Just hang on while I find a suitable rock. Do you prefer having your brains bashed out from front or rear?”
“I mean it. You did this to me. Well, finish it. Kill me.”
“Take it easy, doll.”
She clung on to my hand. “Don’t let them save me! Don’t let them take me to a hospital and … and wash me off and transfuse me and… I saw what it did to Mike Green. I don’t want to live like that. I’d be a freak, a blind, faceless freak with a claw for a hand. Kill me!”
“Sure,” I said. “Sure doll. But it will cost you.”

That’s cold-hearted stuff. I have rather too much empathy to imagine myself in that position [7]. I mean, I tear up when watching videos like this.

Helm continues to stand firm in order to get the info.

She gripped my hand tightly. “I love you, Clevenger [Helm]. You’re almost as mean as I am.”
“Meaner,” I said. “I’ll come visit you in the hospital. See how you’re coming with your left-handed Braille.”
I heard Jenny stir behind me. I guess she thought I was terrible, even though it was her child I was fighting for. She didn’t count here. She didn’t know how it was. She wasn’t a pro, like the two of us.
Naomi laughed harshly. “You’re a darling,” she gasped. “You’re a wonderful, coldblooded beast. There isn’t a drop of sympathy in you, is there?”
“Not a drop.”

Aside from it being a tight, symmetrical conclusion to a good little chase story, that’s a harsh scene. I can’t imagine being so utterly cold to someone in trouble [8]. It’s refreshing to read this stuff in a spy thriller though. Donald Hamilton gets the right balance. If he’d made Helm sadistic, he’d be impossible to support even if on the right side. Too weak, and I’d be shouting at the pages, “why is this soft bag of shit a spy, he’s as delicate as a soyboy.” One thing you’ll never ever hear Helm say sincerely is “Okay, I’ll drop the gun, just let the girl go!” [9]. Thank fuck for that

No girls were sprayed in the face or abandoned in mine shafts during the period covered by my excellent memoirs available here.

Sigma Wolf store

[1] At least he’s over the age of consent, which must be a novelty to Spacey.
[2] Expect to hear a lot more about this in the coming months. General Flynn’s leak-hunter team set up Wolfe and caught him red-handed in treason. The NYT has had the un-redacted FISA application for a year. There’s a reason they don’t reveal it publicly: it completely exonerates Trump of Russian Collusion. The NYT isn’t just Fake News. It’s fully-blooded Enemy Of The People.
[3] Presumably. I stopped watching it during the Pussy Riot / Russian angle.
[4] Little did he know that Sauron would win the rematch by setting up NGOs to resettle Orc refugees throughout the Shire.
[5] Or wherever Nova Scotia is. I’m not checking a map because literally nobody gives a fuck about Canada, not even Canadians.
[6] YES!!!!
[7] She was hot, 22-year-old, and the mine is black dark. The acid only went onto her face and one hand. As far as I’m concerned, there’s still a rape-notch up for grabs.
[8] Subject to their skin colour, of course.
[9] Whereas it seems to be standing orders in Department Z that every agent must drop the gun, no matter at what cost to the mission, if any woman at all is even slightly threatened. That’s what happens when men in their twenties try to write spy fiction.

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