This hot little number has been sitting in my to-read pile for far too long. Having written The Bouncer’s Tale, the third chapter in a crime not-quite-serial, I skipped straight to Jason Restrick’s Beyond the Temple of Bak-Taar. The sequel to an impressive story presented in Issue 1 (iirc), this wild journey followers the hero, Arthur, on a wild journey that takes him from the trenches of WWI into dreamland’s and thence into a strange and alien realm.
Sam recieves the key to rescue his boon companion Sam…no, not to save him, but to redeem him from the hell into which Sam gladly plunged himself in the previous story, and all in order to save Arthur from that nightmare fate.
That key takes the form of Sam’s journal, handed to Arthur by a dear friend and ally, it inspires him to go AWOL from the French slaughterhouse and trek into the Alps to, as it says on the tin, return to the temple of a forgotten god best left forgotten.
Once again, Jason perfectly captures the meat and potatoes vocabulary and rhythm of the old pulp masters. His word choices are heavy and gripping, but it is in his insights into the nature of friendship, and the lengths that men may undertake for love of a faithful friend, that Jason truly shines. These are the moments that elevate the best stories above a mere loot and scoot or guns and blood romp. With Beyond the Temple of Bak-Taar, Jason delivers them in spades.