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. Think Clark Gable—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.
Hubbard and Gable were fast friends and fellow adventurers. While 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.
“A fast-paced thriller.” —Publishers Weekly
“Colorful prose, lively action writing, exotic locales … excellent.” —Ellery Queen
Format: Trade Paperback
Format: Unabridged, Multicast, 2 CDs
Length: Approx. 2 hours
Cast list: Audio drama performed by Michael Yurchak, R.F. Daley, Lori Jablons, Jim Meskimen and Rick Pasqualone.
The Iron Duke Glossary
The Stories from the Golden Age series 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.
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.
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.
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.
hie: to go quickly; hasten.
hussars: a member of a European light cavalry unit, renowned for elegant dress.
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.
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.
Strand: 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.
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.