Amazing Stories isn’t the only thing making a triumphant return in 2013. Sinanju is recently returned to the literary scene, with TWO series of novels.
If the word Sinanju doesn’t ring any bells, then you’re missing out on possibly the greatest series of adventure novels ever.
Starting way back in 1971, Warren Murphy and the late Richard Sapir burst onto the scene with The Destroyer, a series of men’s adventure novels. Over the years, the series reached a colossal 149 novels in print- exceeding even the Doc Savage series started by Lester Dent in the 1930s.
The series was unique in its premise, but often copied. Sinanju is a village in Northern Korea, home to the House of Sinanju, the original assassins of recorded history. For thousands of years, the Masters practiced their secret sun source of martial arts, Sinanju- turning themselves into something more than human. When the series opens (Created: The Destroyer), Remo Williams is a New Jersey beat cop framed for murder and executed- or so he thinks. Remo awakens with a new face, and finds he has been recruited by the shadowy organization CURE- established by President Kennedy- to work outside the Constitution to protect it. Remo is to learn the secrets of Sinanju from the current, and possibly last, Master Chiun.
That sounded familiar, right? The cheesy 1980s movie starring Fred Ward and Joel Grey? Put that memory aside. The movie didn’t even begin to bring justice to this ultimate science fantasy series.
Yes, The Destroyer is Science Fiction/Fantasy. Not only is Remo superhuman thanks to the Sinanju training he received, he’s also frequently possessed by the Hindu deity Shiva, to lay out some supernatural whoopass when his superhuman assassin skills aren’t enough. And unlike the pitiful 80s film, Remo has fought some horrendous super villains. Mr. Gordons, a sort of super-android/terminator predecessor. Mutant tiger women. Or one of my favorites, a guy in a stolen Japanese suit that made his atoms vibrate so fast he could pass through walls like something out of Fringe. Forget monster of the week television, The Destroyer did it first, with multiple novels every year.
Unlike Doc Savage and his wonderful books though, The Destroyer series is well written. I don’t mean that as a slight to Doc and Dent. Pulps were written at breakneck speed with reckless abandon and they are a delight to read. But The Destroyer is equal to E.R.B., Ian Fleming or any modern, literary action tale. They combine pulse pounding action with wit and political satire. A lot of political satire- more often at the expense of the left-leaning politicos.
Over the years, the novels were published by a variety of companies, from Pinnacle to Gold Eagle. In 2002, Warren Murphy even established Ballybunion, now known as Destroyer Books, to do spinoffs of the series.
And spunoff they have.
In 2012, Remo and Chiun made a triumphant return with the novella “Savage Song”. This was followed up in late 2012 with “Number Two”.
In 2013, Remo and Chiun, now both masters and both still working to protect America (often from itself) have a new adventure, Book #150, The End of the World. True, this is a flashback to that time in the 1980s, when Remo was still just a pale piece of pig’s ear, trying to learn all the tricks of Sinanju from his “Little Father”, but it is classic Destroyer goodness, and gives fans of the series an insightful glimpse into Remo’s background before he became The Destroyer.
But, hold the phone, there’s more.
2013 also has seen the debut of a new Sinanju series, Legacy: Forgotten Son, written by Warren Murphy and Gerald Welch. This is a fantastic series that is great for those who’ve never read Remo and Chiun’s adventures, or us die hard fans who always wondered what happened to some of The Destroyer’s supporting characters.
The series is all about a new secret organization- an offshoot of CURE, tasked with protecting America’s southern border in the first book. It stars Remo’s children, Stone Smith, former US Navy SEAL, and Freya Williams- Remo’s 16 year old daughter from a Viking princess. These half-siblings have to learn to work together under the careful tutelage of Remo’s long-lost father, Sunny Joe Roam.
See, the Destroyer series once revealed that Remo was actually a descendant of a Sinanju Master who had come to America long ago, and settled in the Southwest and became the protector of the Sunonjo tribe of Indians. There he taught his martial arts mastery to a successor, becoming the Sunny Joe- the protector of the tribe. Remo was united with his father in The Destroyer series, and eventually brought his children to him to learn.
Forgotten Son is a fantastic thrill ride with plenty of humor and super-action. It should appeal to any Destroyer fan or folks new to the franchise.
And best of all, this is just the beginning- there are more Destroyer and Legacy works due out this year, continuing the fine Sinanju tradition!
If you haven’t tried out The Destroyer you should still be able to pick up Created, The Destroyer, Book #1, for free at Amazon.com . But I’ll mention the series didn’t really hit it’s groove until Book 3- there was a big gap between when #1 and #2 were written. Currently, most of The Destroyers are available as ebooks- those that aren’t soon will be. And it was recently announced that the series will be returning to print as well.
You can keep up with the latest Sinanju at destroyerbooks.com, the official site for the series.