Saturday, 5 November 2011

Morgan Kane: El Gringo and El Gringo's Revenge


1966 saw the launch in Norway of what was to become one of the most well known western series to come from Europe: Morgan Kane by Louis Masterson. The series ran for 83 books. There were also two spin-off mini-series, a Norwegian film, songs, and comic books. Other countries published some of the books, including the UK which saw the first 41 books appear in English. I’ve always been amazed that this excellent series never saw publication in America. Now that is about to change as Morgan Kane rides the ebook trail. The WR Films Entertainment Group has just launched the first two ebooks and is aiming to publish the whole series, and the mini-series, this way.

Those of us already acquainted with the Morgan Kane series will be quick to realize that the first two ebooks aren’t the first two in the original series. Why? As the Morgan Kane series progressed Kjell Hallbing, the writer behind the pseudonym of Louis Masterson, wrote a number of books that filled in some of Kane’s past, of times before the original first book, Without Mercy. El Gringo and El Gringo’s Revenge first appeared as books 38 and 39 and deal with a period in Kane’s life that would make him the man he was first seen to be in Without Mercy (this book will come out as the third ebook very shortly). El Gringo and El Gringo’s Revenge are to be made into a feature film by WF Films, and more of these are planned too.


MORGAN KANE: EL GRINGO
By Louis Masterson
WR Films Entertainment Group, Inc.
eBook, October 2011

Marshal Kane entered a bar in Kansas City and stepped into the past - where the old Mexican who drew a knife on him, had been his best friend, teacher and destroyer... Fifteen years ago...

When Morgan Kane had been in trouble, he'd been found carrying gold by the Policia in Casas Grandes and there was no way he could prove it wasn't stolen money! But the police chief had a proposition - freedom for Kane if he found and killed a certain bandit named Coyote...

I’ve often felt that one of the great strengths of Louis Masterson writing was his ability to create atmosphere and emotion. This book really does that superbly. We see many of the characters hiding behind a variety of masks, hiding feelings, concealing secrets. Masterson really is a master at character studies and this book demonstrates that ability many times over.

Fear is often the main emotion that Kane struggles to control and this is revealed early on when Kane finds he isn’t the quick gun he thought he was as Coyote proves. For some reason he decides to let Kane live and takes him under his wing, teaching him about guns, how to draw them much faster than he was able. Even as Kane and Coyote become friends there is always a sense of tension – does Coyote really know why Kane was being chased by the Policia? And what of the other main characters in the story? What are their relationships with each other? Masterson on supplies hints as to the truths as the story races to its savage ending brought about by treachery. An ending that leaves many questions purposefully, ensuring the reader will have to read the next book in the series…. 



MORGAN KANE: EL GRINGO’S REVENGE
By Louis Masterson
WR Films Entertainment Group, Inc.
eBook, October 2011

Three bandidos rode together towards Sonora and the “Fiesta of Death” – each with his own secret – to wipe out the hated white ranch owner who dishonored and exploited the Mexicans.

Morgan Kane, alias EL GRINGO, rode with Coyote, the man who called him “son” and had made him the deadliest killer in Mexico. But Kane found he was a pawn in a lethal game where honor was the stake and revenge the prize. And his reward from the man he trusted was to scar his life…

Louis Masterson really does apply pressure to Morgan Kane’s feelings in this story that begins were the previous book left off. Kane will experience love, anger, near uncontrollable hatred, and the burning desire for revenge. Double cross and treachery reveal the truths about many of the characters motives.

We finally find out who Coyote really is. What he really has planned for Kane. There are many shocking discoveries that will come as a surprise to the reader, and all the leftover questions from the previous book, and others introduced in this one, are finally answered.

Masterson’s ability to write very visual prose is perfectly illustrated in this book, in the tense scenes set during the masked party to celebrate the Day of the Dead – the Fiesta of Death.

And, once the past is returned to memories Masterson closes the book with a powerful scene that will add to the emotional scars Kane carries.


7 comments:

Joanne Walpole said...

I started reading El Gringo last week :-)

Anonymous said...

Do we know if these are the same translations that were used in the UK editions?
The only real gripe I've ever heard about this odd, iconic series is that the translation is occasionally weak.

John

Steve M said...

John, as far as I can tell they have been taken from the UK editions.

benbridges said...

Yes, I can confirm that they are the same translations as originally appeared in the UK from Corgi Books. The only difference this time out is that the stories are being released in chronological order. WITHOUT MERCY has just appeared on Amazon, and I understand that other e-books will appear every second week. Whether the series goes on (in English) beyond No 41, KILLER KANE, remains to be seen. We can only hope.

Unknown said...

Hi John,

The language have been updated slightly, and have also been changed from UK English to US English.

The original translations were done in the 60's and 70's by Norwegians, the texts have now been polished by Americans.

Thank you for your interest in these books - more books will be published shortly!

Best,
Otto Holm-Johnsen
WR Films

Anonymous said...

This is exciting! Following a friend’s recommendation and then finding your review, I just read both of these books. Masterson's writing is very visual, and it it's not difficult to picture this working well for the screen.
The artwork alone is very impressive. I am simply amazed this series was never published here in America, which one would think is the prime market for Morgan Kane. Look forward to reading “Without Mercy”, and more of your reviews in this series. Thanks, Jim S.

Jan Pettersen said...

Otto,

Your information about the translations is not correct. The first 24 books were translated by Philip Newth, an Englishman who has lived in Norway since 1964.

American author Jeffrey M. Wallman translated (not very good IMO) books #25 - 32.

No translator(s) were credited for the last 9 books published in english, but I doubt they were Norwegians. The translations of books #33 and 34 are very bad and abridged. The rest are overall very good.