I first read this novel upon it’s publication, July,1968, just a few years after Cap made his reappearance in the pages of The Avengers #3, March, 1964. Whatever happened to that book, I’ll never know. Hey, I’m getting old here. I recently found another copy and had to reread it and get reacquainted with my youth once more.
The plot here concerns a plan to loot the Federal Reserve Bank in New York City of thirteen billion in gold.
It starts with a man being shot down with a laser beam in the street and whispering the name, “Captain America,” with his dying breath. Cap is called in and, searching the body, he discovers a chunk of gold with a U.S. seal and a partial serial number in one pocket. As you know, at that time, private ownership of gold bullion was illegal.
It starts Cap on the trail.
Here the book breaks for a flashback sequence that details Steve Rogers’ transformation from a skinny, disease prone young man into the symbol of America during WWII, to his disappearance right after, to being discovered frozen in suspended animation in a block of ice, to becoming a member of The Avengers.
Let me stop here to mention something else that appeared in the book. Remember the man killed with a laser beam? He was described as short and squat, with thick gray-flecked hair, low hairline, and thick eyebrows that gave him a simian appearance. He was identified later in the book as a man named Andrew “Monk” Mayfair, which, all of a sudden, had me wondering when Doc Savage was going to make an appearance. (Sigh) It never happened though.
The chunk sends Cap to the federal Reserve where he finds a hidden opening deep in the bank leading to a tunnel to an unfinished subway line. A quick audit shows $800,000 missing and the thieves somehow find out, blowing up the tunnel with Cap still in it.
There’s a gang led by three people, all known by code names, Starling, Sparrow, and Robin, a woman. There is an unknown leader, Eagle, that the three have only spoke with by phone.
The little setback doesn’t slow the gang down, getting Cap thinking about who else is involved. Thirteen billion in gold is HEAVY and much to big a job for just a few criminals. What enemy of America is out to ruin the U.S. economy?
Cap, to his dismay, learns an old enemy is one of the participants.
The style this novel was written was of the old pulps, short and punchy. A lot of fun and I really enjoyed it after a forty year absence.