Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Review of Robert E. Howards "The Bull Dog Breed" - Continuing the Sailor Steve Costigan Saga

Written in first person and having the feel of someone telling a tall tale, this story gives an immediate insight into the mind of Sailor Steve Costigan. I enjoyed the story and the main reason for that is how Howard writes. He writes very simply and very formulaic, with great visuals and style. This story is a good example to follow for fight stories, which is; Set up, fight, and unraveling.

The biggest part of this story is the writing, and takes up several pages, but it doesn't get boring. Howard has a knack at telling the story of the fight using Costigan's voice, making believable, exciting, and truly feeling for the character. In addition Howard tells about the fight from someone who has been in the boxing ring, and actually taken the punches. A little bit of research into Robert E. Howard shows that he actually did train and boxed in and around the area of Cross Plains Texas.

It is interesting to note that at the time Howard was writing these stories, boxers were the superstar athletes of the day. And fight stories were very popular; in fact many of Howard's fight stories appeared in Fight magazine. However, the boxing world has not aged as well as these stories, boxers do not hold the status they did in Howard's day, and it is hard to find a current story based on boxing or on the more popular Ultimate Fighting competitions. What we do have are these stories that were written almost eighty years ago that are still fun and enjoyable to read. Take a chance and pick up one of the stories a kindle reader and you will probably start reading all of them.

Kindle Wireless Reading Device (6" Display, Global Wireless, Latest Generation)

Here come the spoilers so if you don't want to know what happens stop reading any further.

The story begins with Sailor Steve Costigan getting kicked off the Sea Girl by the Captain because he chooses not to put his dog off the boat. He ends up at a French bar and gets into a fight with, unknown to him, the heavyweight champion of the French Navy. The fight is long and goes on for several pages, Costigan is all but beat up and ready to fall down, but because he is so like the bull dog, and doesn’t know when he is defeated he keeps going back in again and again. Due to his amazing recuperative powers, and his hard headiness he defeats the Frenchman. At the end of the bout the Captain of the Sea Girl, as well as many of the crew see come up to Costigan delighted that he defeated the Frenchman. The Captian welcome him and Mike, his bull dog, back as part of the crew.

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