Let Me Introduce You To…Dodge Dalton

As most of you know, I have a deep love for great action adventure stories (whether fiction, film, or TV) and the heroes that come with them. The more over the top…larger than life…the better for me. Whether in fiction or movies, my childhood was built upon the Herculean tasks of some of the greatest heroes of the 20th century: Batman, Indiana Jones, James Bond, and even Flash Gordon. So when a rather obscure manuscript came across my desk chronicling the adventures of  a brand new hero in keeping with these heroes of mine, I jumped at the chance to read it. And I couldn’t put it down. It was just too much fun. Needless to say, I signed its author, Sean Ellis, in a heart beat. The final result became “The Adventures of Dodge Dalton in the Shadow of Falcon’s Wings” (with a name that long, you KNOW it’s got to be good!).
And the day (07/20/2010)  has finally come for this wonderfully fun adventure to be officially released. We’re proud. Very proud. But I didn’t want you to go into it completely blind. Because of that, I asked Sean Ellis to tell us a bit about Dodge, his companions, and his first adventure. Here’s what he had to say:
It can be a wonderful thing to discover a new adventure series. I remember, as a kid, perusing the stacks at second hand stores, and discovering dog-eared paperback novels from the ’60’s and ’70’s…and even occasionally a reprint from the pulp era. The cool part wasn’t just finding a book that I thought I wanted to read, but rather knowing that it was part of a series, which meant that if it was good, there were several more just like it.
The great thing about serial novels is that you get to know the main character very well. They become old friends, and you begin to look forward to their next visit. I guess that makes the first novel in a series something like a blind date. You don’t know the characters yet; don’t know if you’re going to hit it off and want them to come back, or if you’re going to accidentally lose their phone number.
In the interest of making Dodge Dalton’s debut a little less “blind,” I thought I’d take a few paragraphs to introduce some of the characters. Think of it as the dating service video in which you get to see and hear your prospective date on camera, and find out if you share any interests with them… you know, long walks on the beach, pina coladas, saving the world, etc.
First off, this story is set “In the Golden Age of Adventure.” What does that mean? Well, in a nutshell, it’s the late 1930’s, just before World War II. I am fond of this era mostly because of Raiders of the Lost Ark, but also a little bit because I consider it to be the period when the world started shrinking. The Golden Age of Adventure presents a world where there are still vast stretches of unexplored territory, a world where you can fly almost anywhere in a couple days, but when you get there, you won’t be able to call for help on your cell phone or consult your GPS to reach your exact destination.
Now, on to the characters:
I’ll start with the title character, David “Dodge” Dalton. Dodge is a young sportswriter who has for the last few years, had great success writing a syndicated serial adventure that appears in Sunday newspapers throughout the country. His series “The Adventures of Captain Falcon” is based on stories related to him by Brian “Hurricane” Hurley…more about him in a bit.
According to the story, Dodge got his nickname from when he was a bat boy for the Brooklyn Dodgers. My inspiration for the name came from one of my favorite action-adventure novel called The Takers by Jerry and S.A. Ahern. In The Takers, one of the main characters is a novelist who writes an action adventure series featuring a hero named Sean Dodge. I’ve always been fond of the writer-as-hero idea, and I’ve long credited The Takers as being my greatest inspiration for wanting to become an adventure novelist, so this seemed an appropriate (if somewhat obscure) way of paying homage.
Unlike most heroes of the so-called “bloody pulps,” Dodge is not a veteran of the Great War (World War I). Nor is he, at the beginning at least, interested in becoming an adventurer himself. However, circumstances relating directly to his fictional character, soon throw him into danger and he quickly discovers that he rather enjoys the thrill. Book one of the series very much establishes him as an emerging heroic figure who earns the respect of Falcon’s former sidekicks.
Speaking of Captain Falcon….
Captain Zane Falcon enters the story as an almost mythic figure. He is the fictional hero of Dodge’s stories, and while there are initially hints that he may have been based on a real person, it still comes as quite a surprise to Dodge that there is a lot more truth to the stories than he would ever have imagined.
Falcon’s presence looms over the whole story. Dodge’s quest is to find Falcon by tracking down one of his original companions, Father Nathan Hobbs, the priest who became a soldier. Hobbs (nicknamed The Padre) along with Hurricane Hurley, frequently comment on the similarities between Dodge and their former leader.
What we know about Falcon is that he was an Army captain, who led an exceptional company of riflemen in the Great War. Following the war, he was given a new mission to root out criminal enterprises that had sprung up from the ashes of that war.
Falcon is intentionally based on many of the pulp heroes of the Golden Age, but primarily Doc Savage. I wanted this to be a ‘passing of the torch’ story, and in fact started with the basic premise of “what if Doc Savage disappeared and his merry men had to find a new leader?” (If you don’t know what that means, just disregard). So why is Falcon missing? For that, you’ll have to read the book.
Brian “Hurricane” Hurley is definitely the “muscle” of the Falcon/Dodge team, but in my opinion, he’s at his best when he’s using his head. His strength is superlative to be sure, but as one of the characters comments, his head is good for more than just cracking nuts. At six foot six, he’s a muscular giant who packs matching custom-made .50 caliber automatic pistols (think Desert Eagle before there was a Desert Eagle).
In the backstory, Hurley is Captain Falcon’s stalwart First Sergeant, and accompanied him on his adventures during and after the Great War. It is revealed that some of these adventures exacted a heavy emotional toll on all of the men (or rather the survivors) and Hurley’s way of dealing with it was to write them all down…which is how he eventually crossed paths with Dodge. Hurricane was originally named Devil Dog McCracken, but to avoid confusion (since he’s not a Marine) I cast about for something that hinted at destruction. I thought about going with either Tornado Thompson or Hurricane Hurlimann, but opted for Hurley because of the awesome character Hugo “Hurley” Reyes on Lost (though I hope that people don’t think Hugo when reading about Hurricane).
Father Nathan Hobbs is a rather complex character that appears about midway through Falcon’s Wings. In fact, much of the first half of the novel is dedicated to finding him, in hopes of tracking down Captain Falcon. Hobbs is presented as older than Hurley (just how much older will be revealed in a later book) and evidently has some baggage ever before he signs up to fight with Captain Falcon. Although he is an ordained priest at the time, he doesn’t serve as a chaplain, but instead enlists as a rifleman. Contradiction? Read the book.
We learn that he is an expert in all things spiritual, to include world religions, superstitions and the occult. He had also studied martial arts. On that subject, I identify him as an expert in something called te. Te is an amalgam of karate and tae kwan do, which are very similar (though practioners of each will doubtless take great offense at that statement) and mean essentially the same thing in different languages, with Te meaning “hand.” I chose to give Hobbs a unique fighting style for two reasons: first, it gives me a lot more freedom as a writer; and second, in the world in which this adventure takes place, words like karate, kung fu, ninja and samurai were not nearly as common as they are today. If I had made him an expert in something like karate (which did not really gain much attention until after World War II) I would have faced the challenge of trying to make something that is today rather commonplace, sound exotic in the context of my story.
Father Hobbs is a walking contradiction in one other respect; he’s has an adopted daughter. Always a bit of rebel, we should not be at all surprised that he took in the foundling daughter of a missionary couple who perished in the Congo region (where he resides at the start of the story).
Which brings me to Molly.
Molly Rose Shannon is the fiery red-haired adopted daughter of Father Hobbs, Molly has lived her entire life on the Congo River in equatorial Africa. She is a Jill-of-all-trades, but her two most useful skills are medicine and piloting. She’s not afraid of anything, and she’s not just going to swoon and fall into Dodge’s arms.
It will probably seem that Molly is the token female presence in this book. I’d like to believe that she is more than just window dressing, but there is a formula (or as I prefer to call it, a recipe) to be followed, and part of that is keeping the correct Hero-Damsel ratio. It is acceptable of course to have two potential love interests for the hero (usually the good girl vs. bad girl love triangle) but since Dodge is just making his debut, I wanted to keep the potential for romance somewhat more subdued. That being said, I think there’s some chemistry between Dodge and Molly, but ultimately that will be for the reader to decide.
Speaking of formula, what would the story be without its villains.
As someone who received much of my education in action-adventure from the James Bond movies (and later the novels) I learned the importance of having more than one villain. Often, in Bond stories, there is a mastermind and an enforcer. The former is the keeper of the big scheme (e.g. Auric Goldfinger) while the latter often has some unique physical attribute (e.g. Oddjob). In Falcon’s Wings, the mastermind is a character I call “the Dark God.” He’s an unnamed polar explorer who discovers a treasure trove of ancient (maybe alien?) technology in an ice cave in Antarctica. He also unleashes an ancient evil consciousness that takes possession of him. Perhaps because he’s a bit of an old fashioned sort of evil consciousness, he demands trial by combat with American’s greatest hero, Captain Falcon.
Does that sound a bit contrived? It all makes sense, I promise.
The Dark God commands an awesome power, and is damn near invincible, but he’s the mastermind character; aloof and filled with delusions of grandeur. Not really very accessible. That’s where the enforcer come in. In this case, it’s Johannes Krieger, a latter-day pirate who is left hideously disfigured after his encounter with Captain Falcon some years before. His face and hands are so badly scarred that he now wears a demonic mask, and has razor sharp talons for fingers (if you’re thinking that this sounds a bit like Freddy meets Jason, then…good, you’re paying attention. Incidentally, the name Johannes Krieger is not a Freddy Krueger homage, but is rather another nod to Jerry Ahern–extra credit if you can make the connection.)
And that I think is a pretty good, (mostly) spoiler free rundown on the characters you’ll meet in The Adventures of Dodge Dalton in the Shadow of Falcon’s Wings. So, what do you say…dinner and a movie?
Thank you, Sean, for taking the time to share this great story with readers every where. And readers? I actually envy you…you are about to embark on a fantastic adventure for the very first time. I know you will love Dodge Dalton. So, go to Amazon order it today!!! It’s available in both hardback and Kindle editions…and by the way, we’re shooting to make Dodge Dalton an Amazon bestseller. That’s very possible to do if everyone buys the book in a single day or maybe two…so please help Sean fulfill his dream. 
And if you want to know more about Sean Ellis and his books, check out his website at http://www.seanellisthrillers.webs.com/.

Oh, and check out the book trailer below at the bottom of the page!

1 thought on “Let Me Introduce You To…Dodge Dalton”

  1. From the title onward, I get a sense of pulp fiction come alive in this new millenium ~ great character sketches by the commentator further tantalize the reader ~ I look forward to a great reading 'adventure' ~ Write On!

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