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The Drums of Jeopardy

Harold MacGrath

Book Overview: 

In 1922 the book was made into a Broadway play and the following year a motion picture. A second film version appeared in 1931.
It is said that a young Boris Karloff, who previously had a few uncredited film roles, chose his stage name for his first screen credit in 1920 from a Russian mad scientist character named “Boris Karlov” in this novel. The name “Boris Karlov” was used from MacGrath’s book for the 1922 Broadway play, but by 1923 with actor Boris Karloff using the similar sounding variation, the film version renamed the character, played by Wallace Beery, “Gregor Karlov.” In the 1931 film version, however, with Warner Oland playing the character, the mad scientist’s name is restored to “Boris Karlov,” less than a year before Frankenstein would make Boris Karloff a household word for generations. Ironically, Boris Karloff would play many mad scientists on screen, but never “Boris Karlov.” (Summary from Wikipedia)

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .ad at the first sight of those drum-lined walls of his.

Two-Hawks. What was it that was trying to stir in his recollection? Two-Hawks. He was sure he had heard that name before. Hawksley meant nothing at all; but Two-Hawks possessed a strange attraction. He stared off into space. He might have heard the name in a tongue other than English.

A sound. It came from the lips of the young man. Cutty frowned. The poor chap wasn't breathing in a promising way; he groaned after each inhalation. And what had become of the old fellow Kitty called Gregory? A queer business.

Kitty came in with a basin and a roll of absorbent cotton.

"He is groaning!" she whispered.

"Pretty rocky condition, I should say. That handkerchief in his cap doubtless saved him. Now, little lady, I frankly don't like the idea of his being here. Suppose he dies? In that event there'll be the very devil to pay. You're all alone here, without even a maid." <. . . Read More

Community Reviews

Real rating: 4 stars
Emotional rating: 5 stars

This one ticked all the boxes. Major underdog vibes but toss in a lady journalist, a secret service man, a diabolical Bolshevist-socialist who’s been friends to Lenin, “cursed” emeralds, an Amati violin and a man who can play it, and a triple measure of d

Started out fine, but got bogged down in the middle and eventually became tedious. Should have been about a hundred pages shorter.

3.5 Stars

Harold Macgrath was unusual in that he wrote his novels knowing they would become movies. They're not screenplays, but you can definitely "see" the movie while you're reading.

The Drums of Jeopardy are actually two emeralds, belonging to a royal Russian family now deposed. They're in the han

Read this story for the adventure and history of life after WWI.

I give it a five because I learned more about the changing world after WWI than in any history book, TV show about history, and any fictional book I have read.

It's fiction! But it feels honest to me. You must decide for yourself!

It was