What manner of men were these who burned their victims alive — and in public! With flaming pyres adding their nightly terror to a city already tasting the grim pangs of slow starvation, the Spider, revealed at last, is forced to disappear! Can Richard Wentworth, unmasked and in hiding, successfully combat the Flame Men?
The great pulp magazines of the 1930s and 40s produced a number of heroes, but none as action-oriented as the Spider. For almost exactly a decade, from October 1933 to December 1943, the Spider was the scourge of the Underworld, doling out his own particular brand of justice and imprinting his dreaded red Spider seal on the foreheads of those he has killed for the good of mankind.
Citadel of Hell, penned by Novell W. Page was one of his early tours de force. It opens with a wild car chase through the canyons of Manhattan that leads to the first of several running battles in which Richard Wentworth, both in and out of his Spider disguise, takes on Red Mask and his Food Destroyers as they bring New York City to its knees through a vicious campaign of arson and starvation.
This is the novel that introduced the Depression-era character of Tito Caliepi, the hunchbacked street-corner violinist disguise that over the next year or so of the series metamorphosed into the twisted, fearsome figure of the Spider who terrorized the underworld for ten unrelenting years.
So if you’ve never listened to a Spider audiobook––even if you have––and you’re looking to jump aboard, we highly recommend Citadel of Hell, one of the great fast-moving Spider novels of 1934.
Citadel of Hell is an unforgettable excursion into the righteous madness that was the Spider, Master of Men!
Originally published in The Spider magazine, March, 1934. Read by Nick Santa Maria.