Reviews of Sabre-Tooth (1966)
Review by severance (2005-10-07)
Sabre-tooth, like the first book in the Modesty Blaise series, has all the ingredients that you come to expect from a Modesty and Willie 'caper'.
The main heavy, Karz, is recruiting exceptional leaders for his mercenary army, which includes the bizarre Siamese twins, Lok and Chu, a four-armed, four legged killing machine. Naturally Modesty and Willie are recruited, though not willingly, into this army and it's up to them to thwart the bad guys against seemingly impossible odds. By this time in his career O'Donnell had been writing for well over a decade in newspaper strips, though this was only his second novel, so he was ably capable of ramping the tension up throughout the novel until Modesty puts her plan into action leading to the breathless action of the finale. Modesty is never shy about putting her body through extreme rigours of pain and abuse, even shocking Willie when she reveals her plan's course of events, though under O'Donnell's prose it never seems like the acts of super-humans - they just happen to be very good at what they do. Which is just as well given their almost magnetic attraction to danger and intrigue.
Given that Karz's ultimate objective for his mercenary army is a rapid military takeover of Kuwait, I've always wondered whether Saddam Hussein read this novel.