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Avenging Angel/Angel Alone

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New English Library, London, 1975
(price: 35p; 128 pages)

dedication: This one's for Mick Norman: who rode too fast for too long

click to enlarge

New English Library, London, 1975
(price: 35p; 128 pages)

dedication: For Julie

The blurb on the backs:

Avenging Angel
Britain in the late 1970s. The government is harsh and repressive. The permissive era is over and the youth cult groups of the sixties - Hell's Angels, Skinheads - have disappeared. Or so it seems.
The rebellious freedom-loving spirit of the Angels still lingered on here and there, despite the efforts of the forces of law and order. And there was another threat too, posed by the short-haired, fashionably dressed groups of sixth formers known as the Dudes, who were becoming unbelievably vicious and cruel.
And then, one night, a group of leather jacketed youths swooped on a Dude Club. They rode in full glory on their hogs, and the days of gang warfare were returned, only more bloody. A wave of violence sweeps the country and the vengeance of the Angels is complete.

Angel Alone
Dan and the chapter of Angels he leads have a safe hideout, in the ruins of an old church in the Fens. But when he and his chapter ride out to do battle with their deadly enemies, the Dudes, the forces of law and order are quickly alerted. The victorious Angels are followed back to their retreat, and the army and police bombard the ruins till they are reduced to a pile of smoking rubble. No one could have survived; all must be dead.
But are they? Who is the lone messiah who rides across the country with his hog and his mama, hoping to restore the Hell's Angels to their former violent glory?

opening lines:

Avenging Angel
Red eased open the throttle on his chopped-down Norton and enjoyed the fresh surge of power which moved from boot to thigh and along his arms, taut at the ape-hangers.

Angel Alone
A wrought-iron gate, with the centre shaped like a weeping willow. Beneath it two lambs peacefully graze. Behind the gate, the marble walls of the family vault.

Well, these are more of the New English Library biker novels that were so prevalent in the early- and mid-1970s, and you either like this stuff or you don't. Personally, it does very little for me, but I do like the covers.

In case you are interested, however, these were the only two novels written by John Harvey under the pseudonym of Thom Ryder, and they came as a quick-fit package: novel and sequel in the same year. They’re competent, but – unless you’re a real aficionado of the genre – I don’t think they’re going to grab you. Neat cross-referencing dedication to Avenging Angel though (which gives a hint as to the inspiration for the future setting).


more bikers...

Alex Stuart
The Devil's Rider

Mick Norman
Guardian Angels

Thomas K Fitzpatrick
The Blood Circus

a bonus Angels' cover scan

HR Kaye
A Place in Hell

youth cults