The Lone Ranger Chronicles is an anthology offering 16 short stories based on the exploits of the Masked Man and his faithful Indian companion. The stories range from whimsical to action-packed. Here, The Lone Ranger meets up with The Cisco Kid, Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday, among others. As with any anthology, the prose varies from one story to another -- as does the concepts of what each author had in mind when they were asked to contribute. You'll find many of the stories quite enjoyable; others a little bland. And which stories are worth reading is subjective -- I won't bother with my opinion because I am more of a purist at heart. If The Lone Ranger and Tonto do something in one of these stories that they would never have done on the radio or television program, that is because liberties were made to allow for artistic purposes. Like comic books, each run of script writers and artists allow for a different concept (or direction) where the story goes. And an artist conception is in the eyes of the beholder.
Also reprinted is Fran Striker's Lone Ranger Creed, and an introduction by Dawn Moore, daughter of television's Lone Ranger, Clayton Moore. Oddly, she receives no credit on the cover of the book for writing the introduction (which should have been listed as a "foreword"), no acknowledgment in the table of contents and which must have been included in the manuscript hap-hazardly as three grammatical errors are obvious in the page and a half. I feel sorry for Dawn but I suspect this book was put together rather quickly to cash in on the Disney movie starring Johnny Depp and Armie Hammer. (I am not sure if that would have increased sales any more than had the book been published a year after the movie's release.) This book is also "unauthorized," unlike most of Moonstone's books, which means the copyright holders of The Lone Ranger property were never approached.
The retail price for the novel is $4.99 and if you had to choose between this book and the anthology ($19.95), grab the novel. Not because of the price, but because of how good it is. I wrote to Howard Hopkins following the completion of this novel, praising the good job, only to discover he since passed away. A darn shame because if he was still alive and announced another Lone Ranger novel in the works, I would have been the first in line to buy a copy.
If I seem to be on the pedestal for a moment about "authorized" and "unsanctioned," the reason is only because while I do not condone "unsanctioned" works, fans need to -- at the very least -- be aware of what they read. The recent print-on-demand service has also created a number of complications. Namely, cheap knockoffs that seem to benefit no one but the author who hopes to gain a few extra bucks in his or her pocket... with careless regard for the property they write about. A few months ago I purchased The Lone Ranger: The Unofficial Biography and Reference by Jennifer Warner. Sixty-six pages (the book is the width and length of a small dime novel) with information that was obviously "borrowed" from websites such as Wikipedia. (CBS is listed inaccurately as CBC at least twice in the book.) This same book was recently passed around at the SPERDVAC convention and everyone was shaking their heads and commenting how horrible it is. But I guess for less than $6.00, what can we expect? The $2.99 Kindle version is 40 pages and comes with a different front cover image.
And having now saved you from throwing away $6.00, go and buy The Lone Ranger: Vendetta today.