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Full Name: Rance Colby
Series Name: Shadow Master
Nationality: American
Organization: Presidential Agent
Occupation Agent

Creator: W. R. Park
Time Span: 2011 - 2012


Rance Colby is an agent of the American President.

That is not entirely true but then again, nothing about Rance Colby is entirely true, including his real name. What his real name is, or was, is unknown even to most of those for whom he works. Or worked as is more accurate to say. If this is sounding confusing, it's probably because it is.

When the man who would be known as Rance Colby was two years old, his missionary parents' single engine plane was shot out of the sky over the jungles of the Philippines, killing both adults but leaving the young boy alive and largely unhurt. It was in the wreckage soon after that Master Song Lee found the child, quite hungry. After burying the parents, he took the boy back to his hideout.

Master Lee had been China's top martial arts expert for several years, revered and honored. That ended when the government erred in what they thought was a raid on a fringe religious cult and Lee's wife and three daughters were killed. In retaliation, the soldiers involved and several of the government leaders who ordered the attack were killed. Knowing his life in China was over, he fled to the Philippines and a new life as a hermit. That solitude came to a literal crashing end when the plane came down.

For nearly two decades the two lived together. Master Lee taught his new "son" whom he named Adam Lee all that he knew in the martial arts and in weaponry. Lee got books from a library in a town and home schooled the boy who proved to have a photographic memory. It was a good and fulfilling life for Lee but when Adam reached adulthood, Lee knew it was time for the man to re-enter the world even as Lee returned to his native China to die. Lee had been quite wealthy before his hermitage and much of that he passed to his son so when Adam Lee arrived in the United States, he was able to get fake documentation.

Adam Lee had no real plans so he wandered his new land with no intent other than to soak it all in. He did things that interested him, one of which was an Iron Man Decathlon. His abilities were observed by an up-and-coming governmental official who recognized the potential for an incredible agent. He was recuited, trained, and put into the field.

According to that recruiter, spoken about him years later, "The man in question was--emphasis on was--our country's most successful covert operator. There has been no other like him in foreign intelligence, for any nation--nor will there ever be--we hope. He's a man with no background as far as our intelligence has been able to determine. A photograph of him never existed until recently. It would not have mattered; he's a master of disguise. We have no idea of where he lives...He has no friends, as far as we know. No government record can be found of his existence. Bottom line, gentlemen," he emphasized, "we know very little about this man selected personally by former President Clifford Grayson....He's a trained killer. He's the most lethal human being on the face of the earth. There's not a weapon he hasn't mastered, including his hands. This man possesses a photographic mind--and speaks dozens of languages fluently, as well as various dialects."

It is here when the story takes an odd turn. In thanks for having handled so many highly sensitive missions, the outgoing President decided having him terminated ( ???!!! ) would not be the right thing to do. So "they" decided the nicer thing to do was erase his memory and replace it with that of a loving wife and family, all of which had died a tragic death.

This all happens before the first recorded adventure. Things changed a lot afterwards, luckily mostly for the better.


Number of Books:5
First Appearance:2011
Last Appearance:2012

1 Overlay Overlay
Written by W. R. Park
Copyright: 2011

Attempts to deprogram Rance Colby go wrong for the group wanting to make sure Colby does not interfere with their plans to destabilize the major powers. Now he is out to stop them but his memories are not always real and there are few he can look to for help.
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2 The Dacian Resurgence The Dacian Resurgence
Written by W. R. Park
Copyright: 2011

Rance Colby is pulled from retirement by a former Chairman of the JCS to locate a major Russian general. Doing to puts him up against an ancient cult active since before the Roman Empire.
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3 Sacrificed Sacrificed
Written by W. R. Park
Copyright: 2012

Several governments have joined to pull off a plot to steal a biological bomb being developed by the US and use it against the US. Rance Colby is the best chance to stop them but he is also trying to prove the innocence of a man.
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4 Carpe Diem Carpe Diem
Written by W. R. Park
Copyright: 2012

An ancient journal passed to Rance Colby by the last Knight Templar opens the door to an adventure that takes he and his wife around the world and against strange and mysterious foes.
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5 This Time It's Personal This Time It's Personal
Written by W. R. Park
Copyright: 2012

Rance Colby is not the man he once was. The loss of his wife has left him broken, drunk and without purpose. What he does not know is that she was not killed but kidnapped and is being brainwashed into going after Rance.
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I admit to having liked this series. It took some getting over the incredible premise as well as how many super-powers Colby was said to have. Once I smiled and accepted that, however, the books really became fun. Like any decent superhero movie. Once you get past a dude really cannot fly on his own, no matter what planet he comes from, it is a blast to watch him soar. Likewise with Colby. Once you move beyond nobody being quite that awesome, it is a hoot to watch him kick butt. Especially when he more than once gets his own butt kicked thoroughly and not just by his own government.

The writing is really good with scenes set well and described nicely. The dialogue of supposedly powerful people is often off a lot with experienced dudes sounding stunned that the government might have paid assassins on the books or that there may be elected officials that cannot be really trusted. But whenever Colby is on the scene, I enjoyed it.

And I liked his wife (the real one he meets and falls for and actually marries, not the pretend one he sometimes thinks he remembers). She is not a pushover and proves it more than once.

The series moves into the urban fantasy/lost artifact realm more than it needs to, not really knowing which it wants. But it is still a lot of fun.


My Grade: B+


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