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Conquest, Norman. Norman Conquest was created by “Berkeley Gray,” the pseudonym of Edwy Searles Brooks (William Beeke, Sexton Blake, Ironsides Cromwell, Clive Derring, Carson Grey, Jimmy Harding, Dixon Hawke, Invisible Speedman, Frank Kingston, Marko the Miracle Man, Falcon Swift, Umlosi, Waldo the Wonder Man), and appeared in thirty stories and fifty-one novels from 1937 to 1969, beginning with “Mr. Mortimer Gets the Jitters” (The Thriller #417, Jan. 30, 1937).
Norman Conquest is a Superhuman. He is a private adventurer who dedicates himself to tackling those crooks who are beyond the law. Conquest's idea of justice is to rob them of their wealth and return it to those who deserve it. Originally from India, Conquest was a child when his father was swindled out of his fortune by a clever crook. This left the Conquest family bankrupt, and Norman was forced to run away from home. For years he lived "on practically every corner of this earth--including Cochin-China, Siberia, Borneo, and Wigan." The first thing that Conquest did on reaching manhood was to go to London and see to the swindler, now a respectable lawyer. From there Conquest tackles criminal syndicates (Vultures, Limited), smugglers (The Black Ring), beautiful thieves (Primrose Trevor), white slavers (Sir Nicholas Glibley), cruel mine operators, crooked nightclub owners, gangsters, and the aboriginal son of a Duke who likes turning his victims into life-sized wax effigies.
Conquest is a handsome and square-jawed man of great strength and endurance; at times these qualities are superhuman, reflecting his origins as a fix-up of Waldo, the Wonder Man. Conquest occasionally uses interesting gadgets, such as explosive lighters and cigarettes and a wristwatch with a flexible, sharp, toothed metal band. Conquest is a dashing, affable, laughing, hard man, in the same vein as the Saint and as given to light-hearted remarks in the face of danger but more ruthless, more lethal, more violent, and with less of a conscience.
Conquest lives in a converted railway viaduct. He is assisted by Joy "Pixie" Everard, the former secretary of the man who ruined his father; she leaves him to help Conquest and they fell in love quickly. She is small and elfin, but plucky and brave, and saves Conquest's life on more than one occasion. Conquest is also helped by Mandeville Livingstone, a former toy maker who lost his wife and child to murder and took to wandering the roads of England. Conquest takes Livingstone in and saves him from being framed for murder; Livingstone repays Conquest's generosity by becoming his Man Friday. The police presence in the series is Inspector William "Sweet William" Williams, who has a love/hate relationship with Conquest, hating his interferences but grudgingly admiring him at the same time. During the war Conquest's house and Hispano roadster are destroyed in the crash of a German bomber, and Joy almost killed, prompting Conquest into a one-man invasion of Germany.
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