Mack Bolan

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Mack Bolan, alias The Executioner, is a fictional character who has been serialized in over 600 novels with sales of more than 200 million.[1] Created by Don Pendleton, Bolan made his first appearance on the printed page in 1969's War Against the Mafia. Pendleton wrote thirty-seven other novels featuring Bolan, often referred to as the "Mafia Wars." In 1980, Pendleton sold his rights to the character to Gold Eagle who hired a number of ghostwriters to continue publishing Bolan monthly to satisfy reader demand worldwide. Don Pendleton remained credited as the sole author and supervised these new adventures which took the Bolan character all over the world fighting terrorism. This new series of books featured Bolan as a principled warrior fighting larger-than-life adversaries in the spirit of a tougher American version of James Bond. The demand for the books continued and Gold Eagle began releasing as many as 15 titles annually. In addition, Bolan was "spun off" into several new adventure book series which also carried the Mack Bolan/Don Pendleton names and sold remarkably well. As of 2014, there are still more than a dozen Mack Bolan novels published every year worldwide by Gold Eagle Books, a division of Harlequin Books.

Fictional character biography

When asked his name and rank in Colorado Kill Zone, he replied, "Bolan, Mack Samuel, Master Sergeant." Bolan was born in 1939 and raised in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, of Welsh-Polish heritage, eldest of the three children of steelworker Samuel Bolan and his wife, Elsa. Bolan enlisted in the Army at age 18 and served two tours of duty in Vietnam as a Green Beret, even though newer novels don't make any reference to this as it makes him seem too old.

Bolan became an expert sniper with over 90 kills to his record, earning him the nickname The Executioner. For all his lethal capability, Bolan was deeply compassionate, becoming known as Sgt. Mercy because of the aid he often gave to Vietnamese civilians and others who needed help.

During his service in the Vietnam war, Bolan became highly adept at penetration and intelligence gathering, guerrilla warfare, marksmanship and munitions. He also became a skilled armorer.

During Bolan's second tour, his father suffered a heart attack that forced him to leave his job at the steel mill. Unable to work, with bills piling up, he was forced to borrow money from Triangle Industrial Finance, a savings-and-loan outfit known around town as a loansharking operation controlled by the family of Don Sergio Frenchi, the godfather of the Mafia in western Massachusetts. The people at TIF caused the elder Bolan countless problems with their payment demands. on one occasion, their enforcers dislocated his arm as punishment for missing one loan payment, warning him that the same arm would be broken if he missed another.

His daughter, Cindy Bolan, was worried about her father's safety and had secretly paid the officers at TIF a visit in order to persuade them to leave her father alone and allow her to repay the loan. In her first attempt, she turned in $35 a week, money she made from an afterschool job. When it became insufficient, they "suggested" she become a prostitute.

Johnny Bolan, Mack's younger brother, learned about it from a schoolmate who taunted him about it, resulting in a fight that Johnny lost. When he found Cindy servicing a client in a motel room, he blew the whistle to his father ... an act that resulted in the elder Bolan striking him. When she was confronted by her father, she admitted to her work, expressing her fear for his health and welfare.

For Sam Bolan, it was too much. He snapped and turned a Smith & Wesson .45 on his family and then himself. Johnny Bolan was the only survivor of the murder-suicide.

A few days later, Bolan was notified of the tragedy by an Army chaplain and took emergency leave to visit his brother. After Johnny told him the whole story, Bolan broke into a sportsman's shop and took a high-powered Marlin .444, a deluxe scope, some targets, and several boxes of ammunition, leaving an envelope of money to cover the "purchase". He would use the rifle to kill the TIF loansharks. This would be the beginning of his war against the Mafia.

As well as being in two nuclear explosions, Mack has been knifed numerous times and shot several times in various parts of his body, most recently in his left shoulder. He has been in numerous grenade explosions and several warehouse roofs have come down on his head.

His philosophy is simple: "If you care enough for something, you have to be willing to kill for it." When asked how he dealt with the horrors of his war against the Mafia, he said, "I stay angry."[2]

Stony Man

After 38 bloody campaigns against the Mafia, Bolan became the leader of the Stony Man organization, working with Able Team, Phoenix Force, Hal Brognola, April Rose, Aaron (The Bear) Kurtzman, and Jack Grimaldi.

War Against The Mafia and KGB

After the KGB attempt to destroy Stony Man and the death of April Rose, Bolan left the organization to resume his solo war against evil ... this time adding the KGB to his hit list. It was during this war that he was framed by the Mob for the murder of a prostitute in McLary County, Texas, resulting in him being tried for his extra-legal activities.[3]

Current activities

Bolan currently works on his own at arm's length from the clandestine agency Stony Man. He occasionally takes missions from Stony Man's director and personal friend, Hal Brognola, and the President of the United States. Frequently he returns to Stony Man to lead the agency on missions.

Personal life

Bolan has been in love only twice. His first lover was Valentina "Val" Querente, whom he met when he first went up against the Mob.[4] He would break off this relationship after she and Johnny Bolan had been kidnapped.[5] His second love was federal agent April Rose, whom he met during the first of his final campaigns against the Mafia.[6] He holds current lover, Barbara Price, at arm's length out of fear she, like Val and April, will be threatened, harmed, or killed.

In each book, Bolan usually has sex with a different woman. He prefers the gutsy type who are not apt to run away when shot at, which explains his deep affection for Querente, federal agent Toby Ranger, and April herself. In one novel, a woman with whom he was working claimed he liked his women "barefoot, pregnant and in the kitchen." Bolan replied, "No, I like them alive."

In his spare time, he likes extreme sports such as canoeing several rivers in flood stage. He typically likes to spend his spare time with Barbara Price.

He is also very literate, frequently reading Miguel de Cervantes' masterwork Don Quixote.[7] This is also shown at the beginning of each novel where Bolan gives his interpretation/response to a quote from a book, author, or famous person.


Bolan speaks Spanish, Russian, Arabic and passable German, and can understand many other languages.[citation needed]


Throughout his war against the Mafia, Bolan used a variety of weapons. His primary long gun was the .460 Weatherby Mark V, which he obtained from Nicholas "Nick Trigger" Woods, a top Mafia hitman sent to kill him.[8] For a sidearm, he used the silenced Beretta Brigadier, which he nicknamed "Belle", which he carried in a vertical shoulder rig. His trademark weapon was "Big Thunder", a stainless steel .44 AutoMag he usually wore on his hip. The Brigadier and AutoMag have since been supplanted by the current favorites, the Beretta 93R and .44 Magnum Desert Eagle, though Bolan has demonstrated facility with any pistol or rifle he comes across, and often carries a knife.

Mack Bolan books

The books are divided into three series: Executioner, Super Bolan and Stony Man. The Executioner series is the original series that was started by Don Pendelton in 1969. The Super Bolan series was started many years later by World Wide Library (a division of Harlequin books) and also details the exploits of Mack: the difference is that the Super Bolan books are each approximately 310 pages long whereas the Executioner novels are typically 180 pages in length. The Stony Man series details the exploits of the two action teams at Stony Man: Able Team and Phoenix Force. Earlier there were the Able Team and Phoenix Force series which were discontinued and folded together into one big series, the Stony Man series.


Here is a comprehensive list of authors who have at one point in time written a Mack Bolan/Executioner novel, or a spin-off novel for the series (i.e. Able Team, Phoenix Force, or Stony Man).

  • Don Pendleton
  • Dan Marlowe
  • Patrick F. Rogers
  • Tom Arnett
  • Charlie McDade
  • Ken Rose
  • Andy Boot
  • Mike McQuay
  • Mark Sadler
  • Nicholas Cain
  • Stephen Mertz
  • Kirk Sanson
  • E. Richard Churchill
  • Gerald Addison Montgomery
  • Dan Schmidt
  • Chet Cunningham
  • Will Murray
  • C.J. Shiao
  • Les Danforth
  • Patrick Neary
  • Wiley Slade
  • Kent Delaney
  • Judy Newton
  • Tim Somheil
  • Mark Ellis
  • Michael Newton
  • Gayle Stone
  • William Fieldhouse
  • Paul Glen Neuman
  • Dan Streib
  • G. H. Frost
  • David North
  • Rex Swenson
  • Carl Furst
  • Raymond Obstfeld
  • Timothy Tresslar
  • Jack Garside
  • Mel Odom
  • Nik Uhernik
  • Roland Green
  • L. R. Payne
  • Jerry VanCook
  • Jon Guenther
  • Rod Pennington
  • David Wade
  • Aaron Hill
  • Alan Philipson
  • Saul Wernick
  • Paul Hofrichter
  • Nick Pollotta
  • Douglas Wojtowicz
  • Robert Hoskins
  • Larry Powell
  • Nathan Meyer
  • Tom Jagninski
  • Rick Price
  • Michael W. Kasner
  • Rich Rainey
  • Steven Krauzer
  • Thomas Ramirez
  • Peter Leslie
  • Kevin Randall
  • Michael Linaker
  • Ron Renauld
  • Larry Lind
  • David L. Robbins
  • James Lord
  • Chuck Rogers (1985–1987)
  • Chuck Rogers (1996–present)
  • Glenn D Williams

In Other Media

It was announced August 2014, that Shane Salerno, Hollywood producer, screenwriter has optioned the Executioner Mack Bolan Series of action/adventure novels for a film franchise.[9]

It was announced that Bradley Cooper will be portraying Bolan in a film version of the book series.[10]


  1. Robert Thomas Jr. (October 28, 1995). "Don Pendleton, 67, Writer Who Spawned a Genre". New York Times. Retrieved 5 May 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. Executioner #27: Dixie Convoy
  3. Executioner #91: The Trial
  4. Executioner #1: War Against The Mafia
  5. Executioner #12: Boston Blitz
  6. Executioner #33: Monday's Mob (The beginning of the end of the Mob Wars)
  7. Executioner #30: Cleveland Pipeline
  8. Assault on Soho; The Executioner's War Book, p.24.
  9. Fleming, Jr., Mike (August 12, 2014). "After 40 Years Of Trying With McQueen, Stallone, Eastwood, Reynolds And Vin Diesel, Mack Bolan Pic Is Back". Deadline.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. Fleming, Jr., Mike (August 18, 2014). "Warner Bros Pre-empts 'Mack Bolan'; Bradley Cooper, Todd Phillips Aboard". Deadline. Retrieved August 18, 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links