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Saturday, February 17, 2018

A Talbot Smith

Robert J. Kirkpatrick

A. Talbot Smith was a talented comic artist and a reliable illustrator who contributed to several children’s books and other novels, in between pursuing his main hobby of shooting.

He was born in Canton, China, on 20 July1877, and christened Alfred Talbot Smith. His father, Frederic Burgess Smith (born in Woolwich, Kent in 1841) was a tea broker’s clerk who later became a tea merchant. His mother was Maria Victoria (née Dorey), born in Camberwell in 1840, the daughter of Thomas Dorey, an accountant. The family home was, for many years, in Brigstock Road, Croydon. As well as Alfred, the Smiths had one other child, Wilfred Gerard, born in January 1880 in Camberwell, who initially followed his father into the tea trade before becoming a poultry farmer. Frederic Burgess Smith died at 3 Russell Hill Road, Purley, Surrey, on 29 November 1914, leaving a small estate valued at £201. His wife died at 3 Masons Avenue, Croydon, on 3 December 1928, leaving £104.

Alfred was educated at Whitgift School, Croydon, between 1883 and 1895. He then studied at the Croydon School of Art, and by the turn of the century he had established himself as a professional artist. Amongst the first books he illustrated were a handful of re-issues of Walter Scott’s novels in 1901. He also illustrated novels by Guy Boothby, E. Phillips Oppenheim and Arthur Quiller-Couch, although most of his illustrative work was for children’s novels. In particular he illustrated several boys’ school stories, including a 1905 re-issue of Tom Brown’s Schooldays (for which he provided 16 black and white plates) and stories by Harold Avery and Charles Turley. In September 1909, he began illustrating a serial story by Harold Avery, 'A Leap in the Dark', in The Sheffield Weekly Telegraph.

He also became well-known for his cartoons, in particular in Punch, The Humorist, London Opinion, The Sketch and The Passing Show. He commonly signed his work “A T SMITH” (and more rarely “ATS”), although some of his book illustrations were unsigned, but identified by his name on the title page.

On 2 October 1904, while he was living in Thornton Heath, Surrey, he married Marion Ellen Long (born in Willesden in 1878, the daughter of Francis Stephen Long, a tea broker) at the St. Peter’s Church, Croydon. They settled at Flint Cottage, Chipstead, Surrey, which remained their home until the end of their lives. They went on to have four children: Gerard (1910-1977), Nancy (1911-1953), Ronald (1911-1935 – killed while with the RAF in Singapore), and Patrick (1914-2001).

In the meantime, Smith had enlisted in the 1st Volunteer Battalion of the Queen’s Royal West Surrey Regiment, becoming an Honorary Lieutenant in November 1899. He was also a member of the Whitgift Veterans Rifle Club, competing at competitions including Bisley, and, between 1899 and 1905, he was the Commander of Whitgift’s Cadet Corps. He also joined the Surrey Rifle Association in 1900, remaining a member (eventually becoming Vice-Chairman) until his death, and he joined the National Rifle Association in 1902. During the First World War he served as a Captain of the 4th Battalion of the West Surrey Regiment – by the end of the war he had attained the rank of Major, attached to the General Headquarters of the Eastern Command. He was primarily engaged as a musketry instructor, although he saw active service and was, according to one account (in The Surrey Mirror in June 1937) mentioned in dispatches several times, although there are no references to these in The London Gazette, where all such citations are recorded.

After the war he joined the Chipstead Rifle Club, and wrote a history of the club in 1950. In 1937, he was appointed District Air Raid Precautions Controller of the Banstead Urban District, Surrey. He was also President of the Chipstead Cricket Club, having been a member since around 1907, and was also closely involved with the Surrey County Playing Fields Association. In November 1955 he was appointed a Deputy Lieutenant of the County of Surrey. He was also a member of the Press Club, and for some time was the Rifle Shooting Correspondent of The Times.

His wife died on 28 July 1952, and in 1970 he re-married, his second wife being Violet Beatrice Mindham (born in 1900, the daughter of a woodworker). This marriage was, however, short-lived, as Smith died in June 1971.

His work as an illustrator was severely curtailed after the First World War, probably because he was developing so many other commitments.


Books illustrated by A. Talbot Smith
My Novel, or Varieties in English Life by Edward Bulwer Lytton, Collins, 1900 (re-issue)
Old Mortality by Walter Scott, Gresham Publishing Co., 1901 (re-issue)
Kenilworth by Walter Scott, Gresham Publishing Co., 1901 (re-issue)
The Pirate by Walter Scott, Gresham Publishing Co., 1901 (re-issue)
Redgauntlet by Walter Scott, Gresham Publishing Co., 1901 (re-issue)
The Cavern of Laments: A Story of Sark by Catherine E. Mallandaine, John Long, 1904
A Bride from the Sea by Guy Boothby, John Long, 1904
The Lady of the Island by Guy Boothy, John Long, 1904
Tom Brown’s Schooldays by Thomas Hughes, John Long, 1905 (re-issue)
The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins, John Long, 1905 (re-issue)
The Corner House by Fred Merrick White, Ward, Lock & Co., (New York) 1906
A Bad Three Weeks by Raymond Jacberns, Wells Gardner, Darton & Co., 1907
The Scamp Family by L.T. Meade, W. & R. Chambers, 1907
Highway Dust: The Narrative of a Treasure Hunt by George Godfrey Sellick, T.C. & E. Jack, 1907
The Mystery of the Shadow by Fergus Hume, Cassell & Co., 1907
The Secret by E, Phillips Oppenheim, Ward, Lock & Co., 1907
Poison Island by A. Quiller-Couch, Smith, Elder & Co., 1907
A Hard Bit of Road by Raymond Jacberns, Wells Gardner, Darton & Co., 1908
The MInvern Brothers by Charles Turley, T. Nelson & Sons, 1909
A Hard Bit of Road by Raymond Jacberns, Wells Gardner, Darton & Co., 1909
Off the Wicket by Harold Avery, T. Nelson & Sons, 1910
A Scout’s Son by Charles Turley, T. Nelson & Sons, 1910
The Maynard Cousins by Geoffrey H. White, T. Nelson & Sons, 1910
Cornered by Percy J. Barrow, Wells Gardner, Darton & Co., 1910
The New Broom by Charles Turley, T. Nelson & Sons, 1911
The Forbidden Room by Harold Avery, T. Nelson & Sons, 1911
The New Boy at Merriton by Julia Goddard, Blackie & Son, 1912 (re-issue)
Miscellaneous Contributions to “Household Words”, “All The Year Round” etc. by Charles Dickens, Gresham Publishing Co., 1912
The Cardinal Moth by Fred M. White, Ward, Lock & Co., 1912
Highway Dust by George G. Sellick, T. Nelson & Sons, 1916
The Monastery by Walter Scott, Collins, 1920 (re-issue)
Winning His Laurels, or The Boys of St, Raglan’s by F.M. Holmes, James Nisbet & Co., 1920(?)
Guy Mannering by Walter Scott, Collins, 1920 (re-issue)
One the Welsh Marches by Walter Scott, Blackie & Son, 1921 (re-issue)
Our Secret Society by W. Dingwall Fordyce, T. Nelson & Sons, 1927
The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins, Daily Express Publications, 1933 (re-issue)
Chipstead and District Rifle Club, 1906-1950: A Short History by Major A. Talbot Smith, 1950

Friday, February 16, 2018

Comic Cuts - 16 February 2018

Not much to report this week. I worked on a couple of shorter pieces over the Friday through Sunday before jumping to one of the longer pieces. In fact it might end up the longest piece in the book, although nowhere near the length of the Bracebridge Hemyng piece in Volume 2, which clocked in at around 20,000 words.

That book has been out a couple of weeks now and I've had a little bit of feedback. Thankfully no major factual errors have cropped up—the biggest so far has been a wrong date—although even minor mistakes are frustrating because I make every effort to weed them out ahead of publication. But they slip through. I think that, after a while, you see what you think you've written rather than what you've actually written.

The weekly totalizer has reached 160,000 words and the essay count is now at 39, so I'm maybe 45,000 words away from achieving the Fifty Forgotten Authors I was aiming for when I started this project last August. I have a feeling that I won't quite reach the fifty with this third volume unless I use up a lot of very short pieces.

I did solve one mystery this week relating to an author who featured on Bear Alley. I finally tracked down their date of death and confirmed it with a copy of their death certificate. The office that deals with births, marriages and deaths—the General Register Office, or GRO—have a scheme on at the moment whereby you can get order PDF copies of birth and death certificates. Weirdly, this pilot scheme is not extended to marriage certificates, a fact I missed when I tried to order one and found that the "order PDF" button was missing. A glitch in the system, surely? I thought. As it turns out, no.

Doing these books could potentially cost me a fortune in certificates, although I've kept it down to something like £30 per volume so far.Add the cost of proofs, and the price of a couple of books I've had to buy for reference, the first three volumes will probably have cost me somewhere between £120-150 to produce. That's a huge difference to the costs I had writing the Hank Janson book, which were huge by comparison: it took a few trips up to the National Archives in Richmond to sort some of the research and on more than one occasion I spent over £100 on photocopies—which were hellishly expensive (£1.30 per photocopied page!). It's bloody expensive this research lark!

Between work and the weather, I've not left the house much, aside from our regular walks. I'm looking forward to seeing Lucy Porter this Friday evening at the Arts Centre and we're trying to arrange with friends to see Black Panther, so I may have more to write about next week. For now I'll leave you with some random scans that aren't so random.

In an obvious marketing move, all the covers today are books by authors included in Forgotten Authors Volume 2... I'm hoping that it will spur you into buying a copy of the book or downloading it on Kindle. You can find all the various options here... and if you scroll down you can order volume one at the same time!


Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Rebellion Releases (2000AD)

Rebellion releases for 14 February 2017.

2000AD Prog 2068
Cover: Nick Percival
JUDGE DREDD: THE SHROUD by Michael Carroll (w) Paul Davidson (a) Chris Blythe (c) Annie Parkhouse (l)
SAVAGE: THE THOUSAND YEAR STARE by Pat Mills (w) Patrick Goddard (a) Ellie De Ville (l)
BRASS SUN: ENGINE SUMMER by Ian Edginton (w) INJ Culbard (a) Ellie De Ville (l)
BAD COMPANY: TERRORISTS by Peter Milligan (w) Rufus Dayglo (a) Dom Regan (c) Simon Bowland (l)
ABC WARRIORS: FALLOUT by Pat Mills (w) Clint Langley (a) Annie Parkhouse (l)

Monday, February 12, 2018

Jeff Hawke's Cosmos v10 no3 (January 2018)

What a long, strange trip it has been, reading through the complete set of Jeff Hawke stories. The early issues of Jeff Hawke's Cosmos jumped around a little, reprinting some of the earliest yarns from the 1950s alongside what many consider the classic era of Hawke's run in the 1960s. For the past couple of years, the magazine has been reprinting the later Jeff McLane tales in chronological order. And this month we have reached the penultimate issue, with only four more tales to go.

William Rudling deserves a huge round of applause for bringing one of the best of all British science fiction strips back into print. I was very proud to have been a contributor from the beginning in 2003, writing a series on old SF strips from the 1950s before I ran out of steam a couple of years later (that and a full-time job with Look & Learn!). William has been indefatigable, having now published thirty issues plus three specials.

This penultimate issue contains two long Lance McLane (or Jeff Hawke as they were in syndication) stories: "Even Death May Die" and "Virus". The first is a blend of science fiction and horror, beginning with the discovery of an old space shuttle in earth orbit, now a tomb for its crew. Scavengers board the derelict, accidentally opening up a way for the ancient gods to return. With his partner left on board the shuttle, one of the junkers makes it to the Spacewheel and a rescue ship is sent. Meanwhile, Jeff and Fortuna are aboard the Spacewheel and when Fortuna scans the mind of the injured, escaped space-scrap merchant, she witnesses a scene of Cthuluian terror.

In "Virus", Fortuna feels the urge to return to the asteroid where she was found by Hawke. At the same time, scouting parties are exploring the remains of London, checking the likes of hospitals for dangerous leaks of bio-hazards or radiation, the result of years under ice. On the asteroid that she is named after, the android Fortuna sees one of her creators, a Grand Magician of Aurigae, while on Earth, medical supplies are brought  to Moonbase by a pilot who has been accidentally exposed to... something.

As always, the quality of storytelling is superb and it's a sign of its quality that the strip was able to jump from Lovecraftian horror to medical drama and elsewhere—wherever the story demanded.

The stories are backed-up here with copious notes by Duncan Lunan, who also pens astronomical features, including the final episode of "Space Notes".

Next: Jeff Hawke's Cosmos: The Epilogue, which will contain the final four stories, along with Lunan's "Hawke Notes", extra articles and a colour section. It will be priced £14. The Jeff Hawke Club will continue to publish a newsletter and supply back-issues. More details next time.

Meanwhile, the last few issues are available on subscription: £26 for three issues here in the UK and £34/38/41 for overseas subscribers, payable in a variety of ways. You can find more details (and back issues) at the new Jeff Hawke Club web page or by contacting william AT 

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Phil Ebbutt

Robert J. Kirkpatrick

Phil Ebbutt could be said to have had two parallel careers—that of a serious artist, illustrating historical novels and similar works, and that of a caricaturist and comic artist. Both sides of his output were used by George and Edward Dalziel, the Victorian engravers, and his comic illustrations were later used by James Henderson & Co.

Ebbutt was born on 5 November 1866 and baptized, as Philip Guy Ebbutt, at St. John the Baptist Church, Croydon, Surrey, on 1 December 1866. He was the fifth of nine children of Alfred Charles Ebbutt (1833-1906), a highly successful upholsterer and cabinet-maker (at his death his estate was worth almost £1 million in today’s terms), and his wife Jane (née Close, 1837-1920), who had moved to Croydon after marrying in Bishopsgate, London, in 1858.

Philip may have been a sickly child, as at the time of the 1871 census, when was under 4 years old, he was recorded as a “Nurse Child” living with William Rackley, a labourer, and his wife at Victoria Place, Croydon.  (Having said, that, his parents were living apart at that time, his father in Croydon and his mother in Brighton). At the time of the 1891 census, the family, now reunited, was living at 1 Park Terrace, Park Lane, Croydon, with Alfred employing 35 men and 3 boys.

Phil Ebbutt received his artistic training at the Croydon School of Art (founded in 1868), along with his sisters Ethel and Blanche, with Philip being registered there aged only 13. After leaving the college he remained in Croydon, where he was a member of the Croydon Swimming Club and the Croydon Lacrosse team, until around 1887, when he moved briefly into central London, being recorded in the 1888 Electoral Register as occupying an unfurnished room at 1 Ryland Road, St. Pancras.

It was around this time that he began working for the Dalziel brothers, as they recalled in their memoir The Brothers Dalziel (published by Methuen & Co. in 1901):
Phil Ebbutt came to us on the recommendation of George R. Sims. He had a natural taste for drawing, and was quick at design. He worked much on our publication Jack and Jill, including political cartoons, and romances strictly historical. He also made many drawings for Fun, which were mostly of a social character. In all he was an industrious, willing worker, but his progress was hindered by an affliction of the eyes, which now and again demanded complete rest; though that, for a time, was got over and he went to work again.
In 1889 he contributed to the first number of The Daily Graphic (published by H.R. Baines & Co. and owned by Luson Thomas, who also owned The Graphic), and he also began contributing to periodicals such as The Quiver, The Lady’s Pictorial and The Illustrated Sporting and Dramatic News. His first book illustrations also appeared around this time. In 1885 he had provided 40 black and white illustrations for a re-issue of Harriet Martineau’s The Settlers at Home, and he also contributed to Hood’s Comic Annual for 1885 (and later years) and The Fun Almanac, both engraved and printed by the Dalziel brothers. In 1887 he illustrated three books by Henry T. Johnson, who was the editor of Fun and who went on to become an extremely prolific author.

At the time of the 1891 census Ebbutt was living with his parents and two of his sisters at 7 Epsom Road, Croydon. Three years later, on 4 December 1894, he married Edith Mary Prewett, at Warnham, Surrey  –  born in 1873, she was the daughter of William Thomas Gibbens Prewett, an extremely wealthy miller and corn merchant (he left an estate valued at over £2 million in today’s terms when he died in 1913). They remained in Croydon, where their only child, Hetty Eve, was born in 1899, and where Ebbutt joined the Surrey Art Circle. They later moved to 8 The Gables, Moring Road, Tooting, where Ebbutt was recorded in the 1901 census as a “Journalistic Artist”, working from home, and his wife as a journalist.

By then he had left The Daily Graphic, because of his poor eyesight, but he continued to work, contributing to The Strand Magazine and The Sunday Strand. He also illustrated a handful of books at the turn of the century, including a re-issue of Harriet Martineau’s Feats on the Fiord, The Cruise of the “Arctic Fox” by Gordon Stables, and The Prots: A Weird Romance by Montague Dudbroke, an early biological science fiction novel.

He subsequently began working for the publisher James Henderson, in particular supplying extra illustrations for a series of reprints of the Giantland stories in Young Folks Tales, written by Roland Quiz (i.e. Richard Quittenton), which had originally been illustrated by John Proctor. He also provided the covers for Henderson’s short-lived Rob Roy Library in 1903-04, and for many of the early numbers of the Nugget Library and Lion Library. He also contributed illustrations to Henderson’s weekly papers Nuggets and The Boys’ Champion Story Paper, as well as The Boy’s Own Paper and Chums, and The British Girls’ Annual. As an artist, he was described by John Medcraft (in The Story Paper Collector, October-December 1943) as “sound but lacking in versatility, he was at his best in school story illustrations.”

At the time of the 1911 census Ebbutt was living at 33 Hampstead Way, Hendon, recorded as an “Artist (Journalistic)”. His wife died in January 1914, and the following year he married Rosina Sarah Wheeler, born in Highgate on 17 October 1891, the daughter of Hyda Wheeler, a carpenter. By then Ebbutt appears to have more or less stopped working, presumably because of his failing eyesight—his last known book illustrations had appeared in 1910. He died at 68 Muswell Hill, Highgate, on 18 March 1926, leaving a small estate of just under £80.


Books illustrated by Phil Ebbutt
The Settlers at Home by Harriet Martineau, George Routledge & Sons, 1885 (re-issue)
Little Wide-Awake: An Illustrated Magazine for Children ed. By Mrs Sale Barker, George Routledge & Sons, 1888
Jockey Club Stories by Frank Barrett, The “Fun” Office, 1887
Through My Heart First by H.T. Johnson, The “Fun” Office, 1887
Honours Divided by Henry T. Johnson, The “Fun” Office, 1887
Jack of Hearts: A Story of Bohemia by Henry T. Johnson, The “Fun” Office, 1887
Raymi, or The Children of the Sun by Clive Holland, Cassell & Co., 1890
Wise and Otherwise by “Pansy”, George Routledge & Sons, 1890
Seaside Resorts: A Selection of the “Daily Graphic” Holiday Letters by J. Ashby-Sterry,,Office of the “Daily Graphic”, 1891
Feats on the Fiord: A Tale of Norway by Harriet Martineau, Ward, Lock & Co., 1900 (re-issue)
The Cruise of the “Arctic Fox” in Icy Seas Around the Pole by Gordon Stables, S.H. Bousfield, 1902
The Prots: A Weird Romance by M. Dudbroke, S.H. Boulsfield & Co., 1903
The Kidnapping of Peter Cray: A Story of the South Seas by Robert Leighton, John F. Shaw, 1903
Fortunatus: A Romance by J.H. White, Melville & Mullen, 1903
Lionel Harcourt, the Etonian by G.E. Wyatt, T. Nelson & Sons, 1904 (re-issue)
Three Little Preachers by Harold Murray, Religious Tract Society, 1910
The Story of Samson, James Henderson, 1910   (Bible Stories for Young Readers)

Friday, February 09, 2018

Comic Cuts - 9 February 2018

With Forgotten Authors Volume 2 now done and dusted—and available to buy—I'm immersed in work on the next volume. Some of the essays in this new one will be a bit more recent, so there's less chance that I will find ways to overhaul them in a major way, but I'm continually tinkering with these texts, so there will definitely be something new about every single piece.

I mentioned previously that, although eight of the ten essays were based on things I've written previously for Bear Alley, around 50,000 of the 65,000 words in the second volume were new material. Partly that's down to expanding some of the older essays as more information is now available; partly it's also that the book gives me an opportunity to throw in the kitchen sink; and sometimes it's simply because I hate to see research go to waste.

The amount of research done in some areas is intense. I end up with pages of notes that I have to condense down into something readable. Usually these are immediately thrown away once the essay is finished, but I sometimes find them caught up in a pile where I've moved some books, or even used as bookmarks. I stumbled across the following page yesterday and thought I'd share it with you. This is both the front and back...

The context is the novel Kate Hamilton, published as part of the 'Anonyma' series of novels about Victorian prostitutes and demi mondes. Kate Hamilton was a real person, a larger than life character who ran a  famous London night-house where prostitutes and playboys would meet. I wanted to find out (a) if Kate was real, and (b) whether she was the owner of the establishment that carried her name.

Well, it turned out that she was real, but the power behind the throne (and I do mean that Kate sat on a throne on a raised platform, drinking cocktails, surrounded by girls and customers) was a guy called David Belasco. I searched through dozens of newspaper reports and discovered that he was quite a brutal character, arrested a number of times for running a disorderly house, at least once for attacking his wife, and on another occasion for murder.

The first page includes notes jotted down while I was searching papers and census records. The second page is based on rates payments made in Westminster over a period of thirty years, covering properties that Belasco paid the rates on. You can see Kate Hamiltons at 48 Leicester Square, and his other night-houses. 

Most of this information was edited out of the finished version of the essay on Anonyma that appeared in Forgotten Authors Volume 1. In fact, those two pages were boiled down to:
... the power behind the throne was David Belasco (1826-1902), who ran similar establishments in the Haymarket and White Hart Street for over three decades  and who had served time for wilful manslaughter.
I'm not saying that every sentence has a page and a half of notes behind it, but quite a few do. And it's that kind of burrowing down into the subject that sometimes turns up interesting details that might otherwise be missed. 

Getting back into the swing of writing and re-writing meant that my planned binge-watch of Altered Carbon didn't quite go to plan. I'm seven episodes in and I think it's an interesting take on the book. The writers have added some details that will pay off later, I suspect, but there's a lot of the book to go and only three episodes left. I'm also left with the quandary of whether Joel Kinnaman should continue to appear as the hero should the show run to another series. The central idea is that people can swap bodies and the body that looks like Joel Kinnaman belong to a former cop (Elias Ryker). In flashbacks we've met Takesh Kovacs in his original body, played by actor Will Yun Lee, so viewers will be used to the idea that Kovacs looks different at different times... but at the same time Kinnaman had been one of the reasons I've wanted to watch every episode and it will be a shame if he makes the show a success only to miss out on the benefits of a successful show.

(A small aside... I like to have a whole show ready and waiting before I start watching. I think that might be the collector in me, the one who prefers graphic novels so that I can read the beginning, middle and end without having to wait a month between issues. I'm the same with TV shows: I want them wrapped up by the end of the season. By all means leave a thread loose that can be central to whatever will happen next year, but wrap up the main storyline. It's so unsatisfying, waiting six months to a year to find out what's going on. This was a problem with another series that featured Joel Kinnaman: the American remake of The Killing. As we don't have Sky I rely on picking up box-sets of a lot of shows, and we watched the first series of The Killing with great anticipation as we'd loved the original Danish series. So to find that the season ended abruptly half-way through the storyline was a huge disappointment. Being a big consumer of box sets, I usually wait until I find them second hand... and I've never found season two. Yes, I know I can pick it up from Amazon, but that feels like cheating!)

Back to Volume 3. I've managed to knock out five essays and have another one almost completed. That brings the totalizer up to 145,589 words spread over 35 authors. Only another 15 to go before I hit the big Five-Oh!

Random scans for today are a handful of recently found books. The first I bought from Amazon for 25p plus postage... a book I've been after for some while and which has prompted me to finally start reading McDonald's River of Gods, which I've had on my "to read" pile for a few years. My New Year's Resolution was to read some thinner books and I guess Andy Weir's  Artemis was in the right ballpark at 300 pages. Altered Carbon, which I read before Christmas, was 470... now I'm reading a book that, at 580 pages, will probably take me until May to finish!

Anyway, the others I've picked up for free. There are a few drop-off points for free books around town, including a shelf at the railway station where I picked up Peter Ackroyd's Dan Leno and the Limehouse Golem, recently filmed with Bill Nighy; the other two were from down the pub which me and my mum visited on Tuesday for lunch. The first is one of the later Deathlands novels by James Axler (this one by Alan Philipson), while the other is a reprint of an early Dean Koontz novel that I used to have back in the Seventies, although this version has been revised (in 1997).

Thursday, February 08, 2018

Commando issues 5095-5098

Brand new Commando issues on sale today. See our soldiers sabotage Jerry lines after the Somme, bobsleigh down mountains in the French Alps with Allied generals, speed away in a Singer sports car through Singapore, and dig your way to freedom with our Sappers!

5095: Seized at the Somme
In what became known as The Great War, no other battle was as infamous as the Somme. With 20,000 British troops killed on the first day, it is an offensive that will never be forgotten. But when British Privates Billy Osgood and Alfie Adams are captured during the battle by the Germans, they are led away from the front line to a German POW camp where they are forced to work against the Allies. Well, not if Billy and Alfie have a thing or two to say about it!
    Ferg Handley’s story is a chilling account of the brutality inflicted on prisoners of war, as his Allied heroes suffer at the hands of the Huns. Meanwhile, Morhain’s interior artwork, alongside Ian Kennedy’s hauntingly realistic cover are full of danger, from the jagged trees, barbed wire and wide open threat of no man’s land, to the claustrophobic intensity of the trenches!

Story: Ferg Handley
Art: Morhain
Cover: Ian Kennedy

5096: And Everywhere that Casey Went…
Handcuffed together, Yank Butch Casey and Commando Bill Craig hated each other’s guts. But now, with Jerries dressed as American M.P.s and a plan to assassinate a New Year’s party full of Allied generals, they were going to have to work together. Racing to the villa on Mont Ceindre in the French Alps, getting up there would be easy compared to getting back down alive…
    Penned by Gerry Finley-Day of Battle Picture Weekly fame, and illustrated by Aguilar, this issue doesn’t shy away from action or atmosphere, creating a delightful winter package, wrapped up in neat bow with a dynamic snowscape cover from Penalva.

Story: Finley-Day
Art: Aguilar
Cover: Penalva
Originally Commando No. 458 (February 1970). Reprinted No. 1311 (April 1979).

5097: Singapore Strike
Light as a feather and with not an inch of spare flesh on his scrawny frame, Fred Burton looked as though he could be knocked down by the next strong gust of wind. But looks could be very deceiving, as one Japanese Kempeitai captain was about to find out, for Fred was actually a master of martial arts!
    George Low’s story fleets from one side of the world to another, trading the rain-soaked London Docks for a tropical paradise, as Janek Matysiak’s cover and Keith Page’s interiors offer a bright and sunny alternative to the winter gloom for you to lose yourself in!

Story: George Low
Art: Keith Page
Cover: Janek Matysiak

5098: The Sappers
The Corps of Royal Engineers or ‘Sappers’ were a hardy bunch – and they had to be. Digging under enemy lines, the conditions were dark, damp and cramped, so it wasn’t long before intense claustrophobia could set in. That was precisely what happened to Martin Clark, after he was buried alive under Le Chateau Noir, only managing to dig himself free three days later. Now, working as a desk wallah in the Second World War, would he ever be able to go underground again? And if he did, would he be able to finish what he started twenty-nine years earlier?
    Keith Shone’s interior artwork perfectly compliments the dark mood and grit of Roger Sanderson’s story, compacting the characters within his frames and drawing on the dreaded sense of claustrophobia, you cannot help but feel when reading this issue!

Story: Roger Sanderson
Art: Keith Shone
Cover: Ian Kennedy
Originally Commando No. 2672 (June 1993).

Wednesday, February 07, 2018

Rebellion Releases (2000AD)

Rebellion releases for 7–8 February 2018.

2000AD Prog 2067
Cover: Patrick Goddard & Chris Blythe
JUDGE DREDD: THE SHROUD by Michael Carroll (w) Paul Davidson (a) Chris Blythe (c) Annie Parkhouse (l)
SAVAGE: THE THOUSAND YEAR STARE by Pat Mills (w) Patrick Goddard (a) Ellie De Ville (l)
BRASS SUN: ENGINE SUMMER by Ian Edginton (w) INJ Culbard (a) Ellie De Ville (l)
BAD COMPANY: TERRORISTS by Peter Milligan (w) Rufus Dayglo (a) Dom Regan (c) Simon Bowland (l)
ABC WARRIORS: FALLOUT by Pat Mills (w) Clint Langley (a) Annie Parkhouse (l)

Ant Wars by various
Rebellion ISBN 978-178108550-9, 8 February 2017, 114pp, £12.99 / $17.99. Available via Amazon.
ANT WARS: When military personnel spray an untested insecticide on ants in the Brazilian rainforest, the colony mutate into super-intelligent creatures with a taste for human flesh! As the terrifying army head closer towards civilisation, Captain Villa and a young forest native race ahead in the vain attempt to warn a thoroughly unprepared world! Written by Gerry Finley-Day (Rogue Trooper), with Art by Joe Ferrer (Robo-Hunter), Azpiri (Black Hawk) and many others, Ant Wars is an exhilarating take on classic sci-fi movies.
 ZANCUDO: 2127 AD: High above the Peruvian rainforest, vast, eerie creatures fix compound eyes on a vessel transporting the notorious Fendito ‘the Bandito’ back into custody in the South-Am mega-city of Cuidad Barranquilla. For ‘Banana City’ judges Xavi Ancizar and Sofia Perez, the bug hunt is just beginning ... Written by Simon Spurrier (X-Men Legacy) and featuring the art of British comics legend Cam Kennedy (Judge Dredd), witness all-out insect war with mankind in the middle!

Monday, February 05, 2018

Ant Wars

'Ant Wars' is one of those old strips that long-time readers of 2000AD remember perhaps a little more fondly than they should. I doubt it was ever meant to be more than a filler and it was brought to a rapid conclusion when 2000AD merged with Starlord in 1978.

Mutated monsters were nothing new and 2000AD had had its fair share of animals-on-the-rampage yarns, from dinosaurs ('Flesh') to polar bears ('Shako') and giant ants had a whiff of desperation, trying to find something that could menace humanity in the wake of the success of James Herbert's Rats (1974) and Guy N. Smith's Night of the Crabs (1976), which spawned a whole slew of "nature running amok" titles that had their origins in monster movies of the Fifties.

Truth be told, I wasn't a huge fan of the artist, Jose Ferrer, whose scratchy linework didn't quite cut it as far as this fan of Jesus Blasco was concerned.


... looking back on it now as a collected volume I was instantly drawn into the story, which powers along at breakneck speed because there is only seven pages in the first episode to set out its premise, introduce a bunch of characters, hint at some thematic ideas (technology vs. nature, the noble savage) and tell a kick-ass tale at the same time. Gerry Finley-Day throws us in at the deep end: the clearance of local natives in a Brazilian jungle to build a new road for oil tankers, plus a new form of experimental insecticide used to kill off soldier ants, equals GIANT ANTS.

The unlikely heroes are Captain Villa and a semi-literate local known as Anteater, who discover the gigantic insects after Anteater escapes a reservation set up by the army to house the native population. Villa is convinced that his military skills and training will keep them alive, but the army man is proven wrong time after time.

There are some tough adventures ahead of them as they try to warn civilisation about the menace, with some of the best episodes seeing them captured by gamblers on a riverboat and the carnage at the Rio Carnival. It's the only comic strip to answer that age-old question: are nipple tassels any defence against giant ants?

Before long, Argentina is also infested where new artist Alfonso Azpiri gets to illustrate an aerial attack by flying ants and the capture of Anteater by queen ants as the mutants make their way to the foothills of the Andes.

Rounding out the volume is 'Zancudo' from Judge Dredd Megazine (2005), described as a spiritual successor to the original in which Simon Spurrier and Cam Kennedy relate how Judge Xavi Ancizar and his amoureuse, Judge Sofia Perez, crash land in the South American jungle while overseeing the transfer of medical supplies to a penal colony. They are also delivering a psychic psychopath, Fendito, nicknamed 'El Bandito', who breaks free when their transporter crashlands in the jungle.

Soon, they discover a city of giant mosquitos and a race enslaved by the creatures. There's plenty of action and a surprise reappearance... but I'll say no more. Even in the short space of 24 pages, the story has an emotional depth that 'Ant Wars' doesn't have—it was, after all, aimed at an older audience. Not that 'Ant Wars' was trying to be anything other than what it was... a rattling-paced adventure with mutant horrors at its heart. And that it delivers.

Ant Wars. Rebellion ISBN 978-178107622-3, 8 February 2018, 112pp, £12.99. Available via Amazon.

Saturday, February 03, 2018

Reginald Mills

Robert J. Kirkpatrick

Like J. Dewar Mills, Reginald Mills (no relation) is also a rather enigmatic figure. Sources on the internet, largely websites dealing with paintings sold at auction, give his dates as 1896-1950, and, few, if any refer to his work as an illustrator of children’s books. Only the barest details of his life can be ascertained from online genealogy records.

The most comprehensive details are from his brief service in the army in 1914. His service record reveals that he was he enlisted, in the King’s Royal Rifle Corps, on 28 August 1914, his occupation given as art student. He was recorded as born in Hampstead, Middlesex, with his age given as 19 years 154 days. He was described as just over 5 ft 10 ins, with a sallow complexion and dark brown hair and eyes. His mother, Alice Mills, was living at 39 Cavendish Mansions, Mill Lane, West Hampstead. His army career was, however, very short-lived, as he was declared medically unfit owing to flat feet and bunions, and he was discharged on 23 September 1914.

Extrapolating back from his age on 28 August 1914, his date of birth can be fixed at 28 March 1895. Unfortunately, there are no online birth records which confirm this. When he married, in 1940, the marriage certificate showed his father as Horace Mills (deceased), a former artist. In the 1901 census, an Alice Mills, born in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, around 1874, and a Reginald Mills, born in Marylebone, London, aged 5, were living at 42 Cochrane Street, St. Marylebone. Ten years later, they were at 39 Cavendish Mansions, Hampstead. Alice’s husband was absent from the 1901 census record, and in 1911 she was recorded as a widow, living on private means, with Reginald at school. Unfortunately, there appears to be no online record of a marriage between a Horace Mills and an Alice (other than one between a Horace Mills and an Alice Susannah Martha Carter in Kingston, Surrey, in 1892 – however, Horace was a farmer in Essex, and he and his family appear elsewhere in subsequent census records).

Mills received his artistic training at the South London Technical School of Art, formerly the Lambeth School of Art. His professional career seems to have begun around 1920, and for many years he worked as both a painter and illustrator. He produced portraits, landscapes and genre paintings, and in 1930 he was elected a member of the Royal Society of British Artists. He exhibited widely, including at the Royal Academy of Arts and the Royal Institute of Painters in Watercolours.

As an illustrator of children’s books, his early work was largely for the publishers Frederick Warne & Co. He also worked for the Religious Tract Society, illustrating a handful of books plus occasionally contributing to The Boy’s Own Paper and The Girl’s Own Paper. He also contributed to The Wide World Magazine, The Woman’s Magazine and Chums. In 1930 he began an eight-year association with the Oxford University Press, specializing in illustrating boy’s school stories, by authors such as Gunby Hadath, Richard Bird and Michael Poole. He also contributed to annual volumes such as the Oxford University Press’s The Great Book of School Stories for Boys and The Big Book of School Stories for Boys. He also illustrated a small number of boys’ and girls’ adventure stories, and the occasional re-issue of a 19th century novel, such as William Harrison Ainsworth’s The Tower of London.

He also worked for the advertising agency James Haworth & Co., producing posters for companies such as the Cunard White Star Line.

He became best-known for his work during the Second World War, when he joined the Auxiliary Fire Service, and became one of a large group of fireman artists, recording the London Blitz in a series of paintings produced in his spare time. His pictures were widely exhibited, with several now held in national collections, including at the Imperial War Museum, and many of them appeared in two books: London’s Hour, As Seen Through the Eyes of the Firefighters, published by Staples Books in 1942; and In the Service of the Nation: The N.F.S. Goes into Action, published by Raphael Tuck & Sons (for the National Fore Service Benevolent Fund) in 1944.

In the meantime, he had married Theresa Beatrice Dancyger (born on 8 November 1914 in Paddington), at the Hampstead Register Office on 25 November 1940. She was the daughter of Moss Dancyger, a schoolteacher, and his wife Gertrude. They had been living at 60, Armitage Road, Hendon, although at the time of the marriage Theresa and Reginald were both at 39 Cavendish Mansions, Mill Lane, Hampstead, where Reginald had been living since at least 1911. Theresa was, at the time, working for the A.T.S. as a kine theodolite operator (checking the results of artillery fire by the use of photographs and mathematical calculation).

Between 1944 and 1946 Mills was in charge of an authorship section at the Ministry of Aircraft. He and his wife subsequently left London, moving to 28 Evesham Road, Cheltenham, Mills becoming a member of the Cheltenham Art Club, and working professionally for an engineering firm, S. Smith & Sons. In 1948 he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.

The quality of Mills’s work varied enormously. Many of his books had well-executed colour dustwrappers and frontispieces, and while some contained black and white halftone plates, again well-drawn, others contained simple black and white line drawings, which were often hastily-drawn and could almost have been sketches.

At some point, Mills and his wife moved back to London, living at 18 Deanville Mansions, Wandsworth. This was his address when he died on 12 September 1951, at St. Luke’s Hospital, Bayswater, after suffering from mouth cancer. His wife re-married in 1959, and died in 1996.


Books illustrated by Reginald Mills
The Making of a Woman by Amy Le Feuvre, Religious Tract Society, 1920(?) (re-issue)
The Rebellion of Margaret by Geraldine Mockler, Jarrold & Sons, 1923 (re-issue)
Uranias’s Training by Mary Bourchier Sanford, Religious Tract Society, 1925
The River Riders: An Exciting Lumberjack Story by T.C. Bridges, Frederick Warne & Co., 1925
The Star Chamber by William Harrison Ainsworth, Frederick Warne & Co., 1925 (re-issue)
Beyond the Hills by Maysel Jenkinson, Frederick Warne & Co., 1926
Scouts in Buckskin by Wingrove Willson, Aldine Pub. Co., 1926 (with other artists)
The World of Sport and Adventure edited by Wingrove Willson, Aldine Pub. Co., 1926 (with other artists)
The Magic Island by Ethel Talbot, “The Children’s Companion” Office, 1926
The House by the Chapel Rock by Maud Morin, Frederick Warne & Co., 1926
The Sioux of St. Jude’s by Wingrove Willson, Goodship House, 1926 (dustwrapper)
Cubs to the Rescue by Ronald S. Lyons, Frederick Warne & Co., 1927
The Two Recruits by D.S. Batley, S.P.C.K., 1927 (re-issue)
The Chums of Moorhaven by C.B. Rutley, Frederick Warne & Co., 1928
Crumbling Barriers and Other Stories by various authors, Frederick Warne & Co., 1928 (with other artists)
The Tower of London by William, Harrison Ainsworth, Frederick Warne & Co., 1928(?) (re-issue)
Those Dreadful Girls by Esther E. Enock, Religious Tract Society, 1928 (re-issue)
Isle of Gladness by Mary B. Sanford, “Every Girl’s Paper” Office, 1929
Alick’s Corner by Amy Le Feuvre, Religious Tract Society, 1929
Peter the Whaler by W.H.G. Kingston, The “Boy’s Own Paper” Office, 1930(?) (re-issue)
A School Feud by Richard Bird, Oxford University Press, 1930
The New School at Shropp: A Public School Story by Gunby Hadath, Oxford University Press, 1930
Terry Takes Charge: A Public School Story by Richard Bird, Oxford University Press, 1931
Brent of Gatehouse: A Public School Story by Gunby Hadath, Oxford University Press, 1931
Mystery Island: A Story for Wolf Cubs by Ronald Samuel Lyons, Frederick Warne & Co., 1931
The Big Five: A Public School Story by Gunby Hadath, Oxford University Press, 1932
The Bully of Boiling Creek by T.C. Burgess, Frederick Warne & Co., 1932
The Riddle of the Frontier by Robert Harding, The “Boy’s Own Paper” Office, 1932
The Gift of the Sea by Beatrice H.M. Walker, Religious Tract Society, 1932
The Mystery at Ridings: A Public School Story by Gunby Hadath, Oxford University Press, 1933
For the Sake of the House by Veronica Marlow, Oxford University Press, 1933
The Motor Car Mystery by T.C. Bridges, Frederick Warne & Co., 1933
The Hidden Door by Constance M. Evans, Frederick Warne & Co., 1933
Allies in the Fourth by Jessie McAlpine, Oxford University Press, 1933
Tales of Lexham by Charles Turley, Oxford University Press, 1934
The Fighting Fourth by Edith Mary de Foubert, Oxford University Press, 1934
The Lone Hand by T.C. Bridges, Frederick Warne & Co., 1934
The Exile by E.R.G.R. Evans, Frederick Warne & Co., 1934
The Cedar-wood Box by Constance M. Evans, Frederick Warne & Co., 1939
Play to the Whistle: A School Story by Michael Poole, Oxford University Press, 1934
That Eventful Term by Veronica Marlow, Oxford University Press, 1934
The World of Ice by R.M. Vallantyne, Religious Tract Society, 1934 (re-issue)
Revolt at Fallas: A Public School Story by Gunby Hadath, Oxford University Press, 1935
Grim Work at Bodlands: A Public School Story by Gunby Hadath, Oxford University Press, 1935
Revolution at Redways: A School Story by Michael Poole, Oxford University Press, 1935
The King’s Messenger by Frank W. Howe, Frederick Warne & Co., 1935
The Lower School Leader by Veronica Marlow, Oxford University Press, 1935
The Head Girl at Wynford by Winifred Darch, Oxford University Press, 1935
The Voodoo Stone by Gordon Hill Grahame, George G. Harrap & Co., 1935
Our Island Holiday by Josephine Smith Wright, George G. Harrap & Co., 1935
Bancroft of the Grammar School by Michael Poole, Oxford University Press, 1936
Mystery Camp by James Thomas Gordon, Oxford University Press, 1936
The Sanctuary of the Maidar by A. Lloyd Owen, George G. Harrap & Co., 1936 (with
Thomas Somerfield)
The Menace of the Terribore: A Modern Adventure Story by John Dolben Mackworth, George G. Harrap & Co., 1936
The Secret River by Constance M. Evans, Frederick Warne & Co., 1936
Captain Quid by Gurney Slade, Frederick Warne & Co., 1937
Major and Minor: A Public School Story by Gunby Hadath, Oxford University Press, 1938
London’s Hour, As Seen Through the Eyes of the Firefighters, Staples Books Ltd., 1942
The Feud at Twin Mountain by J.E. Grinstead, Wells Gardner, Darton & Co., 1943
The Trapper of Rat River by Charles Stoddard, Wells Gardner, Darton & Co., 1943
Trail Boss by Peter Dawson, William Collins, 1944
Gallop and Trot: Horses at Work and Rest by Lucy Elizabeth Kemp Welch, Oxford University Press, 1944
“In the Service of the Nation”: The N.F.S. Goes into Action, Raphael Tuck & Sons (for the National Fire Service Benevolent Fund), 1944
Some of China’s Children by Hal Beckett, Salvantionist Publishing, 1944
Oklahoma Law by Tex Holt, Wells Gardner, Darton & Co., 1946
Mallory of the Royal Mounted by Charles Stoddard, Wells Gardner, Darton & Co., 1946
The Flower Called “Faith-in-the-Night” by Madge Unsworth, Salvationist Pub. & Supplies, 1946
Forward Commandos! By Margery Bianco, Wells Gardner, Darton & Co., 1947 (dustwrapper)
Tales of Mystery and Imagaination (2 vols) by Edgar Allan Poe, Ivor Micholson & Watson, 1948 (covers)
Black Beauty by Anna Sewell, W. Foulsham & Co., 1948 (re-issue)
Rodeo Cowboy by Chuck Martin, Wells Gardner, Darton & Co., 1949
Young Britain’s Book of Farm Life, Oxo Ltd., 1950(?)
South with the Kittiwake by Parry Pearson, Frederick Warne & Co., 1952
Dramatised Bible Stories by George John Adams, Frederick Warne & Co., 1952
Drummer’s Hall by J.E. Taylor, Frederick Warne & Co., 1953
The Long Arm of the Cardinal by Gurney Slade, Frederick Warne & Co., 1953
Macaria by A.J. Evans Wilson, Hayes (dustwrapper) – date not known

Friday, February 02, 2018

Comic Cuts - 2 February 2018

After a mad dash to the finishing post, Forgotten Authors Volume 2 should be out any day now... maybe even today because the people behind Kindle move in mysterious ways, telling you you'll have 48 hours to wait and then... BAM! the book is up in one format but you might still be one sleep or two sleeps away from another format finding its way into the world, despite it being the same text.

The formatting didn't take as long as I'd remembered from last time, even tho' the book is 5,000 words longer. The Index for the print version took a couple of days to compile, and converting footnotes to endnotes for the e-book took a morning because every single one of the 224 notes in the book needed to be manually reformatted in Dreamweaver to stop the footnotes thinking they're superscript and screwing up the look of the paragraphs.

The reformatting and resizing is a useful process as I have to go through the text a few more times and it's a good opportunity to weed out a few more of the errors that inevitably creep into any book. There are probably a few still in there (as there were with volume 1) but I now cannot see the wood for the trees. If you buy a copy of the ebook or the print book, please don't think I'll be somehow insulted if you spot a mistake. I won't be and I'd rather know about it so I can correct it for future editions.

Next up: Volume 3! I've already written a few bits and have some pieces lined up for inclusion. Some come from the archives of Bear Alley, although I'll be given them all a bit of a revamp; some will be newly written for this volume and I have two fairly lengthy pieces in mind that appeared elsewhere, but, again, will be overhauled before they appear in the book.

I might also include a few short pieces about unresolved pen-names, and there's one essay I want to write where the author disappeared, never to be heard of again. I've spent quite a few weeks trying to track down information, but without success, so the book will also lay out all the clues I've gathered so far.

However, my plans for the weekend basically involve me sitting with my feet up watching Altered Carbon, which is out on Netflix today. I loved the book by Richard Morgan, which mashes together two of my favourite genres (hard-boiled detective / science fiction). It'll be interesting to see how mainstream viewers cope with the idea of re-sleeving (downloading a person into a different body) as it means the lead character, Takeshi Kovacs, changes race and gender in the book and hopefully that won't be lost during the run of the show. It's a darkly violent book, so we shall just have to wait and see how it translates to the screen.

I've been watching Hard Sun, which was trailed as high concept but that concept was purely a MacGuffin for a serial killer-of-the-week format. I almost gave up at the end of episode four, which is unusual for me, as I try to watch a series right to the end because even a failed series can fail in interesting ways. I'll soldier on, but only because there are only six episodes.

Double the length and ten times the quality... season six of Spiral, the French police procedural drama on BBC4. We're six episodes in and watching a new episode every evening we're in. The big difference between Spiral and Hard Sun is that, while almost all of the characters are deeply flawed, I actually give a damn about how they'll get through the problems they're facing.

Anyway, I thought I'd offer you a Richard Morgan cover gallery rather than the usual random scans, so you'll have to scan down. I'm sorry to say they're a rather uninspired selection of covers for the most part. I'll try to do better next week.


Richard Morgan cover gallery

Altered Carbon (London, Gollancz/Orion, Feb 2002)
Gollancz/Orion 0575-07322-5, (Feb) 2002, 404pp, £9.99 [tpb]. Cover by Chris Moore
---- [xth imp.] £10.99 [tpb].
Gollancz/Orion 0575-07390-X, (Sep) 2002, 534pp, £6.99. Cover by Chris Moore
---- [2nd imp.]  2003
Gollancz 978-0575-08112-3, (Aug) 2007, 470pp, £7.99. Cover by Corbis
Gollancz 978-0575-08124-6, 2008, 471pp. Cover by Chris Moore
---- [2nd imp.]; [3rd imp.]; [4th imp.] £7.99
Gollancz 978-1473-22367-7, (Feb) 2018, 480pp, £8.99.

Broken Angels (London, Gollancz/Orion, Mar 2003)
Gollancz/Orion 0575-07324-1, 2003, 394pp, £10.99 [tpb]. Cover by Chris Moore
Gollancz 0575-07550-3, (Dec) 2003, 490pp, £6.99. Cover by Chris Moore
Gollancz 0575-08125-2, (Nov) 2007, 496pp.

Market Forces (London, Gollancz, 2004)
Gollancz 0575-07567-8, (Mar) 2004, 386pp, £10.99 [tpb].
Gollancz 0575-07584-8, (Dec) 2004, 470pp, £6.99.
Gollancz 978-0575-08126-0, (Sep) 2008, 464pp, £7.99.

Woken Furies (London, Gollancz/Orion, Mar 2005)
Gollancz/Orion 0575-07326-8, (Mar) 2005, 436pp, £10.99 [tpb]. Cover by Chris Moore
Gollancz 0575-07652-6, (Sep) 2005, 563pp, £6.99. Cover by Chris Moore
Gollancz 0575-08127-9, (Nov) 2007, 576pp.

Black Man (London, Gollancz/Orion, May 2007; as Thirteen, The Easton Press, 2007)
Gollancz/Orion 0575-077767-0, (May) 2007, 546pp, £11.99 [tpb].
Gollancz/Orion 0575-07813-8, (Nov) 2007, 627pp, £7.99.

The Steel Remains (London, Gollancz/Orion, (Aug 2008)
Gollancz 978-07950-2, (Aug) 2008, 352pp, [tpb].
Gollancz 978-0575-08549-7, (Nov) 2008, 353pp.
Gollancz 978-0575-08481-0, (Jul) 2009, 392, £7.99. Cover by Larry Rostant

The Cold Commands (London, Gollancz, Oct 2011)
Gollancz 978-0575-08487-2, (Oct) 2011, 407pp, £12.99 [tpb]. Cover by Jon Sullivan
Gollancz 978-0575-08489-6, (Aug) 2012, 481pp, £7.99. Cover by Jon Sullivan

The Dark Defiles (New York, Del Rey, Oct 2014; London, Gollancz, Nov 2014)
Gollancz 978-0575-08859-7, (Nov) 2014, 560pp, £14.99 [tpb].
Gollancz 978-0575-08860-3, (Sep) 2015, 549pp, £9.99. Cover by Jon Sullivan

Thin Air (London, Gollancz, Jul 2018)