New York, NY: The Smart Set Publishing Co., 1905. [Spy Fiction] SIGNED COPY, an early book club edition from the same year as the first. Octavo (19 x 13cm), pp.; 314. SIGNED by the author in black ink to the publisher's advertisement facing the title page. Contemporary red half crushed morocco in the West End style, with raised bands, gilt titles and decoration to spine, and red cloth over boards. Top edge gilt; red cloth to endpapers. Some rubbing and bumping to joints and board edges. Very good. A stirring bit of political intrigue in the Buchanian vein, full of men who spend their spare time hunting grouse in Scotland and meet the challenge of an enemy with a steely glint in their eyes and a grim smile playing about their lips. Possibly a new category should be created to cover this type of fiction, it could be called 'man-fetishist', fiction from a world where a man's worth is gauged upon meeting by the shape of his jaw, the openness of his countenance and the manner in which he looks you up and down. I am of course only bitter because I never had the slightest urge to become a blistering wing three-quarter, and thus would be viewed as suspect. William Le Quieux, on the other hand, seems to have done everything (or at least said he did); journalist, diplomat, explorer, early pilot, radio enthusiast and the author of a staggering 197 books. There is even the suggestion that Duckworth Drew, one of Le Queux's espionage heroes, was a direct inspiration for James Bond. This copy is from a monthly series priced at 50 cents a volume know as the 'Red Novels' - seemingly an early iteration of the Book Club concept. Item #53456
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