James Bond meets Indiana Jones in this fast-paced thriller set in part around the action of the Crimean War.
The year is 1855 and Harry Dunbar is sent by Her Majesty's Principal Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs on a mission to deliver two messages to Istanbul. Before he has even left England, Harry finds himself looking down the barrel of a gun—and that's just the start of an adventure that will see him ambushed and trapped in the Alps, tracked by secret police, captured by Cossacks, tortured, attacked by wild animals and cannibals, and battling a madman in a hot-air balloon.
Will Harry survive long enough to join the British troops as they march into the Valley of Death?
Originally serialised in The Boy's Standard in 1875-76, reprinted in Boy's Leisure Hour in 1884 and subsequently reissued in 12 penny parts by Hogarth House, On the Queen's Service has been out of print for over a century.
From the Introduction
"What may surprise the reader is that the story is told clearly and straightforwardly, with none of the florid prose often associated with Victorian literature. Borlase knew how to keep his readers happy and that was to pile incident upon incident to keep the story moving and, as such, it resembles the kind of thriller that remains popular in book and film to this day, with Harry Dunbar an early James Bond. The story has its outrageous moments, but no more than an Indiana Jones movie, which it also resembles in places."
About the Author
J. J. G. Bradley was the pen-name of James Skipp Borlase (1839-1909), Cornish-born solicitor, magazine editor and writer. He began selling stories at the age of 19, became infamous in Australia and returned to England where his stories and novels found a ready market in 'penny-dreadfuls'. After a decade writing for Sons of Britannia, Young Briton and Boy's Standard, he found far greater success penning serials for syndication in newspapers. His books, most notably The Night Fossickers, are highly collectable.
"The secret of Mr. Borlase's immense popularity as a romance writer seems to be that he dashes at once into the full interest and excitement of his subject, and doesn't allow that excitement and interest to flag for a single instant until he has reached the last line of the last chapter ... Heaping thrilling incident atop thrilling incident, keeps the reader's attention on a perpetual strain, and his excitement at perfect fever-pitch, until the startling climax is reached"—Ipswich Journal.
"I would highly recommend On the Queen’s Service, a Tale of Many Lands. As far as penny dreadfuls go it was the perfect choice for a reprint, a classic example of the genre, authored by one of the best of the penny parts novelists of the 1870s. All the Boy’s Standard/Hogarth House titles by J.J.G. Bradley are well worth the reading. It leaves me wanting more of the same, particularly when they are presented as attractively as this title, with the care and attention that they deserve." - John Adcock, Yesterday's Papers.
On the Queen's Service by J. J. G. Borlase
Published: 26 March 2023.
Format: US trade paperback (6" x 9"), 404 pages of cream paper with matte cover. Also available as a casebound hardback and on Kindle. Please note that not all formats are available in all territories.
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