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  • A Taste of the Hills – Miles Smeeton – First Edition 1961

    A Taste of the Hills – Miles Smeeton – First Edition 1961

    A first edition published by Rupert Hart-Davis, London in 1961. Octavo, illustrated with maps, and illustrations from photographs. A very good copy.

    Miles (1906-1988) and Beryl Smeeton (1905-1979) were adventurers as if from a different era. Well known for their sailing adventures and twice near disaster going East around the Horn .. they made it successfully from the west.

    Miles had a distinguished military background … Yorkshire born … full of grit.

    Miles was posted to India before WWII and he writes about his time there. And, with Beryl, his overland adventure from Basra back to England. Finishing with an attempt in the Himalayas on 25,460 feet Tirich Mir with Tenzing … Beryl became the highest climbed female at the time.

    Miles Smeeton with Beryl on land and just as adventurous as the sea..


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  • The Expedition to Borneo of H.M.S. Dido for the Suppression of Piracy with Extracts from the Journal of James Brooke, Esq of Sarawak – 2 Volumes 1847

    The Expedition to Borneo of H.M.S. Dido for the Suppression of Piracy with Extracts from the Journal of James Brooke, Esq of Sarawak – 2 Volumes 1847

    A third edition (which includes the extra chapter) set of this Borneo classic published by Chapman and Hall, London in 1847 the year after the first.

    It is the second half of the title that explains the importance of these volumes. Brooke had suggested the first part as the principal title maybe to underplay his hand.

    James Brooke (1803-1868) was an extraordinary individual born into a colonial family and generally describe as soldier and adventurer. He was given the Raj of Sarawak in Borneo, by the Sultan of Brunei, as a reward for quelling an uprising and driving pirates from the region. He ruled with an iron fist from 1842-1868. There is much more to his story than can be written here … he knew Alfred Russell Wallace and influenced his decision to conduct extensive natural history researches in the region culminating in the evolutionary evidence named the Wallace Line.

    James Brooke is behind the character in Joseph Conrad’s “Lord Jim” an the “White Rajah” of Nicholas Monsarrat. Charles Kingsley depicted “Westward Ho” to the man and Errol Flynn planned to star as Brooke in a film written by himself although it was never made.

    The author of this work, Captain Henry Keppel had sailed the Dido to Borneo in 1843. His crew became heavily involved in resisting attacks by Lanoon pirates.

    Two octavo, volumes, 429 and 315 pages. Bound in original blue/green ribbed cloth, neatly and firmly re-backed with most of the original spine re-laid. Nicely illustrated with 11 plates, 6 maps and a chart.

    This third edition has an additional chapter comprising recent intelligence by Walter K. Kelly

    The Dido in and Around Borneo and the Journals of Adventure and first Sultan of Sarawak – James Brooke.



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  • Francois Valentjin’s Description of Ceylon – Translated and Edited by Arasaratnam

    Francois Valentjin’s Description of Ceylon – Translated and Edited by Arasaratnam

    Francois Valentijn (1666-1727) was a Dutch scientific theologian and author of “Oud en Niew Oost-Indien” [Old and New East-India] a rather comprehensive history of the Dutch East India Company and the Far East.

    Valentijn spent 16 years in the East employed in a ministerial capacity by the VOC … he returned to Dordrecht where he compiled the massive work, containing over one thousand plates and maps … he clearly had access to the VOC archives.

    The translator and editor of this work Sinnappah Arasaratnam had thought for some time that a work, relating to Ceylon, based on Valentijn was a worthy endeavour. The original rather repetitive and encyclopaedic in form required a special talent to product a modern readable effective translation. Arasaratnam found the Hakluyt Society the ideal partner to assist in achieving his objective and the result is something special.

    Octavo, 374 pages, illustrated and with large folding map at rear. A very good copy bar without dust jacket.

    Sri Lanka (Ceylon) as described by Valentjin from VOC records in modern readable form by Hakluyt


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  • A Voyage in the Sunbeam – Lady Brassey – 1894

    A Voyage in the Sunbeam – Lady Brassey – 1894

    Published by Longmans London 1894., an early edition of Lady Brassey’s popular voyage account.

    A Voyage in the Sunbeam – Our home on the Ocean for Eleven Months. Thick octavo, 492 pages, plus extensive publisher’s catalogue. With 66 illustrations engraved on wood by G Pearson from drawings by the Hon A.Y. Bingham.

    Described as a “new edition” in a popular form. The voyage from England takes in Madeira, Teneriffe, Cape de Verde and across to Rio. The River Plate and … life in the Pampas. Round the Horn to Chili and Santiago and Valparaiso and off west to the South Sea Islands, and Tahiti, Hawaii, and across to Yokohama. Canton and the Pearl River, Singapore, Ceylon and then to Aden the Suez and home. Not quite as easy or as blunt as that!

    A superb account of the circumnavigation of the Sunbeam in 1876/7 the first of the Sunbeam voyages.

    Affordable Sunbeam – Lady Brassey – a Travel Classic


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  • The Quiet American – Graham Greene (Collected Edition)

    The Quiet American – Graham Greene (Collected Edition)

    Turned into a classic movie (how many of Greene’s novels have not been?), with Michael Caine, based in Indo-China a striking story of new and old world

    This is the “Collected Edition” a 1989 printing. Octavo, 211 pages to the novel but with the xxx page introduction by Greene that make this issue something extra.

    A couple of innocent chips to the jacket and a gift inscription on the front end paper, otherwise a very good copy of a surprisingly hard edition to find.

    Greene – One of his Best – With the Quiet American.


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  • Sport in Many Lands (Europe, Asia, Africa and America)  by H.A. Leveson known as  “Old Shakarry”

    Sport in Many Lands (Europe, Asia, Africa and America) by H.A. Leveson known as “Old Shakarry”

    “Old Shekarry” was Major Henry Astbury Leveson and he was one of the great 19th Century traveller hunters. He went everywhere and had a shot at everything. His recollections of the Man Eating Bengal Tiger do add a little balance.

    Published posthumously as a sort of compilation of his other works on a grander scale. Published by Warne, London and New York in 1890. Royal octavo, 597 pages with towards 200 illustrations. Delightful decorative covers – all in very good condition. A beauty really.

    We start with a special memoir on Leveson by H.F. which reassures one that here was a man who lead a full life, with a distinguished military career to back up his private interests.

    The book proper starts at home with Her Majesty’s Buckhounds and the chasing of the red deer. Off to Bavaria, the Alps and the Chamois. Wild Fowl shooting and the marsh lands of the Somme .. (what a different place they were to become). The exotic and hog hunting in India … Bears, Tigers and Leopards before the formidable yet vulnerable Elephant,. Up in the Himalaya and some interesting travel notes before more shooting. Into the Middle East and the sad markets in wives and slaves. The hard life of the Bedouins around the Suez and blasting Hyena. South Africa and the “bok” in all its forms and, sadly, the quagga (they have all gone). After the challenge of the Lion we move up to Abyssinia and reflections on native customs. A different part of the world the North American “Rockies” and a narrow escape from a grizzly bear … into the prairies and the mode of hunting adopted by the Red Indians. A skirmish with the Red Indians gives the buffalo a chance!

    Old Shakarry from a different era – travel and hunting – in Many Lands


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