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Simon Raven Books In Order

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Publication Order of Alms for Oblivion Books

The Rich Pay Late (1964)Description / Buy at Amazon
Friends In Low Places (1965)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Sabre Squadron (1966)Description / Buy at Amazon
Fielding Gray (1967)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Judas Boy (1968)Description / Buy at Amazon
Places Where They Sing (1970)Description / Buy at Amazon
Sound The Retreat (1971)Description / Buy at Amazon
Come Like Shadows (1972)Description / Buy at Amazon
Bring Forth the Body (1974)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Survivors (1976)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of The First-Born of Egypt Books

The Morning Star (1984)Description / Buy at Amazon
Face Of The Waters (1985)Description / Buy at Amazon
Before The Cock Crow (1986)Description / Buy at Amazon
New Seed For Old (1987)Description / Buy at Amazon
Blood Of My Bone (1989)Description / Buy at Amazon
In The Image Of God (1990)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Troubadour (1992)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Standalone Novels

Brother Cain (1959)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Feathers of Death (1959)Description / Buy at Amazon
Doctors Wear Scarlet (1960)Description / Buy at Amazon
Close Of Play (1962)Description / Buy at Amazon
They Made Their Name (1968)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Roses Of Picardie (1980)Description / Buy at Amazon
An Inch of Fortune (1981)Description / Buy at Amazon
September Castle (1983)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Islands Of Sorrow (1994)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Collections

Royal Foundation (1966)Description / Buy at Amazon
Remember Your Grammar (1997)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Non-Fiction Books

The English Gentleman (1961)Description / Buy at Amazon
Boys will be Boys (1963)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Fortunes Of Fingel (1976)Description / Buy at Amazon
Shadows On The Grass (1982)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Old School (1986)Description / Buy at Amazon
Bird Of Ill Omen (1989)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Old Gang (1989)Description / Buy at Amazon
Is There Anybody There? Said the Traveller (1991)Description / Buy at Amazon
The World of Simon Raven (2002)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of The Valancourt Book of Horror Stories Books

The Valancourt Book of Horror Stories: Volume One (2016)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Valancourt Book of Horror Stories: Volume Three (2018)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Valancourt Book of Horror Stories: Volume Four (2020)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Anthologies

The Mammoth Book of Gay Short Stories(1997)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Valancourt Book of Horror Stories: Volume Four(2020)Description / Buy at Amazon

Simon Raven was an prolific English author known for writing literary fiction. The London born author attended Charterhouse and was infamously expelled for homosexual activity in 1945. However, he has claimed that his games master had seduced him when he was just nine and that it was an unalloyed, pleasurable experience. Raven then joined the army and served until 1948 before he quit to go to college. He went to Kings College Cambridge for his “A” levels where he studied English literature specializing in the Classics. In 1951, he got Susan Kilner pregnant and married her out of obligation though for the most part, he avoided her after the marriage. Thankfully, the two divorced in 1957 and Raven got back into the army. He served abroad in Kenya and Germany but had to resign rather than face a court-martial over his gambling debts.

Raven managed to survive on sporadic journalism jobs until he ran into Antony Blond, a young publisher that believed that he had the talent to become an author. He promised to subsidize his lifestyle as long as he left London and the many temptations of the city and write a novel. His first book was “The Feathers of Death” that he published in 1959. Blond went on to publish all his subsequent works including his second novel “Brother Cain” a spy thriller in 1959 and “Doctors Wear Scarlet” a classic vampire tale in 1960. His breakout and most popular series was the “Alms for Oblivion” series, a ten-volume sequence that chronicled the lifestyle of the Post World War II English upper class. He also published the “First Born of Egypt” series the first of which was “Morning Star” in 1984. The novels had some appearances from some of the characters from the “Alms of Oblivion” series but was not as successful. In later single standing novels such as “The Islands of Sorrow,” “September Castle,” “The Roses of Picardie,” and the collection of short stories “Remember Your Grammar and Other Haunted,” he harkened back to the supernatural and horror themes of “Doctors Wear Scarlet” the Gothic novel. In his later life, he also got involved in television and film writing and adapted the novels of Anthony Trollope into a mini-series titled “The Pallisers.” He also wrote the dialogue for “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service” the James Bond film. He died in 2001 and is survived by Susan and Adam their son.

Simon Raven’s best works were the “Alms for Oblivion” series of novels that he debuted with “Fielding Gray” in 1959 and completed with the 1976 published “The Survivors.” The series follows a group of boys from a public school during the post-war years. The lead in the series is Fielding Gray, who is a parallel to the author while the series is something of an autobiographical novel. Most of the characters are derived from Raven’s friends such as Sir Gregory Stern of Antony Blond, Somerset Lloyd Jones of William Rees Mogg, Peter Morrison of James Prior and Max de Freville of John Aspinall. He writes about badly behaved characters who become even worse under pressure. Most of them have a predilection to sexual kinkiness which the author describes in detail. While Raven never liked social convention, his novels show a deep affection for institutions from the Army, Cambridge and Charterhouse. He writes of the sports that he enjoyed in high school, the homosexuality activity that he practiced throughout his youth, and the intrigue of power that remained a fascination of his throughout his life. Raven writes in a pellucid style given his classical education and his disdain for fashionable nostrums, which makes for some captivating reads.

“Fielding Gray” the first novel of the “Alms for Oblivion” series by Simon Raven is set in a public school in Post War England. The lead is an autobiographical character named Fielding Gray who just like Raven was expelled from Charterhouse for homosexual behavior, despite having cricketing prowess and scholastic aptitude. Fielding is a seventeen-year-old schoolboy with feelings for Christopher Roland, a not so handsome and very conventional boy to whom logic says should he not have any attraction. He is hopeful though since English convention involves the notion of entertaining fondness for another boy especially one younger than oneself. Since he was thirteen, he had fun with many boys without any consequences but his pursuit of Christopher might just ruin both their lives. Christopher gets overly excited with their amorous excitement, which causes Fielding’s love for him to evaporate. Once his innocence is gone, all that is left is a little sporadic lust. Helped along by a cast of obnoxious though fascinating characters, things soon spiral out of control and what had been well made plans become permanently wrecked.

Raven’s “The Rich Pay Late” begins with Jude Holbrook and Donald Salinger the two owners of some advertising agency making the decision to add to their portfolio Strix, a financial magazine. Donald is the cautious one but has the cash while Jude does not have money but is the more ambitious of the duo. The story combines love, business, and gambling as it tells a tale of calculated risks and everyone for himself as a way of life. Unlike the first novel, the story does not center on one character but introduces an ensemble who start off separate from the leads Jude and Donald but whose stories later come to be entwined. The core story is about the sale of the magazine Strix, which is later complicated by the political scandal dogging Peter Morrison one of its board members. Given the scandal, when the magazine gets a buyout offer, Morrison’s vote becomes even more important. Raven writes a slow, satirical and rich novel that tells of the betrayal, politics, love affairs, and media shenanigans of the upper-middle-class men and women. He spices it up with dark humor reminiscent of Nancy Mitford making for gripping reading.

Simon Raven’s “Friends in Low Places” is the story of Angela Tuck the widow who has taken up with Mark Lewson a sleazy con artist. The man steals from her, gambles away her money and is an all-around despicable character that Angela cannot wait to get rid of. Set in the sixties, it echoes the reverberations of the Suez crisis as a gambler friend of Angela is involved in stealing or buying a letter with incriminating information on the British government’s role in the Suez Crisis. The letter is the centerpiece in the parliamentary elections race for Bishop Cross. The race is on to possess the letter and then use it as a bargaining chip to claim the party’s candidature for the vacant elective seat. The blackmail, manipulation and double-crosses are very believable and send the message not to take anyone at face value. Several characters from the first novel make an appearance, making for a whirlwind of betrayals, political shenanigans, marriages of convenience, two-timing and sexual shenanigans.

Book Series In Order » Authors » Simon Raven

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