Francis Brett Young Books In Order


  1. Undergrowth (1913)
  2. Deep Sea (1914)
  3. The Dark Tower (1915)
  4. The Iron Age (1916)
  5. The Crescent Moon (1918)
  6. The Young Physician (1919)
  7. The Tragic Bride (1920)
  8. The Black Diamond (1921)
  9. The Red Knight (1921)
  10. Pilgrim’s Rest (1922)
  11. Cold Harbour (1924)
  12. Woodsmoke (1924)
  13. Sea Horses (1925)
  14. Portrait of Clare (1927)
  15. The Key of Life (1928)
  16. Black Roses (1929)
  17. Jim Redlake (1930)
  18. Mr. & Mrs. Pennington (1931)
  19. The House Under the Water (1932)
  20. This Little World (1934)
  21. White Ladies (1935)
  22. Far Forest (1936)
  23. Portrait Of A Village (1937)
  24. They Seek A Country (1937)
  25. Dr. Bradley Remembers (1938)
  26. The City Of Gold (1939)
  27. Mr. Lucton’s Freedom (1940)
  28. A Man About the House (1942)
  29. Wistarlow (1956)


  1. Cold Harbour / Sinister House (2008)


  1. The Cage Bird & Other Stories (1933)
  2. Cotswold Honey, & Other Stories (1940)


  1. Captain Swing (1919)
  2. The Furnace (1929)

Non fiction

  1. Marching On Tanga (1917)
  2. In South Africa (1942)

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Francis Brett Young Books Overview

Deep Sea

Deep Sea is set in a West Country fishing port and revolves around four people whose lives are inextricably intertwined: invalid Jeffery Kenar; his fiery, frustrated wife, Nesta; fisherman lodger, Reuben Henshall; and little maid of all work, Ruth Parnall. While Jeffery and Ruth enjoy innocent, childlike companionship, Nesta harbours an unrequited passion for Reuben. When he marries Ruth, Nesta hates all three. Though Reuben’s mother had warned him of the terrible power of the sea, which Ruth also fears, Reuben buys his own smack, The Pilgrim, by borrowing unwisely. When profits prove unpredictable, distress and tragedy follow, until an unexpected visit replaces hatred with love and there is calm after the storm.

The Dark Tower

From the heart of industrial England we quickly pass to the beauty and mystery of a land hardly changed over time immemorial the Welsh Marches that surrounds this story of little more than half a dozen characters. As the mountains and valleys blend together in their beauty throughout the seasons, so the brothers Charlie and Alaric make their impact upon life in Trecastel the home of the Grosmont family. The Dark Tower in which Alaric dwells dominates all around, suggesting the conflicting moods of the occupants. A local girl, Judith, charming but innocent and taken there as a child bride, links the characters. George Meredith, the local family doctor, and his wife, bring sanity and common sense to this fascinating and gripping story. Francis Brett Young writing in the first quarter of the twentieth century inspires the reader in many ways to enter the magical setting of a unique area.

The Crescent Moon

Mysticism, intrigue and love all will be found in this novel set in a remote and largely unknown part of Africa at the outbreak of World War I. Two strangely opposite personalities are drawn together through danger and adventure against a background of devil worship. The author skilfully weaves his plot punctuated by the rhythmic drumbeat which heralds the appearance of the new moon. Mysterious and frightening, it is the signal of evil to the simple, browbeaten natives and takes over the mind of the na ve missionary who seeks to conquer the spirit of evil by faith in the power of goodness. Overall, there is the dominant figure of Godovius, part German, part Jew, settler in the home of the Waluguru tribe, whose evil nature is revealed in lust and desire.

The Young Physician

Purchase of this book includes free trial access to www. million books. com where you can read more than a million books for free. This is an OCR edition with typos. Excerpt from book: CHAPTER III THE GREEN TREES…
THE holidays that followed this term were the most marvellous. From first to last they were bathed in the atmosphere of mellow gold that makes beautiful some evenings of spring, all tender and bird haunted; and his mother, too, was more wonderful than she had ever been before. On the very first evening when she had come upstairs to tuck him in and to kiss him good night, she sat on the bedstead leaning over him with both her arms round his neck and whispering secrets to him. Very extraordinary they were; and as she told him, her lips were soft on his cheek. She said that only a month before she had expected to have a baby sister for him she had always longed so much to have a baby girl and before the first jealousy that had flamed up into his mind had died away, she told him how the baby had been born dead, and how terribly she had felt the disappointment. He wondered, in the dark, if she were crying. ‘But now that I’ve got my other baby again,’ she said, ‘I am going to forget all about it. Well be ever so happy by ourselves, Eddie, won’t we? In the evenings when father is down at businesswe will read together. This time we’ll take turns reading, for you’re growing such a big boy. And we’ll go wonderful walks, only not very far, because Dr. Thornhouse says I’m not strong enough yet. I want you to tell me everything everything you do and think about at school, because you’re all I’ve got now. And you’re part of me, Eddie, really.’ At this she clutched him passionately. For a moment Edwin was nearly crying, and then, suddenly, he saw another side of it: her expressed feelings were somehow foreign to him and made him ashamed, as did Mr. Leeming’s watery eyes when he talked about Arthur’s prototype. In the face of this eager emotion he felt…

The Tragic Bride

Francis Brett Young 1884 1954 was an English novelist, poet, and composer. His first published novel Deep Sea 1914 has Brixham as a background while Portrait of Clare 1927 is set in the West Midlands, as are several of his works from this period. The Iron Age 1916 is set partly in Ludlow, Shropshire. The central project of Brett Young’s career was a series of linked novels set in a loosely fictionalised version of the English West Midlands and Welsh Borders. The Mercian novels were originally inspired by the construction of Birmingham Corporation’s Elan Valley Reservoirs from 1893 1904, and the country traversed by their associated aqueduct. The Black Diamond 1921 tells the story of a labourer working on the aqueduct in the region around Knighton, while The House Under the Water 1932 deals at length with the construction of the reservoirs themselves. Although linked by recurring characters, each of the Mercian novels can be read as an independent work. They range in style from the atmospheric psychological horror of Cold Harbour 1924 to the romantic family saga of Portrait of Clare 1927, which won that year’s James Tait Black Memorial Prize.

The Black Diamond

First published in 1921, this absorbing tale has all the ingredients of a 21st century best seller: infidelity, sex, drunkenness, violent death, football corruption, urban and rural poverty, and explicit coverage of human frailties and desires. Abner Fellows, a miner and semi professional footballer, is found a surface job to ensure that industrial injury does not impede his prowess at football. Abner’s stepmother is only a little older than himself and, when his hard drinking miner father is hospitalized, he becomes the breadwinner. Just as his father returns home, Abner is sacked for refusing to ‘throw’ a cup match for his boss. Fellows senior unjustly accuses his son of impropriety with his stepmother, a fight ensues and Abner leaves home. He tramps west and after several skirmishes finds lodgings with a casual acquaintance. Again he finds himself the breadwinner of a small family. His landlady keeps him at arm’s length but, just before the release of her husband from gaol, succumbs to his advances. Following another fight, Abner leaves and, whilst intoxicated in Shrewsbury, accepts an offered panacea for all his problems.

Cold Harbour

It is good to welcome republication of this novel, which appears at a time when daily and weekly periodicals serve up regular doses of astrology, spiritualism and the occult, and more and more people plan their lives on the movement of stars and constellations. Cold Harbour represents a new departure for Brett Young unashamedly a ghost story that introduced one of his principal villains, Humphrey Furnival. A puncture delayed motor trip brings Evelyn and Ronald Wake to a sinister enclave of a rural settlement: the country inn, manor house, parsonage and church of Cold Harbour in reality Wassell Grove some five miles from the author’s native Halesby Halesowen. The book tells of supernatural happenings at the manor house and the dreadful sufferings of Furnival’s wife. Reading Cold Harbour is a must. On a dark winter evening, with a roaring fire and a bottle of single malt, a sleepless night with the book finished by breakfast is guaranteed.


The action begins in Mombassa where stolid and uncomplicated Captain Jimmy Antrim of the King’s African Rifles is hired by Mr and Mrs Rawley to escort them on safari into German East Africa. The Rawleys are an unlikely couple: she the daughter of an obscure Cornish peer, loyal but ineffective, he new rich Rawley’s Chemical Dip, awkward, jealous and it later emerges prone to outbursts of drunken violence. In the heat and confusion of the bush the drama, into which this unpromising trio are launched, unfolds. The native porters run away; tensions and fears increase; relationships strain and break; allegiances alter. Woodsmoke convincingly evokes the sights, smells and mysteries of East Africa, which Francis Brett Young experienced during his war service in the Tanga campaign of 1916.

Black Roses

Paul Ritchie, of mixed English and Italian blood, spent his childhood and youth in Italy. As a mature painter of sixty, during a Mediterranean cruise his ship calls at Naples, and Ritchie recalls his days there as an art student and his lifestyle supported by casket making. He remembers his friend Pietro Viva, a medical student, and their landlady Cristina with whom he had shared a heart breaking passion that blossomed during a cholera epidemic in Naples. The disease had struck all three friends, but Paul alone survived. When his boat leaves, Ritchie has not set foot on the land but has managed to exorcise the ghosts of the past. The story is based on a Naples cholera epidemic remembered by Brett Young’s Capri neighbour, Edwin Cerio, whilst the character of Paul Ritchie may well have been based on another Capri resident, D H Lawrence.

This Little World

The book traces a few months in the life of a picturesque, quintessentially English village with its roots in the Middle Ages. On the surface idyllic, the author strips bare its underlying tensions, prejudices, rivalries, tragedies, successes and failures. Set in the early l920s on the threshold of social change, some village inhabitants still bear the scars, physical or emotional, of the Great War. The old, impoverished gentry, with their time honoured ideals of duty and paternalism, are challenged by the arrival in their midst of a rich, retired manufacturer whose well intentioned but inappropriate aspirations threaten the way of life of the whole village. This Little World is a rural saga which follows the activities and relationships of a variety of characters, and includes several budding romances. All takes place under the scrutiny of old Miss Loach, the self appointed guardian of village morals. Add to this some lyrical descriptions of the Worcestershire countryside and one has a skilfully woven, thoroughly readable and delightful book.

Far Forest

Jenny Hadley’s early years were spent in Mawne Heath, a barren, blighted environment on the verge of the industrial Midlands. Her father, a hard man given to drink and womanizing, was a chain maker with his own forge behind the hovel in which the family lived. When her mother suddenly left home, Jenny was sent to live with her grandfather and deeply devout Aunt Thirza in the depths of Werewood Wyre Forest in Worcestershire. Jenny was desperately lonely in the old cottage by the Gladden Brook but, as the seasons passed, she grew to love both her grandfather and the sprawling forest. Then in spring, when the cherry trees were thick with blossom, Uncle Jem came visiting with Cousin David. During the ensuing idyllic days Jenny s heart was lost. A bond developed between the cousins but, apart from a second brief meeting, they were to experience many twists of fortune before their paths crossed again.

They Seek A Country

Nail maker John Oakley was born in the town of Dulston, but his mother remembered happier origins in the rural village of Grafton Lovett. After her death, he sets out to find his maternal grandfather. In 1836 the Enclosure Bill is about to be implemented in Grafton Lovett and Oakley, returning on foot from a fruitless visit to Parliament, meets some poachers, is arrested and sentenced to transportation to Van Diemen’s Land. He jumps ship off the coast of South Africa where he is befriended by the Prinsloos, a family of Dutch origin, who are about to leave their homestead to escape from English rule. Oakley, now known as Grafton, accompanies them. Throughout the story there is conflict: between nations, between families and within families, and yet a love affair develops between John Grafton and Lisbet Prinsloo.

Dr. Bradley Remembers

John Bradley, aged seventy five in 1937, reflects on fifty years as a general practitioner in Sedgebury Sedgley in the Black Country, after being trained at North Bromwich Birmingham Medical School. He recalls his marriage to Clara Medhurst, their son Matthew, and the hopes and disappointments that go with family life. He remembers the characters he met in North Bromwich and Sedgebury, and the life long friendships he began, especially with Martin Lacey. In the days before the National Health Service, he reveals how precarious the rewards of a practice could be and the parts played by chance and determination. John Bradley remembers sympathetically his range of patients and the importance of medical advancements, particularly the use of antiseptics in saving lives. The novel is surprisingly modern in the medical issues it deals with such as childbirth and the misuse of drugs. Undoubtedly, being a GP is a lifetime’s noble calling .

The City Of Gold

Set in South Africa’s Rand, The City Of Gold is a sequel to They Seek a Country 1937. The history of the Grafton family, taken up thirty years after the ending of the first novel stretches from 1872 to 1896. It is a story of the Annexation of the Transvaal; of Sekukuni’s wars; of the development of the mining industry of the Transvaal; and of Johannesburg, The City Of Gold. Historical figures such as Kruger, Joubert, the Rhodes brothers and Jameson are included in the fiction. The brothers and sisters of the Grafton family represent a variety of opinion: nationalistic; pro Boer; pro English; moderate; and, in the case of Janse and Lena, South Africa as a great nation in which all races and groups would be reconciled. This is a magnificent novel bringing to life the beauty of an immense and varied land, and of its people, written with the sensitivity of a born poet.

The Cage Bird & Other Stories

In this collection of thirteen short stories are settings as diverse as London, the Welsh Marches, Boulogne, Biarritz, Tunis, Egypt, Southern Africa and an ageing packet steamer bound for Japan. There are early ideas destined for future development as a full length novel A Busman’s Holiday and A Man About the House and plots which are obviously based on the author’s own experiences Brett Young had spent time in Egypt a decade before the publication of Glamour, whilst his own voyage as a ship’s doctor took him in the same direction that Chusan sailed. Within this anthology will be found amusing stories, tales of intrigue, adventure, escaped convicts and unlikely liaisons some bound for success and others for failure. It is an entertaining collection by an author with a gift for telling a lively yarn, who could write as effectively of South Africa as of an English village, the Egyptian desert or a London street.

Cotswold Honey, & Other Stories

The early popularity of this collection is seen in the fact that eight of the stories appeared in magazines during the 1920s and 30s, whilst Blood Oranges was published separately in 1932. The last six stories are narrated by a ship’s doctor, hence the selection of The Ship’s Surgeon’s Yarn as the title story for the book’s American edition. The SS Chusan, seen previously in Shellis’s Reef one of the stories in The Cage Bird collection, reappears, as does the East African port of Panda, which played a vital role in Sea Horses. Other tales in this collection tell of English ex patriots who keep the flag flying in Italy and a German composer who revisits an ex POW camp at Chadcombe House, Fladbourne, which are thin disguises for Brett Young’s own home, Craycombe House at Fladbury. Cotswold Honey, which gives the collection its title, tells of a retired civil servant who revisits the scene of a youthful idyll, only to learn that he cannot recreate at whim a relationship that he had selfishly abandoned years before.

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