SHADOWS OF ECSTASY. London: Victor Gollancz Ltd, 1933. Octavo, pp. [1-7] 8-287 [288: blank], original black cloth, spine panel stamped in yellow-green. First edition. Determined to drive all white people from Africa and overthrow colonial rule, Nigel Considine, an immortal sorcerer who refers to himself as the "Master of Death," wishes to become the ruler of a black empire, a vast army of slaves that he will use to take over the world. Considine is opposed by a group of Londoners who befriend Inkmasi, a Zulu king who has fallen under Considine’s hypnotic spell. These individuals include Sir Bernard Travers, a noted medical researcher, Roger Ingram, a poet, and Ian Caithness, an Anglican Priest. Originally entitled ADEPTS OF AFRICA, SHADOWS OF ECSTACY, which was written in seven weeks in 1925, was the first novel Williams wrote but the fifth to be published. Author and scholar Mark Valentine has noted how Williams’ acknowledged in a December 1933 review of BRIDE OF FU-MANCHU that his inspiration for writing his metaphysical thrillers came from reading Sax Rohmer, but as Valentine points out, "So far as I know, Williams did not name the Sax Rohmer thriller that inspired him, in a somewhat backhanded way, to start his own career in fiction, perhaps out of tact, for he undoubtedly thought his were better" (WORDWOODIANA, online). Barron (ed), Fantasy Literature 3-378. Bleiler, The Guide to Supernatural Fiction 1715. Locke, A Spectrum of Fantasy, p. 232. Schlobin, The Literature of Fantasy 1127. Survey of Modern Fantasy Literature III, pp. 1384-86. Tymn (ed), Fantasy Literature, pp. 177-78. Bleiler (1978), p. 209. Reginald 15358. Slight spine lean, a couple of mild fox marks to rear free endpaper, a very good copy in good printed 7/6 dust jacket with chipped corner tips, some shallow loss along lower spine end, and several short tears along spine folds. A quite superior copy of a book that mostly is found in rotten condition and without a jacket. A superior copy of this major modern fantasy novel. (#167021).
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