First Published on 13th May 1954 - 192 pages


This book first introduces us to Group Captain Timothy (nicknamed 'Tiger') Clinton R.A.F. (retired) and his son, Rex Clinton, whilst they are spending a deer-stalking holiday in the lonely mountains of Inverness-shire. Lost in the Scottish fog they see red lights in the form of a cross and this leads them to lonely Glensalich Castle, where they meet Professor Lucius Brane and his butler, Judkins. The Professor has heard of Tiger Clinton as he is a well-known aircraft engineer and as a result is willing to show him a vehicle he has been building for space travel, which he has called the Spacemaster. The vehicle is still being tested. The Professor has managed to harness the powers of cosmic rays, which are everywhere, as motive power. Initial tests are by remote control, but then the Professor, with Tiger, Rex and Judkins, goes into orbit for the first time. The next trip is an orbit around the moon and then an actual moon landing is undertaken. Taking with them 'cosmosuits' our heroes find primitive vegetation on parts of the moon and specimens of strange animal life. They next decide to travel to Venus to be the first to see under the mysterious layers of cloud. Here they discover dinosaurs. They also find a lack of cosmic rays penetrating the cloud cover makes taking off hazardous but they manage to get safely back to earth. The next objective is Mars, with a preliminary landing on one of the moons of Mars, Phobos. Here they find graves and the dead body of a human like man, perfectly preserved. Going on to Mars they find the planet dead and vast canels choked with weeds and rushes. The also find a big city, obviously designed and built by an advanced civilisation. Leaving Judkins to empty the rubbish from the Spacemaster, the Professor, Tiger and Rex go and explore. They find a man, alive but apparently seriously ill. Tiger thinks the man is suffering from a form of sleeping sickness. It is then that they see the swarms of mosquitoes begin to rise from the overgrown canels. It appears that the inhabitants of Mars have lost a war against the insects that have now completely overwhelmed the planet. Returning to earth, the Professor plans to use insecticides from Earth to destroy the blight and modern drugs to cure the sick. However, on arrival at their launch pad, a man confronts them with a gun. Another man is also present. They demand the plans of the 'airship' and force the Professor to show the Spacemaster to them. This the Professor does, but he quickly jumps out leaving Judkins to send the two men hurtling into space with the remote control. With the door open, the two men must have been killed. The ship is lost, but the Professor is already planning to build a bigger and better ship for a rescue trip to Mars.


The original artwork for this book was once in my private collection


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Kings of Space

Subtitle - A story of Interplanetary Exploration

Publication Details - published by Hodder and Stoughton



First Edition



Click on the Frontispiece to enlarge it


Original first edition boards