Saturday, April 12, 2008

Raven 6: The Ruin of the O'Sullivans

And this is why I have been a little quiet on the blogging front this week... The production of a new book in the Raven series always takes some fairly dedicated effort as these are my only productions where there is any kind of rush to have them.

The blurb is pasted below. I sent the announcement email before going to bed one night this week and by the time I got up the next morning the whole of the special state was sold out.


The Ruin of the O'Sullivans by Robert Scoble.

A few years before the outbreak of the First World War, one of the most prominent business families in the United States was comprehensively ruined when its head suddenly engaged in some spectacularly inopportune trading on the coffee market. Percy O'Sullivan was still only 39 and had been for several years at the apogee of his career as President of the New York Coffee Exchange when he made his incomprehensible mistake.What his business colleagues - and perhaps even he himself - did not know was that Percy had been portrayed a few years before as one of the principal characters in the great novel Hadrian the Seventh.

When Percy was a boy, his Irish-American millionaire father had sent him and his brother Vincent, later to achieve enduring fame as a fin de siecle poet and short story writer, to be schooled at St Mary's College at Oscott in England. The two brothers had spent a good deal of their time with the Oscott seminarian and part-time teacher Frederick Rolfe. Although he never saw the brothers again, Rolfe never forgot the prepossessing Percy, whom he decided to immortalise in his most famous book.

With the publication of Robert Scoble's latest monograph in this series, the story of the ill-fated O'Sullivan family is told for the first time. It is a story of stupendous achievement and sad decline, of mental instability and the sometimes tragic consequences of impetuosity.

The Raven Series has been planned as a set of scholarly essays which will add substantially to our knowledge of the life and work of Frederick Rolfe. Each essay is being published in a strictly limited edition, and there is little doubt that complete sets will be sought after by collectors in the years to come.

Of a full edition of 70, the first 12 copies of The Ruin of the O'Sullivans constitute the special state, case bound in terracotta paper-covered boards with gilt titles, and signed by the author. Numbers 13-70 form the ordinary state of the edition, and are sewn into terracotta card covers with a paper label and acetate wrappers.

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