Julian Rathbone

2 Books

Julian Christopher Rathbone was born in 1935 in Blackheath, southeast London. His great-uncle was the actor and great Sherlock Holmes interpreter Basil Rathbone, although they never met.

The prolific author Julian Rathbone was a writer of crime stories, mysteries and thrillers who also turned his hand to the historical novel, science fiction and even horror — and much of his writing had strong political and social dimensions.

He was difficult to pigeonhole because his scope was so broad. Arguably, his experiment with different genres and thus his refusal to be typecast cost him a wider audience than he enjoyed. Just as his subject matter changed markedly over the years, so too did his readers and his publishers.

Among his more than 40 books two were shortlisted for the Booker Prize for Fiction. Both were historical novels: first King Fisher Lives, a taut adventure revolving around a guru figure, in 1976, and, secondly, Joseph, set during the Peninsular War and written in an 18th-century prose style, in 1979. But Rathbone never quite made it into the wider public consciousness.


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