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Biggles Takes Charge by W. E. Johns was first serialised in four instalments in the children's newspaper Junior Mirror between 15th February 1956 and 7th March 1956. The book was first published in June 1956 by Brockhampton. The 2 subsequent editions are all Brockhampton reprints. The events in the book take place in France and later in Moldavia.

SynopsisEdit

PlotEdit

Note: The sections below contain spoilers. In particular, the plot subpage (click here) has an extended summary of the narrative in the book

CharactersEdit

The Special Air PoliceEdit

  • Air Commodore Raymond
  • Biggles
  • Algy Lacey
  • Ginger Hebblethwaite
  • Bertie Lissie

Friends and alliesEdit

OthersEdit

AircraftEdit

PlacesEdit

VisitedEdit

  • La Sologne
    • Chateau Grandbulon
    • Vierzon
    • Salbris
  • On the road south
    • St Armand - Hotel de la Poste
    • Clermont Ferrand - hotel in the Place de Jaude
  • Paris - interlude for discussion
  • Marseilles
    • Marignane - transit to Cyprus
  • Cyprus -jumpoff point for Nord Noroit on its crown jewels recovery mission in Moldavia
  • Lebanon - transit to Moldavia
  • Turkey - transit to Moldavia
  • Moldavia
    • Galatz and The Danube Delta
    • Zogoreb

MentionedEdit

Research NotesEdit

References to the pastEdit

IncongruitiesEdit

ChronologyEdit

  • There is only a narrow range of possible times for the events described in the book.
  • The revolution in Moldavia which resulted in the deaths of the fathers of Boris Zarrill and Charles Zarrill could only have happened between late 1939 and early 1940 for the following reasons:
    • Boris played tennis with Algy in Monaco in 1939. He would hardly have done so if there was a revolution brewing at home.
    • Charles' mother fled across the Black Sea to Turkey and thence to Paris where Charles was born. She could hardly have moved to a Paris under German occupation.
    • After Charles' birth, she moved to Britain, probably before Paris fell to the Germans in July 1940.
    • By the time Charles met Algy, he was a boy of around 15-16. This is consistent with being born in 1940 and the events of the book being set in 1955 (the year the book was published).
    • Many Eastern European monarchies were overthrown or deposed by Russian inspired revolutions post 1945 but a 1945 date for the revolution in Moldavia is ruled out because then it would be 1960 before Charles attained the age of 15. The book was written in 1955 and in any case, by 1960, von Stalhein would be out of favour with his employers (Biggles Buries a Hachet was written in 1958.)

EditionsEdit

Biggles Takes Charge by W. E. Johns was first serialised in four instalments in the children's newspaper Junior Mirror issues 72-75 between February, 8 1956 - February, 29 1956, with Italian artist Gino D'Antonio as illustrator.[1]. Another reference states that Gino D'Antonio illustrated Biggles Takes Charge for Express Weekly, also sometime in 1956.[2] but this is unconfirmed.

Biggles Takes Charge-1956

The cover of the 1st ed. is also used for the subsequent reprints by Brockhampton.

1. Leicester: Brockhampton Press, 1956. 192 pages. One colour frontispiece illustration by Leslie Stead. Red boards, blindstamped, 19 cm. Number 46 on dustjacket spine. Book list on rear of dustjacket lists to Biggles of the Interpol. Price on dustjacket front flap 7/6.[3]

  • Dust jacket in full colour depicts a scene in the book with several people in a dinghy on a lake in Moldavia awaiting rescue from a flying boat. Note that the flying boat looks nothing like a Nord Noroit.
  • The first edition is not as rare as some others and can be found for less than 50GBP.


2. Leicester: Brockhampton Press, 1961 2nd impression reprint. 192 pages. One colour frontispiece illustration by Leslie Stead. Plain red boards, 19 cm. Dustjacket same as 1st ed. Number 46 on dustjacket spine. Book list on rear of dustjacket lists to Biggles and the Poor Rich Boy. [4]

3. Leicester: Brockhampton Press, 1961 2nd impression variant with laminated boards, with same picture as on the dustjacket of 1st ed. 192 pages. 19 cm. Number 46 on spine. Book list on rear of dustjacket lists to Biggles and the Poor Rich Boy.

ReferencesEdit

  1. "Gino D'Antonio-UK Checklist," Dan Dare Pilot of the Future, accessed 16 December, 2015, URL
  2. "Artists' Biographies," Illustration Art Gallery, accessed on 15 December, 2015, URL
  3. British Library UIN: BLL01001883590
  4. British Library UIN: BLL01004062634

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