Tuesday, 10 January 2012

The Eliminator / Jonas Wilde Spy Novel Series by Andrew York (Christopher Nicole): Introduction, Bibliography and First Edition Cover Gallery

Well the entries for Friday's Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy competition have been trickling in at a steady pace; don't forget you have until midnight EST on Thursday to be in with a chance of bagging that movie tie-in swag, and that the two winners will be announced this Friday. (NB: competition only open to US addressees.) Ahead of that, though, let's return to my series of posts on spy fiction series, with a series of novels starring a state-sanctioned assassin...


I actually have Pretty Sinister Books blog maestro John to thank for bringing this particular (decidedly obscure) spy series to my attention; back in August of last year John posted a review of the first book in the series, 1966's The Eliminator, which had been reissued by Mike Ripley's Top Notch Thriller imprint. (John has since also reviewed the second book, 1967's The Co-ordinator, while Top Notch have gone on to publish the third and fourth.) Written by British author Andrew York, The Eliminator was followed by eight sequels over the next decade, all of them featuring the suave, sophisticated killer Jonas Wilde – the United Kingdom's state executioner.

But the Jonas Wilde books weren't the only series of novels created by York. For not only did York pen four novels starring West Indies police commissioner Colonel James Munroe Tallant (1977's Tallant for Trouble et al) and a trio of books for younger readers starring British intelligence operative Jonathan Anders (1969's The Doom Fisherman, etc.) – plus a couple of standalone works – but under various other guises he also wrote something like 200 books besides, many of those series as well. "Andrew York", you see, was just one of a bewildering array of aliases used by Christopher Nicole, a Guernsey-based author who utilised pen names like Caroline Gray, Alan Savage, Alison York and around ten others to write thrillers, historical novels and non-fiction. (In a neat illustration of the befuddling nature of Nicole's bibliography, in the States the three Andrew York/Jonathan Anders books were published concurrently with the UK editions but under Nicole's real name, and with different titles – Operation Destruct, Operation Manhunt and Operation Neptune.)

There's rather a lot to explore with Mr. Nicole – who I believe is still writing – and I suspect I'll be digging further into his Byzantine backlist in the future. For now, though, let's concentrate on the Jonas Wilde books. I'll be reviewing the first novel in the series, The Eliminator, in the next post (and to prepare yourselves you can of course read Pretty Sinister Books' thoughts on both that and its sequel). But ahead of that, let's have a full Jonas Wilde bibliography-cum-cover gallery. All of the Wilde novels were initially published in hardback by Hutchinson in the UK, and while there's not a huge demand for first editions, some of the books have become remarkably elusive – so much so that I'm still missing two of them. I'll fill in the gaps as and when I manage to get my hands on the two absent volumes (although I have found a front cover image for one of them), but for now – and, to my knowledge, for the first time anywhere – feast your eyes on these first edition fillies (er, plus what seems to be an upturned wheelchair)...

(UPDATE: I've since conducted an interview with Christopher Nicole, which explores the Jonas Wilde books and Nicole's wider literary career.)

Andrew York / Jonas Wilde Illustrated Bibliography


1. The Eliminator (Hutchinson, 1966): dustjacket design by Michael Brett; front cover photograph by George Coral; author photograph by Mark Gerson

. . . . . . . . . .


2. The Co-ordinator (Hutchinson, 1967): front cover photograph by Ivor Keenman

 . . . . . . . . . . 


3. The Predator (Hutchinson, 1968): front cover photograph by George Coral

 . . . . . . . . . .


4. The Deviator (Hutchinson, 1969): jacket ripped on corner, but looks to be front cover photograph by George Coral again

. . . . . . . . . .


5. The Dominator (Hutchinson, 1969): front cover photograph by George Coral

. . . . . . . . . . 


6. The Infiltrator (Hutchinson, 1971): dustjacket design by Keith Inman

. . . . . . . . . . 


7. The Expurgator (Hutchinson, 1972): dustjacket design by Michael Bramman

 . . . . . . . . . .  


8. The Captivator (Hutchinson, 1974)

. . . . . . . . . .  


9. The Fascinator (Hutchinson, 1975): dustjacket photograph by Chris Parker

4 comments:

John said...

Thanks for the plug, my friend. I've been waiting for your thoughts on Jonas Wilde, but I'll have to wait a few more days I see. I am completely envious of your impressive library of 1st editions of the series, coveting them with greedy eyes and near drooling mouth. Mine are all lousy paperbacks (a mix of US and UK editions) and only two of them are in VG or better condition. I'll take what I can get. They're very hard to find over here. I hit paydirt when I was in Florida last fall. Found three Jonas Wilde titles in a used bookstore for under $4 a piece.

As for my continuing tribute to Wilde: I have books 3, 4 and 5 in the series lined up for reviews later this year.

By the way I discovered that THE DOMINATOR (one of your missing titles) is a direct sequel to THE COORDINATOR. I decided to read these in order and it's a good thing, too. THE DOMINATOR can be slightly ruined if you don't read THE COORDINATOR first.

Louis XIV, 'The Sun King' (Nick Jones) said...

Not sure I'll have much to add to your fine review of The Eliminator, John, but I'll give it a go – if nothing else, I'm familiar with some of the locations mentioned in the book. Looking forward to your forthcoming reviews, too – you're certainly powering your way through this series!

Kelly Robinson said...

I've seen some of these in paperback (I work in a used bookstore), but never in HB. Those must be pretty obscure.

Louis XIV, 'The Sun King' (Nick Jones) said...

Some are harder to find than others, Kelly – and two, as you can see, are in very short supply. Which bookstore do you work in?