Item No: #363647 Tai-Pan and King Rat [Inscribed]. James Clavell.
Tai-Pan and King Rat [Inscribed]
Tai-Pan and King Rat [Inscribed]
Tai-Pan and King Rat [Inscribed]
Tai-Pan and King Rat [Inscribed]
Tai-Pan and King Rat [Inscribed]
Tai-Pan and King Rat [Inscribed]
Tai-Pan and King Rat [Inscribed]
Tai-Pan and King Rat [Inscribed]

Two Full-Page Inscriptions from the Author of Shogun

Tai-Pan and King Rat [Inscribed]

Notes: Clavell's first two books, each with a full-page inscription and housed in a custom leather and marbled-paper box. Tai-Pan is a first edition (first printing); King Rat is a third printing.

Generally speaking, inscribed copies of Clavell's early books are not common on the market, and few inscriptions will be more extravagant than these. It appears that Clavell spent New Years with a Burt Morrow at Whytecliff (West Vancouver), B.C., and inscribed these books for two other guests, Hud and Joan Connolly. Apparently the Connolly's purchased a used copy of King Rat (Boston: Little, Brown & Co., 1962) and a then-new copy of Tai-Pan.

The inscription in King Rat reads, "This is for Hud & Joan Connolly wot they buyed with their own $ mullah, lootie, loot. (The cheep -----'s only paided twenty-five cents for him wot rit it to authenticate it.) Sill—guess they done stole it from somewhere's, huh?) These two—well, wot can I say. They be Burt's friend's—my poor old buddy. Wot more can I say—this [broad, lined out] guess I better not say that—this doll, boy she's a ___temper—and manners—Jesus H Christ! Poor Hud! Poor old bagger. Oh well, never mind. Huck! Ug! Luv JC (me) (wot stand for James Clavell) Oh yes! BUY "TAI-PAN" & tell your friends, huh? (It's really very good!) New Years Eve. "Clavell Cove", Whytecliffe, B.C."

Hud Connolly appears to have returned to the place where Clavell was staying, somehow able to acquire a copy of Tai-Pan on New Year's Eve, as the inscription in King Rat directed. Tai-Pan is inscribed, "This is Hud's Book—bought by himself & written in on this beautiful January One in the year 1967. A great year—the last—the year of Tai-Pan, To Sir with Love, Countdown to Armageddon—for me. Hope that you too have a happy—grand year this year—another in a long series, heya? Best James Clavell. Whytecliffe, Jan 1, 1967 (in the presence of Burt Morrow!)."

In addition to writing bestselling novels (including, later, Shogun), Clavell survived the sinking of his troop carrier during World War Two as well as being shot in the face, three years in a brutal Japanese POW camp, and a severe motorcycle accident just after the war. Clavell's reference to the Sidney Poitier film, To Sir with Love, is because Clavell wrote and directed it (the film had not been released at the time of the inscription; Clavell didn't take a salary, asking instead for a percentage; that decision made him rich). Countdown to Armageddon is a play by Clavell that premiered in Vancouver in 1966, probably explaining why he was there over New Year's. So 1966 was indeed a good year for Clavell.

Edition + Condition: Tai-Pan is very good or better in a very good, price-clipped dust jacket. King Rat is very good in a good price-clipped jacket missing a triangle-shaped piece from the base of the spine, which has been lined on the back (verso) with clear plastic tape. The two volumes are accompanied by a press photograph of Clavell. The books and photo are housed in a substantial custom slipcase. A one-of-a-kind pair of books.

Publication: New York: Atheneum, 1966.

Item No: #363647

Price: $3,000