A Rogue by Compulsion

An Affair of the Secret Service

Cover image for


Author: Victor Bridges
Published: 1915
Language: English
Wordcount: 111,214 / 313 pg
Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease: 74.2
LoC Category: PN
Downloads: 2,045
Added to site: 2008.09.10
mnybks.net#: 22025
Origin: gutenberg.org

w doubtless posted at frequent intervals. So I stopped where I was and sat down quietly on a rock for a few minutes to recover my breath, for I had been pretty badly shaken and winded by my numerous tumbles.

As soon as I felt better I got up again, and taking very particular care where I was treading, advanced on tiptoe with a delicacy that Agag might have envied. I had taken about a dozen steps when all of a sudden the railings loomed up in front of me through the mist.

I put my hand on the top bar, and then paused for a moment listening breathlessly for any sound of danger. Except for the faint patter of the rain, however, everything was as silent as the dead. Very carefully I raised myself on the bottom rail, lifted my legs over, one after the other, and then dropped lightly down on to the grass beyond.

As I did so a man rose up suddenly from the ground like a black shadow, and hurling himself on me before I could move, clutched me round the waist.

"Got yer!" he roared. Then at


Average Rating of 4.4 from 5 reviews: *****
Michael Sterckx

This one hits Dartmoor running from a prison road gang and doesn't let up. No-one minded absurd coincidences a hundred years ago and there are a fair few in this one, but the yarn more than makes up for that with pace, momentum and humour. His descriptions of London as well as a brief description of the train journey from Fenchurch Street to Tilbury are very evocative and there are some quite ingenious ploys played by our hero when he's on the trail of the villains: keeping an eye on one from an angled mirror behind the bar in a West End pub and sending helpful notes in top end grills. The hero gives a bit of new fangled dynamite to a boy scout for use in a firework as a reward for his assistance at one point, which just shows you that our forefathers were not so keen on maintaining such strict health and safety regulations back in the day.

Paulo Respighi

A convicted killer escapes Dartmoor prison and runs to hide in the house of two suspiciously helpful men. The killer is innocent and an inventor, and the two men promise him wealth for the formula of the explosive he was working on at the time of his crime.

It's an action/spy novel, fairly engrossing. The characterizations are at least distinct, though not deep or unusual. The writing is good, especially the chases and action scenes. There are a lot of coincidences. I got the impression that there were about twenty people in England, and they all kept running into each other.

Kit Wells

What a stunner! A beautifully crafted novel with excellent characterisation. Victor Bridges was a prolific author - is there any chance we could read more of his immense work? That would be heavenly.


This is absolutely excellent. Kind of out-Buchans Richard Hannay.

A 39 Steps - Plus!


I enjoyed this title. Good characters, lots of twists, and not altogether predictable. A good afternoon read

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