BOK [pseudonym]. Corsairs of the China Seas.

London, Herbert Jenkins, [1936].

£298

8vo. Original grey cloth, lettered in red, dust-wrappers, not price-reduced; pp. 314, [6, advertisements], plates after photographs; wrapper with minor wear to corners and a few flaws, apart from minimal spotting initially, a very good copy, in the rarely seen wrappers; bookplate of Keith G. Stevens, writer on Chinese mythology and art.

First edition of a book on an interesting subject, published under a pseudonym. The author remains unknown, despite the resources and efforts of SOAS and historians of the area and subject, who refer to this title. Bok dedicated the book 'to the Spirits of that ghostly company of Freebooters, Bandits and Communists, who have been gathered by their Forefathers' (p. v). The author had deep insight into the Fan Tan halls, opium trade, smugglers, pirates, and Communist insurrectionists on the Canton Delta, Hongkong, and Macao, which the Portuguese managed to keep relatively free of pirates. The author could well be Aleko E. Lilius, author of the 1930 book I sailed with Chinese Pirates, which is remarkably similar in setting and style and describes some of the same adventures. Aleko E. Lilius was born in Finland (of Russian-Swedish origin) and became a restless trader, journalist, photographer and adventurer.

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